Image source: Michael Vadon via Wikimedia.
Continue Reading Below
Although he isn't a Trump supporter, Warren Buffett made it abundantly clear that he's not too worried about the effects of a Donald Trump presidency on Berkshire Hathaway's (NYSE: BRK-B) (NYSE: BRK-A) business, or on America's future in general. Here's why Buffett won't lose too much sleep over the results of the presidential election -- and why you shouldn't, either.
Let's be clear: Buffett supports Clinton
Warren Buffett has publicly and repeatedly endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, so I don't want anyone to think that I'm implying Buffett wants Trump to be president.
In December 2015, Buffett endorsed Clinton at an event in Omaha, while calling for increased taxes on the highest earners. The top 400 wage earners make 7 times as much as they did in 1992, but pay a tax rate that's one-third lower than they did at that time, according to statistics Buffett shared.
Then in a March 2016 video, Buffett offered some more insight into the reason behind his endorsement. He pointed out that real GDP per capital in the United States is 6 times greater than in 1930, the year he was born. And, even with that kind of growth, 15% of Americans live in poverty and many who work a 40-hour week can't provide a decent quality of life for their families -- facts which Buffett clearly finds unacceptable. His message, and rationale for his endorsement, was that Clinton is the best candidate to ensure America works for those who are willing to work.
Continue Reading Below
America is stronger than any one president
In his most recent letter to Berkshire Hathawayshareholders, Buffett made some comments on the election cycle and how all of the candidates can't seem to stop talking about all of the country's problems.
In a nutshell, Buffett says America will be fine, even with slower-than-ideal economic growth. "For 240 years it's been a terrible mistake to bet against America, and now is no time to start," wrote Buffett.
During Berkshire's annual meeting in late April, Buffett was directly asked what would happen to the U.S., the economy in general, and Berkshire under a Donald Trump presidency.
While Buffett didn't offer any specific predictions, the overall theme of his answer is that America and Berkshire Hathaway will be just fine no matter who wins. He pointed out that the company has operated profitably under adverse political conditions before, saying that "we've operated under price controls, we've had 52% federal taxes applied to our earnings...we've had regulations come along." He went on to remark that if Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton wins, Berkshire will do just fine.
The Foolish bottom line
Although many people disagree about what names belong on the list, virtually all Americans would agree that we've had bad leaders in the past. And, we've managed to grow our productivity and prosper over the long run despite any political and economic climates. Berkshire Hathaway in particular has really managed to prosper no matter what -- just check out the company's track record of growth on the first page of Buffett's letter to shareholders(link opens PDF).
Despite some political environments that were less than advantageous, Berkshire managed to grow its book value per share in 48 of the past 50 years, so it's no wonder Buffett isn't worried about his company operating in a Trump presidency. So, while Buffett is far from being a Trump supporter, the Donald may not have as much of a negative lasting impact on the economy as lots of people think he will. As Buffett said in his letter, "The babies being born in America today are the luckiest crop in history."
The article Warren Buffett's Not Afraid of Donald Trump originally appeared on Fool.com.
Matthew Frankel owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway (B shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Berkshire Hathaway (B shares). Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
Copyright 1995 - 2016 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.