Wednesday, May 09, 2007

If Only UNC Had An Econ Department.....

TO LEARN, TO DREAM...TO MAKE MILLIONS: Couldn't Mr. Edwards have learned about economics by reading a book, or taking a course? He's all about the public service, of course, as usual....

Edwards says he worked for hedge fund to learn more about financial markets

By: NEDRA PICKLER - Associated Press Writer

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards said Tuesday that he worked for a hedge fund to learn more about financial markets and their relationship to poverty in the United States.

Edwards won't disclose how much he got paid as a consultant to Fortress Investment Group, but said he did keep the money.

"It was primarily to learn, but making money was a good thing, too," the 2004 vice presidential nominee said in an interview with The Associated Press.

He said the amount he was paid will be revealed when he releases his financial disclosure forms.

Fortress Investment Group, founded in 1998, describes itself as "a leading global alternative asset manager" with approximately $35.1 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2006. The company is headquartered in New York with affiliates around the world.

Fortress was the single biggest employer of Edwards donors during the first three months of the year. Donors who listed "Fortress" as their employer contributed $67,450 to Edwards' campaign and supporters who identified their employer as "Fortress Investment Group" gave $55,200 to the campaign, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Edwards said it's legitimate to ask questions about whether there is a contradiction between campaigning against poverty while working for a hedge fund that is designed to make rich people richer. He said the job was a complement to his position as the head of a poverty center at the University of North Carolina.

"I didn't feel like I understand, and to be honest with you still learning right now, sort of the relationship between that world and the way money moves in this country through financial markets," Edwards said.

Edwards said he also spoke to some Wall Street investment firms such as Goldman Sachs besides exploring the position with Fortress. He said his role was to advise the firm about what he saw happening economically in the United States and during his travels overseas...


(Nod to Anonyman. Can a person drown in bile?)


Simon Spero said...

We had a really good bloke once; big on all that public choice stuff etc. Shame they drove him off and he ended up living on the streets or something.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand. So what?

I wish more politicians worked in Wall Street, and LEARNED from it.

I'd take Edwards to task for not learning much from it - but not from doing it.

Or maybe he did learn? We'll soon see. Hopefully he'll be a bit less inward looking, protectionist, populist and demagogic than before.

But don't pull an Edwards on Edwards, please.

Mungowitz said...

Well, 12:47, I have a prediction: John Edwards, if he wins, will press for taxation and other programs whose premise it is that productivity and creativity are sins, and should be punished.

It seems to me that JE learning about how markets work is like finding the fox staring at the chickens at feeding time, and then saying that he wanted to learn about restaurant industry.

Dirty Davey said...

Media Matters this morning makes some good points about media coverage of Edwards...

With respect to this issue, he's in a Catch-22: by working for the hedge fund, he gets this sort of snark about ignoring the fact that UNC has economics classes; had he taken a few courses in Gardner Hall, you can be sure we'd be hearing comments about the silliness of "book learning" as a way of knowing how business "really works".

And I suspect it is more accurate to say that he will press for taxation to implement certain programs on the grounds that the scale of the disincentive to "productivity and creativity" is less than the societal benefit of the associated programs.

Such things can be measured or at least estimated; I have never felt the call to the religious faith that claims the optimal level of taxation is always "lower than now" without providing any evidence.