NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Eighty thousand, that is how many jobs the American economy added last month. It's still not enough to get the jobless rate below 9 percent, which is exactly where it is, and reason enough for the president to once again push his jobs plan.
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PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: If we want to grow the economy right now, then we have to think bigger. We've got to do something bolder and more significant.
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CAVUTO: Bigger? Bolder? Translation, spend more.
Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus says he is just spent. He joins me now in this exclusive chat.
You're saying repeating the same old thing is not going to get any different result, right?
BERNIE MARCUS, CO-FOUNDER, HOME DEPOT: Neil, what we have to stop politicking and start doing something about it. I have a suggestion for the president. All he has to do is take a pen. He's lefty, OK? Take a pen and sign one order and let the Keystone XL pipeline go through. He will create 120,000 jobs, no money on the part of the taxpayers, it's private industry that will do it, why in God's name is he not doing that? Do you have a solution for it? Do you have an answer for that, Neil?
CAVUTO: What about just doing something bigger, though? He wants to follow up on the stimulus he has had, and you have been a known critic of it in the past. But if there was something that could beyond just, let's say, in the oil industry, would it be to, I don't know, cut tax rates? Would it be to bring that foreign money home that a lot of companies have? What would it be?
MARCUS: Neil, you don't want to say let's do the same thing. You hear it over and over again, and the truth of the matter is, that is exactly what you have to do. You have to make the environment available for businesspeople to survive and to grow. If you don't do it, you are not going to see anything. When government spends money -- now, we saw what happened with the energy companies that we invested in. We didn't make any money on that, we lost a ton of dough on that.
If the government would stay out of the businessman's way, I think that we could see jobs grow in the United States. Otherwise, we're not gonna see it. It's as simple as that. I mean, why can't the people in Washington understand that?
NowI understand the president. He has never been a job creator, man never had a job in his life, but we have people in Congress and they ought to know better. They have been there for a number of years and they know what can create jobs. They are just not willing to do it. It is lower taxes. It's take the regulations off. Stop killing the businessman with the regulations.
Look, we have today an NLRB that is running wild. An NLRB that is --
CAVUTO: You're talking about the National Labor Relations Board. Go ahead.
MARCUS: Oh, sure. And you know that card check was knocked out by the Congress. Democrats and Republicans both didn't support it, didn't want it, but the NLRB is doing it anyway.
And you have the EPA doing the same thing. While you are talking out of one side of your mouth, you have to understand you are damaging the economy with the other side of your mouth, you gotta put them all together and start doing the right thing for America. And the right thing for America is to let businesses create jobs and keep the government out of the job creation business. That's not their business.
CAVUTO: So what do you say when Nancy Pelosi was saying yesterday -- I had a congresswoman on this very show yesterday, Bernie, who agreed with her -- that if not for that stimulus, say what you will, but unemployment would be markedly higher, at 15 percent, rather than 9 percent we're looking at? What do you make of that?
MARCUS: Neil, I don't know what they are drinking, but I think they ought to spread it around in America. We all need to have something good happen to us. It is only happening in Washington, D.C. It is not happening anywhere else.
To hear Nancy Pelosi come out, I don't know where she is getting these fables from. She believes her own garbage and I think that that is the problem. They are inside the Beltway. They are not outside the Beltway. They don't know what is happening in America. And small businesses in America today, which is the backbone of the economy, if the small businesses are not surviving, America is not going to survive, and small businesses today are not doing it, Neil. They are not hiring people.
CAVUTO: Well, what would it take? When you got Home Depot off the ground, and you know, robbed Peter to pay Paul, you scraped together dimes, whatever you could to get that doing, you and Ken Langone and some other buddies, you did it in a very iffy economic environment.
And many of the great ones, those who became billionaires and very successful stories like yourself, and Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, and Allen Bernstein, the restauranteur who died a couple of days ago, they all, you all started when times were tough, very, very tough. So, what's to say there aren't little mini-Bernie Marcuses running around right now, not listening to all this Washington kvetching and succeeding despite it, that maybe Washington has nothing to do with the entrepreneurial spirit and if you are really good at what you will do, you'll do well whatever Washington is doing?
MARCUS: You know what, Neil?
Let me tell you, America is a great place and I think the American people are wonderful. And entrepreneurs, you just can 't hold entrepreneurs down. But the truth is, it can't happen as easily, not as easily. It took 30 years for Home Depot to grow to a point where today Home Depot has 330,000 people working for it and millions of jobs that they have created in manufacturing and all over.
But you have to remember, back in 1978, up until the ‘80s and the middle of the ‘95s, we didn't have the regulations that we have today. We didn't have Sarbanes-Oxley, the way we have Sarbanes-Oxley. We didn't have a strong EPA, the way we have a strong EPA today. We didn't have the regulations coming out of Washington every single day.
CAVUTO: You are saying you could not have done today what you did then?
MARCUS: No I don't believe it. I really don't. I have tried to put myself back in those days, and I honest to God don't believe, Neil, that if we had -- if we had started the Home Depot today with the environment being the same, with no big stores, the way our stores were, we could not have gone past 10 or 15 stores. It is impossible.
If you just looked at the litigation today that businesses go through, not running a business, you cannot believe the amount of litigation on every single thing you are doing. My board was made up of people who are involved in our business. We had all investors in our business and I didn't have -- when we made a decision, Arthur, myself, and Kenny, we never counseled our lawyers. We never had to do that.
Today, a CEO cannot make a decision without having groups of lawyers helping him make the decision.
CAVUTO: But now you have got a view from this administration. There are all these Occupy Wall Street folks who don't trust guys like you, they don't like guys like you. And they say the disparity between the very wealthy and the average Joe has gotten so bad that something must be done and the government has to do something. And they seem to have, at least, the sympathy if not the outright support of the White House.
MARCUS: Well, look, the Occupy Wall Street group of kids, ya know, they started out -- I think they have a better target and I think they ought to go after Barney Frank by himself, just Barney Frank by himself, Chris Dodd.
I mean, the two of them have done more to the damage the United States and their economy than the banks will ever do.
CAVUTO: Isn't their bigger point -- I don't share that view. I was down there with a lot of them. They thought I was Sean Hannity. One of them said, boy, Hannity has gained some weight.
MARCUS: You're cuter. You're cuter. Yes.
CAVUTO: And what I told them is -- I just cursed them out. They still think that was Hannity.