Bill Gates: Full economic recovery could take years

Monday, January 25, 2010

File photo of Bill Gates.

Bill Gates, the world's richest man and chairman of Microsoft, has said that he thinks it could take several more years for the global economy to rebound after the recent recession, which most economists believe began in late 2008.

Gates made the remarks while speaking earlier today in a televised interview with ABC's Good Morning America. "When you have a financial crisis like that, it's years of digging out. The budget's very, very out of balance," the billionaire commented. "And even as the economy comes back, without changes in tax and entitlement policies, it won't get back into balance. And at some point, financial markets will look at that and it will cause problems."

"Taxes are going to have to go up and entitlements are going to have to be moderated," he added. "We're having a slow recovery and everybody's frustrated by the pace of the recovery. But I don't think the government could change and magically make it speed up a lot. If you try to do too much, it can distort things. The government's role is more of a long term role, investing in education.

"We need leadership for these long-term trade-offs and I'm hoping that won't cut back a few key areas like aid to poor countries. But there's going to be cutbacks. We're seeing this at the state level right now, and so far it's not being handled very responsibly."

Gates' comments come two days before US president Barack Obama's State of the Union speech, expected to focus on the current economic situation, as well as the need to create more jobs. Three days from now, meanwhile, Microsoft is scheduled to announce it earnings for the fiscal second quarter of the year.