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Deficit Super Committee a 'Charade': Ken Langone

Monday, 31 Oct 2011 | 5:47 PM ET

The congressional super committee trying to close the U.S. deficit is a "charade" because the members are more concerned about being re-elected, Kenneth Langone, a venture capitalist and co-founder of Home Depot, told CNBC Monday.

Ken Langone
Peter Foley | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Ken Langone

"What happened with Simpson-Bowles?" asked Langone, referring to the president's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform co-chaired by former senator Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles. The group issued draft recommendations last year that were never formally approved.

"That was a perfect one. That was a home run. Here were two bipartisan guys, knowledgeable on the situation, no ax to grind, no election, no re-election…and guess what, nothing happened. Why is this any different?" Langone asked. There are 12 people on the super committee "and every one of them is going to ask, 'What does this do to my re-election chances?' It’s what it’s all about."

The supercommittee of six Republicans and six Democrats must find $1.2 trillion in budget savings over 10 years by Nov. 23 or automatic cuts go into effect.

Langone was equally blunt on MF Global, calling its bankruptcy a "big yawn" because it is unlikely to have a major impact on the overall market.

Kenneth Langone One-on-One
Kenneth Langone, Invemed Assoc. chairman & CEO, discusses whether MF Global exemplifies why regulation like the Volcker Rule makes sense.

"The guy running it had as much experience as anyone ... on Wall Street," he said of Jon Corzine, the ex-CEO of Goldman Sachs and former New Jersey governor. "He knew the ins and outs. He made a bet … He was the driver of that bet. You know what? That’s how the capital markets are supposed to work," Langone said.

The situation in Greece is "pretty simple stuff," he added. "What disturbs me is we’re making [the euro-zone crisis] more complicated than it needs to be."

Greece, like other members of the European Union, were restricted "on how much debt they could take on relative to their GDP," he explained. "What happened was, no one watched Greece."

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