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Explore the contrasting economic proposals of Biden and Trump, and the long-term outlook for Berkshire Hathaway. Discover how political decisions might shape the future of your investment!

Trump Vs Biden Who Would Be Better For Berkshire Hathaway
Trump vs. Biden: Who would be better for Berkshire Hathaway? AI impression


Berkshire Hathaway, our United Status powerhouse with a market capitalization around $900 billion, stands as a beacon of corporate success in the complex landscape of international business 1. As we navigate through an era marked by significant political and economic shifts, it becomes imperative to assess how the economic policies of potential presidential candidates like Joe Biden or Donald Trump could influence such a colossal entity and, by extension, its shareholders. This analysis gains importance considering the vast diversity in Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio, which spans across critical sectors such as insurance, manufacturing, and utilities 1.

Given the sensitivity of the topic, this article aims to provide a balanced perspective, acknowledging the varied political leanings of Berkshire Hathaway’s shareholder base. By delving into the potential direct and indirect impacts of the economic policies proposed by Biden and Trump, we hope to offer valuable insights that will aid shareholders in making informed decisions.

This discussion will not only focus on the immediate effects of these policies but also on their long-term implications, drawing from historical, political, and economic viewpoints to enrich our understanding . Let us embark on this analytical journey, exploring how past presidential administrations have shaped the trajectory of Berkshire Hathaway and how future administrations might continue to do so.

Berkshire Hathaway Under Different Administrations

Berkshire Hathaway's journey since its inception in 1965 under the leadership of Warren Buffett has been one of remarkable growth and strategic acquisitions. The company's strategy of investing in businesses with strong economic moats has proven successful, with an average annual return of 19.8%, significantly outpacing the S&P 500 1. However, the political climate plays a non-trivial role in shaping the investment landscape that Berkshire navigates. Let us have a look at some key factors.

Influence of Presidential Policies The performance of Berkshire Hathaway under different U.S. administrations illustrates the impact of varying economic and regulatory policies. For instance, during the administrations that favored deregulation and lower corporate taxes, Berkshire Hathaway often experienced enhanced profitability and opportunities for expansion. Conversely, administrations that imposed stricter regulations, particularly in the insurance and utility sectors, sometimes posed challenges that required strategic adjustments.

Economic and Legislative Impacts Significant legislative changes, such as tax reforms and trade policies, have historically influenced Berkshire's business operations. For example, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 resulted in a substantial one-time gain for Berkshire, as lower corporate tax rates boosted the company's earnings 1. Similarly, trade policies have intermittently affected Berkshire’s manufacturing and retail operations, which are sensitive to changes in tariffs and international trade agreements.

Interest Rates and Investment Strategy Federal interest rate decisions have a pronounced effect on Berkshire’s vast investment portfolio, which includes substantial holdings in stocks, bonds, and cash equivalents totaling $488 billion 2. The Federal Reserve's rate hikes in recent years have notably increased Berkshire's interest income, as evidenced by the 261% rise in 2023 alone 2.

Regulatory Changes and Sector-Specific Effects Regulatory changes, particularly in the utility sector, have also had significant repercussions. For instance, changes in the regulatory landscape in some states during 2023 affected the returns of Berkshire Hathaway Energy (BHE), highlighting the sensitivity of this sector to political decisions 2. The insurance sector, another cornerstone of Berkshire’s portfolio, has similarly been impacted by regulatory environments, affecting underwriting profits and the cost of float.

Global Operations and International Relations The effect of international relations on Berkshire’s global investments cannot be understated. Shifts in U.S. foreign policy and international trade agreements directly influence Berkshire's overseas operations and its global supply chain, particularly in manufacturing and retail sectors.

Examining the trajectory of Berkshire Hathaway's stock price reveals no discernible correlation between the company's performance and the political affiliation of the ruling party. Over extended periods, Berkshire has consistently flourished, demonstrating its resilience in navigating diverse policy environments. Thus, the historical performance of Berkshire Hathaway across various presidential administrations underscores the substantial influence of political and economic policies on its operations, while also showcasing the company's adeptness at adapting to evolving landscapes.

Note that Warren Buffett has outlined how he has invested under 14 different presidents in his interview with Becky Quick in 2019. His main message in favor of the adaptability of Berkshire Hathaway to political changes is that "investors should not take a political view when investing":

As we continue to explore the potential effects of future administrations, it becomes crucial for investors and stakeholders to remain vigilant and informed about the political landscape and its implications for Berkshire Hathaway.

Biden’s Economic Proposals

President Joe Biden's economic agenda, as detailed in various speeches and proposals, underscores a transformative vision aimed at fostering a more equitable economy. Central to his strategy are increased taxes on the wealthy and corporations to fund expansive social programs, which he argues will act as a "middle-class lifeline" 3.

Biden's Key Economic Strategies are:

  • Increased Corporate Taxes: Biden has proposed raising the corporate tax rate to 28%, which could potentially increase the tax burden on companies like Berkshire Hathaway, particularly affecting its diverse portfolio from insurance to utilities 6.
  • Clean Energy and Environmental Regulations: With a strong push towards clean energy, Biden’s policies could lead to significant shifts in energy production. For Berkshire Hathaway, this could mean opportunities for growth in their renewable energy investments, although it could also challenge their fossil fuel assets 7.
  • Housing and Healthcare Initiatives: Plans to make housing more affordable and to expand healthcare could increase market stability in these sectors, benefiting Berkshire’s investments in related industries 6.
  • Trade Policies: While specific details are less pronounced, Biden’s trade approach, focusing on de-risking supply chains and promoting U.S. investments, could influence Berkshire’s international operations, potentially stabilizing markets where the company is active.
  • Infrastructure Plan: Proposed investments in infrastructure could boost sectors related to construction and materials, areas where Berkshire Hathaway is notably involved.

The direct relevance of these strategies to Berkshire Hathaway lies in their potential to either bolster or challenge different parts of its conglomerate operations. For instance, while tax increases might tighten financial conditions, opportunities in renewable energy and infrastructure could represent significant growth vectors.

Trump’s Economic Vision

Former President Donald Trump's economic vision is characterized by tax cuts, deregulation, and aggressive trade policies. His administration's hallmark was the significant reduction in corporate and personal taxes in 2017, which he has expressed intentions to make permanent 5.

Trump's Key Economic Policies are:

  • Permanent Tax Cuts: Making the 2017 tax cuts permanent could benefit Berkshire Hathaway by potentially increasing after-tax profits for its various business operations. This would be particularly impactful for its high-earning segments like insurance and finance 5.
  • Tariff Plans: Trump’s proposed tariffs, including a potential 10% on most imported goods, could complicate the supply chains for Berkshire’s manufacturing and retail segments, possibly increasing costs but also potentially protecting domestic industries 5.
  • Energy Policies: Trump’s focus on boosting fossil fuel production could benefit Berkshire’s investments in traditional energy sectors, though it may conflict with global trends moving towards sustainability 5.
  • Reduced Federal Oversight: A reduction in federal regulation, as proposed by Trump, could ease operational constraints in heavily regulated sectors like insurance and finance, potentially enhancing profitability for Berkshire’s related businesses.

Trump’s economic policies are poised to create a favorable business environment in the short term, particularly through tax savings and deregulation . However, the long-term implications of increased tariffs and intensified fossil fuel reliance could pose challenges, especially with global shifts towards sustainable practices.

Both Biden and Trump offer contrasting visions that could significantly impact Berkshire Hathaway's operations across various sectors. Biden’s focus on equity, clean energy, and social welfare contrasts with Trump’s emphasis on deregulation, tax cuts, and traditional energy reliance, presenting a complex landscape for Berkshire Hathaway to navigate in future economic planning and investment. At this point in time, according to a YouGov survey, 47% of voters have more faith in Trump's economic policies compared to 26% for Biden 8.

Trump And Biden Offer Different Economic Visions
Donald Trump and Joe Biden offer different economic visions, AI impression

Comparative Analysis of Tax Policies

The tax policies proposed by former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden present stark contrasts, particularly in their implications for corporations like Berkshire Hathaway. Here we delve into a side-by-side comparison of these policies, focusing on corporate and wealth taxes, and evaluate their potential impacts on Berkshire Hathaway's financial health and strategic operations.

Let us start with a side-by-side comparison for Corporate and Wealth Taxes:

Policy Area Trump's Proposals Biden's Proposals
Corporate Tax Rate Maintain reduced rate from 2017 cuts Increase corporate tax rate to 28%
Wealth Taxes No new wealth taxes proposed Propose new taxes on wealthier individuals
Capital Gains Lower capital gains taxes Increase capital gains taxes for high earners
Tax Deductions Broaden tax deductions for corporations Limit deductions, especially for high earners

Tax plans an its implications for the federal budget are at the focus of ongoing heated discussions. Here's a very interesting take by The Wall Street Journal on tax cuts:

After all, what would be the Implications for Berkshire Hathaway regarding the different tax policies? Let us try to summarize:

Trump’s Tax Policies: Under Trump's tax regime, Berkshire Hathaway could benefit from lower corporate taxes and capital gains taxes, enhancing its cash flow and enabling more aggressive investment strategies and shareholder dividends. The broad tax deductions could facilitate greater operational flexibility across Berkshire's diverse portfolio. However, the long-term implications might include increased federal deficits, which could lead to macroeconomic instability.

Biden’s Tax Policies: Biden's proposal to increase corporate and capital gains taxes could potentially reduce Berkshire Hathaway's after-tax income, impacting its ability to distribute dividends and reinvest in strategic acquisitions 1. However, these policies aim to stabilize the economic environment by addressing income inequality and reducing the deficit, potentially leading to a more predictable market environment beneficial for long-term planning.

Strategic Acquisitions and Capital Allocation Under Trump's tax cuts, Berkshire might find it easier to execute large-scale acquisitions due to increased liquidity. Conversely, under Biden's plan, while immediate cash flow might be impacted, the focus might shift towards more sustainable and socially responsible investments, aligning with global shifts towards environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria.

Market Reactions and Economic Environment Historically, markets have reacted favorably to tax cuts, as seen during the early stages of Trump's administration. However, the long-term market stability under such policies remains questionable due to potential increases in the federal deficit 5. Biden’s tax policies might initially challenge market sentiments but could foster long-term stability by addressing structural economic issues.

Regulatory and Trade Environment

The regulatory and trade environments under Trump and Biden could significantly influence Berkshire Hathaway's operations, particularly in sectors like finance, energy, and healthcare. This section explores how each administration's policies could shape the business landscape for Berkshire Hathaway.

Regulatory Landscape


  • Trump: Likely continuation of deregulation in the financial sector, potentially reducing compliance costs for Berkshire's insurance and financial services but raising concerns about systemic risks.
  • Biden: Increased regulation could raise operational costs but also potentially increase market stability, benefiting long-term investments.

It is hard to judge which scenario would be more beneficial for Berkshire Hathaway, since both scenarios would lead to second-order effects that are also likely to impact Berkshire's subsidiaries. For example, while deregulation of the financial sector with less compliance cost would be beneficial, a further banking crisis as in 2023 could have very negative effects .


  • Trump: Focus on boosting fossil fuel production could benefit Berkshire's energy holdings in the short term but might misalign with global trends towards renewable energy.
  • Biden: Emphasis on clean energy could drive significant restructuring within Berkshire's energy portfolio, aligning with future sustainability trends and possibly availing new incentives for renewable energy investments.

Berkshire Hathaway is poised to benefit in both scenarios. Berkshire Hathaway Energy is considerably moving in the renewable energy space . Furthermore, Berkshire owns classical oil companies such as Occidental Petroleum and Chevron . These companies are moving towards clean energy as well .


  • Trump: Lesser regulation might lead to cost savings but increased uncertainty in healthcare markets.
  • Biden: Stricter regulations and potential expansion of healthcare coverage could increase demand for healthcare services, benefiting Berkshire's healthcare investments.

Berkshire's exposure to Healthcare, opposed to finance and energy, seems rather limited with respect to its subsidiaries and investments .

Trade Agreements and International Relations

The trade policies of Trump and Biden could impact Berkshire Hathaway's international operations, especially in relation to tariffs and trade relations with key markets like China 5. Trump’s aggressive tariff policies could increase costs for Berkshire’s manufacturing and consumer goods sectors but might benefit domestic industries like steel and aluminum, which are part of Berkshire's portfolio. Biden’s approach, likely to be more favorable towards international trade agreements, could enhance global market access for Berkshire’s products but also increase competition from foreign companies.

We might sum up our considerations for regulatory and trade environment questions as follows:

  • Trump: Potential short-term gains from deregulation and domestic focus, but risks from international trade tensions and long-term economic instability.
  • Biden: Challenges from increased regulation and taxes, balanced by potential long-term benefits from stable trade relations and alignment with global sustainability trends.

Therefore, the regulatory and trade environments shaped by the U.S. presidency could have profound implications for Berkshire Hathaway’s strategy and operations. Understanding these dynamics is crucial for navigating the complexities of global markets and regulatory frameworks.

Long-Term Economic Outlook and Berkshire Hathaway

As we look toward the future under varying presidential administrations, it becomes crucial to analyze the long-term economic outlook and how these forecasts could impact Berkshire Hathaway. Given the company's diverse portfolio, which spans across various sectors of the economy, understanding these macroeconomic factors is essential for predicting future performance and strategizing accordingly.

Macroeconomic Factors and Consumer Behavior

  • GDP Growth: Economic growth directly influences consumer spending and business investment. Higher GDP growth under either administration could boost consumer-facing businesses within Berkshire, such as those in the retail and automotive sectors.
  • Unemployment Rates: Lower unemployment typically leads to increased disposable income, benefiting Berkshire's subsidiaries like See's Candies and Dairy Queen.
  • Inflation Rates: Inflation affects purchasing power, which can lead to variable impacts on different business segments. For instance, inflation may increase costs for Berkshire's manufacturing operations but simultaneously boost the nominal returns on real estate investments.

Federal Economic Policies and Their Impacts

  • Interest Rates: The Federal Reserve's policies on interest rates significantly affect Berkshire’s earnings from its vast holdings in stocks, bonds, and cash equivalents, which totaled $488 billion at the end of 2023 2. Lower interest rates generally support higher valuations in equity markets, beneficial for Berkshire's stock portfolio.
  • Investment Income: Changes in interest rates also affect the investment income from the treasury bills and bonds held by Berkshire . The substantial increase in interest income in 2023, due to Federal Reserve rate hikes, exemplifies this relationship 2.

High-Inflation Environment: Risks and Opportunities

  • Risks: High inflation can erode the real value of fixed-income investments and increase operational costs across Berkshire’s diverse businesses.
  • Opportunities: However, certain assets, like real estate and commodities, may perform well in an inflationary environment, providing a natural hedge for Berkshire's investments in these areas.

National Debt and Federal Spending

  • Economic Landscape: The level of national debt and federal spending policies can influence economic stability, which in turn affects business confidence and investment. High levels of debt might lead to increased taxation or reduced government spending in certain areas, potentially impacting sectors relevant to Berkshire's operations.
  • Berkshire’s Strategy: Buffett’s strategy of maintaining a strong balance sheet and substantial liquidity positions Berkshire to take advantage of economic downturns to acquire assets at depressed prices 1.

Summary of Economic Scenarios

  • Under Biden: Potential for increased regulation and higher corporate taxes, balanced by progressive spending on infrastructure and renewable energy which could benefit Berkshire's utilities and construction-related businesses.
  • Under Trump: Likely continuation of deregulatory policies and lower taxes, fostering a favorable business environment, particularly for Berkshire's financial and industrial sectors.

Warren Buffett’s philosophy of long-term value investing suggests a focus on intrinsic value rather than short-term economic fluctuations. This approach guides Berkshire through various economic climates by investing in companies with strong economic moats and sound management, irrespective of the macroeconomic environment 1.

While the economic policies of different administrations will influence the landscape in which Berkshire operates, the conglomerate's diversified portfolio and robust management strategy position it to navigate future challenges effectively. Buffett's principles of investing in fundamentally strong businesses and maintaining financial discipline remain central to Berkshire's ability to generate value over the long term.



The analysis of presidential policies and their impact on Berkshire Hathaway reveals a complex interplay between government actions and corporate strategy. As we have seen, the economic environment under different administrations can pose both challenges and opportunities for Berkshire. However, the company’s strong leadership, commitment to its core values, and strategic diversification are key factors that will continue to drive its success. Shareholders can take comfort in knowing that Berkshire Hathaway is well-equipped to adapt to changing economic landscapes, guided by the seasoned wisdom of Warren Buffett and his successors.

The historical performance of Berkshire Hathaway under different U.S. administrations serves as a testament to the adaptability of the company. From tax reforms to regulatory changes and global trade dynamics, each administration's decisions have had direct and indirect implications on Berkshire's diverse portfolio spanning across various sectors.

As shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway, it is essential to consider the potential impacts of Biden's economic proposals, such as increased corporate taxes and a focus on clean energy, as well as Trump's vision of tax cuts and deregulation. The contrasting approaches of these administrations present a complex landscape for Berkshire Hathaway to navigate, requiring strategic flexibility and a keen understanding of the evolving economic environment.

In the grand scheme of things, the question of whether Trump or Biden would be the better leader may not carry as much weight as one might assume. Berkshire Hathaway's track record suggests that it is poised to thrive regardless of who occupies the presidency, owing to its proven adaptability across various administrations. While numerous challenges undoubtedly exist, both Berkshire Hathaway and the United States have consistently demonstrated resilience in overcoming obstacles, irrespective of the governing party.

Looking ahead, the long-term economic outlook for Berkshire Hathaway hinges on factors such as GDP growth, unemployment rates, inflation, and federal economic policies. While the company's robust management strategy and diversified portfolio position it well to weather changing economic climates, the macroeconomic landscape under different administrations will undoubtedly influence Berkshire's strategic decisions and performance.

In the words of Warren Buffett:

"Never bet against America."

Despite the uncertainties and challenges posed by shifting political tides, Berkshire Hathaway's enduring strength and adaptability remain pillars of its success. As we reflect on the historical perspective of presidential policies and their impact on Berkshire Hathaway, it becomes clear that the company's commitment to sound principles, strategic acquisitions, and operational discipline will continue to drive value creation for shareholders in the years to come. In an ever-changing world, Berkshire Hathaway stands as a beacon of stability and long-term prosperity, guided by the timeless wisdom of Warren Buffett and the enduring spirit of American enterprise.


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