He might be on the Forbes list of billionaires with a net worth of $1.3 billion and he may appear frequently in the financial media, but Pimco's Bill Gross doesn't have a grasp of how much "trillions" are. Gross recently called for a massive government intervention or face certain catastrophe.
"This economy requires support from the government, a check from the government in some form or fashion in the trillions as opposed to the hundreds of billions," Gross said to Bloomberg TV on February 5. "And I think President Obama was right - there is a potential catastrophe if Washington continues to focus on $100 or $200 billion. We need something in the trillions."
Gross' proposed amount includes a bailout for the banks, in addition to the stimulus to jumpstart the overall economy.
Although Gross is one of the most successful bond traders and fund managers in the private sector, this isn't the first time he's appeared in the financial news and produced a sensationalized headlines. Other than his current call for "trillions," now up on the Drudge Report - the media have trotted this guy out - without giving readers and viewers a true sense of the history of Gross. On Aug. 23, 2007, Gross called for a full fledged housing bailout.
"Write some checks, bail ‘em out, prevent a destructive housing deflation that Ben Bernanke is unable to do," wrote Gross on his blog, which appeared in an Associated Press story on Aug. 23. "This rescue, which admittedly might bail out speculators who deserve much worse, would support millions of hard working Americans whose recent hours have become ones of frantic desperation."
Gross said that would be politically expedient for then-President George W. Bush and his Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.
"And if you're a Republican office holder, you'd win a new constituency of voters - ‘almost homeless homeowners' - for generations to come," Gross continued. "Get with it Mr. President and Mr. Treasury Secretary. This is your moment to one-up Barney Frank and the Democrats."
Gross heads the $132 billion Total Return Fund (MUTF:PTTRX), the world's biggest bond fund. The fund gained 4.8 percent last year and has outperformed 99 percent of its peers over the past five years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The average government and corporate bond fund lost 8 percent in 2008, Bloomberg data show.