By Katya Wachtel
NEW YORK, Sept 12 Hedge fund titan Ray Dalio
said the U.S economy had come out of the "intensive care unit,"
but he warned against any quick move to "austerity" budget
"We were in the intensive care unit," Dalio, who runs the
$120 billion hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, told more than
200 guests at the Council of Foreign Relations in New York on
Wednesday. "We are largely healed and largely operating in a
manner that is sustainable if we don't hit an air pocket."
Dalio said a major challenge for U.S. politicians will be
dealing with the so-called "fiscal cliff," the year-end
expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts and previously agreed-upon
cuts in defense spending and social programs, a combination
which some economists say could lead to a recession.
Dalio sided with economists who worry that a sharp reduction
in government spending could lead the United States back into
"We can't just worry about too much debt," Dalio said. "We
have to worry about too much austerity."
Dalio, who founded his firm in 1975 when he was in his 20s,
is one of the most successful money managers in the $2 trillion
hedge fund industry. His speech drew other Wall Street
luminaries, including famed hedge fund manager John Paulson, who
sat in the front row. Also in attendance was former Federal
Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.
Dalio, said he was monitoring the long-simmering financial
crisis in the Euro Zone, and estimated losses on European debt
could reach at least $2 trillion. Southern Europe is facing a
"classic lost decade" of essentially zero-economic growth, he
Asked by an audience member about how much he worries about
China, where growth has slowed and a leadership change is on the
horizon, Dalio said volatility there would affect the United
States, but he did not "think they are going to go into a
For much of his time on stage, Dalio spoke of his approach
to investing, past economic crises and his view on the global
deleveraging process in a professorial way, even as host Maria
Bartiromo tried to coax more precise answers from her guest
about exposure to certain asset classes, or where Europe will be
in one year's time.
On more specific investments, Dalio did say "there is no
sensible reason not to own gold" and that he would not "buy oil
The 63-year-old manager saw losses in his flagship fund in
the first half of 2012, after double-digit gains in 2011.