AFP – US billionaire Warren Buffet said the US economy is moving in the right direction and praised the policies of both president George W. Bush and Barack Obama as “the right things,” in an interview that aired Sunday.
US stocks soared to new closing records Friday after a strong US jobs report, which had unemployment fall to 7.5 percent, revived confidence in the economic recovery.
The 82-year-old investor, who is known as the “Sage of Omaha,” said he was optimistic stock prices would continue to rise.
“They don’t look overpriced. They certainly look more attractive than fixed-income investments to me,” he said in the interview that aired on ABC’s “This Week” talk show.
He said the economy has been improving gradually over the last four years, and it will take time before the US experiences more rapid growth.
But he said the monetary and fiscal stimulus enacted under Bush and Obama were the right moves to counter the economic crisis of 2008.
“Nothing is perfect, but we had some huge problems in 2008. And our country is doing reasonably well coming out of that,” Buffet said.
“It’s a lot slower than people would like, but it was a lot bigger problem than any of us had ever seen.”
“I generally approve of what the latter stages of it hit, what the Bush administration did. I approve of what the Obama administration has done,” he added.
But he said “it’s tough to watch what happens in Washington,” as the discourse has “gotten more and more partisan.”
“So many elections are determined by the primaries and not the November elections, that it does tend to push both sides to the extremes and to cause them to dig in and feel that they can’t bend from positions.”
The chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, a holding company with 76 businesses, also spoke in favor of immigration reform that would offer foreign students the chance to become citizens and reiterated comments that the US would benefit by making structural changes to ensure women are not relegated to a small sector of the economy.
A US Labor Department report on Friday showed the US economy added 165,000 jobs in April, well above market expectations, and also revised upward estimates from the previous two months.
The gains came even as taxes rose and government spending tightened under the sharp “sequester” cuts, which still threaten to hold economic growth back this year.