Warren Buffett on Saturday appeared to fault U.S. President Donald Trump for taking too much credit for the nation’s economic growth, while acknowledging that market conditions are making it tough for his Berkshire Hathaway Inc to find more big companies to buy.
The 88-year-old said Berkshire’s success has been in part a product of “the American tailwind” that has enabled the country to enjoy “almost unbelievable prosperity.”
Buffett, who supported Democrat Hillary Clinton in her 2016 White House run, said no one person should claim credit when things go well.
“It is beyond arrogance for American businesses or individuals to boast that they have ‘done it alone,’” Buffett wrote.
Buffett also made a possible oblique criticism of Trump’s bragging about U.S. economic performance, including relative to other countries such as China, where Berkshire invests in electric car maker BYD Co.
The United States, according to Buffett, should “rejoice” when other countries have bright futures. “Americans will be both more prosperous and safer if all nations thrive,” he wrote. “At Berkshire, we hope to invest significant sums across borders.”
Buffett's Annual Letter concluded:
Charlie and I happily acknowledge that much of Berkshire’s success has simply been a product of what I think should be called The American Tailwind. It is beyond arrogance for American businesses or individuals to boast that they have “done it alone.”
Over the next 77 years, however, the major source of our gains will almost certainly be provided by The American Tailwind. We are lucky – gloriously lucky – to have that force at our back.
Every year I hear nonsense about China overtaking the US, the yuan replacing the dollar, US hyperinflation and all sorts of other nonsense. Stop!
Wake me up when ...
- China respects property rights
- China respects human rights
- China floats the yuan
- China has the world's biggest bond market
- China is stops stealing technology
- China has free speech
If and when those things happen, we can discuss.
With the above in mind, I believe it's pretty clear who, and what, Buffett refers to.
It's a slap at Trump's slogan "Make American Great Again".
Trump's trade policy is an outright disaster. He views trade as having a winner and a loser in every deal.
In real life, trade is a two-way street. if both sides do not think they benefit from the deal, there is no deal.
Ultimately, trade is between individuals, not countries, or even companies.
Companies only buy what they can sell to end consumer individuals. Tariffs interfere with that mechanism. Consumers lose every time via higher prices.
Standards of Living
Here's another fundamental point. Standards of living rise when prices drop!
Please ponder that again, and again, and again until it sinks in.
In what way is any individual worse of if the price of food drops, the price of education drops, the price of a home drops, the price of a car drops, the price of anything drops?
It is amusing, as well as very aggravating, that the Fed, socialists, Keynesians, and monetarists all bitch about "inequality" when rising prices and Fed-sponsored inflation is at the very heart of it.
Trump adds to the misery with seriously misguided tariff policy.
Max Keiser Blasts Warren Buffet as an ‘Unmitigated Fraud’
Those who regularly preach doom because of government budget deficits (as I regularly did myself for many years) might note that our country’s national debt has increased roughly 400-fold during the last of my 77-year periods. That’s 40,000%! Suppose you had foreseen this increase and panicked at the prospect of runaway deficits and a worthless currency. To “protect” yourself, you might have eschewed stocks and opted instead to buy 31⁄4 ounces of gold with your $114.75.
And Keiser responded:
The real story is to put gold in context and understand that Buffett’s so-called success is entirely driven by a cozy relationship with Wall Street and the Fed that gives him virtually unlimited access to credit carrying zero percent interest.
Max and I are on opposite sides of Bitcoin, but Max has a valid point about Buffett's cozy relationships.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock