Home Depot Co-Founder: This Is a Bad Time in Our History

Bernie Marcus on Super Committee, stock market drop


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," November 21, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF “YOUR WORLD”: So, did these guys just give the business guys more reasons not to spend, more reasons to keep that cash close to their wallet?

Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus us on the phone with us right now.

Bernie, this was just your worry when last we chatted. Worried more now or what?

BERNIE MARCUS, CO-FOUNDER, HOME DEPOT: Well, Neil, I don’t see anything on the horizon.

It looks to make that this country is walking on a cliff, a very narrow cliff that’s really looking for an abyss at the end of it. I don’t see anything in sight that sells a positive view for the business community, and the business community, of course, if they are depressed, if the business community is not investing, then we’re not going to create the jobs that will help to turn around this economy.

And I just think that we have reached a part the sand. The fork in the road is right ahead of us and the lines are drawn in the sand. Either we’re gonna go the way of big government or we’re gonna go in the way of creating jobs. And it means that 2012 is now setting up to be the ultimate decision for this country on where we will end up. And if it doesn’t end up the right way, I pity all of us.

CAVUTO: Bernie, obviously, that was the message we got from this. We’ll get the details shortly. There could be a ‘Hail Mary Pass’ or something to save this Super Committee’s work, what there is of it, but it is very unlikely in the next few minutes.

If they do punt and say, look, game over, we couldn’t do it, what message does that send for the next 12, 13 or 14 months ahead of a new Congress taking charge, either a new president or this one getting back in office?


MARCUS: Total, total stalemate. Nobody is going to make any investment. I don’t know a businessman in his right mind, unless you’re going to buy something at a bargain-basement price, is going to expand their business in this market or do anything to get rid of the cash flow that they have. They’re sitting with it today. And I told you the last time the certainty is that everything is going up. Prices are going up. Oil’s going to go up. The cost of oil, the cost of doing business with Obamacare is going to go up. And the regulations are getting worse by the day, because now that they are not busy with the deficit, they’re going to go back and write more regulations.

I’m telling you, from a business standpoint of view; this is a very bad time in our history.

CAVUTO: But I’m wondering, did Republicans cede the fight by not offering something of their own or just playing this waiting game and saying maybe a year from now we’ll get our way, we can regroup with your guys and see what happens?

MARCUS: I think they both played a game. There’s no question about it.

But they were willing to give up the loopholes which in some ways you could look at it as being a tax increase by getting rid of some of the corporate loopholes that they have, which count up to billions and billions of dollars. We’re not talking about an insignificant amount of money.

The fact that GE is paying no taxes on just billions of dollars worth of profit this week tells you that there’s something wrong with the tax code. And, so, yes, they were willing to do something in this area, but when you’re not willing to give up the spending, that is the game.

The game is the spending. And I don’t know how anyone in their right man cannot understand. And I appeal to my friends out there who are Democrats to please understand that you have got to cut the spending because it’s not going to work. Ultimately, we are not going to be able to save this economy, which is really what we are all interested in.

CAVUTO: Now, some of the economists, you talked to of any stripe, Bernie -- you and I have gotten into this as well -- say, well, the underlying economy is not that bad. It’s beginning to pick up from its worst level. That’s the perspective that anyone can argue with, but that is the trend that should be business’ friend and ignore the soap opera in Washington.

You say, to your own peril.

MARCUS: Well, how could the economy be picking up? From the 20 some odd million people out of work it’s not picking up and they are not finding jobs. I think, Neil that is the end of the game. The endgame is how many people are working and how many people are out of work?

Yes, sure, companies are making money today because they have pulled in and they’ve let go of people, and they are not expanding so they are raising cash and they are not spending. The key is that businesses are not going anywhere. In Job Creators Alliance, which we’ve talked about many times, you and I, we talk about the issues that are driving, driving companies away from hiring people.

And nothing on the horizon, nothing that has happened out there today tells us that we will be hiring people. Nothing.

CAVUTO: All right, Bernie, I guess good talking to you again.


CAVUTO: Try to have a good Thanksgiving, Bernie Marcus.

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