Forbes reported yesterday that Warren Buffett will be an economic advisor on John Kerry’s campaign (the story).
"I personally think our election will be a referendum on George W. Bush," Buffett told the magazine. "The Kerry campaign is much less important than how people feel about Bush."
Back that bus up. This is Warren Buffett, the second richest man in the world; the captain of his own fortune; the Arnold Shwarzenegger supporter.
Just a few months ago, Buffett joined the team that made Schwarzenegger governor. At first, Shwarzenegger put him in center ring. Then, Buffett suggested repealing a California law limiting property taxes (which would mean raising taxes) and Schwarzenegger yanked him out. Still, Buffett and Schwarzenegger are good buds.
According to the San Diego Tribune, Buffett offered the governor advice during the state legislature’s battle over workers’ compensation reform last month. Schwarzenegger had begun to agree with Democrats that reforms should include regulating insurers’ rates, but Buffett “turned him against regulation. Buffett apparently told Schwarzenegger that he wouldn't recommend that insurers come to California if the state regulates workers' compensation because regulation would create too much uncertainty.”
The San Francisco Chronicle, reported that Buffett was by Schwarzenegger’s side on Wall Street to sell Proposition 57. The proposition, which passed in March, authorized the sale of $15 billion worth of bonds to finance California. “Buffett gave a glowing testimonial to Schwarzenegger,” the Chronicle reported, “comparing the California governor's first 100 days in office to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's successful effort during his first 100 days in office to rally a dispirited nation during the Great Depression.”
Then, there was Buffett’s shareholders’ meeting of his Berkshire Hathway Incorporated last week, where Schwarzenegger was featured in a videotaped skit.
Many said Schwarzenegger’s election proved a Republican could win the state in the presidential contest. After all, a Republican had won California’s governorship. But now an economic advisor to this Republican governor has landed in Kerry-land. What will die-hard Democrats think of Buffett’s presence? How does a man who trumpeted looser regulation of workers’ comp insurers now talk to the party of labor unions? The populist rhetoric coming from Democrats is that George Bush gives to the rich with his tax plan and Iraq contracts while stealing from the poor. So, then, what is it about this election that gets the richest people in the world so riled?Posted by Lisa Lambert at May 3, 2004 11:29 AM