White financiers are all flooding up to the Waldorf Astoria this morning for the opening of today's Dow Jones Private Equity Analyst confab! The topics and the attendees are undeniably sexy; Paul Gigot, the WSJ's editorial page editor, Hamilton James, president of Blackstone Group, and, most of all, David Rubenstein, the reformed liberal, capitalism evangelist, Bush family friend and co-founder of private equity firm the Carlyle Group, who is not to be confused with uber-publicist Howard Rubenstein. And for some reason, New York's poor people are going to show up and protest the intricate system of tax breaks and benefits that help the rich amass more capital.
ACORN and The Working Families Party and their coalition are calling for a protest at noon.
"The Carlyle Group is the poster child for an industry that has made billions by fleecing taxpayers and loading up companies with unsustainable levels of debt," said Dan Cantor, Executive Director of the Working Families Party. The Carlyle Group is one of the five biggest buyout firms in the nation. Carlyle partner Bruce Rosenblum chairs the buyout industry's lobbying arm, the Private Equity Council—Washington, D.C.'s most outspoken defender of tax breaks enjoyed by buyout firms and their partners.
"David Rubenstein made $260 million last year, yet he paid taxes at a lower rate than the doorman at this hotel. Not only that, companies like Carlyle don't pay their fair share in corporate taxes." said Pat Boone, President of NY ACORN.
"What does this mean to your average New Yorker?" asked Boone. "Plenty. The takeover industry's tax dodges increase the tax burden on the rest of us while undercutting vital public services like schools, healthcare and affordable housing."
The coalition noted that regular New Yorkers have less to spend on taxes these days. Between 2002 and 2005, median rents increased almost 10 percent across the city, while the average household income actually dropped by more than 6 percent.
Crazy poor people! Don't they understand that when the rich are freed from the burden of high tax rates and allowed to hoard property and cash, we all benefit...somehow? Actually, we're not sure how! That's just what the millionaires keep telling us!
But at least the poors have cute posters!