Saturday, January 25, 2014

Carlyle's Rubenstein Quoted from Davos

While America's Congressional delegation remained mostly silent in Davos, Switzerland, Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein was finally quoted. Bloomberg did a double team on Rubenstein.

Q:  Rubenstein on whether philanthropy is the answer to inequality:

A.  “No. Philanthropy is — we have to remember, philanthropy isn’t going to solve all the world’s problems.  Right now, philanthropy in the United States, people give away roughly — about 2 percent of GDP, so it’s a small percentage of GDP that’s involved in philanthropy.  It’s important, but a small percentage.

Interesting that small philanthropy is an important part of the solution, while "small" taxes from elimination of carried interest is absurd.  Note how Bloomberg reporters help Rubenstein recruit talent away from Wall Street:

Q.  Rubenstein on income inequality and whether it’s fair that talent move from Wall Street banks to Carlyle because of higher compensation, when that money could go to those who have important jobs, like teachers, but get paid less:

A.  “You can always cite examples of how the world would be better off if teachers got paid more money, and teachers should get paid more money.  Probably teachers deserve more money than private equity deserve money, but the system is what it is.  I can’t overnight change the system.  Probably the highest paid people should be interviewers on Bloomberg.
Score one PEU pander point.

The interviewers returned the love to the great philanthropist:

Q.  Could Carlyle be a $500 billion firm?  Are there enough valuable assets to invest in if Carlyle did get to $300 billion, $500 billion?
And visions of billionaire sugar-daddies danced through their heads, especially those sporting North Face or Moncler.

But quotable billionaire Rubenstein wasn't done. Dealbook reported:

“You shouldn’t enter college worried about what you will do when you exit,” said Mr. Rubenstein, who majored in political science.  

But the reasoning skills that come with a well-rounded humanities education actually result in higher-paying jobs over time, Mr. Rubenstein said. 

“H=MC. Humanities equals more cash,” Mr. Rubenstein said.
The PEU billionaire speaketh.  Just as he made a fortune from Alaskan natives in the "Great Eskimo Tax Scam," Rubenstein now has his sights set on Africa.

Carlyle did their second African deal, which was announced in the midst of Davos.

J&J Africa is a transport company that also provides warehouses for bulk and container cargo.
Rubenstein went on to offer the next day:

Over the last couple of years people have gotten a lot less worried, but there are always things like black swans that come around,” Rubenstein said in an interview. “I just wanted to make sure everybody remembers that and that we are likely to have some bumps along the road.” 
People have gotten a lot less worried?  The table has been reset to December 2007.  How long before President Obama says "Wall Street got drunk?"

Bonus:  Davos Central site links are below for those wanting to find more Rubenstein:

Reuters Davos Live

For business reporters, no pander - no access to PEU legends.