Thursday, January 31, 2019

Tax Talk Will Get Davos Speaker Uninvited

The Guardian reported:

A discussion panel at the Davos World Economic Forum has become a sensation after a Dutch historian took billionaires to task for not paying taxes.

In a video shared tens of thousands of times, Rutger Bregman, author of the book Utopia for Realists, bemoans the failure of attendees at the recent gathering in Switzerland to address the key issue in the battle for greater equality: the failure of rich people to pay their fair share of taxes.

Noting that 1,500 people had travelled to Davos by private jet to hear David Attenborough talk about climate change, he said he was bewildered that no one was talking about raising taxes on the rich.
Private equity underwriters (PEU) retain preferred carried interest taxation twelve years after Congress' first attempt at removal.

No one talks about raising taxes on the rich at Davos because the rich are Davos. However, they do care about the common person being able to invest in private equity.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Some Davos Men Ready to Move on with Saudi Arabia

FT reported:

,,, the Khashoggi affair had been relegated to the past. Saudi officials highlighted recent deals as proof, including infrastructure projects with international companies. They also pointed to $7.5bn of new government debt that was raised this month with the help of banks including JPMorgan Chase, HSBC, Citigroup and BNP Paribas.
JP Morgan targeted Saudi Arabia for business before the kingdom exterminated journalist Jamal Khashoggi.  Others Davos attendees weren't so sure.

Some senior western financiers said re-engaging with the kingdom so soon after Khashoggi’s grisly killing would be too controversial. Several people attending Davos this week told the FT that the country remained in the “penalty box” and urged Riyadh to offer bolder gestures of reassurance.

Last year Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was a star attraction at the Billionaire Boys Club which includes purchased politicians. The Crown Prince released his Uncle from prison last year as Davos neared its close and the Saudis sponsored a luncheon touting private investment in the Kingdom.

Imprisoning Prince Alaweed bin Talal and killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, what won't the Davos man forgive on behalf of their billionaire brethren? Deals have to be done.

Update 10-9-21:  Rubenstein moderated a panel at the "Davos in the Desert" in January 2021.  The Khashoggi murder is such old news that the man behind the execution is being promoted for his public service by Crown Prince bin Salman.  Further evidence that Khashoggi's brutal killing is in the rear view mirror came from bin Salman led Saudi Public Investment Fund's purchase of Newcastle United. 

Update 3-4-22:  The Crown Prince of Thuggery said:

 "If that's the way we did things, Khashoggi would not even be among the top 1,000 people on the list. If you're going to go for another operation like that, for another person, it's got to be professional and it's got to be one of the top 1,000."

Reminds me of the rapist whose defense is "the woman was too ugly to attack."  Their arrogance is beyond belief.

Update 5-16-22:  Former golf great Greg Norman said in a response to the Crown Prince ordered killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a media day for his Saudi-backed LIV Golf’s inaugural event in London next month:

"Look, we’ve all made mistakes and you just want to learn from those mistakes and how you can correct them going forward."

Part of rectifying a mistake is accepting responsibility and taking accountability for one's action.  The Prince of Thuggery has done nothing in that regard.  If Greg Norman has an inside information about the murder he should inform authorities. 

Update 8-14-22:  Reuters reported "Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal invested more than $500 million in Russian firms in the days around Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.  Prince Alwaleed’s investment firm, Kingdom Holding Co., acquired depositary receipts issued by Gazprom PSJC, Lukoil PJSC and Rosneft PJSC in February, according to a stock exchange filing. Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24."

Update 10-19-22:   The Saudi Crown Prince also employs a number of retired U.S. military generals/admirals.  Their commitment to free speech and fair justice did not last the flight to Riyadh or Dubai.

Update 12-6-22:   The U.S. court case against the Crown Prince was dismissed under the guise of sovereign immunity, something the Prince did not have at the time of the execution.  The judge said his hands were tied by the Biden administration's recommendation to the court.  Thugs win. 

Update 10-21-23:  Davos in the Desert starts this coming week.  It's theme is "The New Compass."  The Israel-Gaza war may impact who actually attends.  The theme is meant to capture "the essence of a new global world that is rediscovering its bearings in the realm of investment." Translation:  Do as the Crown Prince says and you will be paid handsomely.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Workers Need to Take Out Private Sector Loans for Welshing Federal Employer

From Davos CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin interviewed U.S. Commerce Chief Wilbur Ross.  Sorkin asked about unpaid federal workers and their worsening financial plight.  Ross referred to their situation as "not a good excuse why there should be a liquidity crisis."  Liquidity crisis is the language of the greed and leverage boys who gather annually in Davos and infect the highest levels of Western government (like PEU Wilbur Ross).

Contrast Ross with George Bailey and his newlywed wife when a bank run hit Beford Falls in It's a Wonderful Life.  Their response to scared and hurting customers, "What do you need?"  Leaders would ask that question and loan working employees the money needed to ride out a management created crisis.

Wilbur Ross' Invesco has huge money to invest in bank loans.  One might consider 800,000 federal employees needing credit a unique market opportunity.

Commerce Secretary Ross did not steer credit seeking employees to Invesco but to public sector credit unions.  A WEF website article quoted Ross on bank complexity in 2012.

I think that the real purpose and the real need that we have in this country for banks is to make loans particularly to small business and to individuals. I think that’s the hard part to fill.
Which Ross is right, the "easy to obtain a loan" public servant or the "hard to get a loan" private financier?  The Ross CNBC transcript is below:

ANDREW ROSS SORKIN: Mr. Secretary, but they're – but many of these people need -- Mr. Secretary, many of these workers clearly need the paycheck on a week-by-week basis. They're not, frankly, in my shoes, nor in yours. Nor in yours.


ANDREW ROSS SORKIN: So the question is, is this battle and fight at this point in the ball game worth it? Meaning, is the debate over everything else that the administration is fighting for worth more than the risk that's being taken on at the moment and the affect it's having on families of federal workers?

WILBUR ROSS: Well first of all, the banks and credit unions should be making credit available to them. When you think about it, these are basically government-guaranteed loans because the government has committed these folks will get back pay once this whole thing gets settled down. So there really is not a good excuse why there should be a liquidity crisis. Now, true, the people might have to pay a little bit of interest. But the idea that it's paycheck or zero is not a really valid idea. There's no reason why some institution wouldn't be willing to lend. And indeed we've heard tales of some of the –

ANDREW ROSS SORKIN: So it should be put on the private sector? The private sector needs to step up where the public sector can't?

WILBUR ROSS: No. What I'm saying is there have been ads run by a number of the public-sector credit unions, which are member organizations of the people who work in the departments. Those have announced very, very low interest rate loans to bridge people over the gap. That's the kind of cooperation between financial community and employee that really is warranted. It's a totally safe loan because at the end of the day it's 100% government guarantee.
Ross offered his version of TARP:  Too Arrogant for Real People on CNBC.  Workers are but serfs today and their masters are riding them hard.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Greed, Leverage Boys Epitomize Davos

The Independent reported:

This year, hedge fund (and private equity) billionaires will fly to Davos in private jets to discuss the threat of climate change, and millionaire CEOs will discuss inequality at lavish drinks events.

...Davos provides a rare opportunity for world leaders and corporate executives to discuss global issues quietly in public and private meetings.

“Judging by the state of the world right now, 10 years on from the financial crisis and the dysfunctional state of global politics, I would suggest that these annual events have achieved the sum total of diddly squat,” says Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.
Hardly, the annual gathering benefited the pocketbooks of the greed and leverage boys. Three years ago OXFAM called the Davos gathering a "busload of billionaires."  Four years ago the WEF identified inequality as the most significant trend.  It identified severe income disparity as a global risk starting in 2012.

While high earners experienced rising wages for the last decade middle income and low wage workers suffered.

The greed and leverage boys continue to have access to preferred carried interest taxation.

Their numbers reached an all time high in 2018.  FT reported:

As of January 2018, a record 2,296 private equity funds were active in the market, seeking to raise an aggregate $744bn, representing a 25 per cent increase compared with a year earlier.
I have experienced the impact of private equity ownership more than once in my career.  After the latest PEU takeover coworkers lost jobs, employees received reduced benefits and management bullying escalated.

Our executives have an equity stake in the company, workers do not.  C Suiters look after their interests to the detriment of customers and employees.  Busloads of billionaires have long set a self-serving agenda at Davos and for that the world has suffered.

Update 1-21-19:   ZeroHedge reported  "... no less than 1,500 private jet flights will land in Davos over the five days of its duration: a 50% increase in both private jets and toxic environmental emissions compared to last year, when roughly 1,000 private jets descended upon Davos."  The billionaire boys club begins in earnest.

Update 1-22-19:  At Davos Prince William will challenge business leaders to improve emotional and mental wellbeing in their workplaces.  I can attest to the damage done by PEU practices to employee mental health.  Greed is distinctly uninsightful, one-sided and creates many losers.

Update 1-23-19:  Jesse'sCafeAmerican wrote:  "The news of the day from Davos was almost unbelievably scripted and vacuous behind the headlines, while at the same time mildly nauseating.   Much like so many modern reality TV shows."

Update 1-24-19:  The Davos boys met to solve the very problems they created in vastly enriching themselves.  Bono had a big day for a PEU.  He called capitalism a wild beast.

Update 1-25-19:  Solving the world's problems while further enriching billionaires.  The game is rigged against common people.

Update 1-26-19:   One member of the super rich stated "the ordinary people who drive a prosperous economy are instead impoverished in favour of the bank accounts of billionaires."

Update 1-27-19:  LATimes reported on the massive increase in PEU founder wealth. "The fortunes of a dozen 2009 Davos attendees have soared by a combined $175 billion, even as median U.S. household wealth has stagnated."  Davos worked for the billionaire boys club for the last decade, not for the common person. "Compensation for chief executives in America’s largest firms is now 312 times the annual average pay of the typical worker, compared with about 200 times in 2009, 58 times in 1989 and 20 times in 1965."

Monday, January 14, 2019

Fed Chair Jay Powell Interviewed by PEU Boss

The interview can be seen on CNBC.  Fed Chair Jay Powell worked for President George H. W. Bush's Treasury Department and at The Carlyle Group for eight years.

The interview mentions another former Carlyle PEU now at the Federal Reserve Bank, Randall Quarles.  Quarles worked for President George W. Bush's Treasury Department overseeing all the stuff that blew up in the Fall 2008 financial crisis.

Carlyle is renowned for its political connections and the Fed is no exception.  What might the Fed do should leveraged loans fail on a widespread basis?  Mr. Rubenstein did not ask that question.

Update 5-19-20:  Wall Street on Parade picked up on the Carlyle connection to the top two Fed chiefs.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Davos 2019 Looms

Western greed and excess are symbolized by the annual gathering of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.  The WEF catered to the billionaire class and coddled private equity founders as their outsized influence displaced the basic needs of common citizens.  What does the WEF have in store for 2019?  It's globalization 4.0

To draft a blueprint for a shared global-governance architecture, we must avoid becoming mired in the current moment of crisis management.

Specifically, this task will require two things of the international community: wider engagement and heightened imagination. The engagement of all stakeholders in sustained dialogue will be crucial, as will the imagination to think systemically, and beyond one’s own short-term institutional and national considerations.
These will be the two organizing principles of the World Economic Forum’s upcoming Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters, which will convene under the theme of “Globalization 4.0: Shaping a New Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution”. Ready or not, a new world is upon us.
Globalization 1.0-3.0 ended up with economic gains going to the Davos class.  Average people have been living under a new world where our voices do not matter and our pay does not go up.

Our elected officials cater to the David Rubensteins (Carlyle Group), the Stephen Schwarzmans (Blackstone Group), the David Bondermans (TPG Capital) and Leon Blacks (Apollo Global).  The PEU boys have spoken at Davos for at least ten years.    Six years ago Rubenstein, Schwarzman and Bonderman attended.  Nine years ago the group held off the removal of preferred carried interest taxation by U.S. elected officials.

The global governance architecture is led by the greed/leverage boys and a reformed Saudi Prince who jailed his relatives and ordered the execution of a U.S. based journalist.  The World Economic Forum highlighted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at their 2018 gathering.

No one should trust this group.  Their desire for more power and money is clear.