Monday, April 20, 2015

Prince & the PEUper Grace UVA During Tax Week

The week many Americans did their patriotic duty and paid the U.S. Treasury as part of their citizen obligations, two infamous men spoke at the University of Virginia.  Blackwater's Erik Prince spoke at UVA's Miller Center, while Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein gave the keynote address at the Darden Graduate School of Business's 4th Annual Private Equity Conference.

Both men rely on the U.S. government for their abundant wealth.  Prince made millions from providing private security services to Uncle Sam.  Elected officials made sure the rules didn't apply to Prince's mercenary teams. 
Rubenstein relies on Uncle Sam's checkbook for many of its affiliates.  It influences legislators to stress or dislocate industries, giving private equity underwriters (PEU) a cheaper entry point.  Carlyle counts on the continuation of its preferred carried interest taxation, which enables The Carlyle Group to pay miniscule taxes, almost at the level of a community nonprofit agency.  Carlyle does well, mostly for itself and its limited partners.

The parallels between David Rubenstein and Thomas Jefferson are twofold.  Both men started with high ideals.  Jefferson crafted All Men Are Created Equal, then used his slaves for collateral on a massive loan.  Money wasn't the issue as a lifelong friend left Jefferson his estate, with more than enough money to free Monticello's slaves.  Jefferson knew his business and stuck to its key operational aspects, i.e. slavery.

Rubenstein worked in the Carter Whitehouse, before selling Alaskan Native tax dodges to corporations.  He went on to found the Carlyle Group, which is famous for purchasing politicians outright for employment.  For decades Rubenstein has been the public face of Carlyle.  He's legendary for his influence on White House and Capital, steering federal policy and funding for Carlyle's success

Prince and the PEUper spoke at UVA last week.  PEUper is the opposite of pauper.