Friday, May 15, 2009

No Sanction from This Hedge Fund Manager

Cliff Asness is a bona fide hedge fund manager -- 20 billion dollars worth.  But unlike most other hedge fund managers, he is not cowering in the shadows with his head low, hoping to go unnoticed by the bullies in Washington.  Here is a man with solid principles who is not about to be dragged down the road to serfdom without protest.  Last fall the New York Times published his views on the short selling ban in "Cliff Asness is Mad as Hell." His latest is an essay posted on his blog entitled "Unafraid in Greenwich Connecticut in which he refuses to accept President Obama's attack on hedge funds for "endangering Chrysler's future by refusing to sacrifice like everyone else." ( has the complete story, "Chrysler Bankruptcy Exposes Dirty Politics.)

Obama's call for for the hedge funds to sacrifice, Asness points out,  means simply that hedge fund managers are being called upon to steal from their investors, who did not invest their funds to be sacrificed to President Obama's political ends.  

The ethic of sacrifice is carried to its logical conclusion in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, a novel that describes today's economic predicament in philosophical terms.  Not only doesn't sacrifice work, it is downright evil and it will unravel the American Revolution.  Asness is a trustee of The Atlas Society and has read the book.  No wonder he is willing to stand up and speak out passionately and with moral certainty.

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