I have received a huge numbers of emails in response to Amazing Arrogance, Gall, Chutzpa, and Unmitigated Effrontery from Berkshire Hathaway.

Only two people were against the sentiment I expressed, with the vast majority of responders thanking me. More than a handful thought I did not go far enough!

Here is a response from a Commercial Account Manager who disagrees with what I wrote.

Ryan Skene, Commercial Account Manager, HSBC Bank Canada, writes …

Mish … How about taking a rational and measured approach to your words rather than slinging mud, feces, and whatever other garbage you can get your hands on.

In a world where everyone has there hands out, I for one like the idea of everyone just sucking it up and grinding through the tough times instead of whining begging someone else to fix their problems.

Ryan Skene
Commercial Account Manager
HSBC Bank Canada
Suite 200, 321A 21st Street East
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7K 0C1

Mud Slinging? Really?!

I emailed Janet Tavakoli, author of Dear Mr. Buffett, one of the biggest Berkshire Hathaway supporters of all time, right after I wrote that post. I was curious about what she would have to say. Here is her response.


I’ve already prepared a similar statement. It will be out shortly.


Janet Tavakoli Responds

Inquiring minds are reading Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger: Winning the Class War, Janet Tavakoli’s reply to the amazing gall of Charlie Munger.

In Third World America: How Our Politicians are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream, Arianna Huffington describes how Wall Street insiders used the financial crisis to bribe, coerce, and manipulate Washington into bailing them out and handing them unprecedented, unconditional windfalls.

Warren Buffett Jumped the Squid

Today’s interested men defend the bailouts and subsequent absence of felony indictments. They include Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, and Berkshire’s Vice-Chairman, Charlie Munger.

Charlie Munger’s War

Andrew Frye of Bloomberg News reported Charlie Munger’s recent remarks to law students at the University of Michigan. Munger suggests we shouldn’t be “bitching about a little bailout;” we should have wondered why the bailout wasn’t even bigger.

Munger conjured the specter of Germany’s Weimar Republic in an attempt to justify the bailouts: “We ended up with Adolf Hitler.” ZeroHedge, home to finance’s mainly masked throw downs, spoke for many (including me), when it retorted that Germany’s hyperinflation was born from “wanton money printing” and set the stage for Hitler.

When it comes to bailouts that will hit middle class taxpayers most, Munger has a double standard:

“The 86 year old told the 25 million of Americans who comprise the 16.7% of the underemployed population in the country, to “suck it in and cope.” Not only that, but apparently, all those who have been without a job for 99 weeks and more and no longer have recourse to insurance benefits, should “thank God for bank bailouts.” Why of course he would say that: after all $26 billion worth of direct BRK investments were the recipient of over $95 billion in bailouts.”

[From] ZeroHedge, September 20, 2010: Munger Tells 25 Million Americans To “Suck It In”, And To “Thank God For Bank Bailouts” As BRK Benefits From $95 Billion Of TARP Funding

We bailed out banks that were the key architects of much of our national misery and currency destruction. Those living in poverty will have a much more difficult time bettering themselves, as much of the middle class sinks.

Those Bailed Out, Whine

While I too am tired of people asking for handouts, especially public unions, the gall of Charlie Munger was so intense that even perennial Berkshire Hathaway supporters like Janet Tavakoli have abandoned Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger over those remarks.

Skene’s statement “I for one like the idea of everyone just sucking it up and grinding through the tough times instead of whining begging someone else to fix their problems” offers more than a hint of irony now that the broker dealers and banks have been bailed out at the expense of everyone else.

We should not be surprised to see bankers or commercial account managers, recipients of the bailouts (directly or indirectly), defend those bailouts, while telling everyone else to “suck it in and cope”. After all, Skene’s livelihood may have depended on it.

Those who get handouts always think they deserve them. The very same people never think anyone else does. That is precisely what is wrong with the statements of Charlie Munger, as well as the statements of Ryan Skene and his ilk, in defending them.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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