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"The US Banking System is Insolvent": Dr. Doom

Wednesday, 28 Jan 2009 | 4:36 AM ET

That was the opinion of economist Nouriel Roubini, of RGE Monitor, who was one of the first people to predict the housing crisis, speaking to "Squawk Box Europe" this morning.

Expected losses of about $2 trillion exceed bank capital of about $1.5 trillion, Roubini said.

Roubini had earlier said that total financial system losses could hit $3.6 trillion.

And "schemes" to just buy so-called toxic assets may not work, because the "risk is it's going to take too much time to resolve the problem," he added.

Instead Sweden's plan of nationalizing all insolvent banks, cleaning them up and then selling off the good assets to the private sector could be a better option, he said.

The pessimism is not unusual for the economists nicknamed "Dr. Doom."

But we'll see if that mood be reflected by the rest of the participants at WEF.

Maybe a "Fantastic Four" of optimism will arrive to save the event from the rule of Doom.

Chat at early participant registration indicated cautious optimism for President Barack Obama's stimulus bill.

But that was the same thing I heard last year about the Bush stimulus.