BECKY: The last time we sat down to talk to you was on May 4, and at that point you told us that you think we're in an economic war right now. How much progress do you think we've made in that war?
BUFFETT: Well, it's been pretty flat. I get figures on 70-odd businesses, a lot of them daily. Everything that I see about the economy is that we've had no bounce. The financial system was really where the crisis was last September and October, and that's been surmounted and that's enormously important. But in terms of the economy coming back, it takes a while. There were a lot of excesses to be wrung out and that process is still underway and it looks to me like it will be underway for quite a while. In the (Berkshire Hathaway) annual report, I said the economy would be in a shambles this year and probably well beyond. I'm afraid that's true.
BECKY: We hear people on our air all the time who talk about the 'green shoots' that they're seeing. Are you seeing any of those green shoots?
BUFFETT: (Laughs.) I looked. I wasn't seeing anything (Thinking "Green shoots, what green shoots? Nonsense!"). I had a cataract operation on my left eye about a month ago and I thought maybe now I'll be able to see green shoots. We're not seeing them. Whether it's retailing, manufacturing, wherever. We have a big utility operation. Industrial demand is down like we've never seen it for a simple thing like electricity. So it hasn't happened yet. It will happen. I want to emphasize that. But it hasn't happened yet.
When u think the market is going to go up, sometimes it wont. Today is a good example. Dow and S&P up by more than 2%. Everyone expects our market will go up, so will you buy today? Isnt it better to buy when the market is going down? Buy low, sell high. Or buy high, sell low? When you have nothing to buy, do your homework and be prepared for the next selldown. Dont follow the herd. Fear not missing the boat because it will come back one day. Fear you must for taking the overloaded boat, for it will collapse while you're sleeping.