Warren Buffett: Poverty Is The ‘American Nightmare’

American billionaire Warren Buffett has spoken out about the effects of income inequality, describing poverty as an “American Nightmare” that he believes should be a part of the debates leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

Buffett, one of the wealthiest people in the world, addressed the topic while speaking to PBS Newshour. Acknowledging that the American dream has proven true for many people over the course of his lifetime, Buffett nonetheless pointed out that poverty remains a major issue.

“The American dream has been very real for millions and millions of people over the years,” Buffett noted. “But there’s been an American nightmare that has accompanied that.”

Over the course of the interview, Buffett reiterated his support for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which he believes to be one of the most effective tools available to society to combat poverty and income inequality. Though he allowed that a higher minimum wage could be utilized as well, Buffett nevertheless explained the reasons why he believes that tax credits can be far more effective.

“I think the Earned Income Tax Credit is by far the most useful tool to really minimize poverty in this country,” Buffett extolled. “It does not interfere with the market system and it can be geared in various ways to reward work. And you not only want people to have a reasonable income, but you want them to feel good about what they do in life, and that means the dignity of a reasonable job, even though it may not pay very well, with that pay being supplemented by a larger income tax credit.”

In recent days, the billionaire has come under fire from Hedge Fund Manager Dan Loeb, who made rare public comments critical of Warren Buffett. As the Inquisitr has previously reported, Loeb pointed to a gap between Buffett’s rhetoric and actions, expressing frustration with the Berkshire Hathaway CEO’s often reported criticism of hedge funds. Buffett has also famously called for higher taxes on the wealthy, as the Wall Street Journal notes, a fact that didn’t escape Loeb’s notice.

“[Buffett] thinks we should all pay more taxes, but he loves avoiding them. There’s a disconnect between his wisdom and his [actions].”

In discussing income inequality, Buffett also pointed to the Forbes 400 list, which has been published since the 1980s. Since then, the aggregate wealth of listed individuals has increased by 2,300 percent while the bottom quintile of Americans have gained less than a single percent. According to Warren Buffett, this is ample evidence that “there’s something out of whack,” reason enough for him to hope that poverty becomes a key issue in 2016.

[Photo by Paul Morigi/ Getty Images]