Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Berkshire Hathaway's Munger on Cap-and-Trade ("Monstrously Stupid Right Now...Almost Demented"); Warren and Charlie on Wind and Solar (BRK.A)

First up, Mr. Munger on Cap-and-Trade with CNBC's Becky Quick.
Friday, May 2:

From the Omaha World-Herald live-blog of the Q&A session:


A shareholder says he has seen windfarms in Iowa made by MidAmerican Energy and when will there be a return on investment for that. Buffett says wind cannot be counted on for a baseload of electricity, but Iowa has been receptive to wind energy and MidAmerican has been happy to cooperate with that. Buffett says a return on wind energy investment is being had, part of it is a tax credit given to anyone in the country who develops wind power generation. Buffett says we love the idea of putting in more wind. Buffett says one advantage Berkshire has is it is a big taxpayer, so the tax credit is certain to help. Munger says anything that make sense for a utility, MidAmerican will be involved. Buffett says Berkshire will be involved in more utilities, and would have cut the Constellation deal. Buffett says a phone call at noon or 1 p.m. one day turned into a firm deal by 5 p.m. frrom Berkshire to Constellation in Baltimore that same day. Buffett says that kind of dealmaking ability will help Berkshire in the future, even though that particular deal did not get closed for Berkshire. Buffett says Berkshire always has the money, and it has the managers who can deliver on the property. He says that is a "huge, huge advantage."


A shareholder asks what questions about the world economy Buffett and Munger ask each other. Buffett says the world always has problems but unfortunately it is the only world we have. Buffett says over time, the United States has a great system and people will be better off in the future compared with the present. Buffett says the system unleashes human potential. Buffett says China went for a long time with a system that didn't unleash human potential. Buffett says that has changed, and China's system does unleash human potential. Buffett says capitalism always will have bad years. Buffett says overall the world moves ahead and really it is at a pretty rapid rate. Munger says the closer he moves to death the more cheerful he feels about the world's potential. Munger says harnessing the sun's power and changing sea water to fresh, other changes are for the better. Munger says he sees very good things for the future, including enough energy generation to solve a lot of other problems along with it.