The nationalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shows that the U.S. is “more communist than China right now” but its brand of socialism is meant only for the rich, investor Jim Rogers, CEO of Rogers Holdings, told CNBC Europe on Monday.
“America is more communist than China is right now. You can see that this is welfare of the rich, it is socialism for the rich… it’s just bailing out financial institutions,” Rogers said.
Stock markets jumped after the U.S. government’s decision to launch what could be its biggest federal bailout ever, in a bid to support the housing market and ward off more global financial market turbulence.
But Rogers said in the long term the move spelled trouble.
“This is madness, this is insanity, they have more than doubled the American national debt in one weekend for a bunch of crooks and incompetents. I’m not quite sure why I or anybody else should be paying for this,” Rogers told “Squawk Box Europe.”
European stocks soared on Monday, led by banks. UBS was up 11 percent, BNP Paribas up 8 percent, Credit Agricole up 11.1 percent and HBOS up 13.8 percent.
“You certainly gonna see a huge jump in any financial institutions which owned a lot of Fannie [FNM 0.75 -6.29 (-89.35%) ] or Freddie [FRE 0.75 -4.35 (-85.29%) ] … because they don’t have to worry about going bankrupt all of a sudden,” Rogers said.
“Bank stocks around the world are going through the roof, that’s ’cause they’ve all been bailed out. You don’t see the homeowners in Kansas going through the roof ’cause they’re not being bailed out,” he added.
“A Huge Mess”
However, despite the rally in Asian and European markets, the decision to take over Fannie and Freddie is likely to cause more volatility and needs careful consideration by investors, according to Rogers.
It’s rarely good to jump in a moving bus and right now you got a lot of buses moving. I might short some more investment banks in the US, depending on how they rally over the next week, but other than that, I’ll just sit and watch,” he said.
Rogers, who is short on U.S. bonds, said these are likely to fall while commodities may rally. The two government-sponsored enterprises don’t have good loans on their books, because “everybody else took the good stuff and dumped the bad stuff onto Fannie and Freddie,” he said.
From 2010, Fannie and Freddie will have to shrink their portfolios by 10 percent a year until they reach $250 billion, to reduce the risk to the taxpayer, according to the Treasury plan. But this may put additional pressure on the housing market, Rogers said.
“That’s going to also ensure that house prices continue to go down. It’s going to be harder and harder to get a mortgage.”
Investors should not pin their hopes on this year’s presidential election for a solution to the problems, as none of the candidates is likely to find one, Rogers said.
“This is a big huge mess and neither one of them has a clue what to do next year. It’s going to be a mess.”
08 Sep 2008