Robber Barons

ACORN Financial Justice Ideas and Issues Personal Writings

Minneapolis The rest of us may be fighting off the recession, foreclosures, or globally just trying to afford food and fuel at any price, but the list came out the other day of the paydays for big hedge fund operators and we now may be close to a new understanding of “robber barons.”

The top “winner” was John Paulson who bet against the subprime industry and for his bet walked away with $3.7 Billion. Close behind was George Soros with $2.9 Billion, and so forth down the line. The top 10 all made between $500 Million on the “bottom” end to the Paulson excess at the top.

It is somewhat shocking just to contemplate that anyone can actually have an annual payday that breaks a billion dollars no matter where they may have picked up the dollars. Is this the way capitalism really is supposed to work? It is hard to get away from the notion that this is not the way it is in the books. These days it is based on esoteric products in non-transparent markets that favor no one but the most rarefied insiders. It’s a small, small club with tax breaks from the current President which exceed what we spend on virtually all social programs combined!

There should be some real social responsibility here, especially since these guys are hardly paying taxes. Similar to tithing, let them take away 10% and put it in a pool to really address the impact of the foreclosure and credit crises. Just a couple of them doing so would be over a half-billion dollars and therefore three times what is being spent to try to obtain foreclosure relief for homeowners. ACORN would commit to doing everything possible to making sure the money really was spent to save houses and families.

It’s time these guys really did put some of the pile up.

George Soros