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Grass Hopper
Grass Hopper
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The Bottom Line by Carl Icahn

September 25, 2014 | About:

The Bottom Line

August 22, 2014
by Carl Icahn

Among other things, I’m known to be a “reductionist.” In my line of work you must be good at pinpointing what to focus on – that is, the major underlying truths and problems in a situation. I then become obsessive about solving or fixing whatever they may be. This combination is what perhaps has led to my success over the years and is why I’ve chosen to be so outspoken about shareholder activism, corporate governance issues and the current economic state of America. Currently, I believe that the facts “reduce” to one indisputable truth, which is that we must change our system of selecting CEOs in order to stay competitive and get us out of an extremely dangerous financial situation. With exceptions, I believe that too many companies in this country are terribly run, and there’s no system in place to hold the CEOs and Boards of these inadequately managed companies accountable. There are numerous challenges we are facing today whether it be monetary policy, unemployment, income inequality, the list can go on and on … but the thing we have to remember is there is something we can do about it: Shareholders, the true owners of our companies, can demand that mediocre CEOs are held accountable and make it clear that they will be replaced if they are failing. I am convinced by our record that this will make our corporations much more productive and profitable and will go a long way in helping to solve our unemployment problems and the other issues now ailing our economy. We can no longer simply depend on the Federal Reserve to keep filling the punch bowl.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen recently commented on our Monetary Policy at the International Monetary Fund saying, “Monetary policy faces significant limitations as a tool to promote financial stability.” She continued that, “Its effects on financial vulnerabilities, such as excessive leverage and maturity transformation, are not well understood and are less direct than a regulatory or supervisory approach.” Yellen’s comments suggest, and I agree, that we are in an asset bubble.

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