OMAHA, Neb. – Investor Warren Buffett's oldest son usually focuses on finding ways for his foundation to help farmers in the developing world or get the most out of the crops he's growing in Illinois. But now Howard Buffett has jumped into the border security debate with a book criticizing President Donald Trump's proposal to build a massive wall along the Mexican border.
At first, the subject might seem like an odd fit, but the book is based on Howard Buffett's experience as a philanthropist, an Arizona landowner near the border and a volunteer sheriff's deputy in Arizona and Illinois.
Buffett sees a clear connection between our nation's porous border and the drug crimes and addiction he investigates in Decatur, Illinois, as interim sheriff. He's also seen drug trafficking and illegal immigration in Cochise County, Arizona, where he owns a ranch and has served as a volunteer deputy.
"There is a lot of pain that is affecting many people in this country that's not getting addressed, and it starts at the border," Howard Buffett said.
He knows he may not be able to change some people's minds because of the strong views Trump's supporters and detractors hold, but he thinks the best solution is a combination of properly equipped law enforcement, some barriers in places and cooperation with Mexico and other countries.
"The biggest single impediment is the politics of it," he said.
Trump has yet to secure funding to build a wall on the border. The budget deal that Congress recently approved included $1.6 billion for border wall spending, largely to repair existing barriers. Trump had requested $25 billion.
It's hard to predict whether the book, titled "Our 50-State Border Crisis: How the Mexican Border Fuels the Drug Epidemic Across America" will be influential. Paul Landow, a University of Nebraska at Omaha political science professor and former Democratic strategist, said the book might be helped by Howard Buffett's status as a political outsider and philanthropist.
"A book like this one from Howard, who is well regarded, does have the opportunity to influence some people," Landow said.
In addition to his foundation, where he is giving away part of his father's fortune, Howard Buffett also serves on the board of the Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate his father built.
The book will get a boost from being on sale when tens of thousands of Berkshire shareholders attend the annual meeting next month in Omaha, Nebraska. The elder Buffett also praised his son's work.
"The book is terrific and reflects a combination of knowledge and passion about one of the most important problems of America," Warren Buffett said.