This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, July 19, 2002, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Now add consumer product giant Johnson & Johnson to the growing list of firms whose books and practices are being looked at. Specifically, the government investigating the company's Puerto Rico plant. But New York Congressman Charlie Rangel sees a disturbing trend: companies playing fast and loose with the facts. He joins me now to discuss what Congress wants to do about it. Congressman, good to see you.
REP. CHARLES RANGEL, D-NY: Good to be back, Neil. And congratulations to you on your recent promotion.
CAVUTO: Thank you very much.
Let me get your sense of the demotion of stocks right now. I mean, is it excessive, just by your amounts?
RANGEL: Of course, it is excessive. But what is the stock market, except confidence or lack of it? And the Congress has to do something to show that it is concerned about the behavior of business people and playing pretty loose with the investments of its employees and pension plans, and their greed and inflating the cost of stocks in order to line their own pockets.
CAVUTO: But do you think some of the fear and the selling going on might be angst about what you and Congress are going to do to police these books?
RANGEL: No, indeed. If anything, I would say that -- I thought you meant are we overdoing it as we try to let people know that crooks...
CAVUTO: Some worry about that. Alan Greenspan was kind of saying go slow this week, right?
RANGEL: Oh, Alan Greenspan always tells the Congress to go slow. He's the smartest man in the world, and let the free marketplace...
CAVUTO: Well, how many companies do you think are corrupt, percentage-wise?
RANGEL: I don't know. What I'm afraid of, Neil, is that good companies, companies that play by the rules, learn pretty swiftly, that the larger accounting firms and the larger consultant firms are not playing by the rules, and at some point in time, your lawyer, your adviser, tells you that, hey, haven't you heard, Neil, people aren't doing that any more.
CAVUTO: We have a fraction of company that were crooked and acted crookedly. Here's what I'm worried about, Congressman...
RANGEL: I'm saying -- my point is...
CAVUTO: Your point is well taken. But do you worry that you can do more damage?
RANGEL: Do what?
CAVUTO: More damage.
RANGEL: Who can do more damage?
RANGEL: No, no, no. First of all, we haven't done a darn thing in terms of instilling investor's confidence. Nobody has gone to jail. No pension funds have been restored. No dreams have been pieced back together. And every day, we hear more and more horror stories. Johnson & Johnson affirmed that all Americans felt proud no matter what country we visited. They are on the list.
And so the Congress -- and I'm telling you, a reluctant Republican Congress I might add, because they don't want to regulate, they don't want to do anything to allow a damper on creativity. And so, what we're trying to do is saying if you break the law, like anybody else, you got to do time. We're trying to say that it shouldn't be a Democratic or Republican thing. When people invest in a firm, when people invest in their pension plans, they should not have to look over their shoulder believing that somebody has got two set of books.
CAVUTO: Here's what I worry about though, Congressman, that you guys, not you particularly, but you guys who aren't too great at handling your own books are going to start looking at corporations` books.
RANGEL: Well, we haven't done anything for so long and the Republicans, even as you and I talk, haven't conceded to the Senate bill, which is supposed to really set some standards there. With all of the investigators, those that have been getting accolades from business, and I think Eliot Spitzer is one. He's receive praised from Wall Street. He's received praise from a multi-national...
CAVUTO: Would you invest in the market right now?
RANGEL: Well, if I had the money, I would think this would be the time to invest.
CAVUTO: So you think this is as bad as it gets or close to it?
RANGEL: I don't know, because everyone had said that the market at some point in time had to level out. This is the leveling out. What I'm more concerned is what is the gameplan to turn the economy around. You know, I think the president and the Congress have to do something to show that we're not going to continue to be involved in deficit spending; $48 billion for defense; $38 billion for homeland...
CAVUTO: You're trying to blame this on the president?
RANGEL: I'm saying the president has been so wrapped up in homeland defense and fighting terrorism...
RANGEL: ... that he has no domestic economic plan. I'm not saying that he's not going to come up with one. But everyone would agree that you can not have these big expenditures, loss of the surplus, going to the deficit and still talk about gigantic tax cuts. It just doesn't work out.
CAVUTO: All right. I wish we had more time. Congressman...
RANGEL: We can get more time.
CAVUTO: Always good seeing you.
RANGEL: Always good to be back, Neil.
CAVUTO: Thank you very much. All right. New York Democrat Charlie Rangel.
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