Ross Perot on the Economy, Auto Bailout, and More

12.10.08 | Money | 0 Comments | by junger

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Former presidential candidate and businessman Ross Perot is answering questions over at the Freakonomics blog.

Check out some of the interesting points:

Do you consider all deficit spending misguided? Surely there are some times when it is called for.

Classical economic theory calls for deficit spending by government when faced with prospects of recession and depression. The challenge, of course, is to spend money in a manner that will create the most benefit for the economy. This will prove to be an incredibly complex assignment and the subject of much debate.

Of course, wartime often requires deficit spending. World War II required huge amounts of deficit spending, for example. The difference between then and now, however, is that we ran budget surpluses after the war and paid off the debt.

I remember when you were running for president, they showed you driving around in your old Volvo. What are you driving now? And what would you do about the U.S. automakers’ woes?

Actually, I was driving a 1986 Oldsmobile. I have always driven American-made automobiles, and I currently drive a Ford product.

Clearly, General Motors meets the definition of too big to fail, as do Ford and Chrysler. General Motors happens to be closer to running out of cash at this moment. The question is whether domestic automaker sales are slumping as a result of the short-term liquidity credit crunch or more basic reasons such as their business models. I suspect both are to blame, but the proportions are difficult to determine. An analytical approach would favor a prepackaged bankruptcy, but the situation is well beyond that stage. It’s now in the hands of the politicians who are almost certain to craft some type of bailout or bridge-financing feature to keep G.M. out of liquidation.

Check out the full Q&A here.

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