Schwarzman gaffe exposes DC-Wall Street rift

August 16, 2010

Blackstone founder and CEO Steve Schwarzman has long expressed concern that Washington was deaf to the concerns of Wall Street.

Now he’s making headlines for a little tone deafness of his own after Newsweek reported that he recently told an audience that the government’s private taxation proposals reminded him of  “when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939″.

More diplomatically, Schwarzman told analysts on a recent earnings call that consumer and business confidence has been hit by “harsh anti-capitalist and anti-wealth-creation rhetoric and policy initiatives in the political area.”

On the same call, the firm’s COO Tony James said the Obama administration and Congress have “made a lot of people … just feel they’re being villainized.”

“I frankly think the whole financial services sector is under assault from the political powers in Washington and it is having an effect on the extension of credit in this country,” James said.

It isn’t the first time Schwarzman, not to mention rival buyout bosses, have put their foot in it and is unlikely to be the last.  Here’s the link to the Newsweek story , a New York Post story about other buyout gaffes and Carlyle’s David Rubenstein’s lighthearted but impossible-to-shake off comments likening private equity to sex.

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