Monday, October 17, 2016

Bloomberg Launches Billionaire TV

Bloomberg launched its latest show starring billionaire Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein.

Renowned financier and philanthropist David Rubenstein travels the country talking to leaders to uncover their stories and their path to success. Each episode features an interview with one business leader.
Oddly, Bloomberg did not cite Rubenstein's primary job as a private equity underwriter (PEU).  Five years ago an ex-Bloomberg reporter wrote:

There are very few people out there who will talk and write honestly about private equity. I know from personal experience that the financial press is so eager to break news on "deals" that reporters (who are increasingly compensated on the number of "market moving stories" they write) can't afford to be critical of Carlyle, KKR and Blackstone, and risk losing access to people at those firms.
I have seen so many people -- particularly those in their 50s - 70s -- taken apart by what has happened in their industry as greed has hollowed out the economy. These are people took pride in their jobs and held themselves to this invisible standard that we all just took for granted, but is being wiped out.
The reporter cited the new host of Bloomberg's Billionaire Television:

The Carlyle Group scares me more than anything I've ever seen on Wall Street. It seems to exist to corrupt politicians and it's hard to know who they even represent.

I watched a video interview of (David) Rubenstein and his arrogance is really beyond tolerance. He was going on about the debt ceiling problem and how there would need to be cuts in services and higher taxes. When the reporter asked him about tax on carried interest he turned really disdainful and said that this "only" amounted to $22 billion over some number of years and this was not serious money. Boy, nothing like everybody doing their small part to save the country from oblivion!
Bloomberg's host personally lobbied Congress each time elected officials considered changing private equity's preferred carried interest taxation  Rubenstein won every time.

Carlyle's co-founder no longer has to shun enterprising business reporters probing shady PEU business practices.  He gets to frame the questions to maximize Carlyle's image.  If you doubt this assertion watch his private equity infomercial at the end of an IMF panel on inequality.

At 55:35 Rubenstein dubbed himself moderator and offered the "Private Equity Answer" for investors seeking out-sized returns in a low interest rate environment.  The Carlyle infomercial lasted three minutes and virtually closed the session on inequality.  Frankly, it couldn't have ended on a worse note.

The rise of private equity corresponds with the rise in income inequality
And that's why a PEU is hosting Billionaire TV.