When Walter Schubert Met Barack Obama
BY Matthew Link
February 11 2009 1:00 AM ET
What did you think of Mr. Obama? I think he was kind of what I expected him to be
-- very down-to-earth. He didn’t have an
air of pretense; he was very genuine, very authentic.
He obviously knows he’s the president of the United
States and he could make people very uptight if he wanted
to, but he was very at ease with himself, and thus
made us all feel comfortable in his presence.
What advice did you give him? I had read Goldman Sachs's research on the
current state of the economy. I agreed with Goldman
Sachs that the current stimulus package wouldn’t
have a quick enough effect on the economy, and that a
capital gains tax cut of any type would have a
profound and immediate stimulative effect,
particularly a capital gains tax cut targeted at the TARP
assets. Valerie Jarrett, the senior advisor to the
president, and Sam Palmisano (CEO of IBM), whom I
shared my ideas with, really liked the idea -- they realize
that without encouraging private investment, especially with
regard to those assets, the possibility of the
government being the steward of 100% of those assets
would be very high.
What do you think the chances are of your ideas
being implemented? I talked to [out congressman and chairman of the
House Committee on Financial Services] Barney Frank
the next day, and he also liked the idea, but said the
first draft of the bill had already gone through the
House, but maybe it could get into Senate version. [But] it
could take a lot longer since it’s a major
idea. At the end of the day, though, I felt privileged
to be there, and to be able to participate in the process.
Whether it’s my idea or someone else’s that
helps solve the crisis, I don’t care. I think
the American people don’t either -- they just want
the problem solved.