Sunday, May 20 , 2018, 6:31 pm | A Few Clouds 67º

 
 
 
 

Michelle Malkin: Battered Hedge Fund Managers’ Syndrome

Obama's corporate-bashing rhetoric rings hollow

Greed is good — until it gets in the way of a union-friendly restructuring deal. President Obama, generous recipient of Wall Street largesse, angrily derided a group of hedge fund managers this week as “speculators.” The miffed president suggested that uncooperative firms were selfish for holding out on the government’s Chrysler bankruptcy plans and refusing to make “sacrifices” to benefit the United Auto Workers.

Michelle Malkin
Michelle Malkin

The “sacrifices” involved Chrysler debt holders agreeing to sell the debt to the government at prices determined by union-beholden bureaucrats instead of bankruptcy courts. The hedge firms balked. Obama sneered that the dissenters were looking for an “unjustified taxpayer-funded bailout.” But the holdouts never took banking bailout funds from Washington. And the targeted financial executives were simply doing what good money managers are supposed to do: put their clients’ fiduciary interests first.

Obama’s corporate-bashing rhetoric should, of course, come as no shock. During the campaign and continuing through his first 100 days, he has routinely attacked the “ethic of greed.” When Sen. John McCain publicized Obama’s wealth redistribution comments to Joe the Plumber, Obama snarked that McCain was “fighting for Joe the Hedge Fund Manager” and was “in cahoots with Joe the CEO.” First lady Michelle Obama also singled out hedge fund managers for scorn, urging young people to turn away from unrewarding work on Wall Street for more fulfilling jobs in the “helping industry.”

Behind the public lashings, the Obamas were all too happy to pass the plate around the pews of the Church of “Greed.” According to the Center for Responsive Politics, hedge funds and private equity firms donated $2,992,456 to the Obama campaign in the 2008 cycle.

Obama, vocal critic of the campaign finance practice known as “bundling,” accepted more than $200,000 in bundled contributions from billionaire hedge-fund manager James Torrey, more than $100,000 in bundled contributions from billionaire hedge-fund manager Paul Tudor Jones and more than $50,000 in bundled contributions from billionaire hedge-fund manager Kenneth C. Griffin, chief executive officer of Citadel Investment Group in Chicago.

No less than 100 Obama bundlers are investment CEOs and brokers; nearly two dozen work for financial giants such as Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs or Citigroup. By comparison, Evil Republican Rich Guy McCain received $1,699,525 from the industry.

Obama lambastes the “system and the culture” of the un-helping industry. But he is so much a part of — not apart from — the very climate he condemns. “Speculators” fill many of the top positions in the Obama White House. Hedge fund manager Larry Summers heads the National Economic Council. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel made millions as an investment banker at Wasserstein Perella. Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, made a comfy living in the hedge fund business until he got entangled in an ongoing mess with the shady Paradigm Capital Management involving fraud and giant Ponzi schemes.

Yes, there are rotten hedge fund managers who have squandered billions of dollars without accountability — not unlike the government bailout and stimulus fund managers in Washington, who continue to throw good money after bad. Obama demagogues the unpopular industry because it fits the popular narrative: Wall Street bad, Washington good. Like battered wives, most hedge fund managers who supported Obama have tolerated the abuse, futilely hoping it will stop.

Until this week, that is. In an extraordinarily candid open letter to Obama, hedge fund manager Cliff Asness defended his industry from the president’s “backwards and libelous” charges. “Managers have a fiduciary obligation to look after their clients’ money as best they can, not to support the president, nor to oppose him, nor otherwise advance their political views,” Asness wrote. He has oversight of some $20 billion at AQR Capital Management LLC, which is not involved in the Chrysler case.

Asness minced no words: “The president’s attempted diktat takes money from bondholders and gives it to a labor union that delivers money and votes for him. … Shaking down lenders for the benefit of political donors is recycled corruption and abuse of power.”

Business as usual in the Era of Hope and Change. Perhaps demonized entrepreneurs will finally learn that when the dog you feed bites your hand, you don’t roll up your sleeve and give him your arm. You get a new dog.

Michelle Malkin is author of Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild. Click here for more information. She can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >