Friday, April 30, 2010

The Lower Taxman Cometh

Carlyle Group co-founder William Conway spoke Down Under on the subject of taxes.

"But people want to know what the rules are and they don't want the rules to change."

"Like interest rates, taxes are a cost of doing business," Mr Conway said. "You take that into account when you decide how much you can afford to pay.

"To the extent that taxes are higher here than in other places in the world, capital is going to flow to where it can. It matters and it will affect the returns that are earned and that will affect whether or not you do a deal. But it doesn't mean there won't be any transactions done because certainly there will be."

Code speak applies to Australia and any countries listening. Capital is water, flowing where it can. Only H2O doesn't require 30% annual expansion.

Surely, Conway's words made it to America. Obama's deficit commission kicked off with a campaign style event from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. Peterson made his billions in the same field as Conway, private equity underwriting (PEU). Along the way, Peterson appointed Tim Geithner head of the New York Fed. Tim helped design and push regulatory reform, where PEU's get a virtual free pass.

The same day Conway's quote hit the airwaves, Carlyle bet big on structured credit, untradeable junk in the 2008 meltdown. If Uncle Sam's PPIP played a role in bringing back CDO pricing, that's worth something in taxes.

Obama's Deficit Commission is co-chaired by a PEU. Erskine Bowles started Carousel Capital. He remains a Senior Adviser with the firm. Early code talk from the Deficit Commission favors lower corporate taxes. Remember Red and Blue deficit nominees, "people don't want the rules to change," except in their favor. I believe Red & Blue Corporacrats already have the message well internalized.