On Thursday, Ken Langone, the former director of the New York Stock Exchange and the co-founder of Home Depot, joined former colleague Bernie Marcus in criticizing President Barack Obama's job performance. In an interview with CNBC, the successful businessman has some tough words -- and warnings -- for the nation's top executive. Watch it, below:
Aside from calling the commander-in-chief "unpresidential" and "petulant," he accused the president of purposefully pitting Americans against one another during the nation's ongoing debt debate. In the interview, the successful businessman said:
"He's not bringing us together. He's willfully dividing us. He's petulant. Ronald Reagan would never go into the Oval Office without his jacket on -- that's how much he revered the presidency...
Divide us and we all lose. And this has got to stop. And if [Obama's] listening, or one of his people are listening, and you can quote me exactly for what I say, he is not acting presidential, he is behaving in a way designed, in my opinion, to divide us and make us look at each other with skepticism, with suspicion.
That's the end of America as we know it when that happens."
Langone takes specific issue with the president's "us versus them" mentality. He continues:
"This guy [Obama] worked like hell to be president . . . Behave like a president. Let me look at you as a model to how we should behave. What does he say? Fat cats, jet airplanes. What is the purpose? Us versus them."
Although Langone didn't hold much back in his critique of the president's debt debate handling, his opposition has little to do with a refusal to accept paying higher taxes. He explained that he does not oppose an elevated tax rate on the wealthiest Americans. Additionally, he says he is open to means-testing Social Security (i.e. reducing benefits to wealthier individuals who may not need or rely upon them), so long as the funds saved are put toward paying down the federal debt. Langone explains:
"People like me have to understand that it isn't business as usual. I should not get Social Security. I think it's a travesty for a man of my success and of my means to get anything from the federal government. I think I should pay more taxes . . . but everything they take from me should go to reduce the debt."
Interestingly, Longone, a wealthy American who may be forced to pay more taxes while receiving fewer Social Security benefits, is more than open to proposed changes -- so long as the funds saved or raised help solve America's debt crisis.
Like many others, he also sounded the debt-ceiling alarm during the interview, warning of the potential ramifications of continuing to spend beyond the nation's means:
"We need to understand as a nation that you can't forever expect somebody out there, whether it's China or somebody in England, to say I will always take America's debt no matter what.
We are heading into a dose of reality we've never seen before . . . Look at the number of states now laying people off because they can't print paper [money]."
Despite his warning and his negative opinions regarding Obama's behavior and handling of the debt situation, Langone says he is confident that the federal government will come to a solution before the August 2 deadline.
(h/t NY Post)