White House Oval Office Washington D.C. August 20 2:13 P.M. EDT
Are you coming to Romania, Mr. President?
I'd like to.
When? When, Mr. President?
I don't know. It's something we'll discuss.
What do you think about the visa (inaudible)?
Well, thank you very much, everybody. It's an honor to be with the President of Romania, who's highly respected and done a great job. And I hear there's a little political season going on in Romania, but I would imagine you're going to do very well because you're very talented, you love the people.
And we've had a great relationship with Romania. The United States and Romania have gotten along better than ever before. So, I want to thank you for that.
And we have a big trade business going on, to be honest with you. We have - we do a lot of trade with Romania, and they're very talented people. We buy, they buy. And you have a lot of Romanian people in the United States, very importantly. And they're tremendous people. They work very hard. Very, very successful.
How many do you have in the United States? Do you know? Has anyone figured that out?
We have quite a lot of Romanians in the States, yeah.
I think I know most of them, actually.
(Laughs.) Very good people.
Yeah, they are. They're a great people.
Maybe quarter of a million or so.
Yeah. It's a lot. It's a very large population. But they - and they love Romania, too, I will tell you that. They never forgot Romania. They're very much inclined that way, and that's a good thing.
Well, I want to thank you, Mr. President, for being here. It's a great honor. Thank you very much.
Thank you so much, Mr. President. Great pleasure to be here.
Would you like to say something?
Yeah, I would, just on the line that it's great to be back here with you, Mr. President. And now we have the opportunity to talk about our very good strategic partnership. And under your strong leadership, we progressed and we will continue doing so. This is very important for us, and I think we are on the right path, and I thank you for that.
I think we are on the right path. A lot of interesting things happening also in your country, but we appreciate the trade. And we're going to have a big meeting in a little while after this. We're going to have a private meeting, and we're going to have a meeting in the Cabinet Room with a lot of your officials.
And we look forward to that.
Yes, any questions? John?
Mr. President, what sort of contingency steps or plans is the White House thinking about to stave off any kind of economic slowdown? We've heard that there's been some talk of a payroll tax cut kicked around, some other tax cuts. You've been talking about a cut in the Fed rate, quantitative easing. What are you looking at?
Well, I'd like to see a cut in the Fed rate because that should've happened a long time ago. I think they're being very tardy in not doing in and not having done it sooner. They raised too quickly. And, you know, I've been quite vocal on that.
They also did quantitative tightening, which was ridiculous. And so - and despite that, you know, if you look - I guess you could call it "normalized" - but if you look, our economy is doing fantastically. And if you take a look at the previous administration, they weren't paying interest. They had no interest rates. They had loosening, not tightening. And, frankly, it's a big difference.
And our economy is incredible. Our jobs - you look at the jobs market. But you have to be proactive, and so we really need a Fed cut rate, because if you look at what's going on with the Europe - European Union, as an example, they're cutting. You take a look at Germany and what they're doing, and what they're paying - I mean, they're actually doing something inverse. They've never seen - nobody has ever seen it before. And we have to at least keep up to an extent.
So, right now, we're paying a very much higher rate of interest, and we didn't follow the world. And generally speaking, that's okay. But you can't have that much of a disparity. So we're looking for a rate cut.
We could be really greatly helped if the Fed would do its job and do a substantial rate cut also. They were doing quantitative tightening; very bad to do. They should do easing - actual easing. No tightening. Or at a minimum, they should be doing nothing about that. But they have to do a rate cut.
The other thing is, you know, we're looking at various tax reductions. But I'm looking at that all the time anyway - tax reductions. That's one of the reasons we're in such a strong economic position.
We're, right now, the number one country anywhere in the world, by far, as an economy. Europe has got a lot of problems, and Asia has got a lot of problems.
If you look at China, China has had the worst year they've had in 27 years. And they want to make a deal with us, but I can tell you I'm not ready to make a deal. Unless they're going to make the right kind of a deal, I'm not ready to make a deal. So I don't know, but I will say this: Something will happen. It may be soon; it may be a little bit later. But China very much wants to make a deal.
What kind of tax cuts would you look at? We've heard again a potential cut in the payroll tax, indexing capital gains. What would you accept?
Well, you know, we've been talking about indexing for a long time. And many people like indexing, and it can be done very simply. It can be done directly by me. And so we've been looking at that. As you probably have heard, I can do it directly.
So we're talking about indexing. And we're always looking at the capital gains tax, payroll tax. We're looking at - I would love to do something on capital gains. We're talking about that. That's a big deal; it goes through Congress.
Payroll tax is something that we think about and a lot of people would like to see that, and that very much affects the working - the workers of our country. And we have a lot of workers. Right now, by the way, we have more people working today than we've ever had before in the history of our country. We have almost 160 million people working today.
I think the word "recession" is a word that's inappropriate because it's just a word that the - certain people - I'm going to be kind - certain people, and the media, are trying to build up because they'd love to see a recession. We're very far from a recession.
In fact, if the Fed would do its job, I think it would have a tremendous spurt of growth. A tremendous spurt. The Fed is psychologically very important. Less so, actually, but very psychologically important.
And if the Fed would do its job, which it's really done very poorly over the last year and a half, you would see a burst of growth like you've never seen before. And that would be lowering interest rates and maybe putting some - if you look at what China is doing, if you look at what Germany is doing, if you look at what so many countries are doing - putting some money in, because we want to compete with these other countries. So I think that we actually are set for a tremendous surge of growth, if the Fed would do its job. That's a big "if," frankly.
But they should - the Fed should - the Fed should be cutting. And I would say they should say, at a minimum, 100 basis points over a period of time, not at one time. But over a period of time.
Read the full transcript HERE
You can visit a collection of all White House posts by clicking here.