Cashing Out

Andrew Ladhe made millions and millions of dollars running a hedge fund, staying in the subprime real estate market until it was clear things had gone irretrievably sour. A month ago, he cashed out and is now retired in his thirties, possessing more wealth than he can possibly use. And he wrote this rather startling goodbye note.

He admits profiteering off of subprime loans. He admits that he capitalized off of the intellectual complacency of the upper-crust. Hell, he seems proud of it. He certainly does not apologize for having contributed to what he clearly knows is a bad economic situation for everyone. Instead, he says “F— it, I’m outta here.”

He adds, “Oh, and you’ve got to leg-a-lize it.”

Applause will not be forthcoming from this quarter, because he is just as guilty as everyone else of profiteering at the expense of regular folks — moreso, because he intimates that he knew perfectly well that the whole thing would collapse like a house of cards and we’d all be in a world of hut when it did. If he was such a good guy, and if he was so damn smart, he should have figured out what kind of a product would be needed to make things better and get himself in position to start selling that. Instead, he surfed the same wave as everyone else.

But I don’t know whether to boo or not. Because basically, he says, “If people would have used their brains instead of relying on their inherited privileges, we’d be much better off today,” and he’s right. And yes, I think if you put your blackberries and cell phones down for a few hours a day, your quality of life will increase. And maybe, unable to think of what could be done to stop it, he couldn’t think of anything else to do.

And yes, I think we should legalize it, too, although we have many higher priorities than that at the moment. If I had been him, I would not have wasted my “parting shot” on that particular issue. But if I had been him, I’d be a fabulously wealthy man right now, drinking a fabulously wealthy mai tai on my fabulously wealthy Tahitian beachside villa with my fabulously hot wife, while the rest of you poor slobs wondered how you got upside down on your homes all of a sudden. Instead, I am one of those poor slobs working for a living like most of the rest of you who are still reading this post. But hey, at least I’ve got the fabulously hot wife part.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.