Hedge Fund Guru: Revamp Entitlements, Or New Crisis Will Be Worse Than ’08

The usually low-profile Stan Druckenmiller, who was one of the best hedge fund managers of the past few decades, is speaking out about entitlement programs, saying that runaway spending on programs like Medicare is leading the U.S. toward a crisis that will be worse than the 2008 financial crisis.

“While everybody is focusing on the here and now, there’s a much, much bigger storm that’s about to hit,” Druckenmiller said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s Market Makers. He says that with Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security having unfunded liabilities of as much as $211 trillion, unsustainable spending will lead to a crisis worse than the 2008 financial crisis. Druckenmiller says reforms are needed, and he suggests several, including changing eligibility ages for Social Security and benefit structures for wealthy retirees, removing disincentives for seniors who want to keep working, fully taxing dividends and capital gains, and removing carried interest tax benefits for private-equity, venture-capital, and hedge fund managers. “I am not against seniors,” he says. “What I am against is current seniors stealing from future seniors.”

Druckenmiller also says he’s concerned about the Federal Reserve’s easing policies. “The chances of this being a new bull market like 1982 aren’t high because we’re not attacking the crux of the problem, which is too much leverage and too much debt,” he said. “I don’t know the timing of when the markets will respond to this, but it will happen.”

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