Billionaire Wilbur Ross of W.L. Ross & Co. was one of the voices who said before the election that an Obama second term would mean a recession for the U.S. economy, already limping through a weak recovery from a previous recession. Now, just after the election, Ross was on the Fox Business Network this week to comment about an Obama second term, the impending "fiscal cliff" of tax hikes and deep spending cuts that are due to kick in January 1, as well as the future of energy.
"If (President Obama) doesn't exert leadership and solve the fiscal cliff, we will (go into another recession), Ross said on Fox Business Network. "The reason this should get done is that this is not your typical lame-duck Congress. The Republican leadership is the same, the Democratic leadership is the same, the president is the same. They've all seen this movie before, so there is really no reason for them to delay during this so-called lame-duck period."
After that question, Ross was asked about his history of buying into distressed companies, including coal companies. He was asked whether he could entertain the possibility of getting back into the coal market knowing that it is suffering like before when Ross first jumped in.
"I think the recurrence of the Obama administration is bad for coal," Ross said. "The EPA has gone so far with trying to enact, by rulemaking, things that Congress had voted down. The EPA is quite adverse to coal, as far as I can tell."
When it comes to other forms of energy, Ross was asked about the efficacy of natural gas, as it burns cleaner than coal, is being used more in the general marketplace and the U.S. has immense supplies. Would Obama be open to more natural gas production, perhaps getting the approval of both energy companies and environmentalists?
"I think natural gas could have a transformative effect on the whole economy," Ross said. "And it's not just the shale gas, it's also the ... oil that is found associated with it. We could be reducing our energy imports by 4.5 million barrels a day if there is no interference with it. ... And we could become, or start to become, a net exporter of petroleum products. Think of what a game-changer that is."
The full video clip from Fox Business Network with Wilbur Ross can be found here.