SHUCKS

Bumped again. But again something more important has come up. And no, I don’t mean Jon Stewart’s October 30 Rally To Restore Sanity or Stephen Colbert’s fiendish and simultaneous March to Keep Fear Alive – though we have in fact booked our $117 four-star Priceline hotel room for both. Rather, Shucking Like a Guy has been bumped for . . .

WARREN BUFFETT’S PARTNER CHARLIE

Stephen Willey:Here is a two-hour interview with Charlie Munger. I didn’t regret a minute spent watching. By his own admission, Charlie is a Republican, but his solutions to the current crisis could have been mistaken for your own.”

☞ Thank you for this. Fantastic. And he’s 86? Amazing.

Charlie and Warren have been business partners since they were mere multi-millionaires. They are generally regarded as two of the most – if not in fact the two most – astute, level-headed capitalists in the world.

Skip the introductions. The actual interview starts 8 minutes in.

I like the part (about 27 minutes in) where he praises the selection of Elizabeth Warren and suggests that she may not be tough enough on the financial industry. And the part a few minutes later where he comes out against tax cuts but advocates “the biggest infrastructure program you ever saw” – with special emphasis on becoming energy independent via the sun.

He is one Republican who favors keeping Social Security just as it is.

But don’t think he’s a squishy liberal – he thinks Costco does more good for the world than the Rockefeller Foundation. He thinks ill of my hero Al Gore.

He thinks we’re hugely fortunate both parties worked together to bail out the banking system – that things would have been unimaginably bad if they hadn’t.

He thinks you should avoid gold (“even if it works, you’re a jerk”). I’ve long knocked gold, too (how is society enriched by digging for more of something whose principal value lies in its scarcity?), but Charlie ups the ante – and makes me feel a bit guilty about my own fairly recent and reluctant holding in GLD, up 36% since first suggested. May need to rethink.

He’s a multibillionaire contrarian who thinks Singapore may have been the best political system, at least for its situation, of any in the world (as he explains in answer to the last student’s question) . . .

. . . and he lives by Rudyard Kipling’s classic poem, “If.”

I assume you know it, but just in case:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

If you think Charlie Munger may be possessed of more wisdom than Sarah Palin or Mitch McConnell . . . yes, or even Joe Scarborough . . . if you are willing to listen to a Republican capitalist who thinks the current Republican leadership has its economics all wrong . . . who has thought hard about how terrible economic times made Hitler’s rise possible . . . who remembers the Depression . . . then settle back and listen to him for a couple of hours.

If only everybody would.

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