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Tom Keene's Econo Chat

Tom talks with author P.J. O'Rourke about politics and the economy

P.J., you just came out with a new book, Don't Vote—It Just Encourages the Bastards. What is the thing that upsets you the most about our politics right now?

Scope, size. I mean, politics is just one little part of life, and we're letting it creep in everywhere. If you use politics to settle every problem, what you get is Bosnia.

How did you move across the spectrum from left to right?

I was a rabid socialist and I got a job. I get my paycheck for $300 every two weeks and it was in New York City and I netted out at like $180 after taxes and benefits. I said, "Wait a minute." I'm a firm advocate of socialism and I get a job with a capitalist pig corporation only to discover that we have socialism already.

What's your message to Washington?

Butt out and scale down.

If the President read your book, what would you like to see as a change in his day-to-day rhetoric?

We talk in the business world about the smartest people in the room, and, of course, we know what they did to us in 2008. And he acts very much like the smartest person in the room when he's up at the podium.

What's your take on the Tea Party?

It has its flakes like any populist movement. But fundamentally the Tea Party is saying, we just have greater government interference than is healthy in a free society.

Keene hosts Bloomberg Surveillance 7-10 a.m., 1130 AM in New York, XM129, Sirius 130 .

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