Apologies for the provocative title of this article, but you must admit: Lately, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway
That's $6.7 billion that could have gone to boosting America's struggling transport industry; $6.7 billion that's instead flying across the border. And not for the first time, either.
Last year, I described how the last time Berkshire went shopping for a few good airplanes, it bought not Cessnas from Textron
What's the matter with Nebraska?
Seriously, Mr. Buffett. What is it with all this international shopping? Do U.S. planemakers have corporate cooties? Judging from news releases, it looks like it's been at least three years since Berkshire’s NetJets bought a Made in the USA business jet. That was from Gulfstream; Cessna's been grounded for four years.
I have to say that, at first glance, there does appear to be a disconnect between the Buffet who's so publicly on record as being bullish on America, and the Buffett who spends his money anywhere but here -- except for one thing. As fellow Fool Morgan Housel explained yesterday, there's really no disconnect at all.
The secret to Berkshire's success, you see, lies in its "completely decentralized" management, which Morgan aptly sums up as: "Run your business and let me know what's up. If you feel like it." Simply put, whatever Buffett's opinion of U.S. business, U.S. products, and U.S. companies, NetJets is free to deploy its capital wherever it thinks best. Buy whatever planes it thinks best. From whomever it thinks best.
This may not always please investors in companies like Textron and General Dynamics. It may mean these companies miss out on the boom in business-jet sales that Wall Street has been predicting. But that's just how Buffett rolls, and it doesn't mean he hates America.
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Berkshire Hathaway is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Berkshire Hathaway and EMBRAER - Empresa Brasileira de Aeron are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. The Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, General Dynamics, and Textron.
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