The zero-sum game in Washington nowadays makes it hard to get anything done, billionaire investor Warren Buffett told us during our three-hour “Ask Warren” special on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Monday morning.
He was answering a question submitted on LinkedIn from Joe Guerra Jr. that read, “Mr. Buffett, how do you explain the explosive atmosphere in politics today as to what it was 10-15 years ago?”
Buffett responded by saying, “It’s always [been] contentious. You’ve got people that believe strongly in very different things. But now, you’ve seem to have gotten into a position where the real goal of each side — and certainly one side in my view — is to block what the other guy wants to do.”
(Watch Video: Buffett’s View on What’s Causing Washington Gridlock)
There may very well be “four political parties,” he observed. “You may have the extreme right and the regular Republicans. You may have the extreme left and the regular Democrats.”
Buffett added that the non-stop campaigning, in which lawmakers constantly play to party voters in primary elections, “makes it very hard for [the] leadership to deliver their entire party.”
“It seems to be that’s the real problem in the House … that you don’t have two parties, you have three parties,” he argued — conservatives, moderate Republicans, and Democrats.
While admiring House Speaker John Boehner for his role in trying to unite the GOP, Buffett said, “I do not think he can deliver his group.”
That fracture was on display during the “fiscal cliff” talks at the end of last year, he said, pointing out that Boehner had to pull his so-called “Plan B” approach due to lack of votes.
Thank you for submitting questions via LinkedIn for this special interview. You can find more of Buffett’s answers to questions submitted via social media in our Storify. Be sure to visit CNBC’s “Buffett Watch” blog for the Oracle’s take on stocks, taxes, and his advice for Apple CEO Tim Cook.
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