I had the most amazing time on CNN this morning and they invited be back tomorrow… 6 am and 8 am. I am keeping my fingers crossed that they ask me to comment on Leadership and Investing in Women – two that you all know I am passionate about! Thanks to all my dear friends who have continued to support me on this journey in to the media world….
ROBERTS: Welcome back to the “Most News in the Morning.” That view from one of our iReporters underscores America’s economic crisis. This morning, we’re hearing what Main Street thinks of the president’s recovery plan. And we’re talking with some of the sharpest economic minds in the country about what it means to you and your financial future.Economist Diane Swonk joins us this morning from Chicago, and here in New York investment adviser Ryan Mack and Jacki Zehner, founding partner of the Circle Financial Group.We welcome you, Jacki, for the very first time.JACKI ZEHNER, FOUNDING PARTNER, CIRCLE FINANCIAL GROUP:
ROBERTS: Let’s go to you, first. And let me preface this by highlighting here a comment that was sent in to us by a viewer. Dave in Omaha, Nebraska, writes to us this morning and says, “Although the meat of the speech was very hopeful, I felt it was more like a pep rally. The only thing missing was the band and the cheerleaders. I still want to know how we will pay off this debt, how is this administration putting people back to work, and why do I have to help someone pay — why do I have to help pay else’s mortgage? I feel this was not addressed.”These are questions, Jacki, a lot of people are asking today.
ZEHNER: Those are really good questions. I actually think Nancy Pelosi was their cheerleading. I think all that was missing were the pompoms. But those are all my questions. It was a pep ralley. I like talking about hope and possibility, and I think the world needed that message and the markets so far are responding. He said, I’m in control. I’m going to do something, but what’s the something?And actually, I thought he missed a big opportunity to talk about investing in America and a broader basis than just talking about Wall Street and the negatives of Wall Street. I think there’s a much broader conversation that we can have about small business, about female entrepreneurship, about financial literacy, about a broad-based conversation about investment. And that was really missing.
ROBERTS: What do you think about all of that, Diane, because typically these addresses whether they be just to a joint session of Congress or whether they be actually titled a State of the Union Address, which is next one will be, are usually about grand themes and broad brush strokes. The details come later.
DIANE SWONK, ECONOMIST: Exactly. I think actually what impressed me was the one-two punch. Ben Bernanke was on his “A” game yesterday. And he really dealt with a lot of these issues earlier in the day in great detail. It was actually one of the most insightful, which doesn’t say a lot.Q&A sessions that Congress has ever had with Ben Bernanke. But these senators actually finally got it. And I think that laid the groundwork. One of the comments that Ben Bernanke gave in response to that very issue on foreclosures, he said, you know, you could punish your next-door neighbor for smoking in bed by, you know, not calling the fire department when his home caught on fire, but if it burned down the whole neighborhood, how much does it help you?And I think that analogy is very important. And that’s what the president has got to bring, is that analogy that we’re on the same boat, and unless we’re all in the same boat with our oars in the water rowing towards the same destination, we’re all going to sink the boat.
ROBERTS: Ryan, let’s turn this one toward you. Carolina, in *, Florida writes this this morning and says, quote, “After Obama’s speech, I feel confident that he will bring us out of this economic mess. I was happy to hear some positive comments rather than all the doom and gloom that the American people are constantly being bombarded with. Thank God we have a new administration.”Was it an appropriate amount of optimism that the president exceeded last night?
RYAN MACK, PRESIDENT, OPTIMUM CAPITAL MANAGEMENT: I think it was great optimism. I think that his direction was very — very optimistic and very happy about what tomorrow actually holds.One of the striking things he said, we are also suffering a deficit of trust. I think that in previous administrations, a lot of individuals had lost trust with an administration, so that actually leads to a lack of confidence in the leadership of this country. And him coming in and actually going back and talking about things about the GI bill, sent a generation of college students made the largest middle-class in history.So I want to have by 20-20 had the highest proportion of college graduates in this country. But then the devil is in the details. I’m going to put $31 billion in college affordability and Pell Grants and tax credits to make sure that individuals are going to school. And he also said, you know, enough of this not graduating from high school, you know? It’s on you. We have to graduate from high school and make sure we’re getting our…(CROSSTALK)
ROBERTS: That’s an interesting part of the speech. But, Jacki, just in terms of this optimism, just saying it doesn’t necessarily make it so. He’s got a lot of work to do to actually get these programs into practice.
ZEHNER: Absolutely. But we also have a lot of work to do too. I love the messages about personal responsibility because at the end of the day, and this is my favorite quote, which I repeat again and again, “do what you can with what you have where you are”. I think he has to empower people to be part of the solution, not wait for government to solve all our problems because they can’t. And he said that, but I really wanted the exclamation marks behind that. I really did, because those are the conversations I’m having. People need to get together, share their problems, share solutions.Ryan and I spoke a lot about financial literacy, doing financial preparedness. You cannot have your head in the sand about this anymore. It’s not going to get better overnight, but it is about people coming together, talking through problems, offering each other solutions, supporting one another in business, helping out. You can’t — we can’t — walk around like this( hands up and open) waiting for this the government hand-outs. It’s just not going to happen. There’s not enough money and we’re selling our children’s future.
Jacki, thanks for joining us this morning.ZEHNER: Thank you.ROBERTS: Great to have you here for the first time.ZEHNER: Thank you.ROBERTS: We’ll get you back as well as Ryan.ZEHNER: Thank you. Thank you very much.