In my recent Wall Street Journal article, “The Myth of Corporate Cash Hoarding,” I quoted Chris Matthews of MSNBC’s Hardball asking Politico’s Charles Mahtesian an apoplectic question about businesses “sitting on their money” just to keep the economy weak and hurt Obama’s reelection chance in 2012. Then I carelessly added an erroneous superfluity −writing that “Mr. Mahtesian concurred.”
My apologies to Charles Mahtesian (and congratulations for having had the good sense to disagree with Chris Matthews).
In reality, Mahtesian wisely dodged Chris Matthews’ bizarre interrogation about corporations willfully refusing to spend idle cash until after 2012 election. Mahtesian instead switched to talking about business going “whole hog” during the 2010 congressional election (this show aired September 27).
Here is the transcript:
MATTHEWS: You know, a great question, Charles, that wasn‘t on my list to ask, but I‘m going to ask you because you seem like a sophisticated guy of many parts. Do you think business can sit on those billions and trillions of dollars for two more years after they screw Obama this time? Are they going to keep sitting on their money so they don’t invest and help the economy for two long years just to get Mr. Excitement, Mitt Romney, elected president? Would they do that to the country?
MAHTESIAN: Well, I won’t touch the first question, Chris, but…
MATTHEWS: That was all one question, bro!
MAHTESIAN: Oh! I prefer splitting the two. I’d say that I think what you’re going to see the business community do is really go whole hog at this election right now because either way, you know, I think they can envision a scenario in which they lose … because, for example, number one, if the president has a Republican House, that’s probably going to be a rough scenario for them anyway because that’s what the White House wants if they want to get elected in 2012 — re‐elected. So, probably the best‐case scenario for them.
MAHTESIAN: So you know, either way, I mean, I think they — they weigh the equities, and you know, see it as a 50–50 endeavor.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, I just hope business starts spending.