Felix Salmon

Silicon Valley hubris watch, TJ Rodgers edition

June 1, 2012

Chrystia Freeland has found a classic example of Silicon Valley hubris in TJ Rodgers, the CEO of Cypress Semiconductor. Rodgers reckons his taxes shouldn’t go up; his reasons are pretty simple. If that happened, he explains, he’d have less money to invest in Silicon Valley. And since “taking money from the investments, my investments, out of Silicon Valley, where they have been very, very good for the economy” is self-evidently a really bad idea, then raising his taxes can’t possibly make any sense.

Eduardo Saverin joins the stateless billionaires

May 17, 2012

The United States is the only country in the world which applies the same tax regime to all its citizens, regardless of where they live: nowhere else are nonresidents charged the same federal tax rate as residents. And this makes America’s plutocrats qualitatively different from every other country’s super-rich.

The plight of the 1%

December 20, 2011

Max Abelson has a fantastic column today from simply asking prominent members of the 1% about their embattled status. There’s Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus, who characterizes any potential critic of his wealth by asking the timeless question “who gives a crap about some imbecile?”. There’s BB&T‘s John A. Allison IV, who says that any rule requiring public companies to disclose the ratio between the compensation of their CEO and their median employee would constitute “an attack on the very productive”. And then there’s Steve Schwarzman, displaying his legendary deftness of touch in a TV interview:

Adventures with the new plutocracy, wealth-beta edition

December 19, 2011

Robert Frank — the WSJ writer, not the Cornell economist — had a fascinating column about what he calls “wealth beta” this weekend. If you’re a member of the 1%, it turns out, you don’t just have a lot of money; you’re also likely to be seeing a huge amount of volatility in your wealth and your income. And this volatility has been measured according to the familiar scale where the broad stock market has a beta of 1:

American plutocracy

December 5, 2011

Michael Lewis puts his finger on something important:

Ordinary Greeks seldom harass their rich, for the simple reason that they have no idea where to find them. To a member of the Greek Lower 99 a Greek Upper One is as good as invisible.

Ego du jour, John Thain edition

November 8, 2011


David Dunlap took a visit to the Bronx, and came back with a 13-page slideshow of John Thain’s self-aggrandizement: