Jan. 20, 2013, 2:54 p.m. EST
Billionaire says deficit a lower percent of GDP than after World War II
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Billionaire Warren Buffett believes the federal deficit should be stabilized in relation to U.S. economic growth, but that the nation’s $16.4 trillion in red ink is not trouble in and of itself.
“It is not a good thing to have it going up in relation to GDP, that should be stabilized, but the debt itself is not a problem,” the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway said in an interview broadcast Sunday on the CBS “Sunday Morning” news show.
“What is right about America just totally dwarfs what’s wrong with Washington. 535 people are not going to mess up 315 million over time. I know it.”
Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway
The nation’s debt is “a lower percent of GDP [gross domestic product] than it was when we came out of World War II. You’ve got to think about it in relation to GDP,” added Buffett, a vocal advocate for increased taxes on the nation’s wealthiest, a stance he alluded to in the broadcast.
“I would say in a country with $50,000 of GDP per person, that nobody should be hungry, nobody should lack a good education, nobody should be worried about medical care, you know, nobody should be worried about their old age.”
As for the discouragement Americans might feel in looking at the political bickering and persistent stalemates on Capitol Hill, Buffett sounded an optimistic tone, saying “what is right about America just totally dwarfs what’s wrong with Washington. 535 people are not going to mess up 315 million over time. I know it.”
Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York.