TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Scott Jagow: This is the time we usually do year in review segments, looking back on the big stories in business and economics. But who wants to rehash what happened this year? No, this week, we’re gonna look forward.
We begin our series of interviews with Allan Sloan from Fortune Magazine. Allan, my first topic for you is the dollar. What do you expect to happen to the dollar in 2009?
Allan Sloan; I think the dollar is gonna decline in terms of other currencies, or what I think they’re calling “real” currencies. I think that’s gonna happen, I think that’s an easy call.
Jagow: And what kind of spill-over will that have on the economy?
Sloan: It’ll have a certain good aspect, because for most of the year, all sorts of export industries were waking up and doing much better. And people who manufacture things that competed with imports were doing much better, ’cause the dollar had become so cheap. That would be the positive thing. The negative thing is I just don’t see the low level of interest rates on Treasury securities in this country when the Treasury is gonna borrow God only knows how much from the rest of the world. At some point, interest rates go up, but nothing I’d be willing to write a big check on.
Jagow: Well, let’s talk about the stock market for a minute. What do you plan to do with your money in 2009?
Sloan: Well, since my retirement account starts up again, my 401K, I’m gonna put all of that into the stock market — unless something really awful happens. I wrote something fairly recently saying gee, according to any number of people I respect, the U.S. stock market is at reasonable levels for the first time in decades. Which doesn’t mean it’s gonna go up, but I just don’t think it could go down another 35 percent. At least I hope not, because if it does man, I am gonna be working until 10 years after I’ve died. That is gonna be my retirement plan.
Jagow: And how about the stimulus plans that President-elect Obama has sort of thrown out there? How much promise do you see in those?
Sloan: I think, contrary to what many of my sources believe and my conservative friends, I think tax cuts generally don’t do all that much — as we’ve seen over the past couple of years, where we’ve had some shots at one-time tax refunds, and the economy has a brief blip up but then life resumes. It really depends on how these programs work, whether they’re just sort of temporary things or whether they become a permanent jobs program — you know, like these temporary programs that hang around for 30 years. The one thing we really need from the Obama people is a sense that someone is in control and that there is an end to this. Because that’s what’s been lacking up to now, because of the dynamics of Washington and the fact this is happening so close to a change in administrations.
Jagow: Allan Sloan from Fortune Magazine. Happy new year!
Sloan: And happy new year to you and to our audience, sir.
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