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A Serious Time for the Economy
Reporting live from the Aspen Ideas Festival through U.S. Trust's Legacy Lens: WHAT IS a legacy WORTH?
In one of the final panels of the Aspen Ideas Festival on Tuesday, Mortimer Zuckerman and David Rubinstein took to the stage for an unmoderated conversation on a theme heard throughout the Festival week: the economy.
Where is it headed? Should Americans feel pessimistic or optimistic about the future? Both panelists hold dim views of the nation's economic prospects for the next few years and said that Washington D.C. are both to blame and part of the solution.
Zuckerman, newspaper publisher and the co-founder of Boston Properties, cited the nation's unemployment figures of over eight percent and warned the audience that the country is not out of the woods of the recession yet.
"We have to be very careful because business confidence is at a very low level, consumer confidence is at a low, and confidence in the government is very low," said Zuckerman. "The combination of these negative forces could combine together to create something dangerous."
Rubinstein, co-founder and co-CEO of The Carlyle Group, said that the only viable solution he sees for the country is to cut spending and increase taxes. "We're going to have to recognize that," he said.
Unfortunately, according to Rubinstein, no one in Washington feels the need to do anything because of the election year. "Nothing is going to get done," he said. "We have to change the dysfunction. Otherwise what's going to happen to us is what's happened to other countries around the world," he said. "The most important thing is not getting re-elected, the most important thing is making the country better."
Zuckerman said that he believes infrastructure spending and broadening the tax codes are two paths forward. "These are things that can be done and should be done and could have a major impact but are going to require political leadership," he said. "This is a very, very serious time."