FORTUNE -- As Congress scrambles to lift the nation's borrowing limit and avoid the risks of defaulting on its debt, billionaire investor Warren Buffett joined critics of the debt ceiling, calling the 1930s law originally intended to give the government more flexibility to borrow funds "a weapon of mass destruction."
"It really is like a nuclear bomb," says Buffett on Wednesday at Fortune's annual Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington, D.C."It's something that maybe you talk about but never dream of using."
Buffett's not alone. He joins the likes of U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke who argue the debt ceiling makes no sense and wishes it didn't exist. In recent years, politicos (ahem, Republicans) have gotten in the awful habit of framing the debt ceiling as a debate over excessive government spending, when in fact, the law has nothing to do with future spending. The debt ceiling simply gives the U.S. Treasury the flexibility to borrow for spending that Congress has already approved.
Despite all the fear and political wrangling in Washington, Buffett says it's "absolutely folly" to even think the U.S. will default on its debt because "it is so stupid."
In true Buffett fashion, the Oracle of Omaha had positive views of the U.S. economy. The recovery hasn't stalled, and it's still a good time to invest.
"The country is coming back," he says. "You can't stop the United States. We get through everything. The country works."
Buffett recalled buying his first stock in April 1942 shortly after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the U.S. into World War II. The Dow sank to 100 at the time, but he says that didn't discourage him from investing in the stock market. He has been buying stocks since.
A lesson for investors: "You want to be greedy when others are fearful ... I've got plenty of greed."
Buffett touched on several other topics, from the economic rise of China to women in corporate America. On China, he says the world's second-biggest economy will be "enormously important and they should be," but the U.S. will be "the superpower of the world for a very, very, very long time.
"What's important is that the two countries largely learn to live together," says Buffett about tensions between the U.S. and China.
Widely considered the best investor of the 20th Century, Buffett, 83, attributes part of his success to luck and timing. He built his career at a time when most women were either teachers or nurses or secretaries or housewives. "I was lucky I was only competing with half the country," he says, adding that he's focused on attracting more talented women to his firm, Berkshire Hathaway.
"Berkshire is going to prove that a lot of talented women could accomplish a whole lot."
A letter to Katharine Graham offers an early window into how Warren Buffett thinks about investing.
FORTUNE -- One of the (many) things that surprised people about the recent $250 million sale of the Washington Post to Amazon (AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos was the health of the Washington Post's pension plan. At a time when most pension plans are struggling, the Post has $1 billion more than it needs. (As part of the MOREStephen Gandel, senior editor - Aug 15, 2013 7:00 AM ET
Despite his recent acquisitions, Warren Buffett may not be as optimistic about the future of print as some people think.
FORTUNE -- With the sale of the Washington Post, Warren Buffett is once again showing the limits of his love affair with newspapers.
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) is the largest outside investor in The Washington Post Co. (WPO) and has held the stock for four decades. Berkshire holds just over 1.7 MOREStephen Gandel, senior editor - Aug 6, 2013 5:00 AM ET
The company made more money from both its investments -- which have outperformed the market overall -- and in its operating businesses than it did a year ago.Stephen Gandel, senior editor - Aug 2, 2013 6:47 PM ET
Berkshire Hathaway spent some time promoting its sneaker brand Brooks at its annual meeting.
FORTUNE -- I ran three miles in Warren Buffett's shoes.
For the first time, this past weekend, Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) hosted a five-kilometer run on the Sunday of its annual meeting. I ran. Buffett did not.
But he was there to shoot the starting gun, give out awards and add, of course, some folksy charm. Berkshire has owned sneaker MOREStephen Gandel, senior editor - May 9, 2013 1:46 PM ET
Warren Buffett's chief lieutenant, Charlie Munger, says Brown-Vitter won't work.
FORTUNE -- Add Charlie Munger to the list of top financial executives who think the nation's biggest banks should be broken up.
In an interview with CNN at Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting, Munger, who is Warren Buffett's chief lieutenant, said he thinks the big banks are still too complicated and dangerous for the economy. But he doesn't think a recently proposed bill MOREStephen Gandel, senior editor - May 6, 2013 6:00 AM ET
Famed hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman blasts fellow investor Bill Ackman on his Herbalife bet.
FORTUNE -- The pile on continues.
Yet another legendary investor is calling out Bill Ackman for his controversial bet against Herbalife (HLF). Late last year, Ackman made a public presentation calling the nutritional supplements company a pyramid scheme. He also said he had bet $1 billion against the company.
Leon Cooperman, who runs hedge fund firm Omega Advisors, MOREStephen Gandel, senior editor - May 5, 2013 10:47 AM ET
Buffett is worried about health care costs, not banks.
FORTUNE -- At Berkshire Hathaway's (BRKA) annual meeting on Saturday, Warren Buffett fielded questions from investors, journalists, analysts and, for the first time, invited onto the stage one investor, Doug Kass, who is betting against Berkshire's stocks. ("You haven't convinced us yet to sell our stock, but keep working," said Buffett in response to one question.) The questions ranged from those MOREStephen Gandel, senior editor - May 4, 2013 5:07 PM ET
Says he admires Ben Bernanke but thinks the Fed chief may have overplayed his hand.
FORTUNE -- Warren Buffett has a piece of advice for Ben Bernanke: It's easier to buy than it is to sell.
Buffett, speaking on Saturday at Berkshire Hathaway's (BRKA) annual meeting in Omaha, said he is worried about what will happen when the Federal Reserve tries to wind down its recent efforts to stimulate the economy. Via MOREStephen Gandel, senior editor - May 4, 2013 3:17 PM ET
In Omaha, some of the Buffett faithful aren't particularly bullish on Berkshire's stock but they see value in Europe and Apple.
FORTUNE -- Be cautious about U.S. stocks and, especially, bonds. Europe is a good value. Berkshire Hathaway's stock is no longer a buy, but Apple may be. That was the general feeling of investors gathered here in Omaha for Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting.
The mood about the market matched the weather, MOREStephen Gandel, senior editor - May 4, 2013 11:22 AM ET
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