Beached Whale

Sheldon Adelson got screwed, and some of the guys who did it are bragging:

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson vowed to spend as much as $100 million to defeat President Barack Obama and help the GOP take control of Congress. According to two GOP fundraisers with close ties to the Las Vegas billionaire, he made good on that promise — and then some. Adelson ultimately upped the ante, spending closer to a previously unreported $150 million, the fundraisers said.

Adelson, a fierce critic of Obama’s foreign and domestic policies, has said that his humongous spending was spurred chiefly by his fear that a second Obama term would bring “vilification of people that were against him.” As that second term begins, Adelson’s international casino empire faces a rough road, with two federal criminal investigations into his business.

$30-40 of that $150 million went to Karl Rove, who at some point has to start running out of fools.

If some of the federal investigations into Sheldon’s casinos do bear fruit, he’ll try to get something out of that $150 million by casting himself as the victim, so perhaps he’ll get some ROI in the end, but it’s going to be damn little at best.

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85 replies
  1. 1
    EconWatcher says:

    I wondered why Adelson made himself so visible in his huge donations, and it occurred to me at the time that he might be setting up a selective prosecution defense (for the court of public opinion, as much as for any eventual jury):

    “See, I gave a lot of money to try to defeat Obama, and now his DOJ is prosecuting me. It must be political payback.” You know, post hoc ergo propter hoc.

  2. 2
    r€nato says:

    um, so should I wish for him to piss away invest even more money in 2016?

    or not? Maybe it will work next time…

    (for those of you playing at home… next time you visit Vegas, stay away from the Sands and the Venetian)

  3. 3
    Biff Longbotham says:

    Sheldon Adelson got screwed

    Could not have happened to a nicer guy.

  4. 4
    Cacti says:

    So, why did he toss so many millions at Gnewt Gingrich, when it was so obvious he was never going to win anything?

  5. 5
    redshirt says:

    Poor Sheldon. It will probably take weeks – maybe a month or two! – for him to make that 150 million back. Tough situation.

  6. 6
    PeakVT says:

    @Cacti: Gnoot was more pro-corruption-for-the-rich?

    ETA: The candidates were all insanely pro-Israel, so it has to be something else.

  7. 7
    BGinCHI says:

    Headline:

    Sheldon Adelson Tests Karma To See If It’s Real

  8. 8
    MikeJ says:

    Politico:

    “A week after Election Day, three Republican governors mentioned as 2016 presidential candidates — Bobby Jindal, John Kasich and Bob McDonnell — each stopped by the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino to meet privately with its owner Sheldon Adelson, a man who could single-handedly underwrite their White House ambitions.”

    http://www.politico.com/story/.....html?hp=t1

  9. 9
    aimai says:

    My cousin wrote that HuffPo article. You should all go and buy his book on Abramoff as well!

    aimai

  10. 10
    russell says:

    … to Karl Rove, who at some point has to start running out of fools.

    that remains to be seen.

  11. 11
    aimai says:

    My cousin wrote that HuffPo article. You should all go and buy his book on Abramoff as well!

    aimai

  12. 12
    MikeJ says:

    “A week after Election Day, three Republican governors mentioned as 2016 presidential candidates—Bobby Jindal, John Kasich and Bob McDonnell—each stopped by the Venetian Resort Hotel [mod word place] to meet privately with its owner Sheldon Adelson, a man who could single-handedly underwrite their White House ambitions.”

    http://www.politico.com/story/.....html?hp=t1

  13. 13
    Paul in KY says:

    @EconWatcher: He probably paid $2 million for that same advice that you just gave for free. Hee hee.

  14. 14
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    Jebus. I really need to get into the wingnut PAC biz. There’s a neverending cascade of money, and you don’t have to accomplish a damn thing.

  15. 15
    Kathy in St. Louis says:

    Since he makes so much of his money in foreign casinos, where regulation is sparse, are we even certain that all the monies that he contributed were his own? Did he act as a laundry for foreign interests hoping to influence this election? And isn’t that unlawful? I will be interested in seeing what the investigations find.

  16. 16
    MattF says:

    The puzzle here is how Adelson managed to make a fortune in his not-so-easy business and also be an idiot. Hmm.

  17. 17
    Zifnab says:

    @Cacti: Obvious to whom? Gingrich wasn’t running his grift on you, personally. But I’m sure, sitting across the table from a man made in his own image, Adelson was more than ready to take a gamble on Gingrich once the huckster brought his entire charisma to bare.

    I’ve seen Gingrich speak enough times to know that he’s a professional. He knows all the magic words that make conservatives start flinging their panties at the stage. And he did win S. Carolina and Georgia primaries. If it wasn’t a three-way race between Money, Jesus, and The Good Old Days, I suspect Gingrich could have performed much better.

  18. 18
    Ellyn says:

    I’m beginning to think that Mitt Romney’s campaign was an invitation to all the crooks and liars in the right wing political universe to make some money. I think Adelson is not the only one who got rolled.

  19. 19
    Patricia Kayden says:

    “$30-40 of that $150 million went to Karl Rove”

    Good on Rove! He doesn’t have to worry about more fools. I am sure he’s doing okay financially.

  20. 20
    roc says:

    @Cacti: If we accept the theory that he didn’t care about *winning* so much as establishing his legal defense, then it would follow that he wouldn’t care too much about backing winning horses.

    At which point, he may have just been passing it out to do or collect favors. (e.g. “I’ve gotta spend $30M, what will I get if I spend it with you?”)

  21. 21
    RSA says:

    $30-40 of that $150 million went to Karl Rove, who at some point has to start running out of fools.

    Or we find out that fools are what the “maker class” is best at making.

  22. 22
    quannlace says:

    So, why did he toss so many millions at Gnewt Gingrich, when it was so obvious he was never going to win anything?

    Same reason so many on the Right were absolutely convinced Mitt would win.

  23. 23
    rb says:

    @redshirt: Fuck. Sometimes being reality-based can really kill a good gloat.

  24. 24
    The Other Chuck says:

    @EconWatcher:

    “See, I gave a lot of money to try to defeat Obama, and now his DOJ is prosecuting me. It must be political payback.” You know, post hoc ergo propter hoc.

    Public opinion doesn’t mean jack. Unless he can sway an actual grand jury to not indict, then it’s just pissing into the wind.

    Basically all he’s done is make himself radioactive to the people whose support he could have previously bought. He’s rich, not smart.

  25. 25
    Holden Pattern says:

    …who at some point has to start running out of fools.

    Fools are the only truly renewable resource, and one of the key resources on which our rulers rely; we will have fools until we are extinct as a species. And I expect the successor species to have fools as well, and so on, until the heat death of the universe.

  26. 26
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Cacti: Maybe he just wanted to hang with Newt. Old rich guys have odd hobbies

  27. 27
    Liberty60 says:

    I was a bit surprised when I read about how many of the 1% flew into Logan Airport for the Big Celebration, expecting to spend the evening hobnobbing with the President-Elect. Turns out the people most gullible to the rightwing malarkey are the recipients of the con.

    We often imagine these folks to be superhuman in intelligence, but they are less Dr. No than Dr. Evil.

  28. 28
    slag says:

    @Liberty60:

    We often imagine these folks to be superhuman in intelligence

    Anyone who imagines that has never met one of these folks. Many of them are nothing more than arrogant sociopaths. Our problem, as a nation, is that we’ve created an economic system that predominantly benefits arrogant sociopaths.

  29. 29
    trollhattan says:

    All that money would have worked if only the naughty Dems hadn’t CHEATED.

    –Karl and Grover and Newt and…to everybody who shoveled money at them the last two years.

    If they can sell that line, in a couple of months things will be back to “normal” in the Konservative Konclave. That’s what I’m predicting.

  30. 30
    priscianusjr says:

    @EconWatcher:

    “See, I gave a lot of money to try to defeat Obama, and now his DOJ is prosecuting me. It must be political payback.” You know, post hoc ergo propter hoc.

    So it was a win-win situation for him, as long as he was willing to shell out $100 mill?

    Not so fast. Everybody knows they were already after him before he spent the 100 mill and that’s why he spent it. Looks like post hoc ergo propter hoc to me. Looks like af’n ganef brent a hitl, too. If you don’t know what that means, Shelly certainly does.

  31. 31
    scav says:

    @The Other Chuck: unless, maybe what he anticipates being prosecuted for is so toxic publicity-wise that he wants the public opinion altered for simply bog-standard PR reasons?

  32. 32
    redshirt says:

    @Liberty60: Not only are many of them genuinely stupid, they, like their followers, have convinced themselves that lots of money = genius.

  33. 33
    priscianusjr says:

    @Cacti:

    So, why did he toss so many millions at Gnewt Gingrich, when it was so obvious he was never going to win anything?

    Because, my dear Cacti, Shelly Adelson, despite that rough exterior, is in his own way a dewy-eyed idealist. You may not understand that now, but maybe some day you will.

  34. 34
    Roger Moore says:

    @EconWatcher:

    “See, I gave a lot of money to try to defeat Obama, and now his DOJ is prosecuting me. It must be political payback.” You know, post hoc ergo propter hoc.

    It would be a lot more convincing if the prosecutions had started after the donations rather than before. If you’re going to go with post hoc ergo propter hoc, it seems a lot more plausible that the threat of prosecution caused Adelson to try to swing the election to get a friendlier administration.

  35. 35
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Liberty60:

    We often imagine these folks to be superhuman in intelligence

    I don’t. Many of them just have one particular skill, and operate in a system which rewards that skill. Sort of like Mariano Rivera – nobody imagines he has superhuman intelligence, he just is skillful in throwing a ball, and operates in a system which richly rewards that skill.

  36. 36
    priscianusjr says:

    @PeakVT:

    The candidates were all insanely pro-Israel, so it has to be something else.

    Well, they had to be “electable” too. Shelly was gonna see to that. So after Neut somehow went down the toilet, he switched to the most electable of all, the Mittster himself. We all know what happened after that. But he tried, Lord knows he tried.

  37. 37
    priscianusjr says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Many of them just have one particular skill, and operate in a system which rewards that skill.

    Kind of like Mitt, now that you think of it.

  38. 38
    redshirt says:

    @priscianusjr: I’m not convinced Mitt has any such skill. Rather, his skill comes in being born to a rich family, groomed to lead, and having “presidential/CEO” looks.

    Is there any proof anywhere Mitt’s actually smart or competent?

  39. 39
    Lurking Canadian says:

    How does $150 M compare to the expected tax bill he might suffer if (1) the Clinton marginal rates come back; (2) capital gains are treated like income; or (3) the cap on Social Security is eliminated?

    If he expects to “earn”, say $1B over the next four years from capital gains, and he’s looking at the difference between 15% tax on capital gains and 35% tax on capital gains (I have no idea if that’s on the table), then he has bet $150M on the (25%, per Nate Silver) chance that he might save $200M.

    Didn’t you say this clown runs a casino? He can’t compute odds better than that?

  40. 40
    Lurking Canadian says:

    How does $150 M compare to the expected tax bill he might suffer if (1) the Clinton marginal rates come back; (2) capital gains are treated like income; or (3) the cap on Social Security is eliminated?

    If he expects to “earn”, say $1B over the next four years from capital gains, and he’s looking at the difference between 15% tax on capital gains and 35% tax on capital gains (I have no idea if that’s on the table), then he has bet $150M on the (25%, per Nate Silver) chance that he might save $200M.

    Didn’t you say this clown runs a [bad word]? He can’t compute odds better than that?

  41. 41
    Ben Franklin says:

    It’s all good. Cuz Sheldon has 150 million less to give Bibi to kill Palestinian children

  42. 42
    ...now I try to be amused says:

    @Liberty60:

    Turns out the people most gullible to the rightwing malarkey are the recipients of the con. We often imagine these folks to be superhuman in intelligence, but they are less Dr. No than Dr. Evil.

    I accept that they are intelligent, at least in the area they used to get rich. But people who give their intelligence more credit than it deserves can be fooled precisely because they believe their intelligence makes them impossible to fool.

  43. 43
    Richard says:

    It seems to me just as likely that he spent that $150 million to get a Romney Justice Department to drop the cases against him, that is, in addition to the hefty tax cuts that a Romney administration would have pushed for.

  44. 44
    👽 Martin says:

    Isn’t Fool Exhaustion functionally identical to Peak Wingnut?

  45. 45
    NonyNony says:

    $30-40 of that $150 million went to Karl Rove, who at some point has to start running out of fools.

    Running out of fools sounds an awful lot like Peak Wingnut.

    If we could discover some way to harness the power of fools we might well tap into an unlimited energy supply.

    ETA: And Martin was quicker on the submit button than I was.

  46. 46
    Roger Moore says:

    @Holden Pattern:

    Fools are the only truly renewable resource,

    I’m pretty sure assholes are a renewable resource, too.

  47. 47
    Ruckus says:

    @redshirt:
    You are leaving out bullshitting as a skill. zomney massively has that in abundance. That is his skill. Up until recently he was good at it. Either he lost his edge or the stench was too great, take your pick but personally I think it was both. People will believe bullshit for several sometimes overlapping reasons.
    1. At the end of the pitch they will have a gain.
    2. It’s the only way, the fee to get something you want.
    3. You don’t understand the pitch, therefore it must be OK.
    4. You don’t understand the pitch but it just sounds better than any other.
    5. You may get something shitty but your shitty deal is better(perceived or real) than someone elses.

  48. 48
    👽 Martin says:

    Um…

    On Tuesday, the Newark mayor plans to live off of the equivalent of food stamps for a week. Booker, whose income doesn’t qualify him for food assistance, has promised to spend $4 on food per day for the week, which is roughly in line with USDA figures for a one-person household. That’s about $1.40 per meal, if he plans to eat three meals a day. Someone Booker’s age (43) should take in about 2,600 calories a day, according to USDA

    I just turned 44. Even if I did my full exercise routine, I couldn’t burn off 2,600 calories in a day. Maybe if I was in full construction mode – digging out my yard or something I’d burn that much, but a normal diet for me to stay at my weight (I’m 5′ 11″) is around 1,500 calories – and that’s with at least a few hundred calories of exercise.

  49. 49
    Brent says:

    Karl Rove, who at some point has to start running out of fools.

    As others have pointed out, one of the fundamental axioms of life on Earth is that there are always, ALWAYS, more fools. Indeed, the greatest part of Rove’s trick is that he doesn’t even need new ones. He just keeps going back to the same well of fools over and over again. They never, ever, learn.

  50. 50
    Rafer Janders says:

    @Liberty60:

    We often imagine these folks to be superhuman in intelligence, but they are less Dr. No than Dr. Evil.

    Oh, no. I work and socialize with many wealthy people, and while they know a lot about making money, I’d peg their general level of political sophistication as that of a 15 year old Ayn Rand reader.

  51. 51
    NonyNony says:

    @Ruckus:

    You are leaving out bullshitting as a skill. zomney massively has that in abundance. That is his skill. Up until recently he was good at it. Either he lost his edge or the stench was too great, take your pick but personally I think it was both.

    Bullshit is an artform. To truly bullshit someone you need to appear to know more than they do on the topic you are bullshitting them on. If you actually do know more than they do that’s great, but the importance is the pretense. Once there’s a crack in the bullshit edifice and the bullshitee starts to think that the bullshitter is full of crap, the whole manure pile collapses.

    That is to say – Romney is probably still a staggeringly amazing bullshit artist when it comes to conning wounded corporations into slowing down long enough for him to jump on and suck all the money out of them, but convincing the country that he knew more about their problems than they did wasn’t going to work.

  52. 52
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Oh, yeah, and speaking of beached whales, there’s this. Actually there’s a whole series of them. People in Australia find them riotously funny, but it helps to know some Oz slang and the differences between Oz and Kiwi accents.

  53. 53
    Joe Buck says:

    @EconWatcher: No, the Republicans thought they were going to win. By being the most visible contributor, Adelson no doubt thought that Romney would owe him, big time, and the loot that would flow his way would be far more than $150 million. Maybe now he’ll try screaming about selective prosecution, but it would be a weak argument.

  54. 54
    Yutsano says:

    @NonyNony: Under the modern definitions of “distressed company” Costco would qualify. Why? They’re not maximising shareholder value. Therefore the company is failing in its primary mission of making rich investors even more obscenely wealthy. This is what the MBA culture has done to America and honestly most of the Western world.

  55. 55
    gex says:

    @Brent: It’s not just the fools angle, although that is certainly true.

    They feed and nurture things that all human beings have, and must work to master: fear and hatred. It’s a lot of work to overcome those things, and the people who fall for this shtick are people who already have trouble managing those two emotional drives.

    The base emotions that the right plays upon are easily manipulated. And as they succeed using playing them, those emotions come closer to the surface for more and more Americans.

  56. 56
    Ruckus says:

    @Brent:
    They never, ever, learn.

    Isn’t that the definition?

  57. 57
  58. 58
    Dracula says:

    OT, but this could have been avoided if all the altar boys and girls were allowed to pack heat.

    F’in Obambi and his anti-guns-in-church stance.

  59. 59
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Zifnab: “If it wasn’t a three-way race between Money, Jesus, and The Good Old Days, I suspect Gingrich could have performed much better.”

    You have a way with words. Very funny.

  60. 60
    Yutsano says:

    @Dracula: See now, if he had simply done this in Florida, he would have simply Stood His Ground and all charges dropped!

  61. 61
    Seanly says:

    I have a challenge for any lonely billionaires out there. Give me $1,000,000 and I will forever vote for Republicans. You’ll have to rely on my honesty that I carried through with it. But I’m very honest.

  62. 62
    Roger Moore says:

    @Dracula:

    OT, but this could have been avoided if all the altar boys and girls were allowed to pack heat.

    I think the Catholic priesthood would be very, very frightened if altar boys were allowed to pack heat.

  63. 63
    Chris says:

    @redshirt:

    I’m not convinced Mitt has any such skill. Rather, his skill comes in being born to a rich family, groomed to lead, and having “presidential/CEO” looks.

    I forget who it was here at Balloon Juice who said that he/she used to teach business students and often ended up thinking “I know enough to know what you’re saying is bullshit, but God damn can you sell it!” And how that often ends up being the key point for any CEO.

    What I don’t get is, then how the fuck did Mittens do what he did? Because he can’t sell it to save his own life, as we just saw in this election cycle. Liberals and moderates hated him; even conservatives, who’ve been primed by fifty years of living in a bubble where everything is just as he says it is, were lukewarm at best, voting against Obama rather than for Romney overall.

    How did that guy ever manage to “sell it” as a CEO? Does he just loosen up a lot when he’s in the company of people he’s comfortable with? As a not-particularly-outgoing personality type, I can relate to that, but that’s also why I never thought my personality type would be suited to today’s CEO positions.

  64. 64
    Greyjoy says:

    A fool and his money are some party, as the saying goes. A Grand Old Party, even.

  65. 65
    gelfling545 says:

    @Holden Pattern: Though the possibility does exist that fools with 150 million to throw away may be in short supply.

  66. 66

    @Chris:
    Connections. He has a rich, important family high up in the Mormon culture. Other wealthy assholes gave him a high paying, risk free job, still more coughed up money so he could loot companies and burn them to the ground. Romney’s history suggests he’s quite good at playing games with money, so enough of his rich friends got richer that he never had to pay for his failures. Cronyism is how the rich stay rich, far more than hogging capital. As you may have noticed from the leaks during the campaign, he gets along fine with other arrogant, spiteful, wealthy jackasses.

  67. 67
    rikyrah says:

    it was all about the GRIFT.

    always was.

    It’s hilarious to me….the way they grifted these clowns.

  68. 68
    ...now I try to be amused says:

    If I was a juror and Adelson’s attorney tried to whine about selective prosecution, I’d be ready to convict him right then and there. I’m guessing I’m far from alone in that opinion.

  69. 69
    Full Metal Wingnut says:

    @👽 Martin: Booker’s a pretty big guy. A couple inches over 6′, I think. That’s close to what I take in, and I run about 2 miles most mornings. You must be short or rail thin.

  70. 70
    El Cid says:

    The campaign guys (from Rove on down) were just living up to the values that Adelson was pushing and of the candidate and party whose views they were espousing.

    Surely someone like Adelson wouldn’t want people who didn’t see him as a cash cow to be raided however possible with whatever promises working for him?

    Otherwise he would have been handing money to the non-Galtian, altruistic, idealist soshullists whom he hates for ruining the economy and threatening him.

    It’s just his fault for not running his campaign donation business with a more watchful and productive eye.

  71. 71
    R-Jud says:

    @👽 Martin:

    Even if I did my full exercise routine, I couldn’t burn off 2,600 calories in a day. Maybe if I was in full construction mode – digging out my yard or something I’d burn that much, but a normal diet for me to stay at my weight (I’m 5’ 11”) is around 1,500 calories – and that’s with at least a few hundred calories of exercise.

    The SNAP program’s numbers are probably off by a few hundred, but yours seem way off-er, if you don’t mind my saying so. 1,500 calories a day is what’s recommended for a moderately active primary school kid.

    Take me: I too am 5’11” and recently volunteered to have a bunch of tests done in a fancy-schmancy exercise science lab at a nearby university. My basal metabolic rate came out at 1,653– that’s what I’d burn over 24 hours if I lay around all day. Taking into account my activity level/muscle mass/etc., the results recommended I should be eating 2,200 calories/day for maintenance of my current weight.

  72. 72

    Sometimes in this goofy world it gets forgotten that being smart about making a lot of money (particularly starting with a lot) doesn’t make you smart in general or good at anything else. If you already have a lot of money you can hire people smart about that to do the smart part for you. You only have to be smart enough to hire the right oness. Being able to sort that limitted field is a bit different than sorting the complex field of policy and politics.

  73. 73
    Paul in KY says:

    @redshirt: The type of ‘business’ Bain Capital ran should be outlawed.

    1) Borrow money to taake over previously thriving business

    2) Make that business pay off all your loans.

    3) Make business pay crazy salaries to you & your cronies.

    4) Sell off whatever to pay those loans/management fees.

    5) Profit!! or bust for the business, but not for Mitt.

    Above should be illegal somehow.

  74. 74
    Paul in KY says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: VDE before has quoted the great Adam Smith, who remarked 250 odd years ago that whenever the wealthy get together under any circumstance, it’s not long before talk turns to fleecing the rubes & colluding to screw any real compettion.

  75. 75
    👽 Martin says:

    @Full Metal Wingnut: I run 1-2 miles per day. Walk another 5. I’m 5′ 11″, 155 lbs. If I drop the exercise or go up to 1750 cal, I start gaining weight. Maybe that’s all metabolism, but man, that’s a big difference.

  76. 76
    Roger Moore says:

    @Paul in KY:
    There are two things in Bain’s business model that definitely ought to be illegal:

    1) The pension fund is considered to be a corporate asset that can be stripped to pay dividends to the new ownership or pay back loans. That money rightfully belongs the the current and future pensioners, and shouldn’t be touchable by management for any purpose but paying pensions.

    2) Bain frequently found excuses to pay itself before it paid its bondholders, which is counter to the very idea of equity. Private equity shouldn’t get paid anything beyond a modest salary until their bondholders are repaid.

    In the worst case, both of these things are an abuse of the bankruptcy process. Bain siphons off the money and leaves nothing for the supposedly secured creditors. There need to be bankruptcy clawback provisions that would recover the money management and “equity” looted from the company in the time leading up to bankruptcy.

  77. 77
    mai naem says:

    I seriously doubt that Adelson was doing it so that he could use it as a defense. He may give it a go but even the Village wouldn’t buy that line. Anyhow, Rachel Maddow covered this during the election and there was a big piece on Adelson in one of the liberal magazines(Nation???)

    More than Adelson, the ones who really piss me off are the Hedgefunders. They make money by pushing paper. Nothing productive. Mostly destructive. Adelson may be a major league a hole but at least he provides a lot of jobs in Vegas. All the hedgefunders do is make money for themselves and some minimal support staff.

  78. 78
    gene108 says:

    @Yutsano:

    The real problem with private equity is it is nothing more than an effort to transfer wealth from the employees of an acquired company to the PE investors.

    They do this under the guise of “creative destruction” or by stating an under performing company* can’t survive in the long run, but they don’t do the things needed to make those companies more viable in the long run.

    *An under performing company cannot survive in the long run. If your competitors can make a product at less cost than you and there is a down turn, they will slash prices to keep customers, while you go out of business. PE firms do nothing to solve this problem for companies.

  79. 79
    👽 Martin says:

    @gene108:

    The real problem with private equity is it is nothing more than an effort to transfer wealth from the employees of an acquired company to the PE investors.

    Well, for a certain branch of PE. Another branch of PE (a larger branch, in fact) are venture capitalists that gave us, well, every single tech company but IBM and maybe HP. They’re the builders.

  80. 80
    Wolfdaughter says:

    @Liberty60:

    We often imagine these folks to be superhuman in intelligence, but they are less Dr. No than Dr. Evil.

    I would say that THEY think they’re superhuman in intelligence. I’ve never thought so. The self-made rich guys are usually pretty bright in the grifter sense, and most do not mind screwing everybody else over to make their riches. But Sam Wall’s kids? The Mittster? And others who had the brilliance to select their parents well? Naw. A lot of them would barely make it through life as a janitor (and I’m insulting janitors) if not for their inherited wealth.

  81. 81
    Roger Moore says:

    @gene108:

    The real problem with private equity is it is nothing more than an effort to transfer wealth from the employees of an acquired company to the PE investors.

    I’m going to agree with @👽 Martin that this is only one branch of private equity. There are plenty of private equity firms that do productive things, and not just the venture capital he mentioned. As an example, a lot of corporate spin-offs are handled by private equity. There are even some private equity companies that do in practice what Bain was supposed to do in theory: buy companies with bad management, make them more profitable by installing competent management, and selling them at a profit when they’re healthy again. If anything, it’s the background of legitimate private equity that makes it possible for bad actors like Bain to profit.

  82. 82
    ericblair says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    If you already have a lot of money you can hire people smart about that to do the smart part for you. You only have to be smart enough to hire the right oness.

    Looks like a lot of them aren’t too good at that either, considering the luminaries that have serviced and continue to service the well-off. If your family’s been rolling in it for more than one generation, you’ve got some immunity from the money-sucking entourages of the newly rich, but you’ve still got a pretty good permanent layer of grifters and well-connected morons to take care of your personal matters.

    The grifting and the fucking up will blow up a number of the rich, but to look at the income mobility stats, most of them stay right where they are. The kind of cash we’re talking about is an enormous buffer to screwups and can take a real beating for years or even generations. Which is why all the “risk-taker” talk is such a joke: almost any idiocy that would ruin most of us is barely a burp in their quarterly statements.

  83. 83

    @ericblair:
    If you’re actually wealthy, in today’s world you have to be a pretty major FU to blow it. Real wealth is pretty seriously protected if you’re willing to pay for a couple layers of it.

  84. 84
    Biff Longbotham says:

    @redshirt:

    Is there any proof anywhere Mitt’s actually smart or competent?

    Most people would say that advanced degrees from Hahvahd are adequate proof. His failure is in how he chooses to apply those qualities.

  85. 85
    Paul in KY says:

    @Roger Moore: Agree that those points you mentioned should at very least be illegal.

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