AMANPOUR: And on another -- well, on the same issue, but Paul Krugman, the economist, Nobel Prize-winner, who's going to be on our roundtable, has written this week that it really is basically tax breaks again for the rich and more onus on the -- on the middle class dressed up as something new.
COTE: Well, in my view, democracy seems to be uniquely suited to putting a traffic light up after the fourth accident. Now, we can't wait for the fourth accident here.
And that's why I applaud Senator Conrad, for Senator Graham, when -- his comments, trying to get out in front of something, because it's too easy for the demagogues and the polemicists to respond to something, just kind of go into their neutral corner and screaming, as opposed to saying there's a time to pull together.
This is one of those times. There are times when we should pull apart and pluralism and all that good stuff where people argue their point of view, but there are times when we have to pull together, and this is one of those times.
And it scares me that as a financially conversant CEO, I didn't know how bad this was going to get in the next 10 years. I could see where it was today, but I couldn't see what was going to happen in the next 10 years, because people want to point to stuff like Obamacare, stimulus, Bush tax cuts. And the thing that everybody misses is it's my generation, the baby boomers, who are going to flow through Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. It's going to crush the system.
And I think the American public is ready for this discussion, but I don't see anybody having that discussion with them, and that needs to happen.
AMANPOUR: Well, are the Democrats going to allow these cuts that have been suggested in Social Security, Medicare?
CONRAD: Well, I'm a Democrat...
CONRAD: ... and I'm saying to my colleagues...
AMANPOUR: And the liberal wing of the party?
CONRAD: ... it is absolutely imperative that we take this on for the country's sake. And are we going to have to make some changes to Social Security? Certainly we are. Social Security is going to go cash negative in five years. It's going to go broke in 2037.
Medicare, we've just extended the life of it by the health care reform package, which has gotten almost no attention, but still it's prepared to go permanently cash negative in just 10 years. So, obviously, those things have to be reformed; there have to be some changes.
AMANPOUR: Let me talk about the international implications of the currency wars that we were just talking about that came up during the Seoul trip. Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Fed, has said that America's pursuing a policy of weakening its currency, and this is what the current treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, said in response to that.
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GEITHNER: I have enormous respect for Alan Greenspan, of course, had the privilege of working with him for a long period of years, but that's not an accurate description of either the Federal Reserve's policies or our policy. We will never seek to weaken our currency as a tool to gaining competitive advantage or to grow our economy. It's not an effective strategy for any country, certainly not for the United States.
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