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Richard Trumka, head of the AFL-CIO (yes, that financial regulatory body) argues that venture capitalists and hedge funds ought to be regulated because a good number of firms they take over end up bankrupt. Extra credit to anyone who wishes to analyze what he says. Here’s one hint – maybe, perhaps maybe, these firms were not exactly undiscovered jewels when private equity became interested in them. There’s lots more to say.

By the way, his son was a student of mine in my Labor Economics class at Cornell.

What’s next for Mr. Trumka and his union cronies? Should the shadow banking system be forced to fund me so that I can start a business which employs AFL-CIO employees? Do you think I would ever indulge myself in such an endeavor in the first place? Perhaps Mr. Trumka should start a business himself? Or perhaps Mr. Trumka could have used the massive amount of funds the AFL-CIO has extracted from its workers in order to buy one of these struggling companies and save it himself.

Someone show him this.

I excerpt a little scene involving Larry the Liquidator …

This company is dead.

I didn’t kill it. Don’t blame me.

It was dead when I got here. It’s too late for prayers. For even if the prayers were answered and a miracle occurred . . . and the yen did this and the dollar did that . . . and the infrastructure did the other thing, we would still be dead.

You know why?

Fiber optics. New technologies. Obsolescence.

We’re dead, all right. We’re just not broke.

And do you know the surest way to go broke?

Keep getting an increasing share of a shrinking market. Down the tubes. Slow but sure.

You know, at one time there must have been dozens of companies making buggy whips. And I’ll bet the last company around was the one that made the best goddamn buggy whip you ever saw.

Now, how would you have liked to have been a stockholder in that company?

You invested in a business, and this business is dead. Let’s have the intelligence–let’s have the decency–to sign the death certificate, collect the insurance, and invest in something with a future.

“But we can’t,” goes the prayer. “We can’t, because we have a responsibility, a responsibility to our employees, to our community. What will happen to them?”

I got two words for that: who cares?

Care about them? Why? They didn’t care about you. They sucked you dry. You have no responsibility to them. For the last ten years, this company bled your money.

Did this community ever say, “We know times are tough. We’ll lower taxes, reduce water and sewer”? Check it out. You’re paying twice what you did ten years ago.

And our devoted employees who have taken no increases for the past three years . . . are still making twice what they made ten years ago.

And our stock, one-sixth what it was ten years ago.

Who cares?

I’ll tell you.


I’m not your best friend. I’m your only friend.

I don’t make anything? I’m making you money.

And lest we forget, that’s the only reason any of you became stockholders in the first place. You want to make money. You don’t care if they manufacture wire and cable, fried chicken, or grow tangerines! You wanna make money!

I’m the only friend you’ve got. I’m making you money.

Take the money. Invest it somewhere else. Maybe . . . maybe you’ll get lucky, and it’ll be used productively. And if it is, you’ll create new jobs and provide a service for the economy and, God forbid, even make a few bucks for yourselves.

One Response to “It’s Time to Restrict Me From Not Starting a Business”

  1. Harry says:

    Go show your students the movie. Not just your econ 101 students, but the ones taking money and banking. Invite the sociology class next door to watch. Grade papers, catch up on your reading. Above all, make them write a paper on the philosophy of Richard (Dick) Trumka, and have them exchange papers and grade them for coherence. Play golf with a friend.

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