(May 6, 2023) As attendance returned to normal levels at the second in-person shareholders meeting since the COVID pandemic started, Warren Buffett revealed he has no intention of bidding for full control of Occidental Petroleum despite building a stake in the oil giant, called on the U.S. government to explicitly guarantee deposits of all sizes in the wake of recent bank failures, and called Apple a "better business" than any company completely owned by Berkshire. Charlie Munger criticized both the U.S. and China for "stupid, stupid, stupid" economic tensions that are preventing both countries from what could be mutually-beneficial trade relations.
Berkshire Hathaway's per-share market value increased by 4.0% in 2022, easily outperforming the S&P 500's 18.1% plunge as the Federal Reserve aggressively raised interest rates to tame an inflation surge. In his letter to shareholders, Buffett didn't offer any commentary on the Fed's hikes or the threat they could put the economy into a recession. He did, however, sharply criticize Washington politicians, mostly Democrats, who had been been attacking corporate buybacks as "self-indulgence" that hurts their workers and the economy. "When you are told that all repurchases are harmful to shareholders or to the country, or particularly beneficial to CEOs, you are listening to either an economic illiterate or a silver-tongued demagogue (characters that are not mutually exclusive)."READ 2022 LETTER (DATED FEB. 25, 2023)