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Buffett: I've Never Seen So Much Fear

Thursday, 02 Oct 2008 11:06 AM

Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor known for scooping up huge companies in dire straits, has his work cut out for him now.

By the standards of even his own long career, the octogenarian investor says he's never seen people so fearful over money.

"In fact, in my adult lifetime, I don't think I've ever seen people as fearful economically as they are right now," he told Charlie Rose in a PBS interview that aired as the Senate voted on a $700 billion bailout package.

Buffett lives by his oft-repeated mantra, to be greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy. "It's that simple," he tells Rose.

But what's going on now is on an entirely different scale, Buffett says, because now things are beyond simply tanking stocks. Credit markets are seizing up and money market funds are at risk, factors which touch many more lives than the ups and downs of the Dow.

Americans, investors or not, should be very concerned about what happens next, Buffett warns.

"They've seen 8 percent of the bank deposits in the United States get moved very skillfully, I might say, within the last couple of weeks from institutions that they thought were fine a few months ago to other institutions," Buffett says. "They are not wrong to be worried."

As for the bailout plan now moving from the Senate to the House for a vote, possibly by Friday, Buffet is optimistic, despite calling the current situation an "economic Pearl Harbor."

Buffett compared the U.S. economy to a "great athlete" who has had a heart attack.

"It's flat on the floor, and the paramedics have arrived. And they shouldn't argue about whether they put the resuscitation equipment a quarter of an inch this way or a quarter of an inch this way, or they shouldn't start criticizing the patient, because he didn't have a blood pressure test or something like that."

"They should do what's needed right now. And I think they will."

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Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor known for scooping up huge companies in dire straits, has his work cut out for him now.By the standards of even his own long career, the octogenarian investor says he's never seen people so fearful over money."In fact, in my adult...
warren,buffett
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2008-06-02
Thursday, 02 Oct 2008 11:06 AM
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