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Milken Moments – Day 2

2 min read

Modern Money

A few highlights and memorable quotes from Day Two of the 2015 Milken Institute Global Conference:

Pollster and message guru Frank Luntz on the importance of presidential contenders being able to connect with a crowd: “Barack Obama is the best teleprompter reader of all-time. John McCain? Stevie Wonder can read a teleprompter better than John McCain.”

Yahoo! Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos during a very informative panel on privacy and cybersecurity: “People talk about how we live in a “post-Snowden” world, but nothing has changed. None of the acts Snowden exposed have led to any legal changes in what the government can and can’t do. People worry about the pendulum swinging to far, but the truth is it hasn’t swung at all.”

Gene Sperling, former National Economic Advisor to Presidents Obama and Clinton: “If you are grading on a curve, then U.S. fiscal policy is an A+ because the stimulus worked. But only if you are grading on a curve!”

And finally … Peter Budko, executive vice president and Chief Investment Officer at AR Capital, threw a couple of fastballs during an afternoon panel about the “Disequilibrium in Global Debt”: “You don’t always want to look at the ability [of a borrower] to repay debt. You have to look at the willingness. Look at Greece. They say they are happy where they are right now.”

And… “There is a trillion dollars sitting on bank balance sheets in the form of U.S. Treasuries. Why isn’t that capital being pumped into the economy? … Look at bank earnings reports. None of the banks talk about earnings from lending. They all talk about earnings from trading and other things traditional banks shouldn’t be doing.”