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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Grand Bargain Doubtful, Opportunity in Uncertainty

Why Won't Americans Listen to Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles? - Businessweek: " . . . The fate of the grand bargain will likely be determined over the next six to eight weeks, as sequestration hits and funding for the government runs out on March 27. If Congress muddles through with still more short-term fixes, the chance for major reform may vanish for years. Washington will move on to immigration, gun control, and the next election. Simpson-Bowles will be forgotten. If, however, the economy stalls, health-care inflation picks up again, or any number of other scenarios unfold, the plan may be resurrected—or as Simpson once put it, the “cadaver will rise from the crypt.” “Nobody knows when, but at some point the markets will force us to deal with this,” says Bowles. “And when they do, there’s just not that many other solutions.” In that event, Simpson and Bowles will win Washington’s standard consolation prize—having failed to fix the problem, they’ll at least be able to say they were right."

Buffett sees opportunity in uncertainty - FT.com: "What was clear is that 82-year-old Warren Buffett remains an optimist. Declaring that “opportunities abound in America”, he took fellow chief executives to task for using “uncertainty” as a reason not to invest. Providing the perspective of a man who made his first stock purchase in 1942, “when the US was suffering major losses throughout the Pacific war zone”, he said that “America has faced the unknown since 1776. It’s just that sometimes people focus on the myriad of uncertainties that always exist while at other times they ignore them.” So Mr Buffett said that he and his vice-Chairman Charlie Munger would continue to invest large sums, both in the existing businesses of the conglomerate that sells everything from lollipops to jet propelled planes, as well as in stocks and large acquisitions similar to the recent $28bn purchase of Heinz with partner 3G Capital."

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