Bill Fleckenstein: Debt Represents a ‘Cancer’ for US

According to Bill Fleckenstein, president of Fleckenstein Capital, the "US has cancer, because we refuse to address our problems." He says the economy is in the sweet spot of the bubble, where money printing has people believing the economy is getting better, but it won't.

By Dan Weil
Wednesday, 27 Feb 2013 08:28 AM
Money News

Bill Fleckenstein, president of Fleckenstein Capital, portrays the $16 trillion U.S. government debt burden and the Federal Reserve's money printing in bleak terms.

“The United States has cancer, because we refuse to address our problems,” he tells CNBC “From time to time we go into remission. The Fed has created bubbles now [with its easing].”

Presumably Fleckenstein is referring to stock prices, which rose to five-year highs last week, and bond prices, which haven’t fallen too far from last year’s record highs.

“We are in a sweet spot of the bubble, where money printing gets people to believe the economy is getting better. But it won’t,” he notes.

Economic data aren’t getting better, Fleckenstein explains, perhaps referring to the 0.1 percent contraction in fourth quarter gross domestic product.

“The stock market has levitated,” he states. “People pretend things are getting better. They act as though things are going to get better. Then when things don’t get better, they get hurt.”

The Fed’s easing distorts reality without really accomplishing anything, Fleckenstein maintains.

“We don’t address the problems. They just get worse. It just takes longer to go where we have to get to, where we have to settle up the imbalances we have from a government spending point,” he adds.

“This focus on the Fed is a gigantic waste of time. We already know what they’re going to do. They’re going to print money. They told you they’re going to print money,” Fleckenstein tells CNBC.

“They don’t understand that they are the problem.”

New York University economist Nouriel Roubini also is worried about a credit bubble arising from all the Fed’s easing.

“The risk from QE [quantitative easing] isn’t goods inflation; it’s not going to be a rout in the bond market, because the Fed will exit slowly” he tells Yahoo. “The risk is like during the 2003-06 cycle. We're exiting very slowly, and we got an asset bubble.”

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