The Man Who Was too Big to Fail

News item about another bailout constituency (real estate developers!), courtesy of the Wall Street Journal last month:

Real-estate owners are pressing the government to take preemptive action before thousands of properties begin to fail. Among those who have been active in the lobbying effort: William Rudin, whose family is a large Manhattan office-building owner, Stephen Ross, chief executive of The Related Cos., a major U.S. developer, and Steven Roth, chief executive of office and retail landlord Vornado Realty Trust.

In recent weeks, industry representatives have met with officials in the Treasury Department, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, senior lieutenants of Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairwoman Sheila Bair, members of President-elect Barack Obama's transition team, and Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.).

Emphasis mine, for emphasis. Who is this Stephen Ross fellow? Oh, he is the country's 78th richest person, says Forbes magazine:

Nephew of late Forbes 400 member Max Fisher (d. 2005) founded real estate developer Related Cos. 1972. Initially focused on building, financing low-income housing; branched into riskier luxury buildings in New York. "Encountered bad times" early 1990s, recovered. Firm has developed more than $16 billion of property across the U.S., including Time Warner Center in Manhattan. In May nabbed billion-dollar deal to develop Manhattan's West Side rail yards after Tishman Speyer abandoned the project; Related will develop 12 million square feet of office, residential and retail space.

Hmmm, I wonder if the Hudson Yards project involves the use of eminent domain? Subsidies?

Ross also happens to be in the news this week because he just became the majority owner of the Miami Dolphins football team. An organization that, like most pro sports franchises, has an interesting relationship of its own with taxpayers. As Orlando South Florida Sun-Sentinel columnist Dave Hyde observed:

What a country we have, where Ross can ask for hundreds of millions in welfare with one hand and plan to buy a $1.1 billion football toy with the other.

This, finally, may be your poster boy for Too Big to Fail. A man whose fortune rests on convincing governments to hand him our money and forcibly evict private citizens from any properties in his way. Remember this, in bailout season: While 50-yard-line guys like Ross ask for taxpayer handouts to pay for his own bad bets, us bums in the cheap seats will have no similar recourse to relieve us from the mistake of showering him with money in the first place.

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  • ||

    Oh, pish, the issue isn't "too big to fail", the issue is "too well-connected to fail." Sounds like Ross will easily meet that bar.

  • The Extispicator||

    I wish I was too [anything] to fail.

    As it now stands, the world is perfectly fine with my failure. I personally am fine with the failures of others. Why do they want me to not be OK with it?

  • ||

    The politics of influence. I'm always befuddled by people who hate the rich and big corporations who do everything they can to increase the power of the rich and the big corporations.

    Expanding the scope and scale of government power just makes those with influence more influential. And ensures that they will be richly rewarded for their connections. Wealthy individuals and large corporations have ten times the power with an all-powerful government than they'd have without it.

  • Elemenope||

    "The Man Who Was to Big to Fail"

    You verbed an adjective, dude.

  • ||

    I have a preposition for you, Elemenope.

  • Matt Welch||

    Fixed, thanks, sorry.

  • Elemenope||

    I have a preposition for you, Elemenope.

    LOL.

  • ||

    Of course, the polite thing to do would have been to send a private e-mail about the error, rather than mocking it in the comments. Really, civility is dead on the Intertubes, and I blame Elemenope.

    I, on the other hand, couldn't stop myself from making the preposition joke. I'm weak that way.

  • Matt Welch||

    Of course, the polite thing to do would have been to send a private e-mail about the error, rather than mocking it in the comments.

    Au contraire!

  • ||

    a $1.1 billion football toy with the other

    did this guy just buy the Miami Dolphins at the value of 1.1 Billion dollars? I sense a football bubble soon to burst.

  • ||

    Of course, the polite thing to do would have been to send a private e-mail about the error, rather than mocking it in the comments.

    Matt needs to be publicly shamed lest he do this again. It's all about lessons learned.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Au contraire!

    Oh, ok - then it's just the Orlando Sentinel, without the "Sun". You're think of the Broward paper.

  • ||

    Very well. Matt, I chastise you thricely.

    This reminds me of the one Journalism school class I took at UF (Technical Writing). One letter grade deduction per grammatical or spelling error! And this was back when students were mostly typing their papers on typewriting machine thingamabobs.

  • BakedPenguin||

    thinking of, even

  • ||

    Should it be "us bums" or "we bums"? Or "wee bums"?

  • ||

    Ah, the strangely gentle-looking face of PURE EVIL.

  • ||

    Fuck the Dolphins.

  • Old Bull Lee||

    "Real-estate owners are pressing the government to take preemptive action before thousands of properties begin to fail."

    How does a property fail? Is it going to collapse?

  • ||

    How does a property fail? Is it going to collapse?

    Have you been in a tract house built in the last ten years? I've slept in sturdier tree houses.

  • ||

    Meanwhile, Tim Geithner blows off paying the tax on his income from the World Bank, and his governmental "peers" see no reason that this should impair his standing as the soon-to-be Secretary of the Treasury (and boss of the Internal Revenue Service).


    Fuck those assholes. Every single one of them.

  • Xeones||

    Yo, fuck Stephen Ross. And the rest of those guys.

  • ||

    With a beak like that, his name should be "Luxury Yacht".

  • Miss Pedant||

    Should it be "us bums" or "we bums"? Or "wee bums"?

    Yes, it should be "we bums" because it's the subject of the clause.

  • ||

    a pretty lady done come up to me and this is what she said

    "i'm ms. underground economy and i'm taking you to bed."

  • ||

    Have you been in a tract house built in the last ten years? I've slept in sturdier tree houses.

    They said the same thing about tract houses built 100 years ago. You know the ones that are still standing and poeple just love now.

    People hated the look of those homes back then as well....well not all poeple...mostly only the self appointed elitist asshole crowd did.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I love that one of the side ads to this story, and seemingly every story on wealthy dirtbags getting welfare, is the "I get $5,000 a month free government money!" one.

  • ||

    How does a property fail? Is it going to collapse?

    They fall into a black hole.

    No what happens is that developers who better manage their money will pick up these properties at a low cost finish the development then sell them cheaper to new home buyers.

    I am currently doing just that.

  • ||

    How does a property fail?

    It fails to produce the anticipated profits, that's how.

  • ||

    The Man Who Was too Big to Fail

    Ron Jeremy?

  • Old Bull Lee||

    I understood the whole failure=financial loss thing, I was just making a joke out of the phrasing. As if someone said a car was going to fail.

  • highnumber||

    They said the same thing about tract houses built 100 years ago. You know the ones that are still standing and poeple just love now.

    People hated the look of those homes back then as well....well not all poeple...mostly only the self appointed elitist asshole crowd did.


    How old are you?!

  • ||

    Doesn't he kind of look like the guy with sports jacket with "?"s all over it, teaching you how to get handouts from the government?

  • ||

    How old are you?!

    Old enough to read things written 100 years ago....but more realistically read things compiled like 5-10 years ago about things written 100 years ago.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Of course, Ross would argue his company needs to be bailed out because of his investors, every one a widow living on a pension.

  • oat willie||

    There are 3 words, which are like a crucifix to these economic vampires, they can't look at them, but they will solve this problem really quick.


    Mark
    To
    Market

    That is all

  • Other Matt||

    Fuck those assholes. Every single one of them.

    No, please don't fuck them, let them write laws applying the same logic to all of us.

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