T. Boone Pickens: Donald Trump Is The Only Candidate Who Could Change Something
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David Westin, co-anchor of Bloomberg <GO> recently spoke with T. Boone Pickens and Sam Zell, questioning the market titans on the current economic environment in the United States and abroad.
Westin asked Pickens if opportunity still exists. T. Boone replied that there is a lot more opportunity today than in the past. He said he talks to a lot of graduating students and tells them, “You’re in a tough time now, but things will get better.”
Speaking of growth, Sam Zell said, “Everyone who is young and getting started believes that there isn’t opportunity compared to someone who has achieved it. There is plenty of opportunity. That being said, I think there will be fewer opportunities that there was when we (he and Pickens) got out.”
“Regulation and growth, are incompatible,” Zell said, mentioning that for him the cost of regulation has gone up five times in recent years.
The Government And Oil
Pickens commented, “Investing in oil in America is a far superior bet than investing overseas. 50 percent of drills are in America because we are the best. Our people, our technology – it’s the best.”
If Pickens got to pick his way with the government, he would get rid of Middle East oil, saying it's not necessary and there's plenty Stateside. “The only reason to stay in the Mideast is for our friend Israel. Israel is a better friend than the UK.”
Zell chimed in, “How can you look at the world through the prism of oil. If we pulled out tomorrow, there would be chaos in the world. If we pulled the fifth fleet out, how long would it be before the Middle East is overrun?”
Another Side Of Energy
Weighing in on energy, Zell’s biggest concern is that no one is doing the numbers. “You and I are subsidizing billionaires to buy all these electric cars (from Tesla). There is no substitute for cost benefit analysis, and in all this solar and wind stuff, there has been an absence of cost benefit. If we keep subsidizing, we’re going put yourself in a worse financial situation.”
Pickens said, “You can't have a heavy-duty semi running on a battery. You’ll have a battery bigger than the truck!”
Pondering Politics And Employment
Turning to politics, Zell said, “Building a business is like building a brick wall. You need to lay the foundation before you can build. Our president needs to be a leader that business owners can have confidence in. We must have confidence in our leaders.”
Pickens said, “I was sitting in front of a congressional committee and said, I have never come to Washington asking anyone to do anything for me. I have asked that they don’t do something to me though.”
“What this election is all about is execution of America’s policies,” said Zell.
Pickens believes Donald Trump is smart enough to surround himself with smart people, including a vice president who has political experience. “He’s the only candidate (of both sides) that has a chance to change something.”
Pickens and Zell agree that the country is currently functioning under a system that has dis-incentivized millions of Americans to work less. The jobs being creating are lower quality than they have been in decades. Zell called them “shovel ready unemployment benefits.”
On A Lighter Subject
To wrap up, Westin asked the panelists what they’re proudest of.
Pickens said he is most proud of making enough money to give away $1 billion and to give away more money than he is worth.
Zell is most proud of being motivated to make a difference. He’s done that by making an effort to give away money, but also by looking at impacts in industry and example setting.
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