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Biden: spoke to Buffett, no limit to U.S.’ future

Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Warren Buffett on Wednesday about the state of the U.S. economy. Yahoo Finance’s Final Round panel breaks down the details.

Video Transcript

SEANA SMITH: Outside of earnings season and outside of the stimulus, we also got to mention the election. Because that is something that investors are watching very closely.

Earlier today, Andy Serwer, Joe Biden was telling donors during a virtual fundraiser that he just got off the phone with Warren Buffett ahead of the fundraiser. And he was saying that basically, the conversation was about America's opportunity to, quote, "lead the whole damn world in a way that no one else can."

And I'd love just to get your thoughts on that just in terms of, I guess, what we could expect over the next couple of weeks and, of course, just, I guess, hearing from Warren Buffett because he has been relatively silent, I guess, recently when it comes to the 2020 election.

ANDY SERWER: It's always nice to say, Seana, I just got off the phone with Warren Buffett, right? Who doesn't love to say that? And he had the opportunity, and he did it. So a couple of interesting points, yeah, Buffett's been a little quiet lately. There is a lot going on in terms of CEOs calling him up and pitching things to him right now. I can guarantee you that, number one.

Number two, and then more specifically about politics, Buffett's been very quiet there as well. And I've talked to him about that. And, you know, look, let's face it. I mean, Buffett says he's not a card carrying Democrat, but he is basically a Democrat, right?

And there is no love lost for Donald Trump when it comes to Warren Buffett. I mean, they're very much not on the same page with almost anything, including just the basic business stuff, which is taxes, cutting taxes, never mind the civility, the divisiveness, and all that.

But what I think Buffett, the reason why he's been quiet and hasn't just come out and he hasn't given money to Biden, apparently, at least according to disclosure that we've seen, the reason he hasn't really come out for Biden-- and you can take him to task for this, even though he supports them-- is he doesn't want to hurt the portfolio businesses of Berkshire Hathaway.

And, you know, the way the country is so divided up right now, Seana, and so polarized that if he comes out and says, I'm for Joe Biden, then I think he's concerned that a group of customers, say, of a Berkshire portfolio company, would say, OK, we're going to boycott this company. And he doesn't want to tie his CEO's hands that way.

Again, maybe you can call him out and saying, you know, that's a little spineless. But he would say he's thinking of his business and his employees first. And he's had some other instances where he's done this before. But I think if you asked him privately, he would tell you that he's supporting Joe Biden.

RICK NEWMAN: Hey, Andy, I just wanted to toss one thing here. When I think about the things Warren Buffett has said that might relate to political issues in the 2020 campaign, he has said several times that health care is a tapeworm on the US economy. And he just points to how much Americans in general and US businesses spend on health care.

And I don't know that he's ever endorsed a Medicare for All or anybody's particular health plan. But he comes out at health care problem from an economic perspective, and he's totally right. The amount the United States spends on health care is, in some cases, double or triple what other companies spend. So that is one issue at least he cares about from an economic perspective.

ANDY SERWER: Yeah, 100%. And, you know, he had been working closely, or had a close relationship, I should say, with Barack Obama. And I seem to recall that he ended up being good with ACA, Buffeted.

On the other hand, not completely good with it because, you know, he joined up with JP Morgan and Amazon to form this consortium to address health care concerns for those three big companies. So they were looking to do that somewhat outside the system.

So the ACA, I think, to Warren Buffett, not to speak for him, but I think that he might say that's the lesser of the evils here or a step in the right direction, but still a lot more work to be done. And of course, Rick, as you noted, Trump's health care plan is not something that's been fleshed out. Let's just say that.