By Eric Jackson
12/30/09 - 06:05 AM EST
Stock quotes in this article: WFC , C
Last week, Canadian hedge fund manager Eric Sprott published a white paper titled, "Is it all just a Ponzi scheme?" . The document digs into who is actually purchasing the recent Federal Reserve U.S. Treasury auctions and concludes that the biggest new buyer this year vs. last year is actually the U.S. government. Hence the Ponzi scheme allusion: One arm of the federal government is running huge deficits and quantitative easing programs that are being financed in part by another arm of that government. How can this story not get more attention from others in the press, in politics, or in the market?
Sprott is an unapologetic bear. He and David Rosenberg must hang out in the same coffee shops of Toronto and share notes. Therefore, his views regularly get dismissed by some with a rosier view of life. At some point, if you're a relentless bear -- like Roubini, Rogers, Rosenberg, Abelson, and probably Whitney now -- people stop listening to your content.
"This is the 'end-of-the-world' guy again," you think, "I know what he's about and don't have to listen." Yet, Sprott is also Canada's most successful hedge fund manager and clearly someone who does his homework. Here's his argument about what's gone on with the Fed and Treasury purchases this year.
In order to fund bigger deficits, the U.S. government in 2009 has had to sell three times the amount of debt it issued in 2008. That amounts to an extra $1.89 trillion in debt sales as of December, according to the U.S. Treasury.