Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Giveaway of Giveaways
    The Connecticut state budget for the upcoming year is $20.5 billion. That’s walking around money for Bridgewater Associates of Westport, Connecticut, reckoned to be the biggest and most profitable hedge fund and money manager in the universe. Richer than God, as they say.
    Bridgewater disposes over $120 billion in assets, or six times  CT’s budget.  Last year, Bridgewater paid Ray Dalio, its founding partner, $3.9 billion. That’s enough to tip every Connecticit resident a grand and still leave $400 million for Mr. Dalio to scrape by on.     

     Connecticut is a solidly liberal state. The governor is a Dem and the Dems dominate both legislative houses. Reps are rare and tea baggers are strictly from Liptons. So you might think, that with such leadership, Connecticut would be giving the little guys a break and letting the big guys fend for themselves. Think again.
    You may then gulp at the news that Governor Malloy is taking millions from education and social services to give to Bridgewater. That’s $115 million, to be precise, to be transferred from taxpayer to titan. And this while slashing state services to cover a $365 million budget shortfall. Though my better half says that the analogy is not quite apt, I say that’s like donating your wedding ring to Tiffany’s to help with their bottom line. 
    The next time you move to a different town within Connecticut, you might ask the governor to pay the movers.  That’s, in effect, what he’s doing for Bridgewater. It has outgrown its Westport headquarters and says it needs a lot more room to store its ever increasing mountain of money bags. The taxpayers’ hundred mill is to help the hedgie settle into ampler digs with water views in Stamford, which just happens to be Malloy's hometown
    According to the gov, the payoff for Connecticut will be a thousand new jobs at Bridgewater over the next decade. That assumes that the markets remain buoyant. Otherwise there may be a thousand fewer jobs. But that hardly matters.  Private companies always promise to use public largesse to hire people. I have never heard of a single instance in which a company’s failure to do so was even noticed, let alone sanctioned.
   For decades now, the main business of this country has been transferring wealth from the poor and middling classes to the richest of the wealthy class. The Bridgewater deal couldn’t be a more shameless example of this.

I was pleased over the holidays to be a guest of my old pal Mike DeRose on his New Focus radio program out of Hartford.  Stations and listening times are as following:

WWUH (91.3FM) or (U of Hartford): Friday @ 12 Noon and Tues @ 8:30PM.

WHUS (91.7FM) or (UConn):  Friday @ 5PM.

(88.1FM) or (Wesleyan U): Monday @ 1:30PM.