The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Sam Quigley,

Patriotic Millionaires Slam 'Un-Patriotic' Billionaire Warren Buffett for Looming Rail Catastrophe

“The Oracle of Omaha is now waging the ‘class warfare’ he once famously decried . . . and the whole country is going to pay for it. He and the other owners are willing to literally derail the entire American economy for their own greed.”


An economically-devastating strike could begin as soon as Friday as railroad management refuses to provide sick days to 125,000 American workers whose current contract requires them to be on call 24/7, sometimes for weeks at a time.

Lawmakers like Senator Bernie Sanders have called on Billionaire Warren Buffett, whose company Berkshire Hathaway owns BNSF Railways, one of the largest freight railroad networks in North America, to intervene. He has refused.

In response, Erica Payne, founder and President of the Patriotic Millionaires, released the following statement calling on Buffett to act:

"The Oracle of Omaha is now waging the 'class warfare' he once famously decried... and the whole country is going to pay for it. He and the other railroad owners are willing to literally derail the entire American economy for their own greed.

It's a microcosm of the entire American economy. Billionaire railroad owners like Buffett extract their personal wealth directly from the exploitation of other human beings. In this case, they are willing to risk total national economic devastation because they don't want to let the people who actually create the value for the company - the workers - go to the doctor.

It's inhumane and it's horrible for the country. Our current level of inequality has destabilized the entire country, catalyzed constant social unrest, and unleashed social violence at levels we haven't seen since the Civil War.

Business models that rely on human suffering for profit can be and must be exorcized from our economy. A word from Buffett could end the impasse, but he refuses to act because the status quo benefits him. If Buffett cared about the country, he would act. His refusal is a clear indication of where his true loyalties lie - - in his bank account.

Progressive activists love to attack billionaires like the Koch brothers, Ken Griffith and Peter Thiel. The Patriotic Millionaires suggest they add Warren Buffett to their list."

The Patriotic Millionaires is a group of high-net worth Americans who share a profound concern about the destabilizing level of inequality in America. Our work centers on the two things that matter most in a capitalist democracy: power and money. Our goal is to ensure that the country's political economy is structured to meet the needs of regular Americans, rather than just millionaires. We focus on three "first" principles: a highly progressive tax system, a livable minimum wage, and equal political representation for all citizens.

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