Sunday, November 11, 2012

PEU to Star at Smithsonian Book Festival

Equities.com reported:

The Library of Congress on December 6 and 7 will host the first International Summit of the Book, a gathering of leaders in academia, libraries, culture and technology to debate and discuss the powerful and crucial form of information transmittal: the book.

Speakers for the two-day event include David M. Rubenstein, co-founder and co-chief executive of the Carlyle Group and a major supporter of literacy initiatives at the Library of Congress...

The summit will take place in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building.
Carlyle co-founder David Rubenstein made billions buying and selling companies as a private equity underwriter (PEU).  Thomas Jefferson's fortunes grew from the labor of slaves, the buying and selling of people.

Both Jefferson and Rubenstein displayed youthful idealism.  As a young man Thomas Jefferson believed slaves should be free.  Young lawyer Rubenstein worked in President Jimmy Carter's White House as a domestic policy adviser.

Jefferson later embraced the Southern economic system based on slave labor.  The October issue of Smithsonian included "Master of Monticello", which stated this about Jefferson:

It had long been accepted that slaves could be seized for debt, but Jefferson turned this around when he used slaves as collateral for a very large loan taken out in 1796 from a Dutch banking house in order to rebuild Monticello.  He pioneered the monetizing of slaves, just as he pioneered the industrialization and diversification of slavery.

Thomas Jefferson levered slaves, which makes him a PEU forefather.

After leaving the Carter White House Rubenstein took advantage of another oppressed people, Alaskan Natives.

In 1984, a law was passed allowing native corporations in Alaska—that is, Eskimo owned companies created by Congress to manage native lands—to sell their losses to businesses looking for tax write-offs. The Marriott executives, working with David Rubenstein at Shaw Pittman, discovered the Eskimo clause and vigorously bought the losses to offset gains. The adventure has become known in some quarters as the Great Eskimo Tax Scam.

Did Rubenstein's windfall from the "Great Eskimo Tax Scam" provide the kitty used to start The Carlyle Group in the mid 80's?  Carlyle began as a leveraged buyout (LBO) firm.

Early LBO firms mined equity from over-funded pension plans.  LBO's morphed into private equity.  PEU's became ubiquitous in the last decade.  Their founders rose to modern robber barons.

While claiming to be the savior of public pension plans in need of greater return, recent Carlyle deals, RAC and Brintons, ditched the worker pension plan onto the public or another party.

It's fitting PEU Rubenstein will speak in the Thomas Jefferson building at the Smithsonian.  For both men idealism morphed into greed

The timing could be good for Rubenstein to push former Bloomberg reporter Jason Kelley's new book, The New Tycoons, which fawns over PEU's.  I expect this book is as impartial as General David Petraeus' biography, written by his paramour.  It's an odd time when PEU's and Petraeus freely skate from their sins.  Yet, Rubenstein would have one believe "patriotic philanthropy" is the balm that heals all.  I'm not buying the act.

Update 3-10-13:  Yet the Wall Street Journal did.

Update 5-12-14:  Rubenstein will speak at Monticello's July 4th naturalization ceremony.