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ONE RICH BEGGAR: Crony Capitalist Hits Up Washington

When a billionaire hedge fund crony comes to Washington claiming the “Moral High Ground” you know something’s fishy.

Bill Ackman has one goal in life…to profit immensely and for his investors to profit as well. Guys like this sometimes think they can get away with anything. It’s a negative side effect of being super successful. In other words, you begin to believe your own press. You feel that your magnetic personality and sheer force of your desire can make things happen. It turns into a narcissistic megalomania that makes these people believe they are invincible…the old “ten feet tall and bulletproof” adage comes to mind.

I’m no psychiatrist, but it looks like Bill Ackman may suffer from this malady.

I’ve written about the incredible ego of Bill Ackman previously…even comparing him to the fictional character Gordon Gekko from the movie Wall Street. I did that because what he is doing is repulsive…like the Gekko character, he believes he can destroy companies simply to profit off of their demise. It also gets almost no play in the traditional media, so I write about it like a voice in the wilderness. Cronies don’t take off for summer break, they are always sneaking around, seeking whom they can influence.

When a crony capitalist like Ackman shows up in Washington to do a good deed…hang on to your wallet because something is about to go down. In this case, Ackman is still trying to bring down his nemesis, the company Herbalife. The Ackman hedge fund, Pershing Square, famously took a billion dollar short in the company in an attempt to bring them to their knees and profit beyond belief. I’m sure it seemed like a good idea on paper, but from there it has gone terribly wrong for Ackman.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for profiting and profiting big. However, you lose me when you aren’t creating any product or job and are simply trying to crush a very successful American company who does both of those things.

Ackman had hoped to prove that Herbalife was an illegal scheme and get his friends in government to shut them down. He thought if he could prove that Herbalife is somehow immoral he could win the day and his short position in their stock would be a boon of untold fortune. He did not succeed in that attempt and Herbalife has successfully fought back to prove its right to exist. The government sided with Herbalife and declared they are a legal business model. Whether you like Herbalife or not is not the question.

The question is…what’s a crony capitalist to do when he is still on the hook for a cool BILLION?

Claim the moral high ground and then go to Washington and spend tons more money on the magic of lobbying those in elected office to get them to come to your side.

I know it’s a sick side of politics and most people abhor it, but it is a reality. A guy like Ackman can’t just give up and go home. He can’t just tell his investors…hey guys…sorry about that billion dollar Herbalife thing! He must destroy them. Ackman hasn’t quit on that mission, if anything he’s doubling down on it.

It would be nice if we could get a list of the congressmen in Washington who play ball with guys like Ackman, but they hide it pretty well. Shady things like the Clinton Foundation are set up all across our land by the corrupt in power to have a place to secretly plant the profits from a crony capitalist come to call. When Ackman asks for a favor, it doesn’t come free. He pays and he pays big…but the voters don’t take too kindly to the idea that their congressman is for hire. Hence, the smoky, back room deal. The kind of deal meant hide the corrupt action that it is.

It doesn’t take an investigative journalist or federal agent to see what is going on with Ackman. He is a businessman who made a mistake. A huge, billion-dollar mistake. Now his only hope of righting that wrong is to enlist the people in power to come to his aid. If you see your congressman or senator posing for a picture with Bill Ackman with a big smile on their face…it might be time vote them out.

When a guy like Ackman claims the moral high ground, you know we are standing in sinking sand.

Image:;Insider Monkey;CC BY-ND 2.0;

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S.C. Sherman

S.C. Sherman grew up a farm kid in rural Iowa. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Communications Studies. Steve is a business owner, and recently ran for Iowa State House of Representatives.. S.C. enjoys political commentary and great stories. He has written three fiction novels found at He currently lives with his wife and four children in North Liberty, Iowa.