Warren Buffett optimistic about US economy: ‘Nothing can basically stop America’
Billionaire Warren Buffett on Saturday expressed optimism that the U.S. economy will be able to recover from the turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Nothing can basically stop America,” Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, said at the company’s virtual shareholder meeting. “The American miracle, the American magic has always prevailed and it will do so again.”
He added: “In World War II, I was convinced of this,” he said. “I was convinced of this during the Cuban Missile Crisis, 9/11, the financial crisis.”
Although some states are beginning to reopen parts of the economy, many of the country’s industries and small businesses are still in dire straits.
In the past six weeks, over 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment and the number is only expected to rise in the coming weeks. Before the onset of the pandemic, the U.S.’s unemployment rate was roughly 3.5 percent. Economists have estimated that it’s now hovering around 20 percent.
The economic fallout was also reflected in the country’s GDP, which fell 4.8 percent in the first quarter, the largest contraction since the financial crisis.
“In 2008 and 2009 our economic train went off the tracks, and there were some reasons why the roadbed was weak in terms of the banks,” Buffett noted.
“This time we just pulled the train off the tracks and put it on a siding. And I don’t really know of any parallel — in terms of a very, very well the most important country in the world, most productive, huge population — in effect sidelining its economy and its workforce.”
Congress as well as the Trump administration have gone to great lengths to mitigate the economic fallout of the pandemic. Last month, Trump signed a fourth coronavirus relief package that upped funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, among other funding. Both branches of government are eyeing a fifth package that Democrats and other lawmakers hope will provide some relief to ailing state budgets.