Davos

Democratic Billioniare Jeff Greene Tells Americans To Live with Less

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Only a few years ago, it seemed like the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland was the bee's knees, or at least catnip to media types who longed to cover the ritzy, glitzy, Switzy (?) event. These days, not so much. That might be because the level of discourse at Davos typically compares poorly with the water-cooler conversation at your local grammar school.

To wit, here's billionaire Jeff Greene, who ran for the Democratic Senate nomination in Florida in 2010, discoursing on what the little people should be getting ready for:

Billionaire Jeff Greene, who amassed a multibillion dollar fortune betting against subprime mortgage securities, says the U.S. faces a jobs crisis that will cause social unrest and radical politics.

"America's lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence," Greene said in an interview today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "We need to reinvent our whole system of life."

But don't expect Greene to be the change he wants you to be:

Greene, who flew his wife, children and two nannies on a private jet plane to Davos for the week, said he's planning a conference in Palm Beach, Florida, at the Tideline Hotel called "Closing the Gap." The event, which he said is scheduled for December, will feature speakers such as economist Nouriel Roubini.

Read the whole story at Bloomberg.

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  1. “America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence,” Greene said in an interview today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “We need to reinvent our whole system of life.”

    I wonder if Mr. Green thinks government planning is in any way responsible for the American public’s expectations. How about 80 years of “homeownership for all”?

    1. Oh come now. It’s never the policy that is at fault, it’s the execution of it.

      If we just try moar harder with better top men, all will be well.

      1. Yep. And, of course, the communication of it.

        1. Yes, that’s it. The people just don’t understand. They don’t disagree, they just misunderstand. Some recommunication will do it.

          1. Truth !!!11 A few weeks, months, years in a camp will help those…..miscreants to understand the error of their ways !!!

            Sadly, I foresee a few hard cases, like half, who will be irredeemable.

            1. If half, we would stand a chance. Sadly I think it’s closer to 10%.

    2. That’s crazy talk. If people spend less, the GDP will go down!

      1. No the government could just raise taxes and spend more, that would have the same affect as if people just work/spend more.

        If they run out of things to build (shovel-ready-jobs) to stimulate the economy, they can always tear the old stuff down and start all over.

  2. Wow that’s disturbing. He could have been in the government.

    1. There are already a shit ton of his kind embedded like narcissistic ticks in the hide of mainstream politics. They act like they know what’s best for everyone, telling us what we should be doing…all the while they’re gorging themselves on other people’s blood.
      The United States of Lyme Disease.

  3. What a piece of shit. Go die in a fire Mr. Green.

  4. Guy’s such a big dick it’s his middle name.

    1. Silly me, I thought that was the state of Florida.

    2. Ha ha, he has no balls.

  5. I used to work for a business where the owner was big into Gaia worship; he said that he thought humans were a blight on the planet and that things would be better off if a plague wiped us out. Later on when that Life After People show started airing, I reflected that he was the target demographic.

    Of course, it didn’t stop him from taking a few cruises a year.

    1. He was the Enlightend Nobility who deserved to live, of course.

  6. This really is a remarkable lack of self-awareness. If you’re living pretty much at the pinnacle of the economic ladder, you should really refrain from paeans to the virtues of doing without.

    I’m sure that there are conservative billionaires out there who have a similar attitude about the “little people”, but the progressives with this kind of attitude just seem so much more common. I really think it tends to be the case that the kind of people, today, who have the attitude that they’re some sort of nobility tend to gravitate to progressivism.

    1. It is because Progs utterly lack humility. They are worse than the old aristocracy. The aristocracy at least knew they were where they were by accident of birth. These assholes actually think they are where they are because they are just smarter and better than everyone else such that they have a right to rule. They are just hideous people.

      1. What’s really interesting is that they feel guilty for it. Not guilty enough to, you know, actually change their lifestyle, but certainly guilty enough to vote for someone who will force them to do so. The aristocracy thought they were blessed by God and so felt justified. These people simultaneously combine self-righteousness with self-loathing. Some brave soul could write quite the psychology thesis on that.

        1. …but certainly guilty enough to vote for someone who will force them to do so.

          Generally, no. More like “guilty enoough to vote for someone who will force other people to do so. I really don’t think John’s terribly wide of the mark here. The old aristocracy, at its best, at least felt some duty of service to God and country. These assholes really do think God and country owes a duty to them.

          1. I dunno. See Buffet, Warren, or any number of NYC progressives who left their corner offices to mingle with the Occupiers for a while.

            1. See Buffet, Warren, or any number of NYC progressives who left their corner offices to mingle with the Occupiers for a while.

              But, that’s just it. Do you think a damn thing Warren Buffet has proposed is going to eat into his well-being? Hell, from what I’ve been able to see, virtually every “stick it to the rich” scheme he’s backed winds up sticking it to other rich (or not so rich) people and lining his pocket. No Keystone? Oh, gee, I guess the frackers will just have to ship their product on his railroad. Stick it to the hedge fund managers? Well, the rich people will just have to stick their money in Berkshire Hathaway. And the progressives “communing” with the Occupiers, do you think they think it’s their money that’s going to get seized?

              1. Exactly. The whole attitude is, I’ve made it, now I’m closing the doors behind me. I don’t want it to get too crowded up here.

                Some of those icky poor people might get in if we just let anyone become successful without permission.

    2. Really this just goes all the way back to landed gentries complaining about the expectations of uppity peasants. Or medieval Catholic bishops calling on people to ‘live humbly’ while wearing gold-lined vestments and living in fine housing.

      1. The bishops had the excuse of them not actually owning the stuff and being subject to being fired by His Holiness at any time.

    3. “I’m sure that there are conservative billionaires out there who have a similar attitude about the “little people”‘

      I worked at a country club and I really understood the “country club Republican” stereotype after leaving, but you’re right they are less common. It’s because the Republicans only have to step outside of their bubble to gain empathy, so the sheltered ones are a dying breed. Whereas there is no hope for a smug environmentalist billionaire because he already thinks he is being empathic.

      1. C.S. Lewis has a quote that sums up “a smug environmentalist billionaire because he already thinks he is being empathic”:

        Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

    4. “I’m sure that there are conservative billionaires out there who have a similar attitude about the “little people”, but the progressives with this kind of attitude just seem so much more common.”

      It’s just the eternal recurrence of the Optimates and Populares. The populares tend to be the vocal ones, stirring up trouble, while the optimates look on disdainfully, pretending to be above the fight that they ceaselessly perpetuate.

      Well at least we don’t nail people’s heads to rostrums any more.

    5. Let him eat dick!

    6. Generally, conservative millionaires (conservative, not necessarily GOP) earned the money themselves. Since they often remember BEING one of the little people, they are a bit less pompous.

      Gate and crew don’t count since the truth is Gates, well, mostly stole the intellectual property he got rich on, and most of his ilk deep down know they did not really earn theirs either.

  7. forget mask slipping. This guy tossed it on the floor and stomped on it. What a typical proggie douche.

  8. As I travel in my limo to and from my private jet’s airstrip, I can’t help but notice the size of the average American car. To reduce emissions, Americans will need to scale down to smaller, economy-sized cars. Also, as I look out the windows of my 100-room mansion, I see so many 3 and 4 bedroom houses. Do Americans really need that much space? Could they live in smaller housing pods? I say, for the sake of the earth, yes.

    1. housing pods

      Penguins seem to do just fine in the Antarctic winter by simply huddling into a giant ball.

      1. Why should the peasants need their very own homes?

        Sleeping pods in government.

    2. I assume he’s good friends with Al Gore.

  9. At this point it’s almost too easy and boring to criticize these people. But it is curious that libertarian types who actually want to make it easier for people to get rich get accused of being hoarders, while assholes like this guy are said to want to “spread the wealth around”.

    1. “while assholes like this guy are said to want to “spread the wealth around”.”

      To him, that means taxing you while he pays for his two nannies.

      1. And, importantly, his CPA firm. Let us not forget that he wants to raise taxes but pays people to keep his taxes low.

  10. Democratic Billioniare Jeff Greene Tells Americans To Live with Less

    And pretty soon he will attempt to convince us about the health benefits of eating lawn grass.

    1. I thought the “arduous march” famine of the 90s sort of abated. Is this a new food shortage or did the 90s simply become the new normal?

      1. This is a new food shortage. Not because the Norks are producing any less than their usual paltry amount, but because the rest of the world has basically gone “Oh fuck it already” and stopped shipping them food.

        I bet Kim Jong Un would lose a lot of weight if he had to forage for his own grass to eat.

        1. Actually, the article is from 2002.

          1. There was another famine in 2011

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new…..rving.html

        2. A positive note regarding North Korea. It must be nice to not see fat chicks all the time.

          1. I lol’d.

          2. HEY! Some of us prefer plush ladies!

          3. Makes huddling in a ball like the penguins sound kinda nice.

          4. Ironically, many poor people who rely on food aid start skinny then get very obese as they’re fed mostly carbs, which fucks up their insulin regulation… the UN now has to deal with grossly obese mothers with gaunt children.
            The UN is terribly confused about this, as this goes against their gov’t-approved theory of obesity. I guess the only logical conclusion is the greedy mothers are hoarding all the food.

      2. I worked in the air cargo industry back in the 90s. My company was responsible for the ground handling of the aircraft that were delivering famine ‘relief’ cargo from the US government. It consisted of about a dozen 747s full of nothing but apple tree saplings. I’m sure the starving masses were thrilled.

        1. I don’t see the problem, but then again my town has a Jonny Appleseed festival every year.

    2. Ever heard this one?

      A rich man is being driven through the countryside, and he sees a family by the side of the road, all on their hands and knees. He has the driver stop and asks them what’s wrong.

      “We are so poor and hungry, sir, that we are eating grass.”

      “Well then, get in my car! I’ll take you to my place.”

      “Thank you, sir!”

      “You’ll love my place. It’s got acres of really nice grass!”

  11. “America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence,”

    You know, he could’ve said that Americans will have to get accustomed to living below their means and practice frugality while they accumulate savings and create capital, if he had also added that we need to reign in the power of the Federal Reserve and government spending so we can create capital again.

    But no, the tone and implication of what he’s saying is clear: “We’re going to continue squeezing your productivity out of you through inflation, so you better learn to live with less while you work more.”

  12. I love people like this. It makes it a lost less work to argue against an idea when you have a caricature sitting right in front of you.

    Sort of like the 1700 private planes going to the global warming fest. You can’t make this shit up.

    1. I should go over to VNY (busiest GA airport in the world!) and look up the tail numbers and see how many are owned by limousine liberals champagne socialists private jet progressives.

  13. Two kids. Two nannies. He’s certainly in favor of full employment.

    1. One is for the kids, the other for his pleasure….after all, he earned it, right?

    2. I was amazed at that too. Limousine liberals are goldmines of hypocrisy.

      1. I’m thinking “private jet progressive” would be better for him?

  14. “Greene, who flew his wife, children and two nannies on a private jet plane to Davos for the week, said he’s planning a conference in Palm Beach, Florida, at the Tideline Hotel called “Closing the Gap.””

    I’m guessing he has no sense of irony from this sentence.

    1. By closing the gap, he means between the middle class and those in abject poverty. But not by lifting up the poor.

      1. I think he mean’t, “filling the gap”, but probably got lost in translation…

        1. Closing the gap of one of the nannies.

      2. By closing the gap, he means between the middle class and those in abject poverty. But not by lifting up the poor.

        This. Like so many of his type, they have no interest in ways for the average person to gain wealth. Rather, they endorse a world where everyone is equally poor — except, of course, for the anointed few like themselves who have to live extremely well (because they are so much better than everyone else and are deserving leaders).

    2. “I only took TWO nannies!”

      1. And I am sure they were cramped on his jet. He was teaching his little brats to be GWEEEEEN because he didn’t fly them each in their own indiidual jets.

  15. “we have less things and a smaller, better existence,”

    I have a different definition of the word ‘better’ than he does. Also, someone punch this douche in the mouth. Didn’t Obumbles give us this speech already? Someone please punch him in the mouth too, please.

  16. How much of this shitheads wealth came about because Paulson and Bernanke wouldn’t let guys like Greene take their chances in bankruptcy court and paid them off 100 cents on the dollar? This even as AIG was almost done with negotiations to pay its counter-parties on their credit default swaps 40 cents on the dollar. There were a lot of people who bought those swaps who were going to find out there was nothing backing them. As somebody who has been a bondholder in bankruptcy court, even with senior “secured” debt, you seldom get much by the time it is all over.

    1. Those thoughts have come to my mind as well. Yet another Bastiat “what is seen and what is not seen” moment.

    2. The article said he bet *against* the credit swaps.

      ‘As somebody who has been a bondholder in bankruptcy court, even with senior “secured” debt, you seldom get much by the time it is all over. ‘

      I’m sure they lawyers got plenty. They always get paid first.

      1. multibillion dollar fortune betting against subprime mortgage securities

        This means he purchased the credit default swaps. The swaps are the “insurance” the owners of the securities bought to protect them against default of the mortgage backed securities. Even worse the brokerages started selling synthetic swaps to turds like Greene who didn’t even own the securities as a way to make even more money – after all that insurance was never going to pay off.

      2. A bet against CDS is buying protection. In 2007-2008, if you were buying protection, you were taking on a lot of counterparty risk. That is, even if the CDS went in your favor (the security you were buying protection on looked more likely to default), the guy you wrote the contract with might go bankrupt and not be able to make good on the protection. I’m pretty sure what MarkinLA is getting at is that guys like Greene should have taken their bath in the bankruptcy court of the firm they wrote the protection with. Instead, the Fed stepped in and said that all these CDS would be paid out at 100 cents on the dollar at the distressed prices at the time (a lot of bonds that didn’t default and had CDS that would have never paid out got their CDS paid in full at the distressed price).

        1. You have a security that pays an income stream – usually a type of bond. A credit default swap is an instrument that pays you off in case the bond defaults. The “synthetic” CDOs and swaps allowed people like Greene to make bets without any relationship to the bonds

          The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission noted that while the credit default swaps used in synthetics were often compared to insurance, unlike insurance policies in the US they were not regulated. That meant that a party with no “insurable interest” could buy a credit default swap as a pure bet (known as “naked credit default swaps”) — forbidden with insurance. This allowed inflation of potential losses or gains on the default of a loan or institution.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthetic_CDO

          1. The “synthetic” CDOs and swaps allowed people like Greene to make bets without any relationship to the bonds

            Which in and of itself isn’t a problem. In effect that’s just allowing people to take short positions on a credit. It’s easy enough to replicate with cash assets (short the bond long Treasuries).

            The problem came in, as you imply above, if accidentally, with the Fed and Treasury stepping in to clear all these trades to the benefit of those with the synthetic short positions.

            The rational solution here would have been for the holders of short positions to either have to wait to cash in on their positions (and watch the positions become less favorable as markets stabilized) or clear at a haircut. That’s what the AIG negotiations were leading to. Instead, the Fed & Treasury stepped in and said that, since all these positions couldn’t be liquidated at current market conditions, the institutions were bankrupt and they had to intervene to pay out in full.

            If AIG had only had to pay out on the underlyings that actually defaulted, they’d never have gone bankrupt.

    3. Greene and his buddies at Davos are basically welfare queens. They’re part of a system that rewards irresponsibility with piles of money.

      Greene and his friends were and are the beneficiaries of the Greenspan, Bernanke, and Yellen put. All that money sloshing around in the markets directly benefits him.

      When the market crashes (again), I’m heading to his house to squat and reclaim my stolen tax money. Fucker.

  17. Did somebody beat those three with an ugly stick? Egads.

  18. I applaud the two nanny strategy.
    With only one nanny, there is the possibility she will collapse or be on the toilet and I’d have to have unstructured interactions with one of my spawn. But with two, they can tag team and limit those interactions.

    I wonder what nationality they are? There are those who recommend the Filipina for their ability to speak english. But I like those sturdy little women from the Central American highlands. And you get the plus that your children will be fluent in spanish to yell at the gardners and other staff.

    1. I’m sure they’re full blooded Americans and he’s withholding taxes.

    2. They’re hookers. “Nannies” is a euphemism.

      1. No. “Nanny” means nanny. “Au Pair” means hooker.

        And why would he import his own when the Illuminati will have deployed battalions of whores to Davos for the switzy confab.

        1. “Switzy”. Heh.

          1. Hey?!

            Actually, it kind of fits.

    3. That’s funny, and I laughed.

  19. Seems like a down-to-earth, man-of-the-people and a whole bunch more folksy, hyphenated aphorisms. Wonder why he didn’t win his Senate bid?!?!?!

  20. Reminds me of the time I met Charles Koch. Looked like an ordinary guy, which I so remarked to one of the Cato dudes. I was told Charles bought his sportcoats off the rack at Penneys in Wichita.
    Maybe he’s become more of a conspicuous consumer since then, like his liberal wine-collecting brother Bill.

    1. Is David Koch as frugal as Charles?

      I see that David Koch survived the US Air 1493 crash? according to the injury/seating diagram most of the fatalities were in first class. Did he survive because he flew economy?

      1. B..B..B..But the Progressive say that the Koch brothers are Evil, Greedy Men who refuse to pay their “fair share”.

  21. Can you say “hypocrite” boys and girls. That’s right, I knew you could.

  22. i was worried…until i read mr. democratic billionaire was going to have a conference.

  23. BTW, there is rumor that Steyer might run for the seat vacated by the hag Boxer, most of the hints simply suggesting he can use his own money to run.
    He’s an “environmentalist”, meaning nothing other than he supports coercion to force people to buy HIS PRODUCTS.
    So I am curious about two things:
    1) Will he have to divest himself of his investments?
    2) Would the Koch Bros ™ be called “environmentalists” if they ran on a platform of forcing people to buy their products?

    1. Given that Feinstein’s husband has made mucho bucks from government-related business, and Willie Brown worked at a law firm that did business with the state while he was head of the legislature, I’d guess that Steyer falls under the “California Democrat” exception to any ethics laws.

  24. What happened to the PB city ordnance requiring all economnists to be kept on a leash and outside a 1000 foor radius from any school or bath and tennis club?

    1. I’ll take pointless, inane, nonsensical bullshit for $1000 Alex.

  25. Wow. You Peanuts have gone full time class warrior with this hate of the successful.

    1. It’s not hatred of the successful, bonehead, it’s hatred of the hypocrisy of a billionaire with a private jet telling the peons that they need to live more lightly on the Earth.

    2. In case you haven’t noticed, and obviously you haven’t, pushing that buttplug of yours in too far puts excessive pressure on the region of your brain responsible for the formulation and expression of coherent thought.

    3. Yawn. What shitty trolling. Man, you are just sad. If I did my job as SHITTILY as you do yours, we’d all be in chain-link pens surrounded by Chinese-speaking prison guards. You suck shit, Wiegel. Fuck, dude, is that the BEST you can do?!?!?

      1. Well, it’s not as if the progs can come up with a coherent defense of such douchery. This will just have to do.

    4. Aren’t you dead yet?

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  27. Another multibillionaire Democrat lecturing the lowly unwashed subhuman masses about how we must embrace the lessons put forth within the Chairman’s Little Red Book.

  28. “Let them eat cake!” – Marie Antoinette

  29. Qu’ils mangent de la brioche!

  30. Another ultra wealthy, communism for you, not me, Democrat hypocrite.

    To all these loony leftist rich people who keep whining about how horrible it is for people (other than themselves) to have anything – I say YOU GO FIRST!

    Get rid of your money, property, all the luxury stuff. Dump it all! Years ago Ted Turner stated that nobody needs more than $200 million dollars – but of course he made no move to “slash” his net worth to that level. HYPOCRITE!

  31. $89 an hour! Seriously I don’t know why more people haven’t tried this, I work two shifts, 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening?And i get surly a chek of $1260……0 whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids.
    Here is what i did
    ?????? http://www.paygazette.com

  32. $89 an hour! Seriously I don’t know why more people haven’t tried this, I work two shifts, 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening?And i get surly a chek of $1260……0 whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids.
    Here is what i did
    ?????? http://www.jobs700.com

  33. Whether HE is or not, the prediction is certainly true.

  34. I don’t know who he wants to change “the system”, and I may not like the changes the wants to make. However, he obviously was smart enough to see through the subprime b.s., and I don’t see a problem with him enjoying his wealth in Switzerland. And his prediction that Americans aren’t going to get what they think they are entitled to is almost a tautology; it’s also what drives the Democratic and progressive machinery.

  35. One of the most badly behaved yacht owners I’d ever worked for. Kind of surprised at his recent mentions over poverty, lack of jobs, and living more ‘simplistically’. He must of checked out my book. He’s in my book.

    Jean Bergman, MaidNotForYou.com.

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