Warren Buffett, businessman and philosopher

New York Times staffer Leslie Picker reports that Warren E. Buffett took aim in his annual letter to shareholders at the “negative drumbeat” of this year’s presidential campaign, saying that the view that children today would not live as well as their parents was “dead wrong.”

Picker notes that Buffett's folksy-toned manifesto covers a gamut of touchstone themes--income inequality, climate change, efficiency and prosperity, and the GDP. Among other topics, Mr. Buffett defended Berkshire Hathaway's Clayton Homes subsidiary. Picker writes:

He sought to differentiate Clayton from what he said were the destructive and corrupt practices that contributed to the Great Recession of 2008.

Clayton, he said, keeps all of the mortgages it originates, rather than siphon them off to banks that could structure them into new, complicated securities. Last year, however, Clayton foreclosed on 8,444 mortgages at a cost of $157 million, and paid almost $750,000 in fines and refunds to customers.

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