Howard Buffett, son of billionaire Warren Buffett and director of Berkshire Hathaway, is voicing support for the Occupy Wall Street movement. In Des Moines, Iowa, on Wednesday to present a speech at the World Food Prize conference, he said, speaking of the demonstrations, “I think it takes that to make things happen sometimes,” adding that over the last 15 years “we saw large corporations really screw people.”
Bloomberg reported that the younger Buffett, who is a farmer and philanthropist, expressed concern over people’s ability to have enough to eat: “There has never been a larger gap between earnings in this country,” he said in the report, adding, “There has never been a time in my lifetime when the government is going to cut an incredible amount of programs that support poor people and feed them.”
Howard Buffett, who is president of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, which advances agriculture in developing nations, said hunger was increasing not just in poorer countries but in the U.S. as well. Government statistics show that 45.3 million Americans received food stamps in July, a new record, and nearly one in six lives in poverty.
The senior Buffett has been critical of Wall Street as well, comparing some of its activities to gambling, saying at one point that it was like “a church that’s running raffles on the weekend.” In October of 2010 he commented that Wall Street “does a lot of good things and then it has this casino. One of the problems we still have is we have unbalanced incentives for managers of huge financial institutions.”
He has also dismissed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s characterization of President Obama’s attempts to raise taxes on the wealthy as “class warfare.” In a Sept. 30 interview on PBS with Charlie Rose, he said, “There has been class warfare going on. It’s just that my class is winning. And my class isn’t just winning, I mean we’re killing them.”
Read about Warren Buffett’s other son, musician Peter Buffett, and his philanthropic efforts at AdvisorOne.com.