Jim Rogers: 'Abolish the Fed'
By CNBC.com 12 Mar 2008 09:54 AM ET
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke should resign and the Fed should be abolished as a way to boost the falling dollar and speed up the recovery of the U.S. economy, investor Jim Rogers, CEO of Rogers Holdings, told CNBC Europe Wednesday.
The Federal Reserve headquarters in Washington, DC.
Asked what he would do if he were in Bernanke's shoes, Rogers, who slammed the Fed for pouring liquidity in the system and accepting mortgage-backed securities as guarantees, said: "I would abolish the Federal Reserve and I would resign."
If this happened, "we don't have anybody printing money, we don't have inflation in the land, we don't have a collapsing U.S. dollar," he told "Squawk Box Europe."
The Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday a rescue package that it would put around $200 billion into banks and investment houses and allow them to put up risky home-loan packages as collateral.
Wall Street responded to the news with the biggest rally of the year, but Rogers reminisced of the 1970s, when the Fed printed money to avert a recession, boosting inflation and then forcing interest rates to more than 20 percent to keep a lid on price rises.
"No country in the world has ever succeeded by debasing its currency," he said. "That's what this man is trying to do. He's trying to debase the currency as a way to revive America. It has never worked in the long term or the medium term."
'Socialism for the Rich'
The Fed's move to accept risky collateral is not part of the central bank's business, he added.
"What is Bernanke going to do? Get in his helicopter and fly around the world and collect rents? That's absurd," Rogers said.
A recession may be a good way to clean up the economy, while trying to prevent one may cost more and actually worsen the recession, Rogers said. Also, investment banks should be allowed to fail.
"Listen, investment banks have been going bankrupt since the beginning of time. If people make mistakes -- if you bail out every investment bank that gets in trouble, that's not capitalism, that's socialism for the rich," he said.
The weakest financial institution is Fannie Mae, in Rogers' opinion, "but all of them have problems."
He said he had a short position on all investment banks and is buying agricultural commodities such as cotton, wheat, coffee and sugar and was also buying the Chinese yuan and the Japanese yen.
"Buy agriculture. Agriculture is one of the few places where you're going to make a fortune in the next years," Rogers said.