Warren Buffett’s often surprising business empire is now backed by the Fed

Erwin Oropesa

While other billionaires made their fortunes by building just one business, Warren Buffett owns dozens, producing everything from bricks to underwear. A list of the most prominent brands reveals many surprises.

And here’s another surprise, which came to light over the weekend: The Federal Reserve now has an investment in Buffett’s massive holding company, Berkshire Hathaway.

As part of its growing coronavirus economic rescue program, the Fed has started buying corporate debt, including bonds issued by a couple of businesses that are part of Berkshire.

Buffett didn’t ask for and doesn’t need the Fed’s help. But he has been benefiting from the incredibly low interest rates the Fed’s bond-buying has helped generate.

Cheap money might help him add to his empire, which now includes these companies. You probably never knew Buffett was the owner of many of these businesses.

With nearly 3,000 employees, the Acme Brick Company produces a range … Read More

Trump is no longer the best candidate for business

Erwin Oropesa

For most of the last three years, investors and business owners have backed President Trump’s handling of the economy, even if they disapproved of his disruptive leadership style. Trump cut taxes and slashed regulation, gifts to corporate America that boosted business income and stock valuations.

There’s almost no chance Trump could be so generous to business if he wins a second term, since the federal debt is soaring amid the severe coronavirus recession and trillions in new stimulus dollars. “At the beginning of the Trump administration, the agenda was squarely focused on market positives,” Ed Mills, Washington policy analyst for Raymond James, says in the latest episode of the Yahoo Finance Electionomics podcast. “That to-do list is done. Much of what could have been done is completed.”

Trump hasn’t outlined a thorough economic agenda for a second term, but he has indicated his trade fight with China could continue

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Business leaders fear ‘flaming on social media’ if they criticize President Donald Trump: Fast Company Editor-in-Chief

Erwin Oropesa

Many business leaders disapprove of President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, but fear the consequences of saying so publicly — according to Stephanie Mehta, editor-in-chief of the business publication Fast Company.

In a newly released interview, taped on April 27, Mehta said many top executives find it “frustrating” they cannot criticize Trump over his handling of the pandemic due to potential damage for their company and personal backlash they may face online.

“It’s frustrating for a lot of leaders in business because they feel they can’t come out and call the president out on it,” says Mehta, a former business reporter at the Wall Street Journal and executive editor at Fortune.

“The consequences can be pretty great, not only to their business but also they become the subject of some pretty, pretty serious flaming on social media,” she adds.

Since Trump took office, he has sharply rebuked

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