Ken Langone, co-founder of Home Depot and now CEO of investment bank Invemed Associates, sees the economy in trouble. And he has colorful terms for it.
"We have not begun to take the cure," the former New York Stock Exchange director told CNBC.
"It’s not unlike a drunk that keeps drinking and saying tomorrow I’m going to work on my problems. We should have taken the cure a couple years ago, (but) we've prolonged it by the stimulus packages."
In the end, last year’s $862 billion of fiscal stimulus accomplished little, Langone says.
As a result, the economy remains under water, he says. "It's not a double-dip: We never came out of it."
And Langone isn’t impressed with Washington’s response. “They’ve tried everything, and the unemployment rate stays at 9.5 percent,” he said. “You can’t have prosperity with that kind of unemployment.”
The country has to cure its addiction to debt among other problems, Langone says. "We've got to bite the bullet.”
Others share his concern about the economy, including David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor’s.
“I think there is still a realistic possibility in the U.S. that it’s slipping into this pattern like Japan has -- 10, 20 years of stagnation,” Wyss said at a Tokyo seminar covered by Bloomberg.
“A rising population in the U.S. creates more need for capital, more need for housing, which makes deflation a little less likely, but I’m not sure if that makes it impossible.”
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