A few nuggets from the beginning of the interview:
- Buffett admits he believed that home prices could never fall.
- He said Barrack Obama (whom he supported for president) should focus all effort on the current "economic Pearl Harbor," rather than trying to push through a lot of unrelated, controversial legislation.
- He said America's upcoming inflation could be worse than the inflation of the 1970s, depending on how policymakers respond to it.
- He said the U.S. economy almost collapsed in September.
- There are 1.5 million too many houses in the U.S. right now, but population growth will take care of that over time. A big difference between America's housing decline and Japan's is that America has population growth and Japan didn't.
- Once we get past the current crisis, it's a great time to be in banking because the yield spread between a bank's borrowing costs and it's lending rates is huge. Banks will make a lot of money on the new lending they are doing.
- Buffett favors mark-to-market accounting, because he's seen what happens when CEOs get to choose their own numbers. However, mark-to-market accounting has been "gasoline on the fire" during the current crisis. He'd love to buy the banks' toxic assets at their current mark-to-market prices.
- He favors secret ballots for unionization, and opposes the Democrats' plans for card check, which is part of the Employee Free Choice Act currently before Congress. He thinks card check is a mistake.