Hedge Funds: Bad Investing Versus Lawlessness

This weekend, I found myself in the rather unusual position of defending hedge funds. Before I explain why that is so unusual, allow me to explain what I was defending them against.

Last week, Forbes released its annual score card of top-earning hedge fund managers. The usual gang was there: Soros, Tepper, Cohen, Paulson, Icahn, Simons, Dalio, Griffin, et. al. That clickbait scorecard — it worked on me — and led to a strident column from Gawker, bizarrely titled “Fund Managers Are the Biggest Gangsters of All.” Noting that the top 25 managers made a combined $24.3 billion in 2013, Gawker concluded, “The biggest thugs of all operate fully within the law.”

Which is completely and utterly wrong. The real gangsters were the “Banksters” who helped bring down the economy in the financial crisis, along with their lapdogs in Washington. To literally talk my own book, “Bailout Nation“: If you want to see truly thuggish behavior, look at three decades of radical deregulation, plus a gutting of enforcement mechanisms.

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