GLENN: Welcome to the program. Third most listened to from Manhattan. My name is Glenn Beck. Glad you're here. Mitt Romney is a guy that has been a CEO, gets it, understands the economy unlike any other people that I hear talking, even the current CEOs I'm thinking, what are they even saying. Mitt Romney, welcome to the program. How are you, sir?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: I'm terrific, Glenn. Thank you.
GLENN: Can you please help tell me and everybody else what the heck is even going on? What is this and what does this mean to the average person?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, the good news is that bank accounts are insured, brokerage accounts are held in people's names and to the extent they're not, they're also insured. So people don't need to worry about losing their money as they see the topsy turvy things going on in Wall Street. But what's happening is that over the past several years with interest rates extremely low, held artificially low and with mortgage banks and by the way, politicians of Republican and Democratic stripe alike all saying give money out to people so they can buy homes, mortgage money was handed out like candy and the result of this was homes were being bought like crazy and now people are finding they can't make the payments and so what you have on your hand is a housing crisis and a mortgage crisis, where the mortgages are not being paid back and so the institutions which hold those mortgages or have guarantees on them are finding themselves in trouble and they're going under one by one. And the government is having to step in to make sure that the well, not that their shareholders are protected but rather make sure that the public is protected.
GLENN: I heard a former Fed chair say this morning that he thinks this is it, this is it. Now we're now it's going take us about two years to dig our way out but this is the last shoe to drop. Do you buy that at all?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: It's possible. You know, the strange thing about recessions is that as Alan Greenspan has pointed out, they are oftentimes caused by a healthy dose of irrational behavior and you never know what irrational behavior's going to do. It's hard to predict. But, you know, I think with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac now in stable hands and with this AIG picture behind us, there's a real good shot that we won't see major financial institutions like this in trouble. But, of course, we're going to have banks go under. We usually have about 100 banks a year that go under in this country. We'll have at least that many this year and there will be plenty for the media to write about that will be scary but, you know, we can hope that and I think we have a good prospect of believing that the worst is behind us in terms of these financial institution bankruptcies.
GLENN: Here we are, we get up this morning and I think, oh, wow, this is fantastic, we own an insurance company now, and the largest one in the world. This is great. We seem to be in an acquisition mode that makes me slightly uncomfortable. Meanwhile Pelosi and Reid are politicking for a new federal agency whose job would be to buy bad assets from corporations. This is where are we getting this money?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, actually the it was something I recommended about a year and a half ago, something similar which was, look, there ought to be a voluntary effort where people that are holding these mortgages or banks that are holding these mortgages or other investors could contribute them to an entity, contribute them to the entity and then the entity goes out and tries to collect what they can and ultimately sends the money back to whoever contributed it and
GLENN: Wait, wait, wait. That's a federal agency you wanted to create?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: I wanted to make that a very private and voluntary effort on the part of institutions.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: And so that was a way to go. What you don't want to have happen and is what's happening right now which is that let's say one bank holds a piece of debt from General Motors and that bank is in overnight trouble, disaster. They have to sell that piece of paper they got from General Motors for 10 cents on the dollar. Well, because we have a rule that says everybody that holds that same paper must mark to market, they all write down that General Motors paper to 10 cents and that causes all of their balance sheets to be in trouble. Some of our rules just don't make sense in this kind of a, kind of a panic selling setting where some institutions are selling well below the true value of their asset.
GLENN: You said just a little while ago, and it just I mean, I tell you, Mitt, I think this is the winning strategy and I think it's because you mean it and I think Sarah Palin means it and I hope John McCain means it. This is not a Democratic problem. This is a Republican and Democratic. This is a Washington problem.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Yeah, you're absolutely right on this. We watched people on both sides of the aisle celebrate as mortgages were being given out and being backed by the federal government through effectively Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, mortgages were being given out to people who didn't have to show they had the ability to pay, people who didn't have to put a down payment down, people who were getting interest only mortgages with a variable rate. We were celebrating that. Republicans and Democrats were celebrating it, and it led to a bubble, overwhelmingly high prices and some mortgages out there that weren't worth very much and that's all coming home to roost and, you know, shame on the people who were encouraging it. And there's plenty of blame to go around. It's not one party or the other. And it's Wall Street, it's Main Street, it's homeowners, it's mortgage banks, it's bankers, it's regulators and it's Republicans and Democrats alike. So, you know, let's stop worrying about who's to blame. Let's worry instead about what you do to fix it and how to get our economy growing again.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: And there's where John McCain's right. Hold down taxes, keep trade open with other nations and stop sending billions of dollars every day out of our country to buy oil.
GLENN: Yesterday Joe Biden said that, you know, Obama was going to hike the taxes over, anyone over $250,000. He said no economist has ever said that's bad for the economy. Meanwhile Barack Obama's tax plan and I just figured this one out he wants to raise the minimum wage yet again but in a different way. He is going to give tax rebate checks to anyone who is making minimum wage of up to $1100 a year. What do these two things do to our economy?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, first of all, raising taxes on anyone, even though sometimes it's popular to raise taxes on your enemy, but raising taxes on anyone is never good for the economy. It takes money out of the free economy, it takes money out of investment funds which can be used to create new enterprises and create jobs and puts it in government's hands. And that's not good for the economy. Around the world the nations that have low taxes like Ireland, for instance, are growing like crazy and those with high taxes like Japan and us are having a much more difficult time. So raising taxes is never good. And, you know, right now there are about 40% of Americans that pay no income tax at all, none, and at some point you say, you know, isn't it appropriate that everybody pay something, that there's a fair share. And if Barack Obama wants to basically pay off voters in saying, look, all you guys, I'm going to give you checks and take money away from the wealthiest Americans, it's a politics of envy that I just don't think works economically and I don't think it will work politically.
GLENN: The headline today is Carly Fiorina, CEO of HP, she said this is the headline that Palin and McCain are not qualified to be CEOs. What she actually said is none of the four are qualified to be CEOs. You're a CEO. You're a very successful businessman. Any of them qualified to be CEOs?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Look, I would be happy to have John McCain and Sarah Palin as CEOs of enterprises I've invested in over the years and there's no question that they have executive and leadership experience. I have to tell you that Barack Obama and Joe Biden are a little more difficult for me to assess because neither one has really ever had a leadership responsibility. So I'm not going to opine on those two, but John McCain and Sarah Palin I'd be happy to hire them.
GLENN: What is the have you met Sarah Palin?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: I sure have.
GLENN: What do you think of her personally? Do you think she's did you see Batman by any did you see Batman?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Of course I haven't seen the latest. I saw the earlier. I saw the earlier Batman.
GLENN: The last Batman and I hate to wreck the ending for you but the last Batman is the guy that everybody thinks is good actually turns bad and Batman says you are going to have to blame it all on me because we have to have somebody we can believe in. Sarah Palin seems to me to be a genuine reformer, somebody that will take on her own party, take the beam out of her own party's eye first and that's what America is looking for right now and that's exactly what we mean or what we need. Do you believe she is and has the spine to remain who we think she is?
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, I believe she does, and frankly I believe John McCain does. Look, over the years John McCain has made a lot of Republicans mad. He's probably made this President mad. We don't have tapes of the White House like we used to in the Nixon days but my guess is there's been an expletive or two expressed in John McCain's direction when he voted against Bush on issue after issue and, you know, you want that kind of backbone. You want a person who will explain why they don't agree with something and who will stand their ground and not just do what their party tells them to do, and John McCain has done that, Sarah Palin has done it, and I think you'll see if those two are in the White House and working together, you're going to see them dramatically change the way government works in Washington. And it will be painful will for a lot of people, but you're going to hear a lot of screaming from the fat cats, from the lobbyists, a lot of screaming from congressmen who want pork projects from their home district and McCain's going to stare them down and say no way.
GLENN: Mitt Romney, thanks.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: You bet, Glenn, bye bye.