Another FU For Tom Friedman
All things considered, there's very little schadenfreude to go around these days. Jose Canseco and Ed McMahon are about to lose their homes and even Bill Gates is down to his last handful of islands and may have to sell off the Crab Nebula in the constellation Orion. We're all feeling the pinch.
But then I happened to go through the archives of The Well-Armed Lamb and found a link to a fascinating fact that was dug up by Jon Schwarz at A Tiny Revolution and I realized that, yes, Virginia, there's still such a thing as a little bit of schadenfreude.
Apparently, Schwarz is a fan of Vanity Fair, the publication that offers up a tantalizing clue as to why Friedman has been a little cranky toward the GOP and the free market these days. Apparently, Friedman is the John McCain of the NY Times and had married into a lot of money, in fact, a lot more money than John McCain ever married into.
Well, when the housing bubble burst and left gobs of sticky red ink all over the faces of the American taxpayer, Friedman's inlaws weren't immune. Because, as Peter Newcomb at Vanity Fair says,
It would be easy to dismiss today’s rant (however spot-on it might be) by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman as yet another ideological tirade against the U.S. automobile industry. But based on the bad news coming out of shopping-mall owner General Growth Properties [GGP], it is no wonder Friedman is feeling crankier than usual. That’s because the author’s wife, Ann (née Bucksbaum), is an heir to the General Growth fortune. In the past year, the couple—who live in an 11,400-square-foot mansion in Bethesda, Maryland—have watched helplessly as General Growth stock has fallen 99 percent, from a high of $51 to a recent 35 cents a share. The assorted Bucksbaum family trusts, once worth a combined $3.6 billion, are now worth less than $25 million.
You'll note that the paper that reported the bad news for Friedman's inlaws was Friedman's own employer, the NY Times. Oh, how deliciously elliptical.
The good news is since this news came out, GGP stock has mightily rallied and is now worth, according to the latest data, .53 a share. Huzzah for the free market! Long live Friedman, both Tom and Milton!
Newcomb goes on to state that Friedman still gets $50,000 per speaking engagement and rakes in some serious cake through his bestsellers plus his column at the NY Times. Still, that's cold comfort in comparison to losing 99% of your stock holdings and watching your inheritance shrivel like a piece of flash paper in a blast furnace. Oh, how it must suck to lose $3,575,000,000 in just two months.
Now that's what I call redistribution of wealth! Although it would be amusing to see who's profiting from Mrs. Friedman's angst since when a fortune is lost, someone behind the scenes benefits enormously.
Well, there's always shopping therapy. Maybe the Friedmans can put their cares behind them and go to the mall and... Oh, wait...