one thing that's hard to miss out here in rural and small-town pa: berkshire-hathaway signs are everwhere. they seem to be sellling whole towns (carlisle, for example, or york), as well as rural regions. the sudden uptick in housing prices circa '11 or '12 was key to any sort of recovery, and i've always wondered about the sudden shift. i think warren buffett bought everything, literally propped up the economy. the whole thing makes sense: if you're big enough you buy buy buy, prices increase, and you sell (now) at a handsome profit. only what if you created a demand that doesn't exist, and now can't unload and prices collapse? however, if berkshire-hathaway has a huge chunk of the us housing market, never has there been a better candidate or bailout at need, or anyone better-positioned than buffett to obtain one. it really is de facto guaranteed, like fannie mae or citigroup.