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Your kids will be just fine, says Warren Buffett

Daniel Roberts
Writer
Your kids will be just fine, says Warren Buffett

Back in December, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. He has since campaigned for her, but that isn't to say he takes any pleasure in the rhetoric that comes along with the current presidential campaign cycle.

In the Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A) end-of-year shareholder letter in February, Buffett made a point about the election cycle that he has made before, and that he will almost certainly make again, in some form, at the shareholder meeting on April 30 in Omaha.

"It’s an election year, and candidates can’t stop speaking about our country’s problems," he wrote. "As a result of this negative drumbeat, many Americans now believe that their children will not live as well as they themselves do. That view is dead wrong: The babies being born in America today are the luckiest crop in history."

Why is it such a good time to be a baby in America?

Buffett says it's because the GDP is so much higher than it was back when he was born. While many pundits are focusing on the bad—the slowing rate of growth of the GDP—he focuses on the good, which is its "staggering" growth over a longer period. At $56,000 in February (it has since dipped a bit, to around $53,000), it was six times the amount it was in 1930, when Buffett was born. That is, he wrote, "a leap far beyond the wildest dreams of my parents or their contemporaries."

And he predicts it will continue, at a macro level, even if there are occasional dips: "This all-powerful trend is certain to continue: America’s economic magic remains alive and well... Today’s politicians need not shed tears for tomorrow’s children. Indeed, most of today’s children are doing well."

In his letter from the year before, when the presidential election wasn't yet underway, Buffett made a similar comment, though he didn't specifically call out politicians: "Though the preachers of pessimism prattle endlessly about America’s problems, I’ve never seen one who wishes to emigrate." In addition, in explaining one of Berkshire's oldest guidelines, set forth by Buffett and Charlie Munger decades earlier, he wrote in the 2014 letter, "Charlie and I hope that you do not think of yourself as merely owning a piece of paper whose price wiggles around daily and that is a candidate for sale when some economic or political event makes you nervous."

It's all part of the same overall message: Buffett is bullish on America, and ignores political pessimism.

It's the same attitude that he has taken to his stock-picking, putting his faith in blue-chip American brands and sitting patiently for decades, letting his stakes accrue value. And he is almost certain to reiterate the message again in his next letter or at the annual meeting, because Buffett tends to repeat himself often. Tune in to the meeting online, exclusively streaming at Yahoo Finance, to see if he does.

 

On April 30th at 10a.m. EST, Yahoo Finance will have the exclusive live stream of the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting. Click here to watch.

 

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Daniel Roberts is a writer at Yahoo Finance, covering sports business and technology.

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