Charles Schwab, founder and chairman of the investment company that bears his name, reiterated his critical views of both Federal Reserve Chief Ben Bernanke and President Barack Obama’s economic leadership on Thursday during the Schwab Impact 2011 conference in San Francisco.
Schwab echoed some themes he raised in an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal in late September. He views significant change in Washington as critical to a turnaround in the U.S. economy.
“What Bernanke is saying is a bit of BS,” said Schwab, 73, in a discussion led by CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo before about 2,100 advisors and other guests. “The U.S. does not have full control of prices and inflation, which can come from China or could be from oil or another commodity on which we are interdependent as a country.”
(Charles Schwab will be speaking at Schwab Impact 2012 in Chicago on Nov. 14, 2012, with Scott Nuttall and George Roberts of KKR.)
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“I should say that I am generally more positive than what I see on CNBC,” added Schwab. “From a 39,000-foot view, the economy doesn’t look so bad. We have 139 million or 90% of the workforce employed, liquidity is incredible, we’ve deleveraged the economy … many things are highly positive.”
The U.S. economy has “good pools of labor and capital” to help it expand. “We are at a point where we can make a turn,” the former Schwab CEO shared. What must come first, he asserts, is formidable shifts in Washington.
“It requires change and a sense of change in leadership, anticipation of new tax systems, dealing with budget deficits,” Schwab said. “Someone of strength has to make these decisions, and we do not have that strength,” he explained, referring to, but not directly naming Obama.
As for Republican leadership, the party has to have “someone electable,” Schwab said, noting that he sees Dodd-Frank as a “disaster.”