Warren Buffett is still bullish on America.
The Berkshire Hathaway CEO has long been a believer in the economic power of the American people and its institutions and that opinion does not appear to have changed in his 2016 Annual Letter to Shareholders.
“One word sums up our country’s achievements: miraculous,” said Buffett in the letter.
“From a standing start 240 years ago — a span of time less than triple my days on earth — Americans have combined human ingenuity, a market system, a tide of talented and ambitious immigrants, and the rule of law to deliver abundance beyond any dreams of our forefathers.”
While the praise for America has been a hallmark of Buffett letter in the past — the Oracle of Omaha once again repeated his classic “babies born in America today are the luckiest crop in history” line — the reaffirmation comes after the election of Donald Trump and rising concerns about political divisons in the nation.
Buffett was a long-time supporter of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and even sparred with the now-president over his tax returns after Trump called him out during a debate. Post-election, however, Buffett seems intent to point out the enduring, positive aspects of the country rather than worry about its current direction.
One element of that, wrote Buffett, is America’s dynamic ability to grow something from nothing.
“Just look around you,” said the Berkshire Hathaway CEO. “See the 75 million owner-occupied homes, the bountiful farmland, the 260 million vehicles, the hyper-productive factories, the great medical centres, the talent-filled universities, you name it — they all represent a net gain for Americans from the barren lands, primitive structures and meager output of 1776. Starting from scratch, America has amassed wealth totaling $US90 trillion.”
Buffett did note that there are problems — people default on their homes, income inequality is a real issue — but all in all the legendary investor thinks the market-based system, both economic and governmental, created by the first settlers has allowed the country to flourish.
“This economic creation will deliver increasing wealth to our progeny far into the future,” said Buffett. “Yes, the build-up of wealth will be interrupted for short periods from time to time. It will not, however, be stopped.”