Tags: Black | Swan | Author | Taleb | Budget | Deficits | Threat

'Black Swan' Author Taleb: Budget Deficits Threaten Investors

By    |   Monday, 02 Aug 2010 12:35 PM

Government budget deficits represent the next source of danger for the financial markets, renowned investment author Nassim Taleb says.

He wrote “The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable,” which predicted the financial crisis of 2008.

And now, he tells Bloomberg Businessweek, “The massive (threat) is government deficits.”

He uses airplanes as an analogy.

“You often have planes landing two hours late. In some cases, when you have volcanoes, you can land two or three weeks late,” he said.

“How often have you landed two hours early? Never.”

Budget deficits exceed forecasts in the same way.

The bias is for governments to underestimate their deficits, Taleb says. “Governments that try to shoot for a surplus hardly ever reach it,” he said.

“The problem is getting runaway. It's becoming a pure Ponzi scheme.”

That’s because governments need to issue more debt just to pay back the current debt. U.S. government debt is forecast to reach 62 percent of GDP this year.

“And what broke con artist (Bernard) Madoff is going to break governments,” Taleb said.

“They need to find new suckers all the time. And unfortunately the world has run out of suckers.”

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, is worried about the U.S. deficit too.

The end result will be inflation, she says. “With the deficits we have, the only way to repay the debt we owe is by inflating the currency.”

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Government budget deficits represent the next source of danger for the financial markets, renowned investment author Nassim Taleb says. He wrote The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, which predicted the financial crisis of 2008. And now, he tells...
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Monday, 02 Aug 2010 12:35 PM
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