Last week, we highlighted the latest example of billionaire hypocrisy, as Bloomberg suggested that George Soros — who ostensibly believes higher taxes on the wealthy would be good for society and for the economy — may owe nearly $7 billion in taxes. Soros, Bloomberg said, has for years exploited a loophole that allows him to delay paying taxes on management fees which, when reinvested tax free, have helped his fund grow to six-and-a-half times what it would have grown to had taxes been paid on the fees when earned. On Wednesday, another billionaire was called out for being a hypocrite and this time it was a fellow billionaire doing the finger pointing.
In an interview at the SkyBridge Alternatives Conference yesterday, Dan Loeb — who no one ever accused of mincing words — committed what to many hero worshippers will likely be seen as financial market heresy by accusing Omaha’s favorite octogenarian of habitual hypocrisy both in word and in deed. Here’s more from NY Times:
Mr. Loeb, who runs the $17.4 billion hedge fund Third Point, told an audience of hedge fund faithful on Wednesday that Mr. Buffett “has a lot of wisdom, but I think we need to be aware of the disconnect between his wisdom and how he behaves.”
He was taking aim at a public bet that Mr. Buffett made against the hedge fund industry, which Mr. Buffett believes cannot outperform the broader market and, specifically, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index.
Speaking to shareholders at an annual gathering for his company Berkshire Hathaway over the weekend, Mr. Buffett pointed out that the S.&P. 500 had gained 63.5 percent since 2008, while an index of hedge funds had increased by 19.6 percent over the same period.
On Wednesday, Mr. Loeb used his one-on-one interview at the SkyBridge Alternatives Conference, or SALT, to retaliate.
“I love reading Warren Buffett’s letters and I love contrasting his words with his actions,” he began. Lest anyone think it was a put-down, he quickly added, “He’s a very wise guy.”
But wise or not, Mr. Loeb had a few critical things to say about Mr. Buffett. “I love how he criticizes hedge funds, yet he had the first hedge fund,” Mr. Loeb said. “He criticizes activists, he was the first activist. He criticizes financial services companies, yet he loves to invest in them. He thinks that we should all pay taxes, yet he avoids them himself.”
To this, the audience erupted in laughter.
Hilariously, the comments came on the same day that saw yet another Buffett-owned, BNSF "bomb train" derail and erupt in flames, proving once again that transporting explosive liquids at high speeds poses a far larger threat to the environment than any pipeline, and suggesting once more that the perpetual White House Keystone XL veto has nothing to do with the environment and everything to do with preserving the Oracle's oil transit business, meaning Buffett-related hypocrisy is now transmitted through the words and actions of the most powerful man on the planet.