In a wide-ranging interview on CNBC Wednesday afternoon investor Carl Icahn weighed in on the economy, Donald Trump's presidential campaign and his speech on the economy, the future of the dollar, why the American worker should vote for Trump and much more. Icahn said Trump's speech on the economy was "right on" and he should win "hands down." He also said Trump will appeal to the Archie Bunker's of the world.
"I think it's extremely important for this country to see Trump win," he said. "I have nothing against Hillary Clinton. You know, I'm not going to get into personal thing about her. I said that several times about my PAC. I'm not getting into personalities."
"I look at things simply and I made a lot of money just looking at simple truths," Icahn said Tuesday. "This is a simple truth. We have a massive problem and Donald is addressing it. The Democrats are not. Donald gave a speech that was to my mind right on about it. And if he sticks with that economic theme, he should definitely win hands down because I don't know why you wouldn't vote for him."
Icahn poked fun at the use of the term "service economy" by pundits explaining job numbers and predicted the downfall of the dollar.
"I still question the pundits that said, 'Oh, it's great, we're a service economy,'" Icahn said. "What does it do? What does that mean? We sit around and just text each other. What do we produce?"
"And eventually who's going to take our paper?" he asked. "We're living off imports that everybody loves the dollar, but sooner or later that's just going to blow up in one week. I mean, it's going to happen. It's happened in history. I don't think it's debatable. I don't even think the economic gurus of the Democratic party are going to debate the fact that we must be able to compete."
Icahn said the stock market is a mirage and he's not the only person in his circles who think that.
"The facts are today that we as a nation don't produce," Icahn said. "As I've said before -- and by the way, if you look at what i consider to be very, very smart guys, smart investors, they all feel sort of what I feel. That we are not producing as a nation. We're fooling ourselves. And the stock market is a mirage. That's all I can say. I'm not the only one saying that."
Icahn on Trump being "right on" about the economy and the reason why productivity has slowed down:
ICAHN: I think he's right on about the economy... He is exactly right on. And our country cannot exist when the government is at war with business. And that's exactly what we have. You know, today, productivity was down I think the third quarter in a row, growth in productivity. And the reason really is that our companies -- this is no secret. nobody can argue our productivity is at a low for an economy that is not in a recession, because, excuse me, our capital spending. Spending on plant, equipment, machinery, is at an all-time -- is really at a low. And you can't blame workers for not being productive when they're working with worn out tools.
Icahn on using the term "service economy" as an excuse to explain our economy. He also addressed zero interest rates and money printing:
ICAHN: And so the CEOs of our country, you can't blame them saying the hell with it, we'll borrow money at zero rates and we'll keep buying back stock. You see the stocks will go up, they make a fortune or make a lot by cashing in options or they play golf for the rest of their lives and the workers are sitting with no jobs or very few good jobs.
Don't be fooled by these numbers that, oh, we have employment. The employment are not in good jobs, they're not in service economy, and the Democrats excuse it and say, well, the pundits say, well, this is okay because we're a service economy. What the hell does that mean? We just keep texting to each other? That we just keep sending tweets to each other more and more. Well ain't that wonderful, and it is wonderful because there is no problem, they'll say.
No problems you'll have zero interest rates so you just keep printing up money -- and I think [Federal Reserver chairwoman] Janet Yellen is scared of this -- until the bubble bursts and we go over the cliff.
And really, you know, I look at things simply and I made a lot of money just looking at simple truths. This is a simple truth. We have a massive problem and Donald is addressing it. The Democrats are not. Donald gave a speech that was to my mind right on about it. And if he sticks with that economic theme, he should definitely win hands down because I don't know why you wouldn't vote for him.
Icahn on Trump's mouth getting him into polling trouble, why he is attractive to the American worker and why regulatory agencies such as the EPA and FTC need to be rein in and tamed.
ICAHN: Let me address this, at least the way I look at it. The real issue is what I just talked about. The issue isn't what he said about one guy, he blew up and said something about it. Okay. That happened. But I think if you stick to the economic message, there is no question that you cannot -- an economy can't exist, a capitalist economy can't exist when the government is perceived to be at war with business.
And therefore you have a bunch of workers in this country that understand that. And can't get good paying jobs. They can't get manufacturing, good paying jobs, because you have worn out tools. All that is true. Now, if you're going to discuss with me do I defend what he said about Khan? No, I don't. I think people make mistakes. That was just a mistake. And I think he's smart enough, and he is a very smart guy. I've known him for years and I think he's smart enough to understand that.
And if he sticks to what he's doing, I certainly do not understand why any worker, any middle class worker, you know, the Archie Bunkers of the world -- that was a great show, I used to watch it. Those guys are going to vote for him because they'r smart guys. They know they're getting screwed. And that is what I think will happen. And it's just what I said.
It's sort of open and shut. How do you have business exist? How do you have people put money in -- I own 20 companies, I got 93,000 workers and I take chances and I'm scared to put more money into equipment and manufacturing because I'm frightened about what the god-darn EPA is going to do to me, what the FTC is going to do and on and on and on. I don't think they're bad people of the EPA, but they look at or the FTC but they look at that as their mandate. And they're not really interested in the economy. And you have to rein them in. You have to tame them.
Icahn on living paycheck to paycheck, the downfall of the dollar and our 'service economy':
Let's clear it up. Archie Bunker is a middle class guy, somewhat educated even that doesn't know where his next check is coming to send his son or daughter to school, doesn't know if he's going to keep his job, he's bright guy and he reads the stuff today. It's not like in Russia where -- and why the hell should he vote for a system that is not giving him a good paying job? You know that's true. I don't think anybody's going to argue about that.
Yeah, you have jobs. By the way, it's going to even hurt the economy some of these jobs because even there -- hey, these service economies. I still question the pundits that said, oh, it's great, we're a service economy. What does it do? What does that mean? We sit around and just text each other. What do we produce? And eventually who's going to take our paper? We're living off imports that everybody loves the dollar, but sooner or later that's just going to blow up in one week. I mean, it's going to happen. It's happened in history. I don't think it's debatable. I don't even think the economic gurus of the Democratic party are going to debate the fact that we must be able to compete.
And even in technology we really don't because if you think about it we make the iPhones in China. So the only thing we do is send messages to each other and say isn't that wonderful sit around all day and text each other. And go and send tweets to each other. And how do we compete as a nation?
Icahn on why it's important for the country to see Trump win:
ICAHN: I'm willing to put in millions of dollars myself because I think it's extremely important for this country to see Trump win... I have nothing against Hillary Clinton. You know, I'm not going to get into personal thing about her. I said that several times about my PAC. I'm not getting into personalities...
You don't do personalities here. There's enough. People do know what Hillary Clinton's done. You don't have to bring it out. But people don't understand the problems with our economy.
That is something that's not hard to educate people to. People do know many, many, many millions of people do not have good jobs. They do know that. But they don't know why. And I'm making it simple why. The regulatory agencies and other pacs are just scaring the hell out of them.