Carl Icahn, the billionaire (greed is good) investor who has for decades imposed his will on companies, is now seeking to focus attention on the dysfunction in the nation’s capital and corporate boardrooms that he believes will likely lead to a collapse in financial markets.
Icahn’s message is coming not through a proxy battle or a well-timed Securities & Exchange Commission filing, but through a public service announcement. Icahn on Tuesday released a 14-minute video on one of his web sites called Danger Ahead, arguing that gridlock in Washington, Federal Reserve monetary policy and reckless CEOs are threatening to push financial markets and the U.S. economy over a cliff.
“I see real tremendous problems ahead and I don’t think we are handling it right and nobody really wants to talk out,” Icahn said in an interview. “We are headed toward a strong correction and possibly a complete meltdown but not systemic like 2008. It won’t threaten the system, it’s just going to threaten your livelihood and net worth.”
In the video, Icahn endorses the idea that Donald Trump, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, could be the right man to address the problems that Icahn is so worked up about. In fact, Icahn argues that middle class voters sense the same problems he is worried about and those voters might be ready to back a self-styled anti-establishment candidate like Trump.
“We need a president that can move Congress and I think Donald Trump could do it. I disagree with him on certain issues and certainly would talk to him more, but this is what this country needs, somebody to wake it up,” says Icahn in the video. “The middle class guy who is making the $50,000 a year realizes ‘I am being taken advantage of.’ He can read, he can understand. In Tsarist Russia they had to have a revolution and the Tsar would bring out the machine guns and mow them down. All these guys have to do is vote.”