The U.S. government needs to consider selling assets to boost the economy and reduce the deficit, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim said today.
“Most aggressive monetary and fiscal policies are not enough,” Slim said at the George Washington University Global Forum in New York City. “They are temporary measures.”
Slim, ranked the world’s richest man by Forbes magazine, controls Telefonos de Mexico SAB, the nation’s largest landline phone company, and is an investor in the New York Times Co. The global financial crisis is a sign that governments must rein in debt, Slim said.
The Times is the “best brand, the best newspaper,” and has options to publish in an electronic format, he said.
Fiscal and monetary policies are only “temporary medicine” and won’t help economies return to growth, he said. They are “tools” not goals, he said.
U.S. policymakers are considering a round of asset purchases after buying $1.7 trillion in debt from December 2008 to March. The Federal Reserve meets Nov. 2-3 to consider steps to boost an economy growing too slowly and prevent inflation, which remains below its longer-term projections, from cooling even more. Growth in the 2.5 percent to 2.8 percent range is consistent with keeping the jobless rate stable, according to policy makers’ latest forecasts.
Slim, 70, said charitable efforts by billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are “well intentioned” but may not solve problems in third world countries. Gates and Buffett have pledged to donate the bulk of their wealth to charity.
Nations need infrastructure and telecommunications, not just charity, he said.
“It’s important to put up your talent, not just your money,” Slim said.
Slim proposed a “third world war against poverty” and said his foundation is trying to cut the mortality rate of children.
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