His principal messages:
- U.S. lawmakers need to end their fiscal inertia.
- CEOs are taking advantage of the system -- as in the prior cycle, which led us to the Great Recession.
- Our economy must reduce its dependency on low interest rates.
- Overseas income should be repatriated and used to expand physical plant.
- U.S. corporate-tax regulation needs restructuring.
- Tax inversions are unfair.
- There is too much "financial engineering" and not enough capital expenditures.
- The quality of earnings reports these days is poor.
- The Federal Reserve should raise interest rates because the risks of malinvestment in numerous asset classes have risen.
- The high-yield market is in a bubble.
- Donald Trump might be a viable presidential candidate -- he's what the country "needs."
- The role of BlackRock (BLK) - Get Report in the high yield market (and others) represents systemic risk.
- Wall Street does what it does best -- sells securities. It doesn't exist to make individual investors money.
How do I interpret Icahn's remarks, which likely were partially responsible for Monday's market schmeissing?
Well, Icahn is among the world's greatest investors of the modern era. But his concerns are well known, and not as dire as the market feared yesterday.
Moreover and importantly, I think his recommendations are filled with hypocrisy.
Icahn has been an ardent advocate of buyouts -- naturally, of his targeted investment holdings -- and a devotee of financial engineering (again, in share repurchases by his targeted investment holdings).
Editor's Note: This article was originally published at Sept. 29 on Real Money on Sept. 29.
At the time of publication, Kass had no positions in the stocks mentioned.