Stan Druckenmiller, one of the best performing hedge-fund managers of the past three decades, has a warning for the youth of America: Don’t let your grandparents steal your money.
Druckenmiller, 59, said the mushrooming costs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, with unfunded liabilities as high as $211 trillion, will bankrupt the nation’s youth and pose a much greater danger than the country’s $16 trillion of debt currently being debated in Congress.
“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 hour-long interview with Stephanie Ruhle on Bloomberg Television’s Market Makers. “I am not against seniors. What I am against is current seniors stealing from future seniors.”
Druckenmiller said unsustainable spending will eventually result in a crisis worse than the financial meltdown of 2008, when $29 trillion was erased from global equity markets. What’s particularly troubling, he said, is that government expenditures related to programs for the elderly rocketed in the past two decades, even before the first baby boomers, those born in 1946, started turning 65.
Druckenmiller stopped managing money for outside clients in 2010 after three decades in the business, including more than a decade as chief strategist for billionaire George Soros. From 1986 through 2010 he produced average annual returns of 30 percent, one of the best long-term track records in the industry.
President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders are locked in a disagreement over the U.S. budget deficit. If no agreement is reached today, federal spending will be reduced by $85 billion in the final seven months of this fiscal year and by $1.2 trillion over the next nine years. Half of the cuts would come from defense and half from domestic spending. The reductions were designed to be so unpalatable that lawmakers would come up with a way to replace them.
Americans want Congress to delay the spending cuts to give the economic recovery more time to take hold, according to a Bloomberg News poll conducted Feb. 15-18. When Washington does confront the deficit issue, Americans back a compromise that includes more tax revenue and fundamental changes to Social Security and Medicare. Fifty-one percent of respondents said overhauling Social Security is necessary to substantially reduce the deficit, and 58 percent said the same of Medicare.
In 2011, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare accounted for 44 percent of the government’s $3.7 trillion in expenditures, up from 34 percent in 1990, according to statistics compiled by the government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.