Rod Dreher

Pimco founder Bill Gross, king of the bond traders, talks tough about economic reality. Excerpt:

Markets will be downsized by regulation [he says], even if governments are slow in applying new laws. “The sun is not setting on Wall Street – there will always be sunshine on financiers – but high noon is in the past. It’s time for ordinary people to benefit.”
Governments should raise taxes on bankers, who “don’t deserve all this”, Gross says, including himself. “I don’t need so much,” he says. Economies such as the UK and the US should look to making “things, rather than paper” to prosper. “The bubble was reflective of wealth as a function of house prices and derivatives – that’s not wealth. The Chinese are showing us what wealth is: transforming creative and well-trained work into exportable goods.”


This year alone, Britain is due to raise £220bn to pay for bailed-out banks, rising unemployment and falling taxes. Calling Britain a “must avoid” area, and one of the highly indebted countries that Gross calls the “ring of fire”, doesn’t help governments market their bonds.
Asked whether he’s tempted to show some sympathy for Greece to help the country regain investors’ confidence, he is adamant: “No. We’ve seen this game before – politicians talk it up and it’s back to normal; they want to bring the vigilantes to their money. I’ve seen this in California over the past 20 years – it has been the biggest chiseller of all for a long time. Why should we be willing to jump into this water tomorrow? I feel sorry for the people because their standards of living will be affected. But Greece has stretched to the extreme.”
Gross wants action. “Governments want to convince lenders they’ve been to rehab and now they’re going straight,” he says. “But like in the AA [Alcoholics Anonymous], just because you’ve been to a few meetings I’m not going to give you a full-time job.”

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