Warren Buffett | Charlie Rose | October 1, 2008 | Summary and Q&A

November 12, 2020
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Warren Buffett | Charlie Rose | October 1, 2008

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This video features a conversation with Warren Buffett, the legendary chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett discusses his recent investment in General Electric, the state of the economy, and the proposed rescue plan. He emphasizes the importance of confidence and liquidity in the markets, and expresses his belief that America will eventually recover from the crisis. Buffett also discusses the role of derivatives and the housing bubble in causing the current situation, and suggests that oversight should focus on ensuring that government investments are made at market prices.

Questions & Answers

Q: Can you explain your recent investment of $3 billion in General Electric?

Buffett explains that he received a call from a friend at Goldman Sachs, who mentioned an investment opportunity in GE. Buffett is familiar with the company and trusts the management team, and believes that GE will continue to be a successful business.

Q: Are you considering other investment opportunities?

Buffett acknowledges that he looks at every opportunity that comes his way. He explains that Berkshire Hathaway has had a lot of cash available in recent years, and now sees attractive investment options.

Q: Why is cash not considered as valuable during times of crisis?

Buffett explains that cash is not valuable if it remains idle and doesn't generate any returns. He believes that there are times when cash can buy more than at other times, and this is one of those times.

Q: Why are people currently so fearful economically?

Buffett believes that people's fears stem from seeing the credit markets seize up and witnessing the movement of deposits from one institution to another. He thinks that these concerns are valid and justified given the current situation.

Q: Is the economic crisis being felt on Main Street?

Buffett confirms that the crisis is being felt by various industries such as the auto, furniture, and jewelry retailers. He believes that the impact will be even more significant if nothing is done to address the crisis.

Q: Are you satisfied with the current rescue plan being voted on by the Senate?

While Buffett acknowledges that the plan is not perfect, he believes it is approximately right. He emphasizes the importance of taking action promptly to start addressing the crisis.

Q: Why do you consider the current situation to be an economic Pearl Harbor?

Buffett explains that the freeze on credit, lack of lending, and low treasury bill yields are indicators of the financial turmoil. He emphasizes the importance of credit and trust in the functioning of the economy, which is currently being disrupted.

Q: Are we headed for a recession or even a depression if the plan doesn't work?

Buffett believes that a recession is already underway, and it could worsen if the credit paralysis continues. He highlights the importance of Congress' wisdom in carrying out the plan effectively.

Q: Do you think the current rescue plan is essential for restoring confidence in the nation and the financial system?

Buffett asserts that the plan is vital to rebuilding confidence and jump-starting the economy. He emphasizes the importance of the determination and actions of Congress in this critical situation.

Q: Why are people resistant to the rescue plan, considering it a bailout for Wall Street?

Buffett explains that while he understands people's concerns and frustrations with Wall Street, the plan's primary purpose is to address the economic crisis faced by the entire nation. He believes that saving the American economy should be the priority.

Q: Is there a possibility of a recession if the plan doesn't work?

Buffett acknowledges that a recession is possible, given the current economic conditions and the ongoing deleveraging by major institutions. However, he believes that the plan has the potential to help mitigate the depth and duration of the recession.


Warren Buffett emphasizes the importance of confidence, liquidity, and taking swift action to address the current economic crisis. He believes that the housing bubble and excessive use of derivatives played significant roles in causing the crisis. While acknowledging that capitalism is not a perfect system, he remains optimistic about the future of America. Buffett supports the rescue plan but stresses the importance of buying distressed assets at market prices and ensuring oversight focuses on this issue. He believes that the new government administration will need to prioritize restoring confidence and implementing long-term solutions to prevent future economic crises.

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