'This Week' Transcript: Economic Panel

You know, beyond -- beyond the current unemployment rate, there's also underemployment, and it's standing at about 16.5 percent, the total problem of people who either don't have a job or who don't have enough of a job to make ends meet. How is it -- is it impacting the people in the rural areas? And do you think that this really goes to the heart of the American dream that is being deferred?

CORKER: Well, you know, as we speak, the city that I'm sitting in has been named one of the -- is named the top economic producer over the next decade, and it's because of investment in the workforce. It's a vision. It's the fact that we really have held on to trying to produce things.

As you go to the rural areas, with the lack of infrastructure that exists in most rural areas around our country, there's lesser opportunity for that. And so it does create challenges that don't exist in some of the major metropolitan areas, and I think we're seeing that more and more across our country.

At the same time, I think much of what we've done over this last year is create an air of unpredictability. And what's happening is businesses are sitting on the sideline. They don't know exactly what the lay of the land is. And I think the best thing we can do in Washington at this time is really just to calm down and quit changing sweeping -- making sweeping changes.

I sat down with a business this week -- I'll give you an example -- and they're looking at the health care bill, and they're trying to decide, should they keep people under 30 hours? Smaller businesses are saying, should we stay under 25?

So I think that much of what we've done over this last year has actually been counterproductive. And, again, the best thing we can do is just calm down, to really let people's balance sheets sort of get back where they need to be. That will stimulate demand over time, as families and people -- households across our country get their balance sheets in order.

AMANPOUR: Well, we'll come back to that. You know, the Financial Times has basically said that Congress needs to, quote, "get a grip." I'm going to ask you about that right after I go to Governor Corzine and ask him about what is going to stimulate the kind of consumer confidence that you were just talking about, Senator -- Senator Corker.

Look, there are figures, Governor Corzine, that suggest that non-financial companies have socked away something like $1.84 trillion in cash and other assets, but they're not spending them, they're not hiring, they're not building plants and other infrastructure. Why not? And wouldn't -- don't they have a responsibility to do so in this situation?

CORZINE: Well, there is a gap of confidence in the economy that comes from the shock that we had of 2008 and 2009; $17 trillion worth of lost economic value in that timeframe makes companies and people very, very concerned. Even though we've had a major recovery in some of that valuation loss, it makes people nervous.

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