The U.S. economy is in better shape than the presidential candidates make it seem, investor Warren Buffett said Saturday, even though businesses like his still face challenges. In his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, Buffett didn’t name specific candidates or issues, but noted that the negative drumbeat about the economy, health care reform and income inequality may get voters down about the future.
“It’s an election year, and candidates can’t stop speaking about the U.S. economy problems (which, of course, only they can solve),” he said, adding later, “that view is dead wrong: The babies being born in America today are the luckiest crop in history.” Buffett noted that there will still be economy troubles as business evolves, but that the U.S. needs to make sure it has a solid safety net to help people who lose jobs. “The answer in such disruptions is not the restraining or outlawing of actions that increase productivity. Americans would not be living nearly as well as we do if we had mandated that 11 million people should forever be employed in farming,” he wrote. Buffett pointed out that change also creates challenges for Berkshire’s businesses. For instance, its BNSF railroad is certain to haul less coal in the future and Geico insurance could be hurt by driverless cars.