In Defense of the Oracle

With Berkshire Hathaway’s (BRK.A) Q2 results due out later today, there is a whole lot of Buffett bashing going on in the blogosphere. In an article in Seeking Alpha today, Rolfe Winkler says that he feels betrayed by Warren Buffett. Also, Karl Denninger of The Market Ticker, a site that I follow daily, claims in this piece that Buffett is a hypocrite for blasting the bailout while investing in companies that benefited mightily from government assistance. The reason for this criticism? It seems that someone has leaked that BRK is about to announce blowout numbers, a fact that apparently rubs some people the wrong way, given the state of the economy.

Assuming BRK did actually experience a large recovery in book value and a significant positive reversal of the value of its derivative exposure, the question is should we be upset? With 9.5% (as of today, probably more tomorrow) of Americans unemployed and over 16% under-employed, should we begrudge companies and individuals that have seen their fortunes improve since the free fall the US economy experienced in Q4 2008 and Q1 2009? I actually don’t think either of those questions can be answered in generalities. Some people seem to relish criticizing the capitalist machine as a whole, but from my perspective that lumps too many companies in together without considering their roles in facilitating the near collapse of our financial system or the means in which they have been able to regain their thunder.

Click here for the full article.

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