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Goldman CEO Blankfein: Economic conditions 'are really not as bad as politics would suggest'

Key Points
  • Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein says the political environment in the United States is "pretty bad."
  • In contrast, the economy is "pretty good," he argues.
  • Blankfein also says the U.S. needs to stay focused on wealth generation.
Lloyd Blankfein, CEO and Chairman of Goldman Sachs.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein said Wednesday the political environment in the United States is "pretty bad."

Blankfein was speaking in an interview with MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on the challenges for small-business owners. In his appearance, the Goldman chief said, in contrast, the economy is "pretty good."

"If you were frozen in an iceberg for four years and ... you woke up, came out, thawed and you saw an economy that's full employment, low energy prices, basically balance sheets have been cured, a lot of cash again, low rates, you think ... it's pretty good," he told MSNBC.

"People may not like the job they have in every case, they never do," he said. "Financial conditions and economic conditions are really not as bad as politics would suggest."

Blankfein also said the U.S. needs to stay focused on wealth generation — even as there's more stress over wealth distribution. That's for the politicians, he added.

He spoke after U.S. stocks closed higher Tuesday as the Dow Jones industrial average reached another milestone. The 30-stock index rose 72.80 points to close at a record 21,963.92, with 3M and Goldman Sachs contributing the most gains.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump touted the rebound in economic growth and reiterated his promise to drive GDP above 3 percent.

Also on MSNBC, sitting alongside Blankfein, billionaire Michael Bloomberg said all the job growth in the United States is from small business.

"People are moving from big companies to small companies," the former New York mayor said. "Small companies have the advantage of that they're typically local, they're typically where you can get some ownership in them and typically where you can bring your skills to bear without being overburdened and having to retrain," he said.

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Third quarter GDP tracking at 2.5%

Third quarter GDP tracking at 2.5%