Would Buffett Make a Good President?

With the inauguration of our 45th president in the very recent past after a controversial election, politics seem the be at the front of everyone’s mind. While it is definitely true that there are a lot of different factors that make a CEO great, or a businessman great, than what factors make a president great, if we were to choose a business leader, would it be Warren Buffett?

Buffett is famous for his investing techniques, his huge net worth allowing him to rank as the second wealthiest man in the world, and his abundance of business advice, among other things. Even then, there are a lot of things to consider when you’re talking about leading America. 

In the spirit of Buffett’s own “bad news first” rule, here is why he would not make a good president:

He might not know when to quit.

Buffett is often quoted saying, in a joking manner, that one of his goals is to be the oldest living manager. While that is a humorous goal, with age 87 creeping up on, it’s starting to become a possibility. Part of what helped Lyndon B. Johnson keep his good reputation was his ability to see that he should not seek reelection. Buffett, however capable of admitting mistakes he is, may not be quite as able to part with being in charge, as demonstrated with Berkshire.

He’s somewhat blinded by his love for America.

While Buffett does have good ideas about what can better America, he’s always spoke of our country in really high regards. And, don’t get me wrong, the president is someone who should have a patriotic attitude, but they can’t be blinded by their love for America and constantly saying that we will be fine because “we are the greatest country in the world” when that just isn’t true— we are 22nd in science education, 49th in life expectancy, 4th in labor force… Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud to be an American, but there is room for improvement.

Here’s why he would make a good president:

People listen to him.

Buffett fan or not, there’s no arguing that when he talks, people listen. His annual shareholder meeting attracted a record of 44,000 people in 2015, and after making the decision to live stream it on the internet he only enabled more people to tune in.

Buffett has enough experience with the economy that he feels comfortable enough sharing his opinions and sharing insights. Plus, he received the highest civilian honor available in the nation, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from President Obama in 2011.

He owns up to his mistakes.

Buffett is always quick to admit when he makes a mistake, which is part of the reason he and his company have such a good reputation and he is considered so trustworthy. After his 25th year with Berkshire, he spent a few pages just mulling over all the mistakes he had made. That’s a trend you can still see in his most recent letter to shareholders.

He cares.

Buffett is highly involved with philanthropies and has pledged to donate 99% of his more that $70 billion fortune upon his death. Plus, he’s spoken out about his stance on climate change, the income gap, and education for our country, and it’s safe to say that there are politicians out there who have given the subjects less thought than the Oracle of Omaha.

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