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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Mark Cuban, Steve Wynn and T. Boone Pickens on Keeping America Great
Aired October 20, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TONY ROBBINS, GUEST HOST: I am Tony Robbins, sitting in for Piers Morgan.
Tonight, a billionaire's row. What if we get three of the most successful men in this country to tackle America's biggest problems. These are the men who've done the impossible.
Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK CUBAN, OWNER, DALLAS MAVERICKS: Business is a sport. And I just have always got to be competing. I've got to always try to win.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBBINS: The king of Vegas, Steve Wynn.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE WYNN, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, WYNN RESORTS: The idea of building something that would make people go, wow, has struck me as just about the coolest thing in the world to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBBINS: And T. Boone Pickens, who built his own oil company and did even better after he left it.
Three of America's biggest success stories on "Keeping America Great."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
T. BOONE PICKENS, CHAIRMAN, BP CAPITAL MANAGEMENT: I would get out of the Mideast, it's what I do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBBINS: Because what they say could help everyone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CUBAN: The most patriotic thing you could do as an American is get filthy stinking rich and then pay lots in taxes so we can do all these things we talked about. (END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBBINS: This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
I'm Tony Robbins, in for Piers Morgan. Tonight I'm going to be with three men that probably can come up with some real solutions to get America growing again. They've certainly done that in huge businesses.
We begin with Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, who started out in business at the age of 12 selling garbage stacks because his dad wouldn't give him a pair of sneakers. He went around and founded a company called Broadcast.com that after five years he sold for $5.9 billion to Yahoo! Then he turned around and paid $285 billion for the Dallas Mavericks and turned a losing team in its 2011 NBA champs. Not bad.
Mark Cuban joins me right now.
CUBAN: Hey, good to see you.
ROBBINS: Good to see you. I see you noticed the ring.
CUBAN: That is a beautiful ring.
ROBBINS: This is from Coach Carlyle who gave me that because I helped him work with your team that year.
CUBAN: I get chills every time I see it. It's just crazy.
ROBBINS: It's so big you can't wear the darn thing.
CUBAN: I know, I can't wear it at all.
ROBBINS: Tell me something. You are -- been described a lot of different ways. I've wanted to meet you for a long time. Passionate, outrageous, playful. You've taken business and turned business into a sport. Incredibly successful. I think hunger is the strongest and most important elements of success in anybody I've ever met. And you seem to have this insatiable hunger and passion.
Now, I'm a passionate guy, but I don't have $2 million worth of fines in the NBA from referees, right? But tell me something. Where does that passion come from in you, and tell me, if people think they don't have it, do they have it? How can they find it? How do they keep it?
CUBAN: You know, that's a great question because I don't know if I'm wired that way. I kind of feel like I am. But I'm just the most competitive guy that you'll ever meet. To me, like you were saying, business is a sport. And I just have always got to be competing. I've always got to try to win. And I wasn't good enough at athletics, but when I got into business, I realized that I wasn't just competing against an opponent for 48 minutes in a game or 60 minutes. You're competing against everybody who might ever compete you on and that just keeps me going.
ROBBINS: Against the whole world.
CUBAN: It's the whole world, right? And there's always some 18-year- old kid trying to come in and kick your butt. And to me, that keeps me young, that keeps me motivated, that keeps me hungry.
CUBAN: Because I never want to kick -- be kicked off that perch.
ROBBINS: Do you agree that hunger is the most important element? I'm curious, if you disagree, I see people very smart, very educated, but they're not hungry. And they never maximize their abilities. What do you think?
CUBAN: You know, I think it's effort. So if hunger creates effort.
CUBAN: Then yes, absolutely, it's about hunger. Because I think so many people always talk about their dreams. You know, I think the biggest lie in all of business if you will or all of mentoring is follow your dreams. Because if you think about it, we all have dreams. I started off wanting to be a baseball player.
CUBAN: Then I dreamed of this, I dreamed of that, right? And then you realize that where you should go is where you effort takes you. You find yourself, yeah, I practiced baseball and basketball and loved it, but then I found myself spending more time with business and learning about business and running business or being involved with business. It really was my effort that drove me.
So I always tell people don't follow your dreams, follow your effort. Where are you willing to put in the time? Where are you hungry enough to put in the time? Because that's where you'll get results.
ROBBINS: What about timing? You know, so often in life, you see really good people who fail. And I find it's not because they didn't try or they didn't have the effort. They did the right thing at the wrong time.
CUBAN: No question.
ROBBINS: You know you look around and you see people buying a house. For a hundred years, right thing to do, roughly. You know, 2007, wrong time. You're down 36 --
CUBAN: Trust me, I bought houses at the worst time. But you're right. Timing in a lot of -- timing is relative to scale.
CUBAN: So, when I started by first business, I had just gotten fired from a job. And I didn't have a choice, and I went the next seven years without a vacation. Sold the company for $6 million. So I was 29 and I was retired. About a lifetime passed, and American Airlines -- and, you know, I was great. I mean --
ROBBINS: Did you just go party?
CUBAN: Like a madman.
ROBBINS: I could see you doing that, Mark. That would not be difficult to --
CUBAN: Not at all. (INAUDIBLE). And so I went nuts, right? And so I wasn't in a position to buy a sports team. I wasn't in a position to change the world. But I was comfortable, and if I was willing to live like a student, I was set for life.
CUBAN: But then my next business came along, and it happened to be we started the business of streaming.
CUBAN: And this is 1995, which is right when Internet stocks started going nuts. And there's no question that had my next business not happened when the whole Internet bubble had come along, I wouldn't be worth billions of dollars --
ROBBINS: What was your company worth? What was -- what were the revenues in your company when you sold it for $5.9 billion?
CUBAN: We were doing -- well, we were doing about 20 -- well, the last public quarter, I think, was $13 million, then $18 million, then I think our -- last one after we sold was $25 million for the quarter. Break even.
ROBBINS: Wow. And that's just revenue.
CUBAN: Yes, that's just revenue. But I got to realize, it wasn't $5.9 in cash.
ROBBINS: And I want to get to that. Because, you know, a lot of people said, well, a guy like Mark, he's so lucky. And I hate when I see that. Sometimes people are lucky.
CUBAN: I am lucky. I'm the first to tell you I'm lucky.
ROBBINS: But you also -- you got out of that Yahoo! stock before it went down, also.
CUBAN: Yes. I didn't say I was stupid.
ROBBINS: But I'm just saying, you've seen -- you know, can you make your own luck by putting yourself in the right position? Because I think a lot of people see themselves as, you know, the season hits me rather than saying look, I got to look at what season ran and say, how do we take advantage of winter?
Have you done that throughout your life?
CUBAN: Yes. No question.
ROBBINS: I mean, you were one of the first HDNet guys. You seem to always say, where's the next edge?
ROBBINS: So if I win, I win big.
CUBAN: I always try to change the game, right? Because there's just -- starting and running a business, and then I sit there, and I say, OK, look, I'm not the best programmer, I'm not the most technical guy. But with sales ability, with business ability, and with technical ability, then I can walk in and I can say what can I do to change?
So whether creating the first high-definition television network, HDNet, in 2001. In 2006, we sat down, we have a company, Magnolia Pictures, that's a distribution company. We said, oh, look, this model is not working. Spending all this money to promote a movie and then just, you know, praying that people show up is a bad model. So I looked at the technology of television. That video on demand on TV is going to explode.
CUBAN: And so we said, let's take the movies we're distributing and put them on VOD where people can make an impulse buy just with their remote control and buy our movies first. Then, because we own Landmark Theaters, then put them in theaters. And so we went from a company losing money to a company that never lost money on a movie or rarely lost, and always made money for the company. And now everybody is trying to copy us. And so, that's what I try to look for.
ROBBINS: It's amazing. You're always finding that competitive edge. One of the competitive edges you've done with Mavericks is you took the team that at once in playoffs, been in one playoff 20 years?
CUBAN: Yeah, it was horrible. Yes, we got voted the worst professional sports franchise of the '90s, for the decade before I bought them.
ROBBINS: So now a year later, you're getting in the playoffs. You know, six years later, I was there in Dallas.
ROBBINS: My buddy Pat Reilly was there, rooting against you.
CUBAN: Yeah, he was the happier guy that I was then.
ROBBINS: But then in 2011, you become champions. That kind of turnaround doesn't just happen.
ROBBINS: You brought an innovative leadership and you brought leaders into the group.
ROBBINS: I think you and I both agree, leadership is the cutting edge. We're about to decide who our leaders are going to be for the next four years. You know, you look under a John Wooden, you and I both know, he had different players and he won 12 championships, seven in a row.
ROBBINS: How valuable is the coach or a leader? And I guess here's the real question, what is the most important qualities in a leader today? How do you know if they got the right stuff, and how do you know whether you let them go at a tough time or will you stay with them?
CUBAN: It's always really tough with coaches, right? Like they always say coaches are hired to be fired.
CUBAN: And with Rick Carlyle, our mutual friend and our coach, one of Rick's strengths, and I think this is critical, particularly in sports leadership , you not only have to know what you're good at. You have to know what you're not good at.
CUBAN: And that's one of Rick's incredible strengths. He doesn't try to tell you or mislead you or sell you on what he's not.
CUBAN: He's like here's what I'm great at, here's what I'm not so good at. And he'll say, look, if you can provide any support for those not-so-good things, I'm going to take advantage of it. And that's my job, in my leadership role, to say how can I put everybody in a position to succeed so we can get a few more of these, you know?
ROBBINS: How do you keep that hunger alive? A lot of teams, you know, the guys like, you know, the Bulls back in the days of Jordan three-peating, they never lost that hunger, that hunger edge.
ROBBINS: How do you do it? Because those guys get it?
CUBAN: That part is not hard because once you taste it, I mean, you just got to go back for more. You know? It's -- you know. It's that great tasting champagne, you know, it's like you don't -- or steak. No one ever just has one steak. You know, you always want to go back for more.
ROBBINS: Tell me, you know, you've been -- one of the reasons I wanted you on the show is because we have some people who have been more Republican-oriented. You've been Democrat and Republican. I've seen you ripping up both sides.
CUBAN: Both sides.
ROBBINS: I like that recently you were talking in your blog about Republicans saying we're not better off from four years ago. Address that. Are we better off?
ROBBINS: Are we the same? Where are we?
CUBAN: Individually, it just depends on your own personal circumstances that you may or may not be better off. As a country, if you go back four years ago, you know, here we are in September. September 2008, where four or five are the biggest one-day drops in the Dow. When you're watching the stock market, you go up and down like a yo-yo.
CUBAN: Trillions of dollars, and you know, people have no certainty whatsoever. At the same time, we're sitting there talking about being in the -- in the throes of the Great Recession. And not only were we in the throes of a great recession, but we don't know if we were leading toward a depression.
CUBAN: We didn't know what was going to happen with banks. We certainly didn't know what was going to happen with housing.
CUBAN: With complete uncertainty. And so, you know, today, we're worried about the fiscal cliff. Back then, we had no certainty on our whole financial system. The fact that we got through that uncertainty speaks volumes that we're far better off today than we were back then. ROBBINS: When we come back, I'd like to ask you about President Obama, and I'd like to ask you about Mitt Romney, and get a clear idea about where you think this country needs to go. What does the leadership need to provide? Whoever we pick, for things to really begin to prosper going forward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the celebration will begin. The Dallas Mavericks are NBA champions. The first title in franchise history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come here (INAUDIBLE). Come here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBBINS: Tell me something. If people look in your eyes --
CUBAN: I can't help but get emotional --
ROBBINS: You were telling me during the break, what did you say about the ring?
CUBAN: Well, my ring, I can't have it out where I can see it because I just get so fired up and like, so crazy, like let's go. And I have to like go, and look, no, I got to go play with my kids and I got to chill. So I keep it where I can't see it.
ROBBINS: What did it mean to you to create that victory with a team after a little less than 10 years, a little more than 10 years, I guess?
CUBAN: You know, it's hard to describe. It was just, I was happy for Dirk. I was happy for all of our players. I was happy for our fans. And it's always more of a relief than anything else, you know?
CUBAN: You saw in the video that you just see me screaming. And that was 67 days, right there, 67 days, the whole playoffs, of me saying, OK, don't even think about it. Don't even think, don't jinx it, don't jinx it.
CUBAN: And then it was there. You see me right there, just screaming and letting it all out. Just that relief.
ROBBINS: You have a hard time expressing your true emotions, don't you?
CUBAN: Yes. So hard, yes. I got it from my dad.
ROBBINS: My kids will take their friends to a movie and they go, "Watch my dad watch this movie."
ROBBINS: Let's talk about leadership once again. Let's talk about the president and Mitt Romney. Tell me first of all, what, rather than the people, what are the qualities we need in a leader today dealing with the level of, you know, volatility that we have in markets today, the challenges we're seeing overseas in Europe, even Asia, potentially, China slowing down? What do we need in a great leader?
And then give me your report card for President Obama, because I know you're a big supporter of his. And what would your report card be for what you think Mitt Romney can do?
CUBAN: Well, first of all, I'm not a big supporter of anybody. Right? I try to be very objective and just make a common-sense decision based off the information in front of me.
CUBAN: But in terms of leadership, first, I don't think the president has as much influence really on the economy. Global affairs, absolutely, right? But on the economy --
ROBBINS: I agree with you.
CUBAN: Not nearly as much as people seem to think. To say whether it was President Bush before him or President Obama now, if you would only do A, B or C, everything would be different.
ROBBINS: Well, even President Clinton, who's a dear friend, you know, (INAUDIBLE) goes.
CUBAN: Yes. We --
ROBBINS: A lot of it is outside the control of the president.
CUBAN: Right. If the Internet hadn't happened for President Clinton, he doesn't have a surplus, right?
CUBAN: So I don't think you can put as much credit or blame on any presidential candidate. So that's part of it. But the thing that's changed, and it's concern on both sides is, leadership has to come in terms of managing your party. Because you're not voting for an individual anymore. You're not even voting for a ticket. You're voting for a whole party. Because you look at the Tea Party and the influence, you look at the far left and the influence. It's the same on both sides, and there's so much money involved right now that you can't just say, OK, President Obama, this is what I like or don't like, or Governor Romney, this is what I like and don't like.
ROBBINS: So how would you rate the parties?
CUBAN: They both scare the hell out of me.
CUBAN: They really, really do. And I think a lot of it comes down to the devil I know is better than the devil I don't know, you know? Because when you look and you try to go through the decision process, and I'll leave it wide open until the debates, right? Because I'm going to have an open mind until we go through the debates.
You know, we've both been in business scenarios where someone comes in and we're looking to hire them. And we say, OK, what are you going to do to increase profits for this company?
CUBAN: And they say, well, I'm going to increase sales. Well, that's not enough detail. What else are you going to do? I'm going to cut costs. That's not enough detail. What else? That's what we're hearing from the Republicans and Governor Romney.
CUBAN: You've got to give me detail. You can't -- he talks about being a businessperson. He would not hire anybody who came in auditioning for a job the way he is auditioning for a job.
CUBAN: You know? Now, on the other hand, you look at Obama and you say, well, what have you done? Are you better off, you know, and we're voting as individuals, so that's important. But at the same time, I don't know that he could have done a whole lot any different or the Republicans would have done it any different.
Now if we go forward, again, I know Obama and I have a sense of knowing know him in a sense just as a voter.
CUBAN: Not in person. But just as a voter, I have a sense for what he's going to do. It's like any other ongoing business.
CUBAN: I'm not going to make somebody that I don't really know who's not really being forthcoming who's not giving me details, I'm not going to hire him as the CEO of one of my companies because we've all been at -- you know. OK, businesses aren't perfect, right? But I'm not willing to take the chance at somebody new.
ROBBINS: We want the certainty. So you can run your business and run your life basically. CUBAN: And I think there's --
CUBAN: If Governor Romney comes in and just cuts back, that's not good, right? And he says --
ROBBINS: Well, you talked about that. You're more than willing to pay more taxes.
CUBAN: I'm more than happy to pay more taxes.
ROBBINS: I am too. I told the president myself, I spent a half hour with him about three or four weeks ago. But I asked him a question, I said, how will things be different four years from now when there's such demonization on both sides? You know, things have been so locked up.
And really, that's why I'm curious as a businessman, how do we -- you know, if you've got both sides so locked up that they can't pass anything or willing to pass anything, what will change? Or do you like that? Do you like the --
CUBAN: There's something to be said for that, right? But, you know, I'd like to see the deficit reduced. I'd like to see all the things everybody is talking about. What it really comes down to is individual responsibilities from people in the business community. You know, the Republicans like to talk about taking the government out. I would love to take the government out. But we're just --
ROBBINS: But it's not realistic.
CUBAN: Yes. We're in a situation where, you know, it's 3rd and 50 to go, and I don't care if you're a running team, you still have to pass the ball.
CUBAN: And where we are right now, I want to know what's going to happen from the Republicans before I'd even consider. Yet, with what Obama is doing, I have enough certainty that I feel comfortable with what's going on, and I can run my business.
ROBBINS: So, you know, what you're saying is, CEOs and those who were successful have got to take responsibility, coming up with the plan. Not just work at politicians to go -- and we've got -- we can't be responsible just say, we'll cut our taxes.
ROBBINS: Without knowing the consequences.
CUBAN: You can't just take the government out and just, OK, now what? And push it off to somebody else. CEOs, people who run businesses have got to take the responsibility to say, look, I'm a citizen, too. My employees are shareholders of this entire country. I need to step up and hire people. I need to step up and do things for this country. Otherwise, I can't ask the government to do less. I'm not taking any of the responsibility away from them.
ROBBINS: And you're willing to do that?
CUBAN: Oh, I always do. I'm investing in companies every day.
ROBBINS: Why don't you run? You've done every damn thing else.
CUBAN: That's the problem.
ROBBINS: Listen, I want you to stick around because I want you to join our dream team together at the end here.
If I was going to economic war, I would want these three men to be my compadres to make it happen.
Coming up, the king of Las Vegas, Steve Wynn, the man who started with literally less than nothing, $300,000 of his father's debts, and he took Las Vegas and reshaped it into the entertainment capital of the world. How did he do it? How do you turn dreams into reality? Steve Wynn is next.
ROBBINS: Well, we're back. And we're here with a true American original. The legend of Las Vegas, Steve Wynn. He turned a desert town into the world's economic destination for entertainment and he built a whole series of hotels, putting -- creating a $12 billion building boom in that community and really reshaping it completely with a level of creativity and intensity and beauty that most people would never think of.
Steve, you're a dear friend. I can't believe you're joining me on the air. Thank you so much.
WYNN: I love that understatement.
WYNN: You're supposed to be a buddy of mine, you stick me between Mark Cuban and Boone Pickens.
ROBBINS: Well, I know you disagree with Mark on a lot of things.
WYNN: What's a kid supposed to do in a spot like this?
ROBBINS: Yes. Well, I think you've been around the block a few times.
ROBBINS: Listen, many people know your story, but it's so fascinating. How did you go -- because some people don't know this. You were an English major. You studied comparative religion. You were going to be a lawyer. How do you go from that to running a bingo parlor, having $300,000 in debts, and then turning around an entire city?
Tell me how you -- how did that come about and more importantly how do people take their dreams and turn them into reality? Because that's what you've done over and over. You take what you've envisioned and you've made it real. And most people don't have that skill or they don't seem to.
WYNN: You mentioned that I was going to be a lawyer.
WYNN: But at the last minute, I turned away from a life of crime.
ROBBINS: Well, that's appropriate after what happened with you today.
WYNN: How did I get there? Well, my dad taught me that what you want to do is stick to simple ideas. And I don't know why, Tony. I don't know where or when, but ever since I was a kid, the idea of building something that would make people go wow has struck me as just about the coolest thing in the world to do.
Now it's not saving lives in the real sense or doing something really noteworthy, but it has kept me a happy, happy person. And I was --
WYNN: Well, I think I've got to build another hotel because maybe next time, just maybe I could get it right.
WYNN: But along the way, we've created 150 or 250,000 jobs and I think the most satisfaction I've ever gotten has been the fact that the family, the employees, the staffs of the hotels here and abroad and their families have all sort of merged into one.
WYNN: And we've got this very familial kind of organization, which is very satisfying. I live in the hotels.
WYNN: You know, I'm there every day with my family, and it's a great life. ROBBINS: People there love you, as you well know. I mean I've talked to them, I go to your hotels, obviously. We're dear friends. But I listen to what they say outside. And they are always sharing stories about how they've changed lives. You said you don't change lives, but I know you start every meeting in your company with people sharing some ways they've been touched. Would you share an example of that?
WYNN: The notion that a single person, acting alone without anybody watching, can change the course of an enterprise is probably true as much for a company as it is for a country.
ROBBINS: I agree.
WYNN: We believe that and we have a thing called storytelling, every day, before every shift starts in every department, the supervisor says in gatherings of eight to 10 people, anybody got a story about yesterday and something good that happens? And if it's great, we post it on the in-house Internet and we make signs in a print shop downstairs and we put up big posters on the walls with the story and a picture of the kid that did it. They become famous.
That is to say, something that they did increases their self-esteem.
WYNN: Anything that increases someone's self-esteem is much more powerful than money.
ROBBINS: Yes, I agree.
WYNN: And if it happens in conjunction with the workplace, it's really terrific all the way around. We had a kid once, was taking a couple from California upstairs to their room to check in. An older couple. And they got up to the room and he said, do you have your baggage? This bellman said. Did you check all your baggage? And the lady let out a screech. She said to her husband, I left our case with our prescriptions and your insulin at the house. We've got to go home. What are we going to do? It was 4:00 in the afternoon.
And he was diabetic. The kid, the bellman, Hispanic kid, said, where do you live? They said at Palisades, in Los Angeles. He said, I've got a brother in Encino. I think, if I remember the story correctly, and -- he said, you've got to someone at your house? They said, we have a housekeeper. Call the housekeeper and tell them that my brother is coming over.
She called the housekeeper by -- I maybe dorky in the story, I hope I'm remembering correctly, and in effect said someone is going to pick up the medicines. I promise you that when you wake up tomorrow morning, it'll be here.
WYNN: The kid went downstairs, told his supervisor, got in his car, drove from Las Vegas to California to his brother's house. Picked up the case with the medication. Got back at 4:00 in the morning and had it delivered to the room.
Now at that point, these people will never stop talking about that human intervention by one of our employees. That happens a thousand times over.
ROBBINS: And in an economy like this, that kind of raving fan clients, they come back again and again.
Tell me something, though, a lot of people, there's a lot in politics today about success and wealth and there's almost a negative association to often people that have built things. And not always. There's a mixture. But is there a conflict -- compare to religion, you're one of the most generous guys I know. You donate 120 percent of your salary plus your bonuses. I'm well aware of each years, and that's pretty hefty numbers.
So you've always been a giver. Is there a conflict between spirituality and economic success?
WYNN: I -- I don't think, I think the answer to that is now. I remember studying (INAUDIBLE) Buddhist at the University of Pennsylvania. And that teaches you it's always about somebody else.
My success as a CEO is my ability to make my senior management people recognize that their success is how well they motivate the -- the staff. The staff learned that their only real success is the -- is defined by the extent to which they make guests have a wonderful experience in our buildings. That is to say, it's always about someone else.
WYNN: And that kind of thing is consistent with the studies of things like Buddhism or any other religion, for that matter. We're very oriented toward individuals in my company.
WYNN: And I think that's pretty much my approach to life.
ROBBINS: I know you disagree with a lot of things Mark said about how things being better off now than four years ago.
WYNN: I do.
ROBBINS: So we come back, I want to have you share what you think is different and I want you to share your solutions for things like healthcare. And I want to hear why you went from voting for President Obama before to now voting for Mitt Romney, or at least supporting Mitt Romney. So that's what we'll do when we come back.
Thanks for being on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WYNN: I think the future of Las Vegas depends on the kind of political leadership that we get in our state and our -- and our country. After all, Las Vegas is a great national crossroads, a great international crossroads. To the extent that America is healthy and well led, then Las Vegas will be a great reflection of that prosperity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBBINS: So I know you feel very differently about our economy. Tell me, are we better off than four years ago? And if you obviously feel differently, why and what do we need to do to move America forward to start growing again?
WYNN: Well, it was fun to meet Mark Cuban and to be here with him. And that was the first time -- I was listening very carefully when you were talking to him. And, unfortunately, I disagree with him rather starkly.
Four years ago, Mark mentioned that we were in a -- the throes of an earthquake.
WYNN: And everything was shaking.
WYNN: Because there was a fault beneath us. The fault had to do with home lending, irresponsible home lending and a bunch of other reasons that we've discussed and don't need to repeat at this moment.
Today, the shaking stopped, but the fault is orders of magnitude bigger. There is --
WYNN: There's no metric, no measurement of the health of the American economy that isn't worse today than it was before. And anybody with any fundamental understanding of what our lives and our -- living standard has been pinned upon will recognize that we are in much worse shape, at $16 trillion in debt and climbing.
You know, right now, the government is borrowing, as everybody knows, 40 cents on every dollar.
WYNN: But they're paying no interest for it. We're artificially repressing the cost of interest and keeping it at $400 billion a year. Let's remember, the government takes in $2.4 trillion a year. Four hundred billion of it or so is going to interest. When we're paying no interest, if we stop artificially keeping interest rates down or --
ROBBINS: Investors say, I want a better return, you're not --
WYNN: Well, they -- they have said want return.
ROBBINS: Yes. Yes.
WYNN: Which is why the Fed steps in. It creates money and pretends that it's outside money borrowing the Treasury money, which it's not. They -- they've got a fancy name for it called quantitative easement.
WYNN: Bernie Madoff went to jail for that.
WYNN: You can't borrow money --
ROBBINS: It's true.
WYNN: And so we are -- the results of all this is that the dollar is plummeting. My employees -- let's get to what matters to me.
WYNN: My employees are being paid in 80 and 75 cent dollars and it's going south. Even if I bring money from Macau and give raises and stuff like that, I can't keep up with the destruction of the living standard of the working people in my world.
ROBBINS: So tell me, what do we do? You were a big supporter of President Obama. You voted for him. You gave money to the Democrats.
ROBBINS: You've switched. Do you believe that Mitt Romney can really create 12 million jobs? How do --
WYNN: Mitt Romney --
WYNN: Mitt Romney doesn't create 12 million jobs.
WYNN: We know from the study of history that the only thing that creates a better life is the demand for labor. It is created in the private sector. If the government is going to hire everybody, it's called communism.
WYNN: I mean we put everybody in the army, put everybody in the postal department, put everybody in the agriculture department. It's preposterous and ridiculous. And on top of it, the government makes a lousy deal on labor contracts. ROBBINS: But why -- as you've told me privately all the time, there's all this money sitting on the side, guys like you that on the side --
WYNN: Two or three trillion.
ROBBINS: Two or three trillion. Why is it on the side? What's going to get them back in the game?
WYNN: What President Romney can do, we've got -- what we've got in the White House today is a first-rate campaigner and a great speechmaker. And he is charming.
WYNN: And he's a nice man. He's a nice man. But in this world, it's what you do, not what you say. We've become so fascinated with style and glitz, sometimes -- and it's a hell of a thing coming from a guy like me, but I've got to say, it's what you do, not what you say.
WYNN: We've got a guy running for office, Mitt Romney, who is not as good a campaigner as the president, but would be a first rate president. The president is a first rate campaigner and a third rate president.
ROBBINS: Tell me --
WYNN: Because --
ROBBINS: Tell me something, because we've got two minutes, I'm going to -- I want people to hear, do you have real specific solutions around health care? I know you're worried about your employees. Why do you think the health care program is so poor? What's missing from it? What would you change?
WYNN: Any bill that's 2700 pages, when you -- if you're a citizen and you're looking at this television program, I'm going to make an intemperate statement. If a piece of legislation is 2700 pages, the public is getting screwed.
WYNN: Nothing that's 2700 pages --
ROBBINS: That no one -- there's no one could read it.
WYNN: Nobody has read it.
WYNN: It's an outrageous example of bad government.
ROBBINS: But it's really missing competition. Is that your concern? WYNN: If we take a break --
ROBBINS: Right now under the Obama the prices are increasing for your employees, is that right?
WYNN: Tony, Tony, when they take a break at CNN, most likely, you're going to see an argument between Progressive, All State and Geico on how -- on how to get cheaper auto insurance.
WYNN: Or you'll see an argument between Vonage, AT&T and Verizon on cheaper cell phone service.
WYNN: You'll never see an ad for how to get cheaper health care insurance because that's locked into little monopolies state by state. One of the things we've got to do is get health care -- the borders taken away so we can have ads on television for private insurance. That will cause the price to go down, just like it does with auto insurance, just like it does for your cell phone.
ROBBINS: You did this with your own company, did you not?
ROBBINS: Did you -- tell me -- tell me some examples. You cut, what, a $1,000 fee from an MRI down to what?
WYNN: I got -- I got with my union, the Culinary Union.
ROBBINS: Yes. Yes.
WYNN: With the -- with Betsy, with Mitsy (ph), with -- with Mitsy, the wife of the head of the Culinary Union.
WYNN: And Betsy and my guys went and then take -- and took the cost of MRIs and CAT scans from $1,500 down to $300 and $250.
WYNN: Stuff like that. By ganging up and using market forces.
WYNN: Now, Ryan's idea was that anybody less than 55 would have it -- 55 and over, you get Medicare as it is. If you're -- if you're other than that, if you're younger than 55, you can have Medicare just the way it is, but you also have a choice. You have a choice of private insurance that's advertised nationally.
And depending on your income, if you make less than $250,000 -- you see, the president likes to think everybody making $250,000 or more is a billionaire or a millionaire, I'll say one thing. As a person that makes more than $250,000, I'd be very happy not to have the government support my health care. I can afford my own insurance and so can everybody else that makes a lot of money.
Health care for people who have no money is Medicaid. We've always had it.
WYNN: For people who make more than nothing but less than enough to buy their insurance competitively, they ought to keep Medicare just the way it is. And I think that's exactly what the Republicans are -- are suggesting.
ROBBINS: We're going to come back. I want to bring you back with our dream team here, our economic dream team. But our next person is T. Boone Pickens, the billionaire who started after 7 years old. Created a new career between '70 and '84 and is turning the world upside down with his energy plan. T. Boone Pickens is next.
ROBBINS: T. Boone Pickens turned a $2500 investment into one of America's largest, independently owned oil companies. It's called Mesa Petroleum. Then, at the age of 68, he supposedly retired, only to begin again at 70, a whole new career in capital management. The man's amazing. If you don't know about him, you should. He's been around forever, sharing with people ideas how to succeed.
Here's a guy, by the way - first of all, Boone, I want to thank you for coming.
T. BOONE PICKENS: You bet.
ROBBINS: You're a guy that doesn't know anything about retirement, you're a guy that adds value constantly. Talk about taxes, here, you paid how much in taxes in the last 14 years since you were 70? You're 84 now, right?
PICKENS: That's right.
ROBBINS: How much have you --
PICKENS: $665 million.
ROBBINS: Not bad. And you've given away a billion in philanthropy in that time.
PICKENS: A little over a billion.
ROBBINS: Now most people at 65 are thinking, yes, this is the end of the road for me. People in their 50s are thinking, you know, I'm getting old. What do you say to those people and how do we - why do we have those myths? How do we dispel those myths for people? You're the greatest person I could put out there to dispel it, but how can you help people? PICKENS: I still have a lot of things to do.
ROBBINS: That helps, doesn't it?
PICKENS: And I'm running out of time. I realize that. So I'm always in a rush.
ROBBINS: Wow. Now you also take care of yourself. You're very much oriented in health care. I know that you, at one point, cut your company costs in half in your business in health care costs. How did you do that and why are you so focused on health care?
PICKENS: Putting in a fitness center in 1969.
PICKENS: And we won the most court -- the company that was most physically fit in America. That was a contest at the Houstonian in Houston. Won it two times.
ROBBINS: Wow. Did you have incentives to get people to do it, or was it just a sense of pride? How did you -- you cut your health care costs in half during that time. That was -- you're the model for it, and very few people have followed that.
PICKENS: Well, I had -- I would speak -- anytime I had 25 new employees, that I would have a one-hour orientation, and when I finished, I said, we have a fitness center here. And I said, I would like to have a show of hands of those that will participate in the fitness program.
PICKENS: Well, here I am, the boss, and I've got them cornered, and so they all have to raise their hand. I said, fine. You don't have to check in the fitness center. I have the list here. I said, all will participate, signed my name, I'll give it to the fitness director, and he'll be by to see you in the next two days.
ROBBINS: Nothing like leverage to get the job done.
PICKENS: That's right.
ROBBINS: Let's talk about the Pickens plan. You've got a plan that will save this country -- first of all, will provide 600,000 jobs, no one seems to argue with that. It provides a savings of about $100 billion. It'll reduce our needs for OPEC oil by 75 percent, and -- I mean, it sounds like a plan too good to be true. What's the plan?
PICKENS: The -- I started this four years ago. And I've spent a lot of money promoting the plan. I feel like I've been successful. We've had one vote in the Senate, and -- ROBBINS: You've got 51 votes, didn't you?
PICKENS: That's right.
ROBBINS: So why didn't it get passed?
PICKENS: Well, this was an amendment to the Transportation Bill.
PICKENS: And so it had to be voted on by the Senate as to whether 18- wheelers on natural gas was germane to the Transportation Bill. You're following this?
ROBBINS: No, I'm not, but I get the idea.
PICKENS: OK. OK. So --
ROBBINS: They played with the rules, so you had to get 60 votes instead?
PICKENS: Well, they voted it non-germane, and I got 51. Now, that'll win in the Big 12, but it won't win in Washington, when it's not germane to the bill.
ROBBINS: So you're nine votes short this time. I know you don't ever give up. Let's be clear. What you're really saying is, we have about 15 percent of our imported oil that comes, that we're utilizing for big trucks. We can do solar -- we've proven that for cars, but these 18-wheelers we can't do it. So we need a transition fuel, and the fuel we have --
PICKENS: Now, you can't use solar for cars.
ROBBINS: That's what -- that's what I'm pointing out. So, really, we have more natural gas now than Saudi Arabia?
PICKENS: We have -- you think --
ROBBINS: Has oil?
PICKENS: We have more natural gas than any country in the world. And so if you take it to what we call barrels of oil equivalent, we actually have three times as much oil - not oil, but it's barrels of oil equivalent.
PICKENS : Natural gas than the Saudis have. I mean, here we are with it, this -- what we've got to do, for 40 years, we have -- we have imported oil and we have been connected to the -- to the Mideast. OK, so we now have enough oil and natural gas to get off that. If you look at the Straits of Hormuz today, there's 17 million barrels of oil goes through the Straits today.
ROBBINS: Yes. PICKENS: Only 2.4 million barrels of that is our -- is --
ROBBINS: Coming to us.
PICKENS: Is coming to us. OK. We don't need that. We can go without it. Now, we -- if that's the case, we've got to look at our whole situation different. Our energy has -- we have more energy, cheapest energy in the world, and we have more energy than anybody else has in the world.
ROBBINS: So -- but we're not deploying it right. In other words, you're saying to us that if we just took those 18-wheelers and in five years we can convert those to natural gas, it saves money, but it also saves the oil. We can reduce by 75 percent our OPEC --
PICKENS: Sure. We don't -- the 2.4 million barrels that we get from the Straits of Hormuz -- we have the Fifth Fleet over there.
PICKENS: We have four carriers -- two directly in the Persian Gulf, two outside but close, and all of that's going on, at the same time we're getting people killed every day. Now we have this situation, Libya and Egypt, I would get out of the Mideast, is what I'd do.
ROBBINS: And we can do it in five years.
PICKENS: Oh, we can get out of the Mideast a lot quicker than that.
ROBBINS: So why aren't we getting those nine votes? Why doesn't President Obama step in and say, we're going to take all of the vehicles the US government has and put them on natural gas?
PICKENS: That's just 200,000, is what it is.
ROBBINS: Not big enough.
PICKENS: No, and -- no.
ROBBINS: Won't it lead by example?
PICKENS: No, but it - exactly. That's leadership, if he did that. It doesn't have to go on natural gas. Put it on domestic fuel, is what you need to do. Get off of OPEC oil. But oil that we purchase from the Mideast, from Saudi Arabia, in particular, some part of that money goes to the Taliban.
OK, just get out of there, and come home. And they don't want us there. You're trying to change a culture that has been there for centuries.
PICKENS: And it - you know, you want to change to a democracy? If they came over here and imposed their culture on us, we would -- of course, we would not even consider it. But -- and they're the -- that's their attitude, too. They do not want --
ROBBINS: Most people are not good at -- most people are not good at changing their styles, how are they going to change their entire culture?
ROBBINS: Tell me something, we're going to run into our final segment, we're going to bring everybody back together here. We're going to have you sit with kind of our economic war team, so when we come back, I'd really like to know, what do you think is our greatest strength as a country? What can we look forward to? How can we move things forward? I'd like to do that when we come back.
ROBBINS: I'm Tony Robbins, in for Piers Morgan, Back with my three most incredibly successful men in America, Mark Cuban, Steve Wynn and T. Boone Pickens.
I wish you could be here during the break and see some of the passion that's going on here about what do you do to turn the country around. Not everybody agrees, but there's some things that they do agree about.
Listen, this is a very short segment. I've got all of you here. If you could do one thing, you're president of the United States, you could do one thing to make a difference in this economy, in our culture, in our ability to grow America again, what would it be?
Boone, I'll start with you, since the plan --
PICKENS: Get on your own resources. We have the cheapest oil, the cheapest gas in the world. And we have the resources in America. Just get on your own resources. The countries that are successful around the world are those that are on -- there's no country in the world that's on their own resources that's struggling. And we have the resources, Washington does not understand.
CUBAN: I'd say, recognize that intellectual capital is our best resource, that we have --
CUBAN: Well, just because we have the most brains of any country in the world and that we're innovating more rapidly --
ROBBINS: Just 268 other countries --
CUBAN: That's OK, but we're innovating more rapidly than any other country, so we have to continue to invest in them. But the challenge is, all those people who aren't selling their intellectual capital, they're using their hands, they're -- you know, they're using their time in order to make a living. We have to retrain them.
ROBBINS: So we've gone from this low-knowledge, low-skill, you know, low-cognitive decision-making culture to a place where it's high-tech, high-knowledge.
CUBAN: Right. Software is taking over everything.
ROBBINS: If you don't get that, you don't win.
WYNN: And if you're not capable of participating in the workforce at that point, then you need to be retrained and we need to get kids in schools to the point where they can participate in that environment.
ROBBINS: We're training kids today for jobs that used to be, instead of the future.
ROBBINS: And we're in a situation today where we're seeing people struggle because they just don't have the tools.
CUBAN: And that's not going to change.
ROBBINS: Yes. Well, hopefully -- if you were president, what would you do? Steve?
WYNN: Just listen to these two guys is how. If I'm -- the one thing you asked me if I could do to make the world -- America a better place.
WYNN: Somehow have a notion of humility take over in Washington, with regard to what the government is capable of doing successfully.
ROBBINS: As opposed to private enterprise?
WYNN: He has an energy policy that would be successful. Trust him to execute it. He says we've got to retrain people. Reward the -- have a government that rewards, by not collecting taxes, people who successfully retrain citizens. That is to say, turn the attention to rewarding citizens who do what we want by not collecting taxes from them, and those people will start to retrain people, and people will start to find new sources of energy. But that would require a change in attitude in Washington that I would call introducing humility.
ROBBINS: Give me one sentence. What is America's greatest strength going forward?
CUBAN: Our people.
PICKENS: You know what, let me add one thing. That if get on our own resources, we can get out of the Mideast.
ROBBINS: Yes. PICKENS: And we've depended on that oil over there for 40 years, and we don't need it. Get the hell out of there and we will quit getting our people killed.
ROBBINS: Steve? What's America's greatest strength? What do we have to look forward to?
WYNN: Individual initiative, greed, the sense to do better in life, to have a better life.
CUBAN: Let me add to that, the most patriotic thing you could do as an America is get filthy, stinking rich, and then pay lots in taxes, so we can do all these things we talked about.
ROBBINS: I'm sure that will --
WYNN: Mark, is government going to do it?
ROBBINS: This conversation is going to continue after we continue to roll, I have a feeling here.
ROBBINS: Thank you for joining us tonight. I'm Tony Robbins, in for Piers Morgan. Good night.