Buffett Blasts Obama's Bank Tax - TheStreet



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Berkshire Hathaway

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CEO and Chairman Warren Buffett is criticizing a tax on financial companies proposed last week by the administration of his

distant cousin

, President Barack Obama.


Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee

proposes a tax of 0.15% on the debt of the largest financial firms, such as


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Bank of America

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General Electric

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The proposal states the tax would last for at least 10 years, but would continue "until the American people are fully compensated for the extraordinary assistance they provided to Wall Street."

Buffett has given the President advice and political support in the past, but he does not appear to have been consulted by the Obama administration this time around.

In an interview with


on Wednesday, Buffett, a Democrat and a shareholder via Berkshire Hathaway in

Goldman Sachs

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Wells Fargo

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, took issue with the notion that government's bailout under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was for the benefit of banks.

"What was done in the fall of 2008 was designed to save the American economy. It wasn't designed to save the banks," Buffett said, noting the government's multibillion-dollar preferred stock investments in Goldman, Wells and

JPMorgan Chase

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under the TARP, which have since been paid back with interest, have earned it a considerable profit.

Buffett suggested the biggest beneficiaries of the government bailout may have been the U.S. autoworkers allowed to keep their jobs. General Motors, which received more than $50 billion is expected to be one of the biggest losers among U.S, investments under the TARP, along with

Freddie Mac



Fannie Mae


"I'm the last guy to suggest that you should go out and put a special tax on autoworkers but if you're really looking for the people that benefited from government losses, you'd have to look there -- or if you look at Fannie and Freddie. I mean are you gonna go out and tax the members of Congress who ran Freddie and Fannie?" Buffett asked.


Written by Dan Freed in New York