Sunday, July 29, 2007

Prize catch

Inelegant exhibition of private wealth meets with public scorn as it’s often a thin border between finesse and gaucherie. Jealousy is instant though never admitted except in the form of paraded altruism. If it involves an industry that epitomizes ruthlessness and barbaric greed like Private Equity, it becomes indefensible.

One really feels bad for Stephen A. Schwarzman, the poor little rich guy. He just happened to be the czar of Blackstone group, and had developed a taste for $400 crabs that he ordered regularly. What’s the big deal? You eat $50 hot dog because you draw $ 100 k package. With a compensation of $400 m, is it not par for the course? May be he likes to host $5m birthday parties – can you blame him for bringing his industry into disrepute for that? Too bad. That's no reason why Congress suddenly wants to double the taxes paid by rich guys like him.

Don’t worry Mr.Schwarzman. You are not alone. David Bonderman of Texas Pacific group has outmillioned you by notching up a bill of $ 7 million on his shindig.”

Senator Charles E. Grassley (R)-Iowa, is certainly jealous. He introduced the now famous “Blackstone Bill” - aimed at taxing carried interest of PE executives at the same rate (35%) as normal income as against 15% (capital gains) earlier. Some call it the Birthday Party Bill.

BTW, that $400 crab - is it the same crustacean they’re talking about? I guess so…

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