Friday, January 28, 2011

Recession? WHAT Recession?

It’s always a sunny day for some people!
Hedge-fund manager John Paulson personally netted more than $5 billion in profits in 2010—likely the largest one-year haul in investing history, trumping the nearly $4 billion he made with his "short" bets against subprime mortgages in 2007.

Mr. Paulson's take, described by investors and people close to investment firm Paulson & Co., shows how profits continue to pile up for elite hedge-fund managers. Appaloosa Management founder David Tepper and Bridgewater Associates chief Ray Dalio each personally made between $2 billion and $3 billion last year, according to investors and people familiar with the situation. James Simons, founder of Renaissance Technologies LLC, also produced profits in that range, say investors in his firm.

By comparison, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Wall Street's most profitable investment bank, paid all of its 36,000 employees a total of $8.35 billion last year. James Gorman, chief executive of 76-year-old investment bank Morgan Stanley, is expected to receive compensation of less than $15 million for 2010.

But don’t hate on them, the WSJ reminds us: it’s mostly just paper gains! And heaven forbid we should tax these people at a rate that, say, Ronald Reagan found acceptable. Why should these people pay for our resource wars that make their life of luxury possible? That's crazy talk!

Ah yes, putting the “gross” in gross profits. There is injustice and inequality in this country, children. And anyone who dares point this out is swiftly put in their place by these self-satisfied, spoiled, amoral assholes.

They are rioting in Egypt and Yemen and Tunisia. Some asshole on Wall Street is probably making a few hundred million off of it, too. That’s just the way it is.

I am reminded that this is our eternal human story, played out a thousand different ways throughout history. It has been ever thus. Read the Bible and you will see our past, present and future laid out before you. The cast of characters has changed but the play remains the same.

Sometimes the oppressed rise up and throw off the yoke that has been placed upon them, sometimes the rich shake a few coins from their coats and the oppressed improve their lot modestly, sometimes human greed surges to the forefront and the oppressed take a step back. And this is how humanity makes its slow, inexorable creep toward enlightenment.

Yes, it’s all for the best.