Friday, May 4, 2012

NY Times Article Allows Former Bain Capital Gazillionaire and Romney Supporter/Partner Edward Conrad to Defend His Massive Wealth – And Why It is Good

Good for Mr. Conrad Of Course

Having a lot of money is a good thing, and it is such an obvious good thing that no one would seem to think that having a lot of money is something that needs to be defended in public.  But for some reason Edward Conrad seems to have the need to defend his massive wealth, and while that seems about as interesting as shooting fish in a small barrel, apparently the New York Times thinks it is such an interesting story that it needs publication. 

First of all, who is Edward Conrad?  Well he is this

I recently met Edward Conard on 57th Street and Madison Avenue, just outside his office at Bain Capital, the private-equity firm he helped build into a multibillion-dollar business by buying, fixing up and selling off companies at a profit. Conard, who retired a few years ago at 51, is not merely a member of the 1 percent. He’s a member of the 0.1 percent. His wealth is most likely in the hundreds of millions; he lives in an Upper East Side town house just off Fifth Avenue; and he is one of the largest donors to his old boss and friend, Mitt Romney.

And as for Mr. Conrad’s motivation in talking with the Times it is this.  When people have made a whole lot of money they think they have discovered the meaning of life.  They feel obligated to dispense their wisdom to the unwashed masses, the people too stupid, too lazy and too uneducated to appreciate what those who have become wealthy have done for society. 

Unlike his former colleagues, Conard wants to have an open conversation about wealth. He has spent the last four years writing a book that he hopes will forever change the way we view the superrich’s role in our society. “Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong,” to be published in hardcover next month by Portfolio, aggressively argues that the enormous and growing income inequality in the United States is not a sign that the system is rigged. On the contrary, Conard writes, it is a sign that our economy is working.

Well that is true,  the economy is working for Mr. Conrad.  As for that family where one parent is unemployed and the other is working two menial jobs and the kids are doing without and the whole family needs food stamps to be able to eat, well the economy may not be working so great for them.  But Mr. Conrad doesn't care, so why bring that up.

And yes, before we go any further it is important to know the article’s author opinion on that attitude

This could be the most hated book of the year.

The gist of Mr. Conrad’s position is not even Econ 101, it is Econ for Kindergartners.  His theses is that wealthy people do investing which benefits the economy, and therefore what we need are more mega wealthy people to do more investing so all the ‘little people’ can have jobs and a cottage and a 10 year old car in the garage.

As to why the book may be the most hated, this paragraph sums it up.

Conard understands that many believe that the U.S. economy currently serves the rich at the expense of everyone else. He contends that this is largely because most Americans don’t know how the economy really works — that the superrich spend only a small portion of their wealth on personal comforts; most of their money is invested in productive businesses that make life better for everyone. “Most citizens are consumers, not investors,” he told me during one of our long, occasionally contentious conversations. “They don’t recognize the benefits to consumers that come from investment.”

Yeah, as we said, the common folk are just too stupid to recognize all that the super rich are doing for us.  What a bunch of ungrateful idiots we are. How horrible it must be for Mr. Conrad and for Mr. Romney to know that they accumulated all their wealth just to benefit us and now we refuse to bow and scrape in deference and thanks to them.   Of course, we have no idea if Mr. Conrad has recently used any of his wealth to do start up businesses and increases thousands of jobs.  Probably because he has not (taxes would be too high so why make the effort, you know.)

We could go on, but in the interests of both mental and intestinal health of the readers of this Forum, we won’t.  Mr. Conrad’s attitudes should not be exposed to the public, lest little children see them and be emotionally scarred for life.

But on a serious note the article at least should be read for its insight into the minds of the mega wealthy, and how they justify their vast wealth that, despite what they say comes partly from the deprivation and suffering of others because the wealthy like Mr. Conrad refuse to pay their fair share of taxes, you know, the funds that support education, health care, job training and the like.

But if you can take one more comment, here is one that will test the resilience of even the most hardened cynic.

What about investment banks, with their complicated financial derivatives and overleveraged balance sheets? Conard argues that they make the economy more efficient, too. The financial crisis, he writes, was not the result of corrupt bankers selling dodgy financial products. It was a simple, old-fashioned run on the banks, whom, he says, were just doing their job.

And just remember one last thing, this is a man that worked with Mitt Romney, got ultra rich with Mitt Romney and supports Mitt Romney.

“Unintended Consequences” only mentions Romney by name once (and in the acknowledgments, at that), but Conard hopes that the arguments detailed in his book will help readers understand why it’s so crucial that his former boss — who believes the government should help the investor class — win this November. 

 What does that tell you about Mitt Romney?


  1. Just think, TDPE, there was once a time in human history when, us mere serfs, would rise up and off their arrogant heads!

  2. The Times is trying to survive by attempting to appeal to born again Christians and crazy rich people. As the "newspaper of record" they think publishing boring idiotic stories about stupid sociopaths is woth doing. Too bad for them.