Published: Sat, May 13, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Buffett says AHCA is tax cut for the rich

Asked whether Berkshire's decentralized structure could lead to a similar scandal, Buffett said "as we sit here, somebody is doing something wrong at Berkshire", whose units employ 367,000 people. From investment - passive investing was praised, to tax and the Trump healthcare package which was criticised, to the company's holdings in Wells Fargo, IBM and political donations - the hours of comment and questions covered an terrible lot.

Buffett even got into specifics, explaining that his personal tax bill would be 17 percent lower under the GOP bill.

Berkshire now owns 133 million shares of Apple, which Buffett said behaves more like a consumer-products company than a tech company.

That amounts to about $680,000 back in his own pocket, the Berkshire Hathaway chairman said.

Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway a major shareholder of United and other big US airlines, said Monday, May 8, 2017, that the recent spotlight on poor customer service in the airline industry doesnt change his investment strategy.

Buffett is a Democrat who is said to be close to former President Barack Obama.

Speaking on CNBC television, Mr. Buffett said, "It's a defect of mine" that he doesn't focus as closely on the efficiency of business units at Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the conglomerate he has run since 1965.

He said some of Berkshire's industrial units saw upticks in business this year, as have credit card companies such as Visa Inc V.N and American Express Co AXP.N , a longtime Berkshire investment.

"They actually have to do something", Buffett said.

Trump's proposed tax plan is expected to cut corporate tax to 15 percent - "to the benefit of shareholders" as Buffett put it - and the new Republican healthcare bill would also repeal most of the taxes that paid for the Obamacare, or as it is formally known, the Affordable Care Act. He also said rising health care costs, rather than high taxes, were the biggest drag on US businesses. "So they have gained a 5- or 6-point advantage", he said.

"Every year it seems I have to come earlier", said Chris Tesari, a retired businessman from Pacific Palisades, California who said he arrived at 3:20 a.m. for his 21st meeting.

Mr. Buffett said he was not bothered by initial USA data showing the economy grew at just 0.7 % in the first quarter, saying it was "more or less" growing at 2% a year.

"Greater productivity will benefit the world in a general way, but to be roadkill" is a painful experience, he added.

Information for this article was contributed by Noah Buhayar, Laura J. Keller, Jordyn Holman and Katherine Chiglinsky of Bloomberg News; and by Josh Funk of The Associated Press.

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