This Day In Market History: Warren Buffett Op-Ed Praises Government Response To Financial Crisis

Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.

What Happened? On Nov. 17, 2010, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B) CEO Warren Buffett wrote an op-ed praising the U.S. government response to the 2008 financial crisis.

Where The Market Was: The Dow finished the day at 11,007.88. The S&P 500 traded at 1,178.59.

What Else Was Going On In The World? In 2010, the Winter Olympics were held in Vancouver, Canada. The Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai opened, becoming the world’s tallest building at over 2,700 feet high. A gallon of gasoline cost $2.73.

Buffett’s Op-Ed: The government’s reaction to the 2008-2009 financial crisis spanned two presidential administrations and involved unprecedented bailouts and economic stimulus. Understandably, many of the decisions made by President George W. Bush, President Barack Obama, Congress and both the Federal Reserve and Treasury were met with intense public scrutiny at the time.

In November 2010, The Oracle of Omaha weighed in with his own take on how the government handled the crisis in an Op-Ed in the New York Times. Buffett himself made several multi-billion investments during the crisis that helped stabilize major financial institutions and instill confidence in the markets, including a $3 billion investment in General Electric Company GE and a $5 billion investment in Goldman Sachs Group Inc GS.

“People will second-guess your specific decisions; you can always count on that,” Buffett wrote. “But just as there is a fog of war, there is a fog of panic — and, overall, your actions were remarkably effective.”

Buffett went on to thank “Uncle Sam” for taking action, specifically mentioning Ben Bernanke, Hank Paulson, Tim Geithner, Sheila Bair. Buffett also praised Bush for his leadership even though Buffett said he never personally voted for him.

“In this extraordinary emergency, you came through — and the world would look far different now if you had not,” Buffett concluded.

Warren Buffett with former President Barack Obama. White House photo by Pete Souza. 

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