Remember yesterday’s billionaires boys club goes to Congress? Total love fest. Why, we wonder, was it so different than the Dick Fuld treatment? Was it because, hey these guys made money so they must be great? I mean, really, it’s all so precarious. These guys could easily be Long Term Capital. But just because they made money they must be geniuses? Please, everyone thought Dick Fuld, et al were geniuses when they were making money.
Where did the Waxman who we knew and love go?
Here’s an excerpt from the ABC News article titled “Congress to Billionaires: Where Did We Go Wrong?” and a dek, “Hedge Fund Managers Face More Praise Than Scrutiny From Panel.”
ABC News: What was expected to be a showdown turned into more of a tickle fight Thursday, as five of the world’s top hedge fund managers faced a quizzical congressional oversight panel.
“What it is that you knew that allowed you to be so far ahead of everyone else?” asked a genuinely curious Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., of the witnesses, some of whose multi-billion-dollar funds had largely escaped the worst of the economic crisis so far. “Do you have any opinions on TARP?” asked Rep. Tom Davis, D-Va., referring to the U.S. government’s $700 billion economic bailout program.
Softball questions like those are rare in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee these days. Recently, the panel hasn’t been a fun place for Wall Street types in particular.
…Going into Thursday’s hearing, it looked like the committee might again be loaded for bear. Stern letters the committee sent to each of the five hedge fund managers a month earlier asked the men to submit copious documentation showing income and salary for their top executives, their funds’ involvement with mortgage-related investments, the danger posed to the economy by the debt their funds carried, and their tax treatment.
But unlike those executives, whose firms’ failings played key roles in the economic crisis, these billionaire managers captain ships which have found calm waters amidst the tempestuous global economy, and the panel had mostly praise and curiosity for the five.
Tough questions were rare. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., raised the issue of the men’s billion-dollar-plus incomes last year. “That is a staggering amount of money and I’m not knocking you for it,” he said, but observed that a portion can be taxed at a rate three-fifths what most Americans are taxed on their income.
Really??? You all certainly knocked Dick Fuld for it.
Illustration via ABC News.
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