Hedge Funds: Bill Ackman Calls on U.S. Government to “Be Like Buffett”

April 29, 2020 | Hedge Funds, News

Pershing Square Capital founder Bill Ackman encouraged the U.S. government to approach bailouts the same way that Warren Buffett would. On a podcast, Ackman said that emulating the Oracle of Omaha would ensure that the government received favorable terms for taxpayer capital.

“The government shouldn’t come in on terms that are more favorable than where Warren Buffett would provide the company with capital,” Ackman told The Knowledge Project host Shane Parrish.

“The government should earn an adequate return on that capital and get equity upside if the business recovers,” he later said. “It shouldn’t be free money by any means.”

Pershing Square Capital Founder Bill Ackman on Bailouts

Ackman focused some attention on recent bailouts of the Big Four U.S. airline companies that have benefited from share buyback programs in the past.

“You have airlines that have spent billions of dollars buying back stock,” Ackman said. “Why should taxpayers come and in effect support the shareholders that were beneficiaries of buybacks, when had they retained the capital they wouldn’t need a government bailout?”

Ackman noted that airline companies should enter bankruptcy. “Airplanes are not gonna stop flying because airlines go bankrupt,” he said.

Ackman also suggested that the government should avoid bailing out industries that have been failing for years. Retail shopping centers and other businesses should not receive a bailout, Ackman suggested.

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