Interviews

Bob Nardelli talks tax cuts, Washington dysfunction

Former Home Depot, Chrysler CEO weighs in on 'Your World'

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," April 3, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, you never know.

We were down about 145 points at our worst level today, a not so auspicious start to the new month and the quarter. We later turned that to about a 13-point loss.

Former Home Depot CEO, Chrysler CEO, the founder of investment advisory firm XLR-8, Bob Nardelli joining us right now.

Bob, good to see you.

ROBERT NARDELLI, FORMER CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENT & CEO, HOME DEPOT: Good to see you, Neil.

CAVUTO: When I had Jack Welch here, your old boss, he was saying, Neil, there's an 80 percent chance we get this tax relief through. The markets are going to love it, even if it was corporate taxes.

And I differed with that, saying, if it's just corporate taxes addressed, I don't know if the markets will like that.

What do you think?

NARDELLI: Well, I spent a lot of time with Jack, so I don't want to say he's wrong, but I would share with you a different point of view.

I think it's critically important that sometime in the middle of this year, we do get a corporate tax rebate or reduction.

CAVUTO: Right.

NARDELLI: I think we work on repatriation.

But I think we have to address...

CAVUTO: Repatriation of the money held abroad.

NARDELLI: Yes.

CAVUTO: Right.

NARDELLI: But I think we have to do something for the small business person, for the LLCs, the subchapters, because they have to final on a personal basis.

And we need to give them the same incentive and the same opportunity that we're giving the large corporations. God knows it will help us level the playing field.

CAVUTO: But if we don't address the personal rate stuff, Bob, the feeling could be that that would be delayed. It's not denied, but delayed.

What do you think?

NARDELLI: I think that would be a problem.

I know this is a big challenge. It's a big issue. Otherwise, we would have addressed it over the last several years.

CAVUTO: What do you think of just the schism in Washington now, to the point that -- even with the Gorsuch thing?

I think it's illustrative of everything that is going on. If the president wants to get anything done, he is going to have to rely on his party, can't reach across the aisle. The other side feels angry because they were treated the same way, they think, with the Merrick Garland nomination of Barack Obama's. And the two sides are just not talking.

NARDELLI: I have never seen it quite as disruptive and not being able to get something done, Neil. It's unbelievable.

I have been around a long time, and to see the level of dysfunctionality out there. What really disappoints me is when some of these congressional leaders say, well, I have been here two decades, and he just doesn't understand.

CAVUTO: That Donald Trump doesn't understand.

NARDELLI: Donald Trump doesn't understand.

And we were talking earlier about business. Could you imagine if, as a CEO, I went into my board and I said, listen, I want to run slower and jump lower because that's just the way it is here?

(LAUGHTER)

NARDELLI: And they need to catch up with him.

The rate of change is unbelievable. Right? They're still looking at analog, and we're well into digital.

CAVUTO: That's a very good comparison.

And, another thing, too, if they're firing on all cylinders, then how much is it that they have a much lower approval rating than the president, half what his is?

So, the question I have for you is -- and Jack Welch characterized it this way. In Donald Trump, you have a glass-breaker. And they have tried to force him into this system and mechanics of how we get legislation through here.

And that's not what he is. And yet he risks doing it again revisiting the health care thing.

NARDELLI: Yes. Well, I think you make an excellent point.

Do we want have a low, slow GDP like we have had the last seven to eight years? You have got to have a 3 to 4 percent GDP.

CAVUTO: But this sort of behavior almost guarantees that.

NARDELLI: I know.

But thank goodness we have got somebody up there that is engaging with business. Thank God we have got somebody up there that is willing to talk to unions, to technology, to retail, to industrial...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But everything, Bob, is process.

I'm sure, when you came into Home Depot and you came into Chrysler, they probably gave you an earful. This is the process we have, Bob. This is how we do things around here.

NARDELLI: Yes.

CAVUTO: How do you break that mind-set? What do you do?

NARDELLI: Well, I did face that.

And there's a situation where I'm going to outlast you.

CAVUTO: Right.

NARDELLI: And, unfortunately, look what we see with the VA, where you can't terminate people whose performance is not of the standard that is out in the public domain.

If you look at the number of visitations some of those doctors have there vs. in the public sector, it's disheartening what is happening there.

But the same thing is true in almost any branch of the government. I believe there's 20 to 30 percent opportunity to waste less to able to buy more. I'm not sure we need a budget increase in every Cabinet.

CAVUTO: Agreed.

NARDELLI: I think we should take the waste out and then allow those individuals that save that money to reinvest it. That's one of the biggest incentives I think we could put out there.

But Trump is facing these things and he's facing tremendous adversity and animosity. But we need somebody out there. We could not go another four years where we were.

CAVUTO: We need the bull in the china shop. We need that.

NARDELLI: Somebody is going to break glass. Somebody is going to lead with their chin.

CAVUTO: Someone has got to do it. We just don't know who that is.

Bob Nardelli, thank you very, very much. Always good seeing you, my friend.

NARDELLI: Thank you, Neil.

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