Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett said in an interview Monday with CNBC that he sympathizes with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign rhetoric that capitalism has left working Americans behind and needs regulation to curb its excesses.
Buffett said he understands Sanders’ motivation to help the working class through programs like free college tuition and “Medicare for All” but he doesn’t believe socialism is the answer. Socialism has been the focal point for public attacks by Republicans and moderate Democrats throughout the 2020 election.
“I’m very much in sympathy with the fact that Senator Sanders believes that a lot of people are getting left behind and through no fault of their own,” Buffett said in a CNBC Squawk Box interview from Omaha, Nebraska. “And there’s all kinds of aspects of capitalism that need, in some ways, to be regulated. But I don’t believe in giving up the capitalist system.”
Asked what he thought of moderate Democratic candidate Michael Bloomberg, Buffett hesitated before airing his thoughts.
“I don’t think another billionaire supporting him would be the best thing to announce,” he said with a chuckle, also admitting he’d “have no trouble” voting for the former New York City mayor.
Buffett, who supports a higher personal income tax on billionaires, said he disagrees with some of Sanders’ key progressive proposals. One of them is mandatory equity ownership for employees of large, public companies with over $100 million in annual revenue, which he denounced as a “particularly bad idea.”
On Monday, Sanders unveiled a $1.5 trillion plan to provide childcare and pre-K education for all Americans over a 10-year timeframe, as previously reported by The Inquisitr. Earlier this month, the Vermont lawmaker and Democratic New York Sen. Chuck Schumer announced a plan to limit companies’ ability to issue buybacks of their own shares — a move which, according to CNBC, was unlikely to be favored by Buffett, who has long argued that in many instances the best use for corporate cash is share buybacks.
Sanders’ proposal is part of broader messaging that President Donald Trump’s tax cuts did not serve the majority of Americans — corporations bought back their own stock with tax savings rather than investing in workers and businesses.
Buffett, a self-described “card-carrying capitalist” said he supports “higher incomes” though not necessarily a higher minimum wage.
“Everything you see is the product of a system that’s worked like nothing’s ever worked in the history of the world. So, I do not believe in messing up our system of developing output,” he continued. “[But] I do believe that anybody who’s willing to work 40 hours a week and has a couple kids should not have to have a second job.”