Re-igniting debate over the effectiveness of the bailouts, billionaire investor Warren Buffett has issued a "thank-you note" to "Uncle Sam" for rescuing the financial system two years ago. In what's been called a "bizarre" New York Times op-ed, Buffett says the country "faced an economic meltdown" in 2008, with the mortgage industry on the verge of collapse and giant banks teetering near bankruptcy. Only the feds had the power to "restore calm," Buffett says, and, this time, they "delivered." Does Washington deserve Buffett's gratitude, and the nation's? (Watch Buffett defend his position)
No, the bailouts only helped Wall Street: What "gushing drivel," says David Stockman at Minyanville. It's not the taxpayers, but the Treasury Department — where the "clueless Hank Paulson was swamped with calls from his crony capitalist buddies" at Goldman Sachs and elsewhere on Wall Street — that should be thanking the government for TARP, the bailouts, and for printing mountains of money.
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Yes, the bailout prevented a complete collapse: The federal rescue might not have been the "bargain" Buffett claims — the final bill could be in the trillions — but it seems certain that "a financial Armageddon would probably have cost far more," says Zachary Roth at Yahoo! News. Buffett's letter bolsters an "emerging consensus among experts that the bailout, despite its extreme unpopularity, was in fact remarkably successful."
"Does the government really deserve Buffett's thanks for financial rescue?"
Buffett is not wrong, just insensitive: The bailouts probably were necessary, says Raymond J. Learsy at The Huffington Post. But Buffett is thanking the feds for saving the Wall Street types who created the mess, while "conveniently" overlooking the fact that millions of Americans kept losing "jobs, homes, and nest eggs." What a curious stand for "such a vaunted sage."
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