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Wilbur Ross: How to Avoid the 'D-Word'

Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross said Wednesday that the U.S. cannot afford to do nothing to solve the financial crisis.

“We’re in an extraordinary period, and it is going to take a lot of money being thrown at this period to get us through it,” Ross told CNBC in response to questions about President Barack Obama’s economic plans.

“We can argue whether he’s doing it the right way, but I really don’t think we can afford to do nothing,” said Ross, the chairman and CEO of WL Ross & Co.

(To hear the full interview, including Ross's comments on the nationalization of banks, taxes and mortgages, watch the video above.)

“You saw the recent housing statistics about the freefall for house prices, you saw consumer confidence at a low for many many years. That’s got to get fixed or we could be into the D-word rather than into the R-word,” he said.

Although there is a psychological element in the malaise, the country cannot talk its way out of the downturn, he said, noting that Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday sought to address that.

“As I go around the country I see people are scared to death, he said. "They’re scared of their bank deposit safe. They’re scared about their job. They’re scared about the value of their house. They’re scared about losing their house. People in that state of mind aren’t going to buy a new car, they aren’t going to buy new clothes, they aren’t going to go out and take a big trip or eat at a fancy restaurant. I think we have to break the negative reinforcement that’s coming around, and I think this speech may be a step toward that.”

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