Global markets have been whipsawed in recent weeks as uncertainty over Europe's debt situation persisted. But renowned investor Jim Rogers says the U.S. economy has more serious problems than Europe.
27 September, 2011
"Europe has a few bad, bankrupt states, so does America. We've got Illinois which is bigger than Greece, we've got California, we've got New York, you know those are pretty big states that have serious economic problems. We have pension plans in America that are terribly under water," Rogers told CNBC on Tuesday.
According to Rogers, the U.S. has deeper structural problems than Europe as well as higher debt levels.
"Europe's got some bad problems but the entity as a whole is not nearly as deep in debt as the U.S. They don't have a huge balance of trade deficit, like we do," Rogers said.
Investors have been worried about the lack of a unified response from Europe. Leaders in the single currency group have been accused of being behind the curve and not getting to grips with the crisis even as stock markets have swooned. But Rogers believes that America, despite having a single fiscal policy, is actually worse off in terms of its debt situation.
Rogers reiterated his previous calls to allow Greece to go bankrupt, and lauded the German taxpayers’ resistance to bail out the debt-laden country.
"I wouldn't want to bail out the Greeks either if I were the Germans or the Dutch or the Finns or the Austrians. I wouldn't either and that brings more discipline to bear than what happens in the U.S. where just everybody runs amok," he added.
Rogers said the introduction of Euro bonds would be a bad move because it would give European politicians greater freedom to spend and he said plans to leverage up the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) would be a bad idea.
"It's just going to make the eventual collapse even worse, because they're not dealing with the problems," he said. "The solution for too much debt is not more debt - although that's what they seem to think it is."
Rogers said he would buy more euros if policymakers began to force "substantial" haircuts on debts of all the peripheral European countries, although he admitted that would require partial nationalization of the banking system. Reports
"If they did that, that would be very exciting," he said. "The realization would set in that you cannot just spend money you don't have. Then banks wouldn't lend money to people who keep phony book-keeping. Then you wouldn't have wild deficit spending throughout Europe."
"Then, at that point, the euro would probably be a sound currency. If they really did something like that I would have to buy a lot of euros," he added.
Despite his bearishness towards the U.S. economy, Rogers said he continued to hold onto dollars, which he bought earlier this year, when investors were extremely bearish on the currency. He said he might buy more if the situation in Europe worsened, driving more people towards the safety of the greenback