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Carl Icahn: ‘Our System Is Breaking Down,’ ‘We Absolutely Have a Major Problem in Our Economy Today’

‘You can’t have the country feeling that it doesn’t matter if they save ... [You] could do whatever you want, because the government will bail you out


WAPNER: “I want your reaction to what Citadel’s, Ken Griffin told the FT about this very issue in which he suggested that the government should not have bailed out all of the depositors. He said, quote, ‘The U.S. is supposed to be a capitalist economy, and that’s breaking down before our eyes. There’s been a loss of financial discipline with the government bailing out depositors in full.’ What do you make of that statement? He also goes after the regulator, but what do you think about that?”

ICAHN: “You know, I — I — I — I — I can’t — I can’t opine on what Griffin is saying there. Because I don’t quite understand where it goes. But I am saying that he’s right that — that our system is breaking down, and that we absolutely have a major problem in our economy today. And I’m not going to on whether or not you bail out a bank or something like that. But you can’t have the country feeling that it doesn’t matter if they save, it doesn’t matter, because they could spend all the money they want. They could do whatever you want, because the government will bail you out. You can’t — he’s right about that. You can’t have that. Now, should you bail this bank out? I don’t know. That’s a part of — I don’t like to opine on things that are not really that conversative.

“But I do agree that the system is breaking it out. And one of the major reasons, the only reason, obviously, but one of the major reasons is that you don’t have good corporate leadership. So you say, ‘So what? But I’ll tell you, so what. If you don’t have good corporate leadership, companies, you know, when the tide is high, and things are great, it doesn’t matter, and all these guys that are running these companies are partying and having a good time and giving themselves bonuses. But, you know, it is different than the people who invest with them. You know, they’re looking to get their bonuses. And I tell you, I live it, so I go into it. And there’s a reason that we make so much money.

“I mean, just to — to make the point. Over the years, there are two sides of it, if you invested in IEP, you annualized. You made — reinvesting the dividends, you made an annual return of 15 percent. And the closest is Buffett, who I believe made around 9 percent. S&P made 7 percent. But why? Because we go into companies and clean them up. There’s so much to clean up and it’s getting much worse now. One of the worst countries in the world as far as corporate governance goes, and I can go on and on about that. But, yes —“ [crosstalk]

WAPNER: “We’ll get into — we will — I said — I said we’re —“

ICAHN: “— I think the whole — the whole economy — Griffin is sort of right. The economy is breaking down, but I don’t think he’s right because you bailed out some investors, but I do say he — he’s right in the sense that our economy is breaking down. And I don’t understand the capitalist way, how you define capitalistic system.”

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