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Debt-Ceiling Talks Are Russian Roulette, Buffett Tells CNBC

July 7 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. lawmakers’ demands to lower spending before raising the government debt ceiling are counterproductive, billionaire Warren Buffett told CNBC.

“It’s just silly,” Buffett said today of attempts to force cuts by threatening inaction on the debt ceiling. “You really don’t have any business playing Russian roulette to get your way in some other matter. We should be more grown up.”

Republican congressmen are pushing President Barack Obama to accept spending cuts in exchange for an increase in the nation’s $14.3 trillion legal debt limit. Obama yesterday in a “Twitter Town Hall” criticized Republicans for using the debt-ceiling “as a gun against the heads of the American people” to extract tax cuts.

“When you have somebody with a gun to your head, do you really come out with the greatest, the most properly reasoned solution to something?” Buffett said.

Buffett said businesses at his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. are doing better and the company employs more people than it did months ago. Hiring “will take a real jump” if home construction picks up, Buffett said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Frye in New York at afrye@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at dkraut2@bloomberg.net

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