Warren Buffett sees light at end of the debt ceiling battle

Oct. 4, 2013 at 3:46 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Billionaire investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett predicts Congress won't resort to "extreme idiocy" and will vote to extend the federal debt ceiling.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has warned the United States won't be able to pay its bills after Oct. 17, including paying interest on the debt that's already in the market, putting the country into default unless the debt ceiling is raised.

Buffett, who appeared with former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson on CNBC Thursday, said when the United States government issues bonds, they're issued with "the full faith and credit of the United States ... [not] the full faith and credit of the United States unless one political party is unhappy about some extraneous issue."

The 83-year-old billionaire said missing the debt ceiling deadline by a short time "will not bring us down" but said he's not worried Congress will pass the point of "extreme idiocy."

Buffett said he did not think House Republicans would extend the fight over delaying heathcare reform to the debt ceiling debate.

"That won't work long term," he said warning, "the public will turn on them and they'll have a counter-revelation."

Paulson was more blunt calling the partial government shutdown "self-inflicted."

"These guys may threaten to take their mother hostage," he said, "but they'll never hurt their mother."

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