'This Week' Transcript: Economic Roundtable

It's not just the dollars. But you had top decision-makers being told that, if they made a bet and it paid off, they got money. But if they made a bet and it lost, they didn't lose any money. It was a "heads, I win, tails, I break even," and that incentivizes more risk- taking than is in the interest of the economy.

SCHMIDT: I'm sure this stuff is going to get fixed by -- by you guys, because you're working very hard on it...

DEMINT: I wouldn't count on it.

SCHMIDT: And, by the way, you guys need to get this thing fixed. What we need is very simple. We need some form of a jobs program, something that causes jobs to get created, and we need credit to get -- get going again. That's what we should be talking about as a country.


SCHMIDT: And we can debate exactly how to do it, but get it going now.

FRANK: Well, excuse me. You (inaudible) it's called democracy, Eric. I'm sorry, but it's inevitable.

Secondly, the point I'm making is this, and I think Fred understood it. There is so much anger now on the part of the average citizen who's lost his -- you know, and the problem with traders (ph), and this is one difference we have with Europe. Americans will lose their health care, most of them, if they lose their job. We've got to, I think, fix that situation.

FRANK: I think we need to break the nexus between health care and employment from the standpoint of an efficient economy, as well as a fair one. But until you cannot get some of what you want in the credit area -- the jobs area is different -- but in the credit area, if you -- if you do not do things simultaneously to alleviate the anger, the American voter is not going to let you do it.

DEMINT: We can take $1 trillion out of the economy and we're saying we might create 3 million jobs. If we leave it in the economy, the economists at the Heritage Foundation said we create 18 million jobs.

I mean, this is something we know. And it actually -- Eric, to your point, it happens much quicker. When we don't take it out, there's an immediate jolt to the economy. But if we take -- we know only half of this $1 trillion is actually going to be spent over the next two years.

SCHMIDT: I'm worried -- I'm worried that tax cuts alone -- tax cuts won't work because -- won't be sufficient because people are not paying any taxes because they're not making any money. The stimulus bill has tax credits in it...

FRANK: How many roads are going to be built by a tax cut? How many police stations?


DEMINT: We're building roads now. And...


FRANK: If you think...

DEMINT: The Democrats control Congress. If you want to spend more for roads, let's do it.

FRANK: Excuse me, no, that's -- that's...

DEMINT: But let's don't call it an economic stimulus package.

FRANK: ... an inaccuracy. First of all...

DEMINT: Only 5 percent of this bill goes to roads and infrastructure, and you're trying to tell the American people this is an infrastructure bill. It's... (CROSSTALK)

FRANK: No, I am not trying to do that. You will check the transcript. You will find I haven't.

I also think it's helpful if you don't have policemen and firefighters laid off in New Bedford. That's jobs that would be lost that won't be lost.

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