Billionaire real estate mogul Sam Zell was on Squawk Box this morning in an appearance that’s already bound to be legendary: We’ve never seen a guest get quite so red-in-the-eyes and angry as Zell was this morning, as he railed on the politics of “class warfare” and “the politics of envy” and the various benefits for the poor, which in his mind are disincentivizing success.He even thinks that universal healthcare is discouraging success, because if you have healthcare paid for already, why try?
Basically, Sam Zell was giving a 47 per cent rant, but on steroids.
But that wasn’t the only remarkable part of Zell’s appearance.
He spent a lot of time talking about how the current environment was fraught with uncertainty, and that the entrepreneurialism and animal spirits of the American economy weren’t being unleashed.
I mean, unleash the animal spirits of America. Unleash the small businessmen. Unleash people like me, OK? I’m a very wealthy man. I could literally put my money into the bank and play golf every day. God forbid, but I could do that. instead, I’m taking risks every day. Why? Why should I if the game is being stacked against me? So what this country needs is a clear — an all clear sign and all clear, let’s get back to business.
All right, so what would it take to “unleash the small business man” and “unleash people like me”?
This is where Zell goes largely silent. He has a few specific critiques of the administration. He doesn’t like the EPA or the National labour Relations Board (which he fears will bring unionization back to America), but mostly he used a lot of clichés about “kicking the can” and needing to absorb “pain” and needing “leadership” and so forth. At one point he said: “If I had to make a choice of who I would want to leave the future to, a law professor or a CEO, it is not a hard choice.”
All of this speaks directly to Mitt Romney’s economic plan, because he largely sees things the same way. At that famous donor dinner where he made the 47 per cent comment, he also said he thought the economy would rebound merely by dint of him being elected and becoming President.
This only makes sense though if you ignore things like the housing bubble, the ongoing drawdown of U.S. consumer debt, and the fact that governments on the state and local level are still cutting jobs every month.
Because if you just looked at stuff like private investment (in real estate structures or technology) the numbers do not smack of an economy where investors are shivering in fear.
A couple of our favourite charts are here. One is private investment in software and equipment, which is nearly at a new high.
And here’s private sector vs. public sector GDP growth.
Private sector is growing in line with historical standards. It’s government consumption which has been so poor.
The biggest issue in this election is jobs, and people have been scratching their heads, trying to figure out why Mitt Romney has never come out with anything substantive on the matter.
And this is your answer. His biggest boosters believe that if we switch the President from a law professor to a CEO, the all-clear signal will be flashed, the animal spirits will be unleashed, and the economy will get humming again.
SEE ALSO: Sam Zell’s legendary CNBC tirade >
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