- Elon Musk would prefer Warren Buffett to be US Treasury secretary instead of Janet Yellen.
- The Tesla chief said the Berkshire Hathaway boss could do the job in less than 1 hour per week.
- Musk has praised Buffett’s expertise in capital allocation, but called his job “super boring.”
If Elon Musk had his way, Warren Buffett would be US Treasury secretary and Janet Yellen would be out of a job.
Tesla’s billionaire chief was asked recently on Twitter who he would prefer to be in charge of the federal government’s finances instead of Yellen. He plumped for the 92-year-old investing icon who leads Berkshire Hathaway.
“Probably Buffett,” Musk tweeted. “He could do it using less than an hour’s time per week.”
“Any highly successful investor with a long track record would do a good job – the job is essentially fund management at scale,” he added.
Musk weighed in after Yellen appeared to shrug off a potential increase in America’s debt pile from about $32 trillion today to north of $50 trillion over the next decade. Yellen told Congress in March that wouldn’t be problematic if the real net interest cost of the debt remained low, and the government pursued a sustainable fiscal policy.
Buffett, who plans to lead Berkshire as long as he can, has jokingly expressed interest in holding the Cabinet position in the past.
“I’d love to be secretary of the Treasury, if I knew I could just keep raising money at negative interest rates. That makes life pretty simple,” he said during Berkshire’s annual shareholder meeting in 2020. The investor was noting that if the government gets paid to borrow, managing its finances would be a fairly easy task.
Musk — the CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and Twitter — has previously distanced himself from Buffett, saying he actually builds products instead of making investments. Musk has also called the Berkshire chief’s focus on reading company reports and allocating capital as a “super boring” job that he wouldn’t want to do.
Moreover, Musk has repeatedly chided Buffett and his business partner, Charlie Munger, for turning down the chance to invest in Tesla in 2008 at less than 0.1% of its current market value.
Still, the tech billionaire has quoted Buffett several times on Tesla earning calls, and acknowledged the Berkshire chief’s expertise in valuing businesses and making shrewd investments.
“Buffett, for example, is vastly better than any govt at allocating capital,” Musk tweeted in June 2018.
“He’s doing a useful job for the economy, and he’s very skilled at it and should probably keep doing it,” he said in December 2021.
As for Buffett, he’s questioned Musk’s Twitter habit in the past, and jokingly challenged the auto executive to take on Berkshire in the candy business. More recently, he’s hailed Musk for successfully scaling Tesla despite fierce competition from legacy manufacturers.
“Elon is taking on General Motors and Ford and Toyota, and all these people who’ve got all this stuff, and he’s got an idea and he’s winning,” Buffett said. “You can’t dream it up. It’s astounding.”