CNBC – Jim Rogers: Don’t See How US Can Ever Pay Off Debts

Published: Sunday, 7 Aug 2011 | 9:51 PM ET
By: Deepanshu Bagchee
Supervising Digital Editor, CNBC Asia

The U.S. doesn’t deserve a AA-plus credit rating, much less triple-A, commodity bull and noted investor Jim Rogers told CNBC on Monday.

Rogers said the country was unlikely to be able to pay off its debt and Standard and Poor’s rating cut had come too late and should have happened long ago.

“It seems to me it’s physically, humanly impossible for the U.S. to ever pay off its debt,” Rogers said. “They can roll it over and continue to play the charade, but the U.S. is bankrupt.”

Rogers’ comments came during a CNBC interview with the head of sovereign ratings at Standard and Poor’s, David Beers.

Beers said that according to S&P’s calculations, total U.S. public debt, which includes local, state and federal government debt, will be $11 trillion this year, and will rise to $14 trillion in 2015 and to $20 trillion by 2021.

To put those numbers into perspective, according to the U.S. government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. annual gross domestic product (GDP) totaled $15 trillion in the second quarter of 2011.

Rogers, who has been critical of the U.S. economic policies for some time, said he remains short 30-year Treasurys, emerging markets and U.S. technology stocks but was long safe havens such as the Swiss franc, the yen and the dollar.

Rogers said he was also long commodities, especially gold and agriculture, and accepted that some of his long commodity positions may suffer in a selloff. Still, he won’t be selling.

“You should nearly always buy into panic just like you should sell hysteria,” Rogers said. “I own gold, I’m worried about gold, it’s going so up so much, I’m not going to sell it but it looks like it’s setting itself up for a nice correction. I hope so then I can buy more.”

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