Friday, September 26, 2008

Buffett: 'Heaven help us' if bailout fails

As the proposed $700 billion bailout plan met resistance Wednesday on Capitol Hill, billionaire investor Warren Buffett sounded the alarm on the peril of a failed rescue attempt of the financial markets.

“We are looking over a precipice in terms of the economic condition of the country for the next few years,” Buffett said during an interview on the Fox Business Channel. “If Congress doesn't help us on this, heaven help us.”

Congress will likely scale back the massive bailout plan.

Lawmakers have expressed concerns about oversight, as well as over the rushed nature of the bill. Party leaders and the president have shown support for the bailout since it was crafted over the weekend, but an increasing number of both Republican and Democratic members are expressing doubts over the plan.

President Bush is scheduled to speak to the nation on the economy tonight, and John McCain announced that he is suspending his campaign and hoping to postpone Friday night’s debate, to focus on the economy.

But no matter what Bush or the presidential candidates do, Buffett said the fate of the financial system is in the hands of Congress.

“The only thing that counts in the economic world today is the U.S. Congress,” Buffett said. “They hold the fate of the U.S. economy for the next few years in their hands. And I think they'll do the right thing. I have great confidence — I mean, when they recognize what the problem is, they will do the right thing. They won't do the perfect thing. Nobody can do the perfect thing.

“Later on we'll let the historians decide who to blame. I could go around saying I told you so on this or that. But it doesn't make a difference.”

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