Posted by: Rick | Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Money Changes Everything


A persistent myth of American politics says that rich CEOs know how the economy works and that their opinions are of supreme value. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

You can’t swing a dead cat in the CNBC green room without hitting guys like this:

Dodd-Frank and other costly regulations are punishing businesses, keeping them from expanding and creating more jobs, hedge fund investor Ken Langone told CNBC Tuesday.

Regulation should be passed to protect people, said the chairman of Invemed Associates, but “we’re at a point in time when . . . we’re creating regulations to punish people. When I’m getting punished for doing something, guess what happens? I’m gonna do nothing.”

In a freewheeling discussion reuniting Langone with the other founders of Home Depot, Bernie Marcus, chairman of the Marcus Foundation, agreed the cost of complying with regulation, particularly Dodd-Frank, is “enormous.”

Langone and Marcus are the “job creators” you’ve heard about. Notice that they do a lot of whining but not much job creating. (It never seems to occur to them to wonder where all the customers went.)

Few members of the economic oligarchy dare to make as much sense as Warren Buffett. They’d rather sound like Sean Hannity, and here’s why:

1) Peer Pressure. All their friends and business associates are Republicans. It would be risky to show signs of being a closet liberal pantywaist.

2) Greed. They don’t care about the long-term health of the economy or even of their own companies. They want to get paid now.

3) Ego. They think they’re special. They think civilization would crumble without them. They think they deserve every penny they get and more.

4) Guilt. They’re afraid they’re not special. Sometimes one of them wakes up in the middle of the night wondering if he should be living like an oil sheikh while the masses fall into poverty. So the next day he goes on television to bluster and buck himself up.

This is the one tenth of one percent.

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