Don’t listen to the presidential hopefuls, the Oracle of Omaha tells investors today in his highly anticipated annual letter to the shareholders of his Berkshire Hathaway. Those who are campaigning to become the country’s next president are fooling Americans into believing the economy is in much worse shape than it really is, Warren Buffett writes. The 85-year-old investor who has run Berkshire for almost 51 years explains:
It’s an election year, and candidates can’t stop speaking about our country’s problems (which, of course, only they can solve). 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.
Buffett does not name any candidates by name in the letter and has already said he backs Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. But he makes that the current state of affairs is nothing to sneeze at:
Some commentators bemoan our current 2% per year growth in real GDP — and, yes, we would all like to see a higher rate. But let’s do some simple math using the much-lamented 2% figure. That rate, we will see, delivers astounding gains.
At the end of the day, the country as a whole has progressed so much in recent decades that many often forget just how well they have it, at least historically speaking. Buffett writes:
Indeed, most of today’s children are doing well. All families in my upper middle-class neighborhood regularly enjoy a living standard better than that achieved by John D. Rockefeller Sr. at the time of my birth. His unparalleled fortune couldn’t buy what we now take for granted, whether the field is — to name just a few — transportation, entertainment, communication or medical services. Rockefeller certainly had power and fame; he could not, however, live as well as my neighbors now do.
For 2015, Berkshire Hathaway’s profit rose 21 percent to $24.08 billion.