The mood of the country and the markets has improved markedly over the past several weeks, as the risk of a Greek contagion resided. While long-term problems have not necessarily been fixed, the additional breathing room offered by rational behavior (read: not panicking) is an important component in our long, slow recovery.
Back at home, three very influential business leaders spoke at a business conference on September 13th and shared their views of the world, which were actually quite encouraging. See for yourself.
Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway:
“I’ve seen sentiment turn sour in the last three months or so, generally in the media. I don’t see that in our businesses. I see we’re employing more people than a month ago, two months ago.”
“I’m a huge bull on this country … we won’t have a double-dip recession. I see our businesses coming back almost across the board … it’s night and day from a year ago.”
Steve Ballmer, Microsoft:
"I am very enthusiastic for what the future holds for our industry and what our industry will mean for growth in other industries.”
“There soon will be more technological advancement and invention than there was during the Internet era and that will help drive business growth.”
"All areas of science today are moving forward more quickly. The speed of scientific breakthrough is accelerating."
Jeff Immelt, GE
“Business at GE is improving. Signs across the world show growth improving, as evidenced by a rise in GE’s orders.”
“The U.S. is going to need to adjust, though. The economy since the 1970s has been driven by consumer credit and a misguided notion in building a ‘lazy’ service economy. Manufacturing, with an aim to reduce the trade deficit, is the key.”
“GE is now finding it profitable to build manufacturing and service centers in the United States rather than overseas, because it is more competitive to do so.”
Jeff Immelt, from GE, is exactly right. We need to regain our position as a net exporter. We can't reduce our aggregate debt without returning to a trade surplus, and we can't do that without manufacturing at home.