According to USA Today, "Our greatest businessmen (Bill Gates and Warren Buffett) think we are doomed to fail." Gates demonstrated his pessimism in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, when he told reporters, "I'm short the dollar. ... The ol' dollar, it's gonna go down."
It's not surprising that the world's richest man came down from the Alps pessimistic. The misconceptions, myths and superstitions that pass for sound economics in Europe these days remind us that while socialism may be dead as a political force in the world, its zeitgeist of radical egalitarian leveling, gigantic government and bureaucratic control over the minutiae of everyday life lives on in the hearts of European politicians.
German Deputy Finance Minister Caio Koch-Weiser is illustrative. At Davos he was preaching that the U.S. budget deficit is "the No. 1 risk, disregarding geopolitical risks" to the global economy. He said it was urgent for President Bush to offer a "credible" plan for getting the deficit under control.
The unstated plan, of course, is a pre-emptive strike" against estimated future budget deficits in the form of higher tax rates on investors, ostensibly to improve investor confidence. It's nothing but 21st-century economic quackery, much like 19th-century physicians thought the way to cure a sick man was to bleed him.
The "Genius of Microsoft" also has heard this doom and gloom preached by his close friend and bridge partner, the second-richest man in the world, Buffett, who told Forbes Magazine recently: "The rest of the world owns $10 trillion of us, or $3 trillion net. If lots of people try to leave the market, we'll have chaos because they won't get through the door."
If everyone tried to get their money out of the bank at once, we would have chaos because they wouldn't get through the door, either. It's called a bank run, and it doesn't happen because the bank owes a lot of depositors money. It happens only if the bank has made a lot of bad loans. Just the opposite is the case with the U.S. economy in which this $10 trillion is invested: It is the strongest economy in the world.
Buffett is a brilliant stock-picker-turned-gambler who indulges in currency speculation against the dollar. He is part of a circle of super-rich billionaires such as George Soros and Ted Turner, who, through arrogance and/or guilt, seem to think free markets hurt the average guy and work only for those lucky enough to inherit their wealth or brilliant enough (like themselves) to use markets to exploit the rest of the world.