CAVUTO: How are you?
GLENN: If you wrote an e-mail to me and you said, Glenn, I want to credit you for my success and then I saw you on Stephen Colbert's show and you said, Stephen, I just have to credit you for my success, should I release the e-mail with you saying that to me?
CAVUTO: I would never say it in an e-mail to you. I would tell you it in the hopes that you weren't recording the conversation and then telling Colbert the same thing.
FOX Business Network
GLENN: How are you, Neil?
CAVUTO: Good, how are you, my friend?
GLENN: I'm very good. Thank you for having me on the program last night.
CAVUTO: You were great.
GLENN: I know, it's a cross I bear.
CAVUTO: Do you have a book out, by the way?
GLENN: I've heard that.
CAVUTO: Yes, yes.
GLENN: Actually, you know, Neil was very nice yesterday. He brought me onto the Fox Business and, you know, he wanted to talk butt and so we talked about my butt quite a bit and it was disturbing, Neil, it was.
CAVUTO: Well, our crew got into it. But it was very fun having you on. You are a very honest, regular guy. A lot of people -- you know they were surprised at that? After you came on, they were actually surprised.
GLENN: Who was surprised?
CAVUTO: Everybody. They said he seems like a really nice guy, nothing at all like you are on the air.
GLENN: They go over to Fox and they think I'm a three-headed monster? I mean, what is that?
CAVUTO: It was very enjoyable. Thanks for coming.
GLENN: I don't think this is going well. It's really not going well.
Neil, I wanted to bring you on because yesterday I was bumped for about five minutes and I patiently waited. But I was bumped because something going on with the economy and Countrywide with Banc of America, you and I disagree, I think, with what's coming down the pike on this economy and I wanted to get your opinion on it. I'd like you to talk me down from the suicide tree. As I'm looking at the Drudge Report today you have a report coming out now that says American Express had a huge spike in December of people not paying their bills, mainly in California and Florida. You have Merrill Lynch and Citigroup, possibly another writedown. Merrill Lynch is talking about, what is it, $29 billion total in their possible writedown. You've got Bernanke coming out and saying that he is going to have a significant rate cut. How does anyone deny that what we're facing here is huge?
CAVUTO: Well, my view and I've said this on the show and all, I believe this is the year we do head into a recession and I think that things at the very least are going to slow down markedly and we're seeing evidence of that. But I also hasten to add that what we're watching is something that is cyclical. In other words, not to dismiss going into recession but we haven't had one now in, what, more than six years and we're due. We're due. The last recession was fairly shallow. The recession before that was fairly shallow, nothing like what we experienced in the late Seventies. So there is a difference between the type of the recession I'm talking about and the environment I'm talking about.
I'm also well aware of the fact that overall going into this slowdown we had some pretty good numbers. 5% unemployment is what used to be considered low unemployment, yet when it was reported by the New York Times you would think it was 50% unemployment.
GLENN: I know.
CAVUTO: Fact of the matter is it's not that bad. So we're going into this slowdown from very, very high levels.
GLENN: But Neil, here's -- and help me understand this.
GLENN: Because I really want to be wrong on this. But I try to make it, look, this is what you do for a living; it's not what I do for a living. So I look at the economy as my house, all right? If my house was about to be graded down for a credit rating which means I'm going to have a harder time getting money, which the other story in financial news today is that the United States in the next ten years may lose its good credit rating because we look like we're bad credit now, and we are, if I can't get good credit, if I borrowed far more money than I could ever, ever pay back, no matter what kind of job I can get, I can't pay it back, the job that I do have, what keeps money strangely rolling into my house is the fact that I spend money, once I realize I can't spend money, then I can no longer make money, then I can no longer pay my bill and the whole thing falls apart. How does this not fall apart? Our GDP, 70% of it is not what it was in the 1970s. We're not making the cars, we're not making steel, we're not doing these things. We're spending money.
CAVUTO: Well, all of that is correct. Everything you just said is correct. And this is the year for the election. It's housing. It's the state of housing because a lot of people's sense of worth, financial strength, is in the worth of that home. And if that home is declined in value and people see that their neighbors are having a difficult time selling similar homes, then they will feel the psychological effect. There is no denying that. More than the stock market, more than you getting a 401k that looks good or a mutual fund statement that looks good or bad, it's this notion of the value of your home that most hits people. And you are right, a lot of people are getting a sense that things are not looking good for their house.
GLENN: Well, wait, wait. But at the same time, I mean, I know you saw the article that came out or the story that came out a couple of days ago that our credit is going through the roof again. There was a huge boom of people going out and buying on credit, people that cannot afford it. Nobody is stopping the cycle.
CAVUTO: But the way it reads that credit is that that credit's not being paid back. So you get reports that Visa and MasterCard and some of these others have had a big spike in usage. That's assuming that people are not either paying that back or they are just paying the minimum and there are indications from the credit card companies that that is simply not the case.
Now, I am not dismissing the problems that are acute in some of these once hot real estate areas where not so incidentally we're having some of these credit card problems as well, but it is not, it is not as bad as it's been reported. Having said all of that, Glenn, what I do see is a slowdown. What I do see is a recession. What I do see is a bear market but these are cyclical things in nature that can be made worse by increasing taxes and overregulating or made shallow by keeping taxes low and easing up on the regulation. That's our choice. It's slow, there's no denying it. We can compound the problem by adding insult to injury and overregulating this and taxing this or we can step back, let things sort of take their course, let outside individual buyers decide as Banc of America did with Countrywide that, look, it has gotten low enough and cheap enough that we're interested in buying it, albeit for selfish interests, and then let the market play through that. The government interfering, politicians interfering, politicians and bureaucrats regulating and taxing isn't the prescription for this. So I think what will happen is a classic case where the cure ends up being worse than the disease.
GLENN: Well, that's what it always is. I mean, that's why I've been beating the drum on "The Forgotten Man" for Amity Shlaes for I don't know how long, since that book came out. Read history, man. We're about to repeat it because of our stupid politicians.
All right, let me ask you two questions. First one is on the Fed. A dramatic cut, wouldn't that just encourage people to go out and borrow more money again? Doesn't that just pour more fuel onto the fire? Doesn't that drive the dollar down even further?
CAVUTO: Well, I take the opposite view on that, Glenn. Here's why. A dramatic cut by the Federal Reserve is the Fed's way of saying, hey, guys, we're in deep doo doo and we're worried about it, and I think these days, as with all the other prior cuts we've seen from the Federal Reserve, we've seen no responding retail pickup after these cuts. In other words, people are looking at these as a sign that maybe things really are slowing down and they really kind of wait not only for the price of things to go down at stores but at homes as well. And they also wait for the cost for borrowing to get those homes to go down. So they see another 1/2 point cut or whatever it will be, they are going to wait it out, assuming that not only will the value and the price of these homes on the market go down but why should I rush it because it looks like a federal reserve is cutting interest rates. So we'll hold off until it looks like they're done. People are very smart, and they have a history of doing things this way. So I'm not in the camp that people willy-nilly are spending like drunken sailors when rates get low. The danger is by the lower rates you give the banks and the credit agencies that kind of got themselves into a pickle with this, you essentially, you know, give them more nicotine for the nicotine fix they are trying to get off of. But that's okay.
GLENN: I get a lot of mail from people who yell at me who say, A, we're not headed for a recession because I've been saying it for a while. And then the other is stop telling people to stop spending money and paying off their debt; that doesn't help the economy and, you know, I mean, I've got a minuscule audience. I'm not going to affect the United States economy if my listeners went out there and stopped spending money.
CAVUTO: Well, you are the reason. We would not be facing this situation if you would just shut up.
GLENN: I know that. What I'm saying -- I mean, what I want to ask from you is isn't that --
CAVUTO: When you got out of that hospital, the first thing you said is sell everything. I think that's inappropriate.
GLENN: Sell. Let me ask, let me ask you, Neil Cavuto, isn't the best advice for individuals to get out of debt -- I mean not your house but I mean, get out of debt, get this crippling credit card, spend within your means and if you -- for me, I mean, the latest kick I'm on, if you want to go out and buy something, buy dry goods. Go buy some things that are going to be hit by inflation if the dollar starts to fall. Go out and buy some shoes for next year for your kids that you know you're going to need. In case nothing happens, well, then nothing happens. If something does happen, you just bought that coat on sale this year for next year and your dollar is still -- you're buying more of that coat today than you will in a year from now.
CAVUTO: It's not that bad but I think anytime you try to get your own balance sheets in order, whether you are a corporation or just, you know, a mom or dad, it's always wise. But I think it's important to point out here that Americans are not in as financially bad shape as they have been painted to be. When we get these indications or these figures that say we don't say very much or anything, those figures leave out, you know, 401k and mutual fund investments. They leave out bonuses that not everybody but some people get. I'm not saying that that negates this whole savings issue but it proves that things are not as bad as we've been told they are. Now, having said all of that, obviously the spending, you know, fury over the last ten years or so is spending down and that's only natural. But I don't believe that the best advice here is to hunker down and just, you know, sit in a room and not buy anything. I think that you buy vital goods. And what survives in times like these and the reason that --
GLENN: Vital goods.
CAVUTO: Drug stocks do well because, I don't know whether you're depressed and people need drugs. And food. Because if you are depressed, you eat. So I think that those are staples that do well.
GLENN: Neil, I don't know if you have time to hang on. I've got to take a network break here. Do you have to him to hang on? I just want to ask you politically. Do you have time or not?
GLENN: We'll be back with Neil in just a second.
GLENN: 888-727-BECK. From the Fox Business Channel it is Neil Cavuto. Neil?
GLENN: Okay, I'm going to put you on the spot. I don't even know if you'll answer these questions. Do you answer political questions honestly?
CAVUTO: I'm very --
GLENN: All right, here's the question. Candidate that would be worst for the economy that has a chance of winning and the candidate that would be the best for the economy that has a chance of winning.
CAVUTO: Well, I hate to be coy with you but any candidate supporting raising taxes in these environment, I don't care where they are in the polls, is not a good strategy, not a good policy.
GLENN: They are all saying, on the left every single one is saying that.
CAVUTO: All right. So I'll leave it at that. Now, anyone, anyone, Glenn, not only keeping the tax cuts in place but entertaining cutting them some more because they know that it will create more revenues and promise at the same time to do what should be done every time you cut taxes, cut spending as well will be --
GLENN: But see Rudy Giuliani, did you see Giuliani's tax cut?
GLENN: He says the biggest tax cut ever in the United States.
CAVUTO: If he gets his way, that one would be. But the one thing, and I had him on talking about this is he's got to accompany with that, if he does, this plan to cut the spending as well.
GLENN: And what did he say on the spending? Do you believe him? Did you look him in the eye?
CAVUTO: Well, I do. I believe him but as Ronald Reagan proved and as this President proved, you know, a President proposes and congress disposes. I don't care whether it's a friendly party or not a friendly one. They can't control themselves. It's like me in a bakeshop. You know, you tell me one eclair and I leave with the entire cannoli.
GLENN: All right, leave the gun, take the cannoli. Neil Cavuto from the Fox Business Channel. We'll talk again, my friend.