Feb 24, 2018

Buffett: Berkshire Hathaway made $29 billion from GOP tax cuts

Warren Buffett. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik / WireImage

Warren Buffett released his annual letter on Saturday, in which he tells shareholders that his company, Berkshire Hathaway, made $29 billion in 2017 because of the GOP tax cuts.

"Berkshire's gain in net worth during 2017 was $65.3 billion...A large portion of our gain did not come from anything we accomplished at Berkshire. The $65 billion gain is nonetheless real – rest assured of that. But only $36 billion came from Berkshire’s operations. The remaining $29 billion was delivered to us in December when Congress rewrote the U.S. Tax Code."
— Warren Buffett
  • He encouraged investors to stick with stocks, despite being "riskier...than short-term U.S. bonds:" "It is a terrible mistake for investors with long-term horizons – among them, pension funds, college endowments and savings-minded individuals – to measure their investment 'risk' by their portfolio’s ratio of bonds to stocks. Often, high-grade bonds in an investment portfolio increase its risk."
  • He said Berkshire needs "to make one or more huge acquisitions," and that the company had $116 billion on hand at the end of 2017: "Our smiles will broaden when we have redeployed Berkshire's excess funds into more productive assets."
  • In regard to acquisitions, he said "a sensible purchase price" has "provided a barrier to virtually all deals we reviewed in 2017."
  • He laid out "four truly major dips" Berkshire shares saw in 1973-1975, 1987, 2000, and 2009: "This table offers the strongest argument I can muster against ever using borrowed money to own stocks. There is simply no telling how far stocks can fall in a short period."

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Bernie's juggernaut

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks in San Antonio last night with his wife, Jane. Photo: Eric Gay/AP

Sen. Bernie Sanders won so big in the Nevada caucuses that Democrats are hard-pressed to sketch a way he's not their nominee.

Driving the news: With 60% of precincts counted (slow, but better than Iowa!), Sanders is running away with 46% of delegates — crushing Joe Biden's 20%, Pete Buttigieg's 15%, Sen. Elizabeth Warren's 10% and Sen. Amy Klobuchar's 5%.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Buttigieg campaign claims Nevada caucuses were "plagued with errors"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Pete Buttigieg's campaign wrote a letter on Sunday asking the Nevada State Democratic Party to release early vote and in-person vote totals by precinct and address certain caucus errors identified by campaigns, The Nevada Independent reports.

The big picture: The campaign alleges that the process of integrating early votes on caucus day was “plagued with errors and inconsistencies,” and says it received more than 200 incident reports from precincts around the state.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus threat grows, threatening some drug supplies

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

As the novel coronavirus continues spreading globally and China grapples with a limited production capability, there's a growing risk to about 150 prescription drugs in the U.S., sources tell Axios.

The big picture: The coronavirus has spread to more countries, with both South Korea and Italy stepping up emergency measures amid rising case numbers on Sunday. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,467 people and infected almost 79,000 others, mostly in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health