Sunday, June 25, 2017

Ackman Salts Biden's Wound in Vegas

NYPO has an odd story about a dust up between Vice President Joe Biden and hedge fund manager Bill Ackman at the SALT Conference in Las Vegas last month.  The story refers to "wise ass" Bill Ackman, who'd given a half hour talk at the conference that afternoon,  Biden closed the day with his interview.

Conference Chair Anthony Scaramucci, founder of SkyBridge Capital, hosted the dinner for the day's A list speakers.  The media focus on Biden-Ackman interpersonal scuffle could simply highlight a sincere reaction by a grieving father to an insensitive lout.

The title of Biden's talk seems odd,  "Keeping the Momentum: A Conversation on Politics, Prosperity + the American Dream."  Both political parties sold their souls to big donors, who've done remarkably well as the common person lost ground the last two decades.

Biden sat in a position of power for the last eight years, a time when prosperity went to those who already had it.  It's hard to see where Joe Biden's Blue political team has any momentum at all.

Politics now involves a series of campaign positions intended to get voters to press a candidate's button.  Once votes are counted the winner is free to jettison their promises and turn the federal budget toward their political friends and supporters.

Valerie Jarrett spoke on "Democratic Divergence" and Jeb Bush on "Republican Reformation" in a discussion for the future of American politics.  Jarrett's SALT bio omitted her recent position asmember for Ariel Investments' board.

The greed and leverage boys turn out for the SALT Conference:, which fosters one-on-one meeting throughout the event.  It's a place deals can get done.  Founder Scarmucci has his deal in hand, courtesy of China's HNA Group..

SkyBridge Capital’s flagship fund saw net outflows of $1.6 billion for its fiscal year ending March 31, leaving the fund with $5.4 billion in assets, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this month.

Scaramucci, an ardent Trump supporter and fundraiser, sold Skybridge to a team of foreign buyers earlier this year in anticipation of landing a gig with the Trump administration.

The deal is expected to close this summer although Scaramucci’s White House ambitions have been delayed.
It remains to be seen if Scaramucci makes the expected $100 million in profits from selling a declining asset to the Chinese.

Scaramucci may join the Trump White House, currently stocked with billionaire private equity underwriters wanting to help their brethren.  Carlyle co-founder David Rubenstein offered insight as to how to profit in the Trump Age.

Big money boys and politicians share out-sized egos and a twisted symbiotic relationship.  Ackman's long been in the Blue camp.  That's what makes reporting the Biden-Ackman dinner skirmish so odd. 

While the media portrays Joe Biden as the unfairly treated party a few elements don't seem quite right.  It doesn't make sense to me that a grieving father would consider running for office, especially the U.S. Presidency.  There is a time when grief is the work.  It makes less sense that a grieving father would brag that they were the better candidate for the election they skipped.  How can one be better if they were brokenhearted?

I'll leave this as another conundrum in our strange world, where the rich and powerful serve the rich and powerful. Might the disintegration our money obsessed leaders foisted on those below be spreading among the ruling class?