If You Ask Me: A Global Banker Reflects on Our Times
Wriston, Walter B.
Easier Said Than Done
If the United States President were Walter Wriston, what actions would he undertake?
Well. . .history cannot be written in the subjunctive mood. But I believe I would do what I advised the President to do, that is, articulate an internally logical, consistent economic policy, then do my best to follow it. That's easier said than done. But we've had so many statements on so many sides of each issue that the Europeans and the Japanese are frankly confused, to say nothing of us who live here.
I think, a great deal could be done just by rationalizing our national policies. In other words, do we wish to encourage exports or do we not? Should the Export-Import Bank be competitive with the Germans or should it not? There's a whole range of economic issues that, if articulated logically and consistently, would help enormously to bring stability into the marketplace.
How would you characterize the central motivation of the Carter Administration? That is, what do you see as a primary theme of this administration?
I'm not sure I could characterize it. I would say I don't know the answer.
I'm afraid I would have to agree with you, sir.