Warren Buffett doesn’t expect the debt-ceiling debacle to result in a US government default.
He slammed the 2011 standoff as a silly waste of time, and said the borrowing limit shouldn’t exist.
Buffett warned that not raising the debt ceiling might be Congress’ most idiotic move ever.
Warren Buffett has dismissed concerns that Congress won’t raise the debt ceiling and the federal government will be forced to default on its loans. He went even further during a previous standoff, describing the clash as an idiotic waste of time, and calling for the borrowing limit to be removed entirely.
Lawmakers aren’t “going to let the debt ceiling cause the world to go into turmoil,” the famed investor and Berkshire Hathaway CEO said during his company’s annual shareholder meeting this month. “It’s going to get changed.”
During the debt-ceiling crisis in 2011, Buffett underscored how stupid it would be for legislators to let the country run out of money.
“It would probably the most asinine act that Congress has ever performed,” he said, according to CNBC’s Warren Buffett Archive.
The billionaire executive compared the idea’s absurdity to the Indiana Pi Bill — a proposal to change the value of the irrational number Pi to 3.2 for simplicity. It was unanimously passed by the state’s House of Representatives in 1897, but postponed indefinitely by its Senate.
Buffett argued that a debt limit never made sense in the first place, as America’s borrowing capacity increases as it grows.
“Having a debt ceiling to start with is a mistake,” he said, before adding that it might not be desirable for America’s debt to rise as a percentage of its GDP.
“These games get played, and all the time that gets wasted, and the number of silly statements you hear,” he complained about the political gridlock in Washington during that period. “It just seems such a waste of time for a country that’s got a lot of things to do.”
“I’d love to see them eliminate the idea, because it results in these periodic stalemate operations where everybody uses it for posturing purposes and everything of the sort,” he said about the debt limit.
Buffett asserted that as long as the US issues bonds and other notes in its own currency, it will never suffer a debt crisis. However, he cautioned that printing too much money and fueling runaway inflation is a concern when a country spends freely.
The US breached its $31.4 trillion debt ceiling in January, and experts believe it could run out of money by early June. It’s now up to a politically divided Congress to raise the limit and allow the government to cover the costs of Social Security checks, veterans’ benefits, and its other financial obligations.
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