The economy faces a slump deeper than the Great Depression and a growing deficit threatens the credit of the United States itself, former Goldman Sachs chairman John Whitehead, said at the Reuters Global Finance Summit on Wednesday.
Whitehead, 86, said the prospect of worsening consumer credit woes combined with an overtaxed federal government make him fear that the current slump is far from over.
“I think it would be worse than the depression,” Whitehead said. “We’re talking about reducing the credit of the United States of America, which is the backbone of the economic system.” Whitehead encountered plenty of crises during his 38 years at the investment banking firm and was a young boy during the 1930s.
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Whitehead warned the country’s financial strength is at risk due to the sweeping demand for tax relief and a long list of major government spending plans.
“I see nothing but large increases in the deficit, all of which are serving to decrease the credit standing of America,” said Whitehead, who served as chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp after the World Trade Center was destroyed during the September 11, 2001 attacks.
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Whitehead, who helped make Goldman a top-tier Wall Street firm and led its international expansion, left in 1984 to become a deputy secretary of state under Ronald Reagan.