A sizable number of Americans are so perturbed about the looming prospect of a President Donald Trump that they’re threatening beforehand to inundate Canada with a wave of U.S. refugees come November. But Warren Buffett won’t be one of them.
When asked at the Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A) annual meeting if Donald Trump might harm his company’s interests if elected president, the famous CEO said, “this won’t be the main problem,” as thousands in attendance guffawed. Then he reflected on the way his business and many others have survived all manner of regulation, meddling and turmoil.
“In my lifetime,” Buffett continued, “GDP per capita in real terms has gone up six for one … I’m confident that 20 years from now there will be far more output per capita than there is now. No presidential candidate or president is going to end that. They can shape it in ways that are good or bad, but they can’t end it.”
Buffett is a Democrat who supports Hillary Clinton for president and opposes Trump. But Buffett is also famous for taking the long view and dismissing many of the here-and-gone controversies that dominate social media and the 24-hour news cycle. Buffett, born in 1930, has lived through World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, Nixon’s resignation, the double-digit inflation of the 1970s, the 9/11 terrorist attacks and much more. Not counting the 1930s, Buffett has lived through 12 recessions.
Trump has proposed policies that some economists think could cause Buffett’s 13th recession, especially steep tariffs on some imports, which could send prices soaring. But Buffett surely understands that the political system has a way of killing the worst ideas, and even if it doesn’t, American businesses usually innovate their way to success. That’s why he’s a huge fan of America.
“For 240 years, it’s been a terrible mistake to bet against America, and now is no time to start,” Buffett wrote in his latest annual letter to shareholders. “America’s golden goose of commerce and innovation will continue to lay more and larger eggs.”