Hedge funders urge Washington to reduce debt

By Lawrence Delevingne

Thu Oct 25, 2012


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Bill Ackman, Tom Steyer, Lee Ainslie, John Burbank among those to sign onto the Fix the Debt campaign.


   
 

 Lee Ainslie (Photo: Bloomberg)

Some prominent names at hedge fund firms joined with more than 100 business leaders, mostly chief executives of major companies, to urge lawmakers to reduce the national debt.

The Campaign to Fix the Debt, a non-partisan campaign founded by former deficit commissioners Al Simpson and Erskine Bowles, released a joint statement to Washington today signed by Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management, Tom Steyer of Farallon Capital Management, Lee Ainslie of Maverick Capital and John Burbank of Passport Capital, among others.

"In order to develop a fiscal plan that can succeed both financially and politically, it must be bipartisan and reforms to all areas of the budget should be included," said the statement. "The plan should: Reform Medicare and Medicaid, improve efficiency in the overall health care system and limit future cost growth; Strengthen Social Security, so that it is solvent and will be there for future beneficiaries; and Include comprehensive and pro-growth tax reform, which broadens the base, lowers rates, raises revenues and reduces the deficit."

In short, the executives are supporting the 2010 Simpson-Bowles plan for debt reduction that many in Washington have resisted because of the partisan concessions required, especially increasing taxes and cutting popular government benefit programs.

Others industry names to sign were Russell Ramsey of Ramsey Asset Management, Bob Pozen of MFS Investment Management and Boykin Curry of Eagle Capital Management.

Signatories who lead  large money management firms that offer hedge fund products included Larry Fink of BlackRock, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs and Leon Black of Apollo Global Management.