Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Ted Forstmann on Charlie Rose

Well, by now I think everyone with electricity knows that Barack Obama has won the election to become America's 44th President.

If you're still trying to get your political news fix, head on over to Tuesday's handy election coverage post for more. There's plenty of interesting and thought-provoking stuff there to keep you busy.

Today I wanted to get us back to the topic of finance, while at the same time addressing some of the big issues looming over America as we head into 2009 and beyond.

I think a good way of doing that is by sharing this recent clip from the Charlie Rose show, "A conversation with Ted Forstmann".

In this 22 minute interview, we hear one man's view of the current financial crisis, America's financial situation, philanthropy, and education in America.

And what's so interesting to me about this program is that this is the first time I can remember hearing one of Charlie Rose's guests talking about the role that the Fed's easy money policies had in fostering the bubble and sowing the seeds of our current financial crisis.

This is a familiar view to those of us who have tuned in to recent interviews with the likes of Jim Rogers, Marc Faber, and Peter Schiff. But to hear these sentiments expressed on the Charlie Rose show was, for me, a bit of a surprise, even at this late date.

A bit of background: Ted Forstmann is known for his role in founding buyout firm Forstmann Little & Company, one of the biggest players in the private equity/LBO world during the 1980s and '90s.

During that time, he attracted attention for his vocal attacks on junk bond financing of LBO deals, singling out rival firms like Kohlberg Kravis Roberts for their role in furthering such deals.

After suffering some large personal and professional setbacks in the early part of this decade, Forstmann has come back and is now running talent agency IMG. He recently said that the junk-bond excesses of the 1980s were "minor league compared to what's been going on in the credit markets the last five years".

I'd like to offer a hat tip to John at Controlled Greed for highlighting this very interesting discussion in a recent post on his blog. Hope you enjoy the interview and the discussion.