Sunday, October 19, 2008

He's Not Joe The Plumber, But Maybe We Can Learn Something From Andy The Hedge Fund Manager Too


You probably never heard of Santa Monica-based hedge fund manager Andrew Lahde, unless you were one of his clients (or victims). I never had, but last year one of his investment portfolios was up 870%. Yesterday's L.A. Times carried the story of his parting shot to the investment world, a letter he wrote to friends and foes. And while he doesn't exactly come off as a sympathetic character, there's plenty of Truth in his rant-- even beyond his outrage about anti-marijuana laws. He was contemptuous for the self-important, dysfunctional, workaholic modus operandi of the corporate world:
"Appointments back to back, booked solid for the next three months, they look forward to their two-week vacation in January during which they will likely be glued to their BlackBerries or other such devices. What is the point? They will all be forgotten in 50 years anyway. Steve Ballmer, Steven Cohen, and Larry Ellison will all be forgotten. I do not understand the legacy thing. Nearly everyone will be forgotten. Give up on leaving your mark. Throw the BlackBerry away and enjoy life."

Lahde predicted years of pain for capital markets.

"I now have time to repair my health, which was destroyed by the stress I layered onto myself over the past two years, as well as my entire life-- where I had to compete for spaces in universities and graduate schools, jobs and assets under management-- with those who had all the advantages (rich parents) that I did not," he wrote. "May meritocracy be part of a new form of government, which needs to be established."

Showing outrage over Congress' failure over the last eight years to rein in "the predatory lending practices of now mostly defunct institutions," he urged that billionaire activist George Soros launch a forum to rethink the "corrupt" U.S. capitalist system.

Lahde closed by arguing for the legalization of hemp and marijuana. He called hemp "an alternative food and energy source" and labeled marijuana laws "ludicrous."

"My only conclusion as to why it is illegal is that Corporate America, which owns Congress, would rather sell you Paxil, Zoloft, Xanax and other... drugs than allow you to grow a plant in your home without some of the profits going into their coffers."

..."I was in this game for the money," Lahde wrote in the two-page missive, saying he would now focus on his personal portfolio of unspecified millions. "The low-hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking. These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Bros. and all levels of our government.

"All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America."

No, not "Joe" the Plumber but another denizen of George Bush's America with a story to tell. In fact Andy's last paragraph is a pretty damn good encapsulation of George W. Bush and his era. It's certainly a more succinct means of getting Oliver Stone's primary message from W. out.

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At 9:34 AM, Blogger Jimmy the Saint said...

Your last sentence was excellent. He also made a great point early on about the crazy hours some people put in. It is crazy how some people, even when on vacation, can't put down their cell phones or Blackberries. It's sickening.


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