Berkshire’s Charlie Munger: ‘Driving Rich People Out is Pretty Dumb’
Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charlie Munger is 95 years old, and he’s a straight shooter who’s never been known to mince words.
And Munger has some thoughts about high-tax states like New York, Connecticut and California driving rich people and large companies like Amazon away, like what’s happened with Amazon this week in New York.
“It’s been serious. Driving the rich people out is pretty dumb if you’re a state or a city,” Munger said to CNBC’s Becky Quick in an interview that aired Friday. “They’re old. They keep your hospitals busy. They don’t burden your schools, the police department, your prisons. They give a lot. Who wouldn’t want rich people?”
The comments come on the heels of “wealth tax” ideas coming fast and furious from the far left, and the announcement that Amazon is scrapping plans for a New York City headquarters in Long Island, in part because Democrat politicians like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are throwing a fit.
Amazon, run by the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos (for now at least), opted to pick a number of winning cities rather than just one. And while the Long Island plan has been abandoned, Amazon still plans to open a new operations facility in Nashville, Tenn., and another project in Arlington, Va.
The hoped-for HQ2 was expected to bring an estimated 25,000 jobs to the New York area in exchange for $3 billion in state and local tax breaks, which many politicians, notably freshmen Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have opposed adamantly.
“There are a number of places that have shot themselves in the foot; Connecticut, California, New York City,” Munger told CNBC. The 95-year-old Munger, who is vice chairman of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, is known for his methodical, straight-talking, and unequivocating responses.
Munger also is chairman of the Daily Journal Corp. DJCO, -0.98% which just held its annual meeting on Feb. 14.
One of the more influential company’s on Wall Street, Amazon’s shares finished down 1.1% on Thursday and were headed lower Friday. So far this year, Amazon’s stock is up 7.2%, compared with a 12.3% gain for the technology-laden Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.35% a 10.4% rise for the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.78%and a 10.5% climb for the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +1.35% over the same period. Berkshire shares BRK.A, +0.90% BRK.B, +0.91% meanwhile, are up 0.4% so far in 2019.
Daily Journal shares meanwhile are 8% weaker in 2019.