The Spectacle Blog

Hedge Fund Manager Blasts the Dear Leader

By on 5.6.09 | 7:05PM

One of the eeeeevil "speculators" that President Obama has been vilifying sent out an open letter to the president which has been circulating around Wall Street.

The New York Times published the letter from hedge fund manager Clifford S. Asness of AQR Capital Management, LLC. Asness indicates that his "company is not involved in the Chrysler situation."

The final paragraphs of the letter are priceless:

Let's quickly review a few side issues.

The President's attempted diktat takes money from bondholders and gives it to a labor union that delivers money and votes for him. Why is he not calling on his party to "sacrifice" some campaign contributions, and votes, for the greater good? Shaking down lenders for the benefit of political donors is recycled corruption and abuse of power.

Let's also mention only in passing the irony of this same President begging hedge funds to borrow more to purchase other troubled securities. That he expects them to do so when he has already shown what happens if they ask for their money to be repaid fairly would be amusing if not so dangerous. That hedge funds might not participate in these programs because of fear of getting sucked into some toxic demagoguery that ends in arbitrary punishment for trying to work with the Treasury is distressing. Some useful programs, like those designed to help finance consumer loans, won't work because of this irresponsible hectoring.

Last but not least, the President screaming that the hedge funds are looking for an unjustified taxpayer-funded bailout is the big lie writ large. Find me a hedge fund that has been bailed out. Find me a hedge fund, even a failed one, that has asked for one. In fact, it was only because hedge funds have not taken government funds that they could stand up to this bullying.

The TARP recipients had no choice but to go along. The hedge funds were singled out only because they are unpopular, not because they behaved any differently from any other ethical manager of other people's money. The President's comments here are backwards and libelous. Yet, somehow I don't think the hedge funds will be following ACORN's lead and trucking in a bunch of paid professional protesters soon. Hedge funds really need a community organizer.

This is America. We have a free enterprise system that has worked spectacularly for us for two hundred-plus years. When it fails it fixes itself. Most importantly, it is not an owned lackey of the Oval Office to be scolded for disobedience by the President.

I am ready for my "personalized" tax rate now. 

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