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A Great Rant

Recs

11

April 01, 2008 – Comments (0)

Thought-provoking, too.

One great snippet:

Private equity managers' (and hedge fund managers') "carried interests" should be taxed at ordinary tax rates, not at the capital gains rate. Such earnings are nothing other than compensation, not earnings on risk capital.5 The arguments that private equity firms have tried to promote on Capitol Hill that such a taxation regime would reduce risk-taking are completely unsupportable from a factual standpoint. Henry Kravis and Stephen Schwarzman are not going to stop doing deals because they have to pay taxes at the same rate as their chauffeurs. These arguments are also the most cynical kind of politicking that insults the intelligence of every American. If politicians want to be held in even lower regard than they already are, supporting these arguments is a good way to go.

Finally, private equity firms should not be permitted to go public. The discipline of the markets - i.e. 50 percent or more declines in the price of private equity firms' stocks such as The Blackstone Group (BX) and Fortress Investment Group (FIG) - is inadequate to police the abuses of such transactions. These firms are hopelessly and terminally conflicted between their fiduciary obligations to their limited partners and their fiduciary obligations to their shareholders. The fact that investors are willing to ignore the mind-boggling hypocrisy of IPOs of businesses that are built on the premise that public ownership is economically inefficient is a tribute to the insatiable greed that has consumed investors. That greed has not only corrupted investors' moral sentiments, as Adam Smith wrote more than two centuries ago, it has crippled their common sense.

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