Sam Zell, Equity Group Investments chairman, reveals his top commercial real estate investments; where to find emerging market opportunities; his outlook on the U.S. economy; and thoughts on presidential politics.
i think i’m back to regardless. anyway, are you going to lead us here, you have arianna coming in to back you up on thursday, but while you still have him here, give him some new york times. i want him to talk about the alan blunder piece because he did read it in the wall street journal today. do you think it is right or wrong? my first argument above that is law professors shouldn’t be president. lawmakers don’t make decisions, they show both sides. so we have to eliminate law professors and then eliminate ceos, too. 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. i’ll ask you on taxes, yesterday you were on the paul ryan clip, but there is a debate over the romney tax plan, not that he’s not going to lower taxes, he may lower taxes and that may be a good thing for the economy, but the question is ultimately does it bring in enough revenue to make it revenue neutral? one of the things they have said about republicans is it would lower the deficits but the taxes have exploded under them. your views? there’s no question the deficits have exploded under them. the last two decades among the two wars and the mistakes in my opinion, we blew a lot of money. multiples of what we blew before. so, you know, my attitude is that — jimmy, my question is do you have any confidence no matter who is in office that actually the hard cuts that need to be made ultimately to make any text plan deficit neutral are actually going to happen? and my question to you comes down to a simple question. do you believe in the tooth fairy? who does the president listen to? i wonder if you could name for me four or five executives who have been advising the president and that he’s been listening to. okay, four. okay, three. okay, two. okay, one. i’m waiting. one name. well — you would argue — if you think general electric the irrelevant to what’s wrong with the country today. we have steve case on the air a lot who makes that argument. i think you are probably more right than wrong. ubs was losing their clients because of their affiliate with robert wolf. yeah. the answer is i don’t think there are any simple answers. i don’t think there’s any magic potion. i think the most important thing is we have to learn there isn’t a magic potion. and i’m very much — i’m not against raising taxes at all, okay? and that makes me different than a lot of players in the republican party. but number one, you raise taxes, you raise everybody, you lower taxes, you lower them on everybody. should we have tax reform? absolutely. okay? way overdue. i’m getting social security. i get it and give it away every month, okay? why should i get it at all? on that point we’ll leave it there. thank you for a couple wonderful hours. thank you, sam. that does it for us today.
Zell: What We Need Now Is a Politician
Sam Zell, Equity Group Investments chairman, discusses the leadership skills needed for the next president.
box. we have a great guest host, equity group investments chairman sam zell. sam, at the top of the 7:00 hour, for anybody who wasn’t awake yet, hadn’t tuned in yet, you talked about how you do corporate enterprise installations, and when you watch those things and you see delays that signals a recession is coming. what do you see specifically? i see we have a company that is in the business of creating enterprise, in other words, providing an enterprise service, where they complete a whole package of stuff. and one of the signs that they have of where we are, is when they see all of these projects start to get delayed, that’s usually one of the first signs that we’re heading into a recession, in other words, instead, the project was supposed to be done in three months and now somebody at corporate says well we’ll postpone it for nine months and you start seeing that, and we see that in a lot of our companies, not just that one. where is it happening, around the country? everywhere. maybe except texas. but what we’re seeing is that i’m not as optimistic about consumer spending for the end of the year. i think the environment is tough, and the confidence is low, and when you have a tough environment and low confidence, i’ve been somewhat, i don’t want to use the word depressed but become somewhat of a pessimist. the one thing sam has been is the giant optimist, the bottom of every market sam is buying stuff. and my problem, and then i had this epiphany and i said you know the problem is, if my assessment of the realities are such, everything is massively too expensive. in other words based on the fiscal cliff and all of the head winds the stock wins should be 9,000, not 14,000. the stock marked is getting bullied by qe7 or 8, whatever number it is so we’re creating artificial numbers that i don’t think the underline will support. if barack obama is reelected, would that put you in a state of you might be dprelsed a little bit longer probably, wouldn’t you? well i just think it would be a continuation of how i am today. what do you think right now, are you, do you think he’ll be reelected at this point? i’m not a political prognosticator. off camera you wouldn’t say yes or no? i don’t think barack obama has been the best president we’ve ever had. i frankly think that he has been one of the poorer presidents we’ve ever had. from my perspective i would be happy if there was a change. say he gets reelected and four years from now, can we still, you know, pull