Friday, January 30, 2009

Carlyle's David Rubenstein: The Buck Stops with 5 Billion

David Rubenstein, co-founder of The Carlyle Group, chairs the World Economic Forum committee redesigning global financial markets. Did he join the list of CEO's, like JP Morgan's Jamie Dimon, in claiming responsibility for the global financial implosion? Nope. Bloomberg reported:

David Rubenstein said he thinks a key issue at this year’s gathering is “who is at fault.” Yet Rubenstein, who was saying at Davos two years ago that the outlook for leveraged buyouts was “very robust,” says responsibility shouldn’t be tied only to him or his industry.

“There are six billion people on the face of the earth, and probably about five billion participated in what went on,” Rubenstein said in an interview. “Everybody participated in some way or shape or form.”

How George W. Bushy of Mr. Rubenstein, blame the workers. Quality begins in the boardroom. That cuts the list down considerably. Top executives designed distorting incentive systems that extrinsically motivated employees to package investment pigs with triple A rated lipstick. Greed systems were designed at the top.

The big money men wanted accounting changes, like mark to market, to keep the leverage engine chugging in an up market. That turned into reverse razor blades when Wall Street imploded last September. Priming the leverage pump occurred in executive suites and board rooms.

Five billion people weren't responsible. They're the financial system's Lindy England. Bush & Cheney ordered harsh interrogation techniques, but she became the face of injustice. David Rubenstein plays a similar game. Which secretary will he trot out as the cause?