The new Wall Street reform law leaves in place the same uncertainty that led to the financial crisis, says Andrew Redleaf, CEO of hedge fund managers Whitebox Advisors.
The Obama administration is continuing the mistakes of the Bush administration by “codifying the worst exacerbants of the last crisis,” he told Newsmax.TV Money.
“Political uncertainty was a big exacerbant. And the new law just codifies a lot of that.”
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Better rules on leverage and disclosure are needed, Redleaf says. “The new law does none of that. . . . It does nothing to allow people to have a better sense of what a financial institution actually owns.”
Instead, the law authorizes disparate treatment of creditors to big banks. “That has to increase uncertainty, fear, and people’s inclinations to run in the face of rumors.”
The basic thrust of Washington’s economic policy now is “incumbent protection,” Redleaf says.
That puts us at a disadvantage to emerging markets, “as we’ve moved away from clarity of law and replaced it with a kind of ad-hocism.”
Still, he sees an investment opportunity out of this: big U.S. blue-chip companies. “My favorite asset class is the highest quality U.S. equities — the global titans,” he said.
“There are major players in many fields which are as cheap as they’ve been in my professional lifetime. They’re in an excellent position to exploit monetary uncertainty and to finesse, manipulate and work around any increase in government regulation and meddling.”
Letting the Bush tax cuts lapse, as will happen unless Congress acts before Dec. 31, doesn’t bode well for small and medium-size business, Redleaf says.
That’s because these companies are generally self-funded by their owners, who will be the ones facing higher taxes. “You can count on huge further stress on funding to small businesses as a result of increased taxes,” he said.
A double-dip recession is unlikely, but another recession could come before employment fully recovers, Redleaf says.
He does see inflation coming. “I believe the government can engineer inflation, wants to and in the end will be successful.”
But he’s not a big fan of gold because it has little practical application. “I prefer useful stuff. Oil is hard to own, very expensive, but I would rather own oil than gold,” Redleaf said.
He’s bullish on commodities in general, because he expects inflation to last for five to 10 years.
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