Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hedge fund manager puts socialists on the spot

Last night on BBC's Newsnight, a hedge fund manager, Hugh Hendry participated in a discussion about how he is speculating on Greece defaulting on its debt. He was joined by Joseph Stiglitz, a US economist, and Spanish Ambassador to the UK, Carles Casajuana.

Many on the left blame the likes of him who in speculating on Greece's public finances, when what he actually is doing is exposing the real risk. He is doing it with his own money and money of those who have chosen to trust him to manage.

That is the fundamental difference.

He has bet millions on the Euro, betting on it dropping if Greece defaults. As he says, if he is wrong, he and his investors lose. He expects nobody to bail him out. If he succeeds, it will be because he is right.

Why is he in a position to do this? Because the Greek governments, democratically elected for years, have been both lying about the public finances and been lax about getting those who elect them to pay for what they want.

However, the discussion on Newsnight last night was simply beautiful.

Stiglitz claimed there should be more borrowing and spending, and it is "absurd" to bet on a default. Hendry said simply:

"Look what happens - you get into difficulty and these guys over here [pointing at Stiglitz and Spanish Ambassador to the UK, Carles Casajuana] say, "hey we don't like it."

"Suddenly the truth hurts! Suddenly we want to abandon the truth. Suddenly speculation becomes a pejorative term!"

In other words, the politicians and some economists want reality evaded, the truth of the Greek government's inability to see that constant borrowing is unsustainable, is something they don't want to know - because what it really means is that spending must be cut, drastically.

Then he got threatened by the weasel who is the Spanish Ambassador who said "we're coming to get you".

He replied: "I see you champagne socialists when I travel business class, and the reason you're up in arms now is because you've got yourself into a crisis and cannot get out of it. So you're looking for scapegoats".

Indeed. The unaccountable reality evaders, statists both on the left and right, wont confront the truth that they are trying to defend mortgaging future taxpayers with their profligacy of today.

If the European Union decides to pillage taxpayers to save its members from default, then it will deserve the backlash that will be inevitable. Blaming entrepreneurs for betting with their own money for the failings of government is a lame attempt to cover up massive incompetence and failure by governments to spend within their means. Indeed, it would demonstrate once and for all the anti-business, anti-capitalist and pro-statist agenda of the European Union, except this time taxpayers are unlikely to stand for the machinations of those who like to spend their money for them.

Let Greece default, let Portugal, Spain and others follow.

Meanwhile, watch Hendry's excellent performance here and see the difference between someone who has made a success of his life and taken risks, compared to those who have spent their lives living off the back of others:


UPDATE: Here is Hendry again, for UK viewers only (through BBC iPlayer) pulling apart Poul Rasmussen, leader of the Party of European Socialists. The start is 22 minutes into the programme...


sagenz said...

I should have been surprised at how badly Stiglitz got his ass kicked.

How on earth did the guy get the positions he achieved. Like minded socialist thinkers?

Anonymous said...

Wow, Stiglitz had nothing to offer.

Anonymous said...

Let Greece default, let Portugal, Spain and others follow.

You really don't get it: the only way out is for germany to leave the EURO and go back to the DM NOW

because WHEN Greece & the PIGS go down (Ireland and Iceland are top of the list) they'll drag the euro down with them.

Frankly, the real solution is the obvious one: shoot the socialists, never let them get near government!