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Warren Buffett Wades Into Politics, Why Not John Oliver’s Piece on “Mobile Homes?”

April 11th, 2019 Comments off

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Billionaire investor Warren Buffett is once again wading into the topic of politics,” according to CNBC in an article linked here.

 

The article is entitled, “Warren Buffett wants to ask the 2020 presidential candidates this 1 question.” The Daily Business News on MHProNews will explore that as our focus for this post, but first we will ask this question. Since Buffett surely must know about John Oliver’s blast at him and his company, why didn’t he wade into that topic too?  You can learn more and – see the Oliver video with a withering fact-check – at the link below.

 

HBO’s John Oliver on Last Week Tonight Mobile Homes Video, Manufactured Home Communities Fact Check

 

Or was Oliver’s comedic hit on Buffett, Clayton Homes, and numbers of key members of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) too challenging a topic for the Oracle of Omaha to delve into?  Is Oliver’s hit a shark in the water, launched by MHAction, which a money trail reflects has had funding from Buffett backed entities?

We’ll let those questions hang for industry professionals, investors, and advocates, as we unpacked part of what CNBC reported on the Solon of Stocks who hails from Omaha wants to ask 2020 candidates.

The following bullets are pull quotes from CNBC’s article, linked above.

  • Buffett, who supported Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election and has previously weighed in on whether or not executives like Michael Bloomberg or former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz would make good candidates, said in a recent interview that there is one question he would want to ask the field of candidates planning to run for the White House in 2020.
  • I want to hear what they tell people who disagree with them,” Buffett told Yahoo Finance on Monday. “I would like to ask a candidate: ‘What are you for that the majority of your followers are against?’” That’s the best way to be sure that a candidate really believes in a particular issue, according to Buffett. “That’s really the test,” he says in the interview.
  • Those comments from Buffett came in response to a question about whether the billionaire would ever ask a candidate what they think about the economy or other issues. Buffett laughs and points out that any candidate would probably just “tell me what I want to hear” to win his support, which is not what the billionaire would want.
  • For Buffett, being strong-minded but having enough respect to hear out someone with a different opinion or point of view is a positive thing.

Let’s stop right there for now. We’ve asked the Berkshire brands in MHVille, and their purported national mouthpiece, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) to apply a standard quite like that last bullet from their boss, Buffett.

For years, Jim and Kevin Clayton, Tim Williams at 21st, top or mid-range MHI officials – they all responded to our MHProNews inquiries, often within the hour. About 2 years ago, all of that stopped.  Which begs the question, why? Why not reply to the manufactured home industry’s most read trade media?  Why not apply this Buffett rule outlined in this CNBC interview of direct, respectful engagement?  Or of listening carefully to what the other side has to say?

Let’s remind readers of this penetrating quote from Joe Concha at the centrist publication, the Hill, and move on with our analysis of CNBC’s interesting piece.

 

IfYoureWillingtoAbandonPrinciplesConveincesocialAcceptabilityNotPrinciplesCostumeJoeConchaTheHilInspirationlMHProNews

 

So Sayeth Buffett – About Investing, and About Politics…

Here are more bullets from the same read-hot, and ‘trending’ CNBC piece.

  • For example, Buffett and his Berkshire Hathaway right hand man Charlie Munger, “disagree on a few things,” Buffett told CNBC in 2018, and that’s often been helpful.

 

  • Charlie, he’s given me a lot of good advice over time,” Buffett told CNBC in a 2016 interview. “And, I may hate to take it to a certain degree, but sometimes — but my decisions have been better. I’ve lived a better life because of Charlie.”

 

  • Billionaire Ray Dalio also thinks listening to those who disagree with you is essential. It’s a hallmark of the culture that Dalio has created at his hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, which he calls “radical transparency.”

 

  • I just wanted to see things through [employees’] eyes and to have them see things through my eyes so that together we could hash things out to discover what’s true,” Dalio said.

 

  • Billionaire tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel also likes to ask a similar questionto Buffett’s when interviewing job candidates: “What important truth do very few people agree with you on?”

 

 

  • The question is more difficult to answer than you might think, Thiel writes in his book, “Zero to One,” as it requires candidates to show both creative thinking skills as well as the courage to voice an unpopular opinion.

 

  • It’s intellectually difficult because the knowledge that everyone is taught in school is by definition agreed upon,” according to Thiel. “And, it’s psychologically difficult because anyone trying to answer must say something she knows to be unpopular.”

 

  • Meanwhile, Buffett identifies Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders as one presidential candidate who would not be afraid to answer Buffett’s question about unpopular views he holds. Buffett tells Yahoo Finance that Sanders’ followers see him as “authentic,” adding: “if you asked him you what he was for, that most people might be against, he would tell you.”

 

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It is the contrarians who can earn the outsized rewards, not those who run with the pack. We ask the contrarian questions on MHProNews, through the lens of industry pros, not as mere ivory tower observers.

 

There are many questions and topics we’d like to ask Warren Buffett about.  Some of them are linked further below in the related reports, which follows the byline, offers, and disclosures.

Buffett postures being this folksy billionaire titan who loves Democrats, and who says he wants hire taxes.  Really?

  • Then why doesn’t he just write a big check to the U.S. Treasury? 
  • Or instead of asking the federal government to do stuff for the common man and woman, why is he allowing business practices in manufactured housing that seems to go against those principles he claims to espouse? 
  • Why didn’t Clayton Homes and MHI exert influence in Bryan, where their city council just voted against allowing manufactured homes where they were previously allowed to be placed?

 

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