The F Word: Men Who Move and States That Shake
One man moves and a whole state shakes? When that one man is hedge fund billionaire David Tepper, that’s just what happens. David Tepper is a multi-billion dollar hedge fund manager who’s lived in New Jersey for more than 20 years. Now he’s moving his home, and his business, to low-tax Florida. And that’ll cost New Jersey millions, probably hundreds of millions, in lost tax revenue.
New Jersey is not alone. According to one New York Times report, the top one percent of residents pay a third or more of total income taxes in half a dozen states: New Jersey, New York, California, Connecticut and Maryland. Wealth’s flowed so much from the bottom to the top in such large amounts that entire states are now dependent on a tiny powerful class.
What’s a state to do? The New York Times reports that states are doing everything they can to get their fat cats to stay. But really, is that the only way to go?
I took a look at Tepper’s wealth. First, it’s financial wealth: hedge fund managers don’t make things or sell things, they place bets. Tepper made a whole hunk of his personal wealth (some $4 billion dollars) from a 2009 investment in distressed financial stocks, including Bank of America. Buying low, he sold high when it recovered. But who helped it recover? We did. Taxpayers.
In 2008 and ‘09, Bank of America received $45 billion from the U.S. government through the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Remember TARP? And a $118 billion federal guarantee against loss?
While we’re talking rich, it’s a bit darn rich, for him to fret about paying back, isn’t it? And a bit ridiculous of New Jersians to do anything but bid guys like that good riddance, and set about distributing their assets more widely. Have we forgotten everything we ever knew about the US revolution?
No aristocrats. No feudal lords welcome here.