October 20, 2013

GENERATIONAL THEFT: How Washington Really Redistributes Income.

Stan Druckenmiller makes an unlikely class warrior. He’s a member of the 1%—make that the 0.001%—one of the most successful money managers of all time, and 60 years old to boot. But lately he has been touring college campuses promoting a message of income redistribution you don’t hear out of Washington. It’s how federal entitlements like Medicare and Social Security are letting Mr. Druckenmiller’s generation rip off all those doting Barack Obama voters in Generation X, Y and Z.

“I have been shocked at the reception. I had planned to only visit Bowdoin, ” his alma mater in Maine, he says. But he has since been invited to multiple campuses, and even the kids at Stanford and Berkeley have welcomed his theme of generational theft. Harlem Children’s Zone President Geoffrey Canada and former Federal Reserve Governor Kevin Warsh have joined him at stops along the tour.

Mr. Druckenmiller describes the reaction of students: “The biggest question I got was, ‘How do we start a movement?’ And my answer was ‘I’m a 60-year-old washed-up money manager. I don’t know how to start a movement. That’s your job. But we did it in Vietnam without Twitter and without Facebook and without any social media. That’s your job.’ But the enthusiasm—they get it.”

Even at Berkeley, he says, “they got it. There is tremendous energy in the room and of course they understand it. I’d say it’s a combination of appalled but motivated. That’s the response I’ve been getting, and it’s been overwhelming.”

They should be appalled. But be warned: “This president, despite what he says, has shown time and time again that he needs a gun at his head to negotiate in good faith. All this talk about, ‘I won’t negotiate with a gun at my head.’ OK, you’ve been president for five years.”

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