The quote above, from The Bogle eBlog, was Heller's response to a comment from his pal, Kurt Vonnegut, at a party given by a billionaire hedge fund manager. The late Vonnegut's comment to Heller was that the hedge fund manager made more money in a single day than Heller earned from his classic, #1 best-selling novel, Catch-22, over its entire history.
Jack Bogle's assessment is that, "if you made less than $140 million last year, you didn't make enough to rank among the 25 highest-paid hedge fund managers."
To extend upon my "cycle of greed" posts, I thought I would offer more perspective upon the excesses of the current market environment by following Mr. Vonnegut's lead and draw a few other comparisons to a Hedge Fund Manager (HFM)'s pay:
- Our HFM makes more in one hour than the average American makes in two years.
- The average CEO and CFO in America is paid 400 times the average American. That's peanuts compared to an HFM who is paid nearly 3,800 times more than the average Joe.
- One year's HFM pay could Provide a meal every day for an entire year for over 4 million hungry children;
- Buy 1.35 gallons of gas for every American that traveled in a vehicle over the 4th of July weekend; and
- Represents 50% or more of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 10 entire countries in the World.
OK, you get the picture. Are Hedge Fund Managers "bad" people? Not necessarily. Do they represent the best and worst of what the power of freedom and capitalism have to offer in America? Most definitely.
And the cycle continues...