In a bit of synchronicity, Lambert gave a mini-speech tonight that dovetails with an important Tucker Carlson segment about how hedge funds are destroying flyover. As UserFriendly lamented, “It is beyond sad that Tucker Carlson is doing better journalism than just about anywhere else.” That goes double given that Carlson has only short segments and TV isn’t well suited to complicated arguments.
Lambert fondly recalled the America he grew up in in Indiana, before his parents moved to Maine, where most people were comfortable or at least not in perilous shape, where blue collar labor, like working in a factory or repairing cars, was viewed with respect, and where cities and towns were economic and social communities, with their own businesses and local notables, and national chain operations were few. Yes, there was an underbelly to this era of broadly shared economic prosperity, such as gays needing to be closeted and women having to get married if they wanted a decent lifestyle.
I’m not doing his remarks justice, but among other things, the greater sense of stability contributed to more people being able to be legitimately optimistic. If you found a decent job, you weren’t exposed to MBA-induced downsizings or merger-induced closures. Even in the transitional 1970s, Lambert got his first job…in a mill! He liked his work and was able to support himself, rent an apartment, and enjoy some modest luxuries. Contrast that with the economic status of a Walmart clerk or an Amazon warehouse worker. And even now, the small towns that remain cling to activities that bring people together, as Lambert highlighted in Water Cooler earlier this week:
Please watch this clip in full. Carlson begins with an unvarnished description of the wreckage that America’s heartlands have become as financial predators have sucked local businesses dry, leaving shrunken communities, poverty and drug addiction in their wake.
Readers may wonder why Carlson singles out hedge funds rather than private equity, but he has courageously singled out one of the biggest political forces in DC, the notorious vulture capitalist Paul Singer, best known for his pitched battles with Peru and Argentina after he bought their debt at knocked-down prices. Carlson describes some US examples from his rapacious playbook, zeroing on Delphi, where Singer got crisis bailout money and then shuttered most US operation, and Cabela’s, where a Singer-pressured takeover wrecked one of the few remaining prosperous American small towns, Sidney, Nebraska. Not only are former employees still afraid of Singer, but even Carlson was warned against taking on the famously vindictive Singer.