CLAY: We are joined now by Charles Gasparino. He is Fox Business Network’s senior correspondent. And so, Charles, you’ve suddenly seen the Elon Musks and the Jeff Bezoses of the world — big-time business leaders and titans — firing back at the incompetence of Joe Biden’s administration in a public fashion. What does that mean? Are you surprised that it took so long, and are they right with their criticism as they address what’s going on with our economic situation?
GASPARINO: Here’s the thing that’s kind of that’s even more interesting that Bezos and Musk because Musk is kind of like, you know, this is what he does. He, you know, attacks everybody, right, kind of a equal opportunity abuser. Bezos is not really the CEO — he’s not the CEO anymore, he’s the chairman — so he’s got more lauded. But what’s interesting is what’s going on with the main line CEOs who are scared to death of the left, you know, getting called before Elizabeth Warren and being, you know, having the biting regulatory agenda apparatus go after them.
They’re even starting to criticize what’s going on right now in terms of policy. I mean, you hear Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan, is out there speaking about the lack of results-based policy coming out of Washington. You know, Washington is run not by the Republicans reminded, it’s run by the Democrats, both houses, both parts of… You know, they have the White House, they have Congress and the Senate. So — and Larry Fink talking about that ESG standards and environmentalist stuff has been going too far.
Now we have inflation and higher oil prices. So you’re seeing it among the sort of corporate elite, who definitely were not MAGA Republicans, you know? (chuckles) Some of them are Republican. A lot of them aren’t. They’re kind of in the middle, to the left, and to the right. But they’re now going after Biden, subtly, I would say, because they don’t mention him by name. Again, they run regulated institutions.
But they’re starting to raise questions about the competence of the administration, and there’s no better metaphor of its lack of competence than the fact that I can’t buy baby formula right now. It’s really kind of an absurd thing. You know, the FDA shuts down a factory and doesn’t think, well, maybe if we shut down this factory, we’re not gonna get any baby formula. And there’s only like two producers of the stuff. It’s really… You know, it’s really a sad state of affairs. And it’s probably not gonna get any better because Joe Biden’s not going anywhere for a while.
BUCK: That’s what I was gonna ask you about, Charlie. We’re speaking to Charlie Gasparino of Fox Business, and CNN right now has a story up, $5 gas. We have the… Clay and I were joking around about —
BUCK: — it’s rough humor — that Biden keeps setting records, not good records. We had, what is it, 4.50 a gallon something today, I keep, something 4.52 today. CNN says $5 gas could become widespread. Why is this…? Why should we believe that this won’t get worse? Is the Biden administration doing anything that will really ease the situation of gas production and all effects that that has on the economy?
GASPARINO: Not that I’ve noticed. I mean, have they started…? I mean they keep talking about how there’s all these licenses out there without saying you need additional permits on top of the licenses which they won’t grant. I mean, there’s a lot of stuff they could be doing which they’re not doing and, you know, the markets… The funny thing is that as much as he… You know, he gave an inflation speech last Tuesday, which was sad because it was so out there and divisive and actually some parts were really stupid.
But, you know, he gives this inflation speech where he essentially lied and misrepresented what’s going on in terms of oil exploration how. Yes, you can get a license — there’s lots of licenses out there — but there’s no… You can’t get the additional permits to start drilling. And I think the market sniffed this out immediately, or else if that were the case, if it was just a bunch of oil companies sitting on licenses that they can go tomorrow, well, guess what? The price of oil would shoot down dramatically and it’s not shooting down dramatically, it’s going up.
BUCK: Can I just ask you, Charlie, since you’ve been covering this, is this the most economically incompetent White House you’ve ever covered?
GASPARINO: Well, Obama wasn’t such great shakes, either. I would say this. They’re incompetent on so many levels that it’s actually scary. It’s not just economics. It’s like — and I thinking it goes to him. I don’t think even the lefty policymakers that he surrounds himself with are this dumb. I think… You know, I ask a lot of people ’cause they know, you know, some of the people in the economic position, you know, Brian Deese over in the NEC and, you know, Ron Klain, who’s the chief of staff, and even Janet Yellen.
They’re not like intellectually limited people. They’re pretty smart. My guess — and the generals as well, right? General Milley. These are not stupid people. They work for somebody who’s obstinate and at this point stupid. If you look at what happened in Afghanistan, he overruled the generals, and I’m pretty sure he’s overruling everybody on economic policy matters right now as he moves, as he wants to be so… He’s so dead set to be more transformational than his old friend, Barack Obama. I mean, that’s what he said. I mean, it’s in that book from the New York Times writers. And it’s so obvious, it’s true. He thinks he is a latter-day FDR and he’s going full bore, and he doesn’t care how much economic pain it costs.
CLAY: Charles, where would inflation be if Joe Biden had actually gotten what he wanted in terms of Build Back Better and if the Democrat Party had been able to deliver for him as he hoped they would have been?
GASPARINO: Well, it’s 8% now, right?
CLAY: Because it seems to me it would certainly be double digits and that Joe Manchin saved him from complete oblivion. But how would you assess the overall market situation if we had trillions of dollars more of government spending out there?
GASPARINO: I mean, just think about we have 8% based on what we have now. If you, you know, handed out checks for people to stay home even more, that would exaggerate — or exasperate — the supply chain issues even more, put much more demand on — add much more to the demand — side of the economy. He had tax increases which would hurt the supply side of the economy, meaning, you know, businesses and small businesses would have been hit with higher taxes, thus they wouldn’t have created as much. I mean, it would have been a recipe for, I’d say — I mean, I’ve heard people, CEOs talk about 20% —
GASPARINO: — if that happened.
CLAY: So Joe Biden… I think this is significant ’cause Joe Biden’s trying to argue now that he has a solution to inflation. If he had gotten in place the policies that he wanted to put in place, we can find dealing right now with 20% inflation. In other words, why would we trust him at all to solve this issue —
GASPARINO: You can’t.
CLAY: — given that he would have exacerbated and made it so much worse if he had gotten what he wanted?
GASPARINO: You can’t. This is such a train wreck economically, presidential train wreck from an economic standpoint and, as I said, many other standpoints. The only thing that is closing — is preventing — his approval ratings from going down to, like, 10% is pretty much having a cheerleading media, and you could see it in so much of the stuff. I see it on social media all the time. We had that lousy inflation print the other day, 8.3%. By the way, the consensus estimated at 8.1%; so, actually is higher than the consensus and is still at 8%. It was the month before 8.5%. But that’s immaterial difference. And I’ll never forget. There was a CNN correspondent Jim Sciutto or something. I can’t remember.
BUCK: Sciutto. Yes.
GASPARINO: Yeah. He said, “Well, at least inflation’s getting better.” I’m paraphrasing, but he basically, you know, made it out to be, like, a big, positive thing. And I was like, is this guy nuts? (crosstalk)
BUCK: (laughing) He works for CNN so there’s a decent chance.
GASPARINO: It’s that materially really different? I mean, I know he works for CNN but does he have any clue about anything? And I actually tweeted at him. He didn’t say anything. (laughing) I mean this guy’s gotta have his head examined if he thinks this is a good number. And the market sniffed it out immediately and I believe the market traded it off 600 points that day. I mean, you can’t fool the markets on this stuff. It’s really interesting how the media spins so positive for this guy who’s actually not nice to anybody. Did you ever notice how nasty he is?
BUCK: I say this all the time, Charlie. I’ve been saying one of the biggest lies is that Joe Biden is somehow a nice guy. He’s not nice. (laughing) He’s a jerk.
GASPARINO: Who’s he nice to, his dog?
BUCK: He’s unbelievable. They had a dog, by the way, they had to get rid of him ’cause he kept attacking secret as he was agents but that’s a —
CLAY: His dog is nasty too. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
BUCK: Not a good sign. I’m gonna say as a dog lover, someone’s dog is attacking people randomly, it’s usually an issue.
GASPARINO: (laughing) yeah.
BUCK: Before I let you go, could I ask you about…? We’re speaking to Charles Gasparino, everybody, Fox Business, senior correspondent. The only place that so far seems people are doing pretty well, I mean, you know, stocks way down, 401(k)s, pensions getting hit hard, gas high, inflation high, home values, though, have been very high recently.
BUCK: Some are saying, though, that maybe that’s an indicator of something, a big correction, real disruptions in the housing market nationally which could really hurt folks right, if all of a sudden there’s a big correction in housing.
BUCK: Do you see that coming? What do you think about that analysis?
GASPARINO: I don’t think so, and just this is why I don’t think so. Don’t want to saw definitely. I mean, housing prices are way overheated. I mean, they should come down as mortgage rates go up. But, you know, there’s two sort of outside factors, kind of intangibles, you know, that are outside the sort of notion — that are outside the interest rate scenario — and one is supply. Apparently, there is a lack of housing stock out there, right?
So you have a constrained supply in places particularly in hot markets. At least that’s what I’m hearing from realtors. That’s one. The other thing is that, you know, the tax situation in the Northeast and California and Illinois does benefit the South, and that’s where the housing market is hottest. So the tax situations in those areas are not changing anytime soon.
New York is not gonna start, you know, embracing supply-side economics, at least until it gets a new governor and legislature. So even if it gets a new governor (chuckles), the legislature is not gonna allow for tax cuts, probably. So, I mean, the sort of… There’s a lot of factors built in that will keep housing, I think, not from imploding like crypto currencies are imploding right now. (chuckles)
BUCK: Charles Gasparino, everybody. Look for him over at Fox Business. Charlie, come back soon; talk economy with us. We appreciate it.
GASPARINO: Anytime, guys.
BUCK: Thanks so much.