Video: Pete Peterson, David Walker on Oil, Health Care, Economy, Equities

Another good Friday on CNBC — excellent guests, discussing real issues, and in great detail.

Like the interview two weeks ago with David Einhorn and William Ackman, this shows how good finacial television can be when a smart guest discusses weighty topics with sufficient time to go into details beyond bumper sticker.

I don’t know much about David Walker, but I was very impressed with him. Here’s info on the Peterson Foundation.

I don’t think the videos have as much Walker as they did on TV . . . 


Private Equity With Pete Peterson
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Discussing the state of private equity, with Pete Peterson, The
Blackstone Group chairman/co-founder and David Walker former U.S.


Wall Street Star
click for video

Perspectives on the economy, with Pete Peterson, The Blackstone
Group chairman/co-founder and David Walker former U.S. Comptroller



Video: David Einhorn, Greenlight Capital, William Ackman, Pershing Square Capital

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. grumpyoldvet commented on May 24

    Yes it was an interesting discussion but Peterson is for McCain and McCain wants to privatize SS…never gonna happen….also Peterson’s idea is to reduce Medicare….again never gonna happen..and it pisses me off every time I hear them calling these two programs “entitlements”…great Republican examples of Frank Luntz’ use of words….we need serious discussion with real solutions and not dogma as negotiating positions

  2. grumpyolsvet commented on May 24

    and I’ll bet my bottom dollar that Peterson, like Welch from GE and every other greedy CEO has his/her medical/prescription payments paid for by their former companies…and how come virtually every corp honcho has a defined benefit plan but stick everyone else with a 401k….greedy bunch of SOBs…so if they wish everyone else to eb njoy reduced payments how about them…AAARGH

  3. Barry Ritholtz commented on May 24

    The guy set up a foundation, and then funded it with a Billion dollars — I don’t think he worries much about who pays his medical costs.

    And Walker very much gave McCain’s spokesperson grief for his weaseling around with the numbers, and on the flipflop on the Bush Tax cuts — so I give them credit for being realists, regardless of who Peterson personally likes for 2008 . . .

  4. grumpyolsvet commented on May 24

    Thanks for answering Barry…Yes Walker did give McCain’s “economic” adviser some grief but I think only because he never gets into specifics…just we’re going to reduce this by X dollars but can’t tell what they are going to cut….As far as Peterson he may have give the $ Billion but shall we just wait and see what his “parachute” deal is…’s always an eyepopper when the details are released..

    Gotta say tho, this is one of the best finalcial blogs about…..can’t wait for you to get on LKs show and call out the cheerleaders

  5. VennData commented on May 24

    The system will eventually self-correct, for example, you can see it in the destruction of the dollar. The Central Banks and SWF’s are buying up all that US debt and it’s still not enough to keep the dollar stable given our current account (greedy consumers) and Federal debt (greedy voters and consultant-handled, lobby-financed, incumbent, politicians.)

    So like gas prices today the other markets in everything from equities to bonds from currencies to commodities are sending a message you can’t ignore: not only won’t the fiscal trends continue (have you seen the ’08 deficit?) Personal debt balances are being forced down.

    If you’re not prepared for it, your standard of living will drop much more than if you adapt now.

    Debt-financed consumption is a dead end.

  6. taxman commented on May 24

    he is sharing a fair amount of sage wisdom – listen again, many of us will only have such at circa age 81

  7. grumpyolsvet commented on May 24

    finalcial ???? Can see the nun standing over me and handing me the “little blue composition books” and telling me to write the word 500Xs, so I’ll forever spell it correctly, in Palmer handwriting method….my fingers are cramping up now…oh and they counted the words???????

  8. Winston Munn commented on May 24

    VennData wrote, “Personal debt balances are being forced down.”

    Increased personal savings has a seemingly strong correlation to stock market woes, while low savings seems to help drive bull markets. That makes sense as with low savings the money has to go somewhere, either into consumption, bonds, or equities.

    This is one of the primary reasons the U.S. is in for a long steady downward grind – there is no household liquidity to drive consumerism and no solvency to increase debt.

  9. Bruce commented on May 24

    One of my partners told me last week that the best investment he ever made was…..his education….probably right.

    He is self employed as am I and is in good position to ride out whatever comes….

    I wish I could have driven this little point home to my kids.. two of the three have college degrees, but in majors that in times like these can easily become “would you like fries with that order?” jobs if times get hard enough.

    Bruce in Tennessee

  10. Jim Haygood commented on May 24

    David Walker is one of the few personages within the federal government willing to address the unsustainability of its $53 trillion negative net worth, of which $41 trillion is associated with social insurance.

    Everyone else in the Media-government complex continues using a cash-basis (instead of accrual-basis) budget, which is so irrelevant to long-term federal obligations as to be fraudulent. And the charade of raising the debt limit every year or two lets them pretend to be responsible.

    $53 trillion is four years worth of GDP. No possible way to pay that off in our lifetimes — not that it was ever intended to pay it off. Problem is, thanks to the magic of compounding, even the interest charge on such an astronomical sum ultimately outgrows the surplus cash flow available to service it. Like VennData, I assume that the system will “soft default” by meeting its obligations with worthless dollars. Much as Zimbabwean pensioners are duly receiving their promised Z$ 1,000-a-month pensions … but a liter of milk costs a million Z-dollahs.

    Better learn to identify edible nuts, berries and mushrooms — could come in handy someday. David Walker is fighting the good fight. But the toxic combination of democracy and paper money is a Ponzi-like doomsday mechanism. The perverse incentives ENSURE that the system will self-destruct, regardless of which Depublicrat figurehead is in charge. Let it bleed …

  11. larster commented on May 24

    Most people that I know understand the problem, but who is going to tell them that they have to drive a smaller car, their house is going to be worth a lot less, etc.? The housing debacle could not have been at a worse time. Home values will have to decline even more than some of the bearish forecasts in order to gin up the savings and lower out of pocket living costs so that the savings can be transferred into increased taxes, co-pays, etc. Wages and salaries will not increase fast enough to positively impact the problem. Therefore, the question before the house is how to protect the homeowners that have a mortgage as their largest investment takes the gaspipe. Peterson make like McCain but I’m not sure that his life experience of marrying a rich, good looking woman is scalable.

  12. Steve Barry commented on May 24

    Peterson is an odd guy. I saw him give a speech at NYU 4 years ago, where he talked about his book Running On Empty…how the US is virtually bankrupt with 70 Trillion unfunded Medicare liabilities. I thought he was a retired Nixon aide, policy commentator and author. I was shocked to find out this same guy was Chairman of Blackstone during their IPO. What a ball of contradiction. Talk about imperfect messengers…am I to listen to a multi-billionaire who made a fortune in the private equity bubble on how to fix the problems? Which is the real Peterson?

  13. am4 commented on May 24

    Hmm. Too much fawning for my tastes–that guy Joe is one of the reasons I stopped watching CNBC in the 90s. He’s a blathering frat boy with a bad haircut.

    I have to take issue with Peterson’s repeated assertion he’s not one of the richest men in America. Is he not in the 1%? Or the 0.1%? Sorry, but that makes you one of the richest. This false perception of his is one of the drivers of greed in the country. These millionaire/billionaires look at Gates and Buffet and Russian kleptocrats and think in their narcissism, “I’m not rich like those people! No greed here! I know when enough is enough!”–when they ought also to look at their wealth in comparison to the rest of the population and question the impact of their own actions and drive for more, more, more money.

  14. BG commented on May 24


    Thanks for the post. This is the kind of stuff I am replacing my Fox Saturday morning Business Block with.

    I mute the volume and watch the absolutely beautiful woman with short skirts while getting my commentary in various other places like TBP.

    Thanks again.

  15. Greg0658 commented on May 24

    Our savings was used to bring Chindia into the capitalist envelope to quickly. Now what would our savings be used for? Provide retirement benefits to the 55 and up age group? Or more overseas cheap labor factories?

    Yesterday with GWB pushing for the Colombia Free Trade Agreement I started looking for articles both Pro & Con. Con was a hard find. The 4th Dem Senator website Dorgan provided the info. Basically the fight is Account Balance. Wikipedia provided a good backround with external links.

    Latin Business Chronicle Tuesday, May 20, 2008 article “McCain: Colombia FTA Benefits U.S.” writes “estimates that over $1 billion in tariffs have been imposed on U.S. exports to Colombia since the FTA was signed”

    me now:
    Sure an export manufactured from a US shore company is a positive. Thats a job, and a profit to a corporation. But looking around I see the corporations able to expense (or legally evade) tax payments via instruments.

    So talking PayGo; are we expecting that $1Billion loss of tax revenue will be replaced with even higher exports thus filling the tax coffers? And what of the grains into our cereals on Americas breakfest tables? More its Ethanol fault?

    Seems this debate needs to open further into who is paying Americas bills of infrastructure. Who is paying for the police force to enforce the world over with capitalisms dominant culture? Americas Joe&Jane6Packs thats who. IMO.

    An open and accessable set of unfixed books for the Corporation of America would be nice. Before Joe6Packs Bud (like Miller) is owned by the WTO and our flag needs the 50 stars in the blue field replaced with that logo.

  16. J.S. Cameron commented on May 24

    David Walker is one of the few personages within the federal government willing to address the unsustainability of its $53 trillion negative net worth, of which $41 trillion is associated with social insurance.


    Walker resigned his position as Comptroller General and head of GAO in March 2008 to head the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. But you’re absolutely right that he stood out for speaking out on the seriousness of our fiscal problems. He toured as part of the Concord Coalition, but for most Americans he’s an unknown and, sadly, a big yawn. We need more like him. Lots more.

  17. Carmen commented on May 24

    This what Dean Baker says about Peterson:

    “Unfortunately, there is a whole army of deficit fear mongers who have tried to use the projected explosion of health care costs as a pretext for cutting important government programs like Social Security. One of the generals in this army is Peter Peterson, an incredibly rich investment banker who has garnered tens of millions of dollars of tax breaks that allowed him to pay a lower tax rate on his earnings than school teachers and firefighters pay on their earnings. Peterson was most recently in the public eye for lobbying Congress to protect the “fund manager tax subsidy.”

    However when he is not lobbying Congress to protect the tax break that has allowed him and other very wealthy people to evade billions of dollars of taxes, Mr. Peterson is lobbying Congress to cut Social Security. He has repeatedly told audiences that “I don’t need my Social Security” (after getting hundreds of millions in tax breaks, who would?), which he then uses as a justification for cutting Social Security benefits for tens of millions of workers who have paid for them. ”

  18. VJ commented on May 24


    …I give them credit for being realists…

    In what possible manner are they being realists ?

    They run around telling the media and the American people that the federal budget deficits are because of the Evil Entitlements, Social Security and Medicare, when they are as a result of massive tax cuts for the Rich & Corporate and massive Corporate Welfare.

    They are merely attempting to resurrect the same crazy RightWing fantasy that failed miserably in the 1980s, and failed miserably again over the last eight years, to enact massive tax cuts for the Rich & Corporate to “Starve the Beast” with income tax revenues plummeting to 1940s or 1950s levels, then claim the only way out is to cut or eliminate Social Security and Medicare.

    Social Security is more financially sound today than it has been throughout most of its 72-year history and Medicare’s problem is that it is purchasing medical care from a bloated and failed healthcare industry.

    They have a solution in search of a problem, when the real solution is to reverse the failed policies that caused the problem.

  19. Anonymouse commented on May 24

    Hmmm… disappointing to see how polemical the discussion of this topic is here. I was hoping for less orthodoxy and more analysis.

  20. Hulu commented on May 25

    We’ve got lots of CEO defending their “entitlements” on TV, and we sure do have a lot of retirees defending their “entitlements” here.

  21. Karl K commented on May 25

    Yep, Barry, the minute you trot out a Republican, the class warfare mob comes screaming onto the board…”the rich guy has gotten all the tax breaks and now wants to take stuff away from the little guy.”

    Well, class warfare nuts, got some some news for you. If we were to take every last nickel from every billionaire in this country RIGHT NOW, and salted it away to pay for Medicare or Social Security…guess what?

    It would do NOTHING…repeat NOTHING…. to forestall the inevitable crisis that will face us.

    So, yeah, it feels wonderfully smug and self-satisfying to be the demagogue and rail against the “hypocrisy” of guys like Petersen.

    But once you’re done doing the financial equivalent of Code Pink, whaddya got?

    Same problem. Same issues. Same tough decisions.

  22. VJ commented on May 26

    Ah, what “crisis” ?

    * The only “crisis” with Social Security is the manufactured one. Social Security is more financially sound today than it has been throughout most of its 72-year history.

    * The administrative overhead in Medicare is 2%. Medicare loses about 10% to fraud by providers. So 88% goes to provide medical care.

    The administrative overhead in the private sector health insurance companies is 30%, which goes to Executive Salaries, Shareholder Dividends, Sales Commissions, and Advertising & Marketing. Then there’s another 10%-15% that goes to profit. They lose 15% to fraud by providers. We’re not even getting to the corporate jets, the corporate yachts, the corporate penthouse condos, the corporate golf course, and the tall mirrored-glass headquarters building. So for every dollar you pay in healthcare premiums, well less than half goes to medical care.

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