Was investor Paul Singer responsible for killing a Nebraska town?
In a new episode of Tucker Carlson Tonight, Tucker Carlson took a deep dive into the negative socio-economic transformation that Middle America has gone through in recent decades.
Carlson offers a lurid image of what many parts of rural America look like these days:
Outside the coastal cities, scenes like this are everywhere. Shuttered car dealerships, next to defunct restaurants, across the street from thrift stores and methadone clinics. Community after community, desiccated. Empty husks, with nothing left. Huge swaths of the United States look like this now.
The Fox News commentator then asked “What happened?”
He calls attention to the “utter transformation of the way our leaders think about the American economy.”
Carlson argues that “During the last gilded age, 125 years ago, America’s ruling class may have been ostentatiously rich, but it was still recognizably American.”
He cites the examples of illustrious tycoons such as Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and Henry as capitalists who still had an affinity to America as a unique nation-state:
Steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie famously built stone libraries around the country, for the edification of the poor. John D. Rockefeller and many other so-called robber barons set aside huge portions of their wealth to make the country better. In January of 1914, Henry Ford more than doubled the prevailing factory wage, to a then-astounding five dollars for an eight-hour day.
However, hedge fund managers like Paul Singer operate on a different wavelength.
Carlson stresses that the current economic model is predicated on “ruthless economic efficiency.” In his view, people like Singer “buy a distressed company, outsource the jobs, liquidate the valuable assets, fire middle management, and once the smoke has cleared, dump what remains to the highest bidder, often in Asia.”
Such strategies have made people like Singer “phenomenally rich”, as evidenced by his personal fortune of more than $3 billion dollars.
The Fox News host broke down Singer and the current rent-seeking financial class’s M.O.:
Singer made a lot of his money by purchasing sovereign debt from financially-distressed countries, usually at a massive discount. Once a country’s economy regained some stability, Singer would bombard its government with lawsuits, until he made his money back with interest. The practice is called vulture capitalism — feeding off the carcass of a dying nation.
This strategy is no different from what Singer and his company, Elliot Management, do to America. Carlson cited the example of automotive parts supplier Delphi:
During the last financial crisis, a consortium of hedge funds, including Singer’s Elliott Management, purchased Delphi. With Singer and the other funds at the helm, the company took billions of dollars in government bailouts. Obama’s auto-czar compared the tactics to extortion. Once they had the bailout money, the funds moved most of Delphi’s jobs overseas, and then either cut retiree pensions entirely or shifted the costs to taxpayers. With lighter financial commitments at home, and cheap factories abroad, Delphi’s stock soared.
By 2012, only 4 of Delphi’s plants were operating in America. Carlson pointed out that “Tens of thousands of unionized and white-collar workers lost their jobs. Paul Singer’s hedge fund cashed out for more than a billion dollars.”
Carlson asked why is Singer’s “behavior still allowed in this country?”
He then explains that Singer has “tremendous influence over our political process” and “was the second biggest donor to the Republican Party in 2016.” Additionally, “He’s given millions to a super PAC that supports Republican senators.”
Carlson then goes into a story that hits much closer to home. He recounts what happened to the small town of Sidney, Nebraska, — a small town of 6,282 — which is the home of sporting goods retailer Cabela’s:
In October 2015, Singer’s hedge fund disclosed an 11 percent stake in Cabela’s and set about pushing the board to sell the company. Cabela’s management, fearing a long and costly fight with Singer, announced it would look for a buyer. At the time, Cabela’s was healthy. The company was posting nearly $2 billion a year in gross profits, off $4 billion in revenue. There was no immediate need to sell. But they did anyway. One year after Singer entered the equation, Bass Pro Shops announced the purchase of Cabela’s. The company’s stock price surged. Within a week, Singer cashed out. He’d bought the stock for $38 a share. He sold it for $63. His hedge fund made at least $90 million up front, and likely more over time.
Sounds like a great deal, right? Well, not for Sidney’s residents. Tucker continued:
The residents of Sidney didn’t get rich. Just the opposite. Their community was destroyed. The town lost nearly 2,000 jobs. A heartbreakingly familiar cascade began: people left, property values collapsed, and then people couldn’t leave. They were trapped there. One of the last thriving small towns in America went under. We recently sent two producers to Sidney, to survey the wreckage and consider what happened. Our producers talked to more than a dozen former Cabela’s employees. Almost all of them refused to speak on camera, fearful of legal retribution from the famously vicious Paul Singer.
A local lumberyard owner, Tim O’Connell, told Carlson “I hope Paul Singer is proud of what he did. I don’t know how he sleeps at night.”
Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse has never made a public statement on what happened to Sidney. Tucker Carlson Tonight made an attempt to reach out to his office to ask about the Cabela’s merger, but they received no response.
Like many other Republicans, Sasse has received big bucks from Singer. The vulture capitalist made the maximum donation to Sasse’s 2014 campaign.
Singer is also a major proponent of mass migration, and bank-rolled pro-migration groups such as the National Immigration Forum.
While people fixate about the latest social media outrage, predatory rent-seekers like Paul Singer are allowed to act with impunity.
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