[lbo-talk] Hedge Fund Managers At The Bellagio SALT Conference

Ralph Johansen mdriscollrj at charter.net
Sun Jun 4 22:40:39 PDT 2017


"SALT is short for “Skybridge Alternatives,” but that could be replaced by any number of combinations of pseudo-profound finance jargon: Strategic Alternative Liquid Tranches; Superior Alpha Limited Trading; Standard Accelerated LIBOR Taxation. It all fits. Skybridge Capital is—/was/—the investment firm run by Anthony Scaramucci, the schmooziest man in the hedge fund world, and the conference, which has been running for nearly a decade now, is the capstone of his schmooze-powered empire."

"When you run five or ten or a hundred billion dollars, your overriding concern in life is that pile of money—growing it, yes, but, more fundamentally, preserving it. Geopolitics therefore become just another business risk to be measured alongside interest rates and consumer trends, and judged based on the threat it poses to your money. Climate change? A risk. War in North Korea? A risk. Donald Trump’s insanity? A risk. What normal people think of in moral or ideological terms, those who control all the world’s wealth think of simply in terms of risk. Almost anything can be tolerated, if it allows them to make more money with less risk. This is the logic of capitalism.":

"There is a 100% likelihood that any substantial Republican tax reform bill of the sort that attendees of the SALT Conference want will exacerbate the inequality problem. One hundred percent. It is certain. And yet it is taken as a given that this crowd will throw its ample political muscle behind achieving that goal. Then, they will talk about how to give back—perhaps, like David Rubenstein, they could pay to repair the Washington Monument. Nice and patriotic. As they do that, they will be accruing millions of dollars of gains thanks to tax cuts, as social programs for the poor accrue equivalent losses. Perhaps they will donate a basketball court to the inner city later to make up for it. This is the logic of capitalism at work. The fact that we feel no collective sense of surprise at all of this goes to show just how well capitalism covers its own tracks."

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