Investing legend Byron Wien says economy will be in ‘terrible trouble’ if Congress doesn’t approve additional unemployment benefits

Brendan McDermid/Reuters

  • Byron Wien told CNBC that the economy is dependent on fiscal and monetary policy and will be in “terrible trouble” if Congress cannot approve additional unemployment benefits. 
  • Wien made the comments after jobless claims indicated 1.1 million additional Americans filed for unemployment. 
  • The legendary investor said he’s upset that the economy has no “natural momentum” of its own.
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Veteran investor Byron Wien told CNBC on Thursday that the economy will be in “terrible trouble” if Congress doesn’t approve additional compensation to unemployed workers.

Wien said this shortly after the Thursday jobless claims report indicated 1.1 million Americans filed new claims for unemployment. The number was higher than expected, and followed two consecutive weeks of declines in jobless claims. Wien said it appears like the escalation in coronavirus cases has caused a setback and may be the reason for the claims increase. 

Read more: Steven Goldstein successfully played the market for 25 years before starting to coach traders who manage billions. Here are his 15 ‘golden’ rules that helped him ensure investing success.

“What I’m upset about is the economy hasn’t developed any natural momentum on its own. It’s really dependent on fiscal and monetary policy to keep it going,” the vice-chairman of Blackstone Private Wealth Solutions said. He added that the economy is only about a quarter of the way back to where it was in 2019, and unless it develops “some natural momentum,” it’s not going to get halfway or three quarters of the way back. 

“Until people start flying again and traveling again we won’t get all the way back, and that’s probably a 2022 phenomenon,” Wien said. 

Meanwhile, Congress is in recess and a deal for an additional stimulus plan is unlikely to be reached until September. 

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