Over the past few weeks, the heads of Wall Street and Corporate America have been going to Washington to advise on fiscal cliff talks.But the talks draw on, with Republicans and Democrats muddling through a confusing negotiation process that, to many, seems like it’s going nowhere. The question is, then, why aren’t all these big names and great minds capable of coming together to find a solution?
More than that (for about the millionth time) why can’t they even seem to understand each other?
Hedge fund manager Mark Lasry was just in Washington, and he purposely or not, answered that question for us at the Bloomberg Hedge Funds Summit.
“The problem in DC is that nobody wants to appear weak,” said Lasry.
He went on to explain that the difference between Washington and Wall Street, is that D.C. plays a perception game and Wall Street plays a results game. Wall Street wants its results yesterday, Washington wants to play the perception game (and win) until it’s absolutely necessary to get results.
In the fiscal cliff’s case, that means Lasry expects a deal to get done, but not until the last moment. That’s why his hedge fund, Avenue Capital, is holding 20-25% cash (as opposed to 15%) to buy some assets at the end of the year. He expects markets to go down as the talks draw on.
Bottom line: Wall Street and Washington are playing totally different games with different rules and a different way of winning. Makes sense.
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