CNBC guest Chamath Palihapitiya is getting viral attention for his message about billionaire hedge fund managers losing money during the coronavirus crisis — “Who cares?”
The venture capitalist appeared in an interview with anchor Scott Wapner, arguing that the United States government should allow hedge funds and billionaire CEOs to “get wiped out” by the economic collapse caused by the spread of the coronavirus. Palihapitiya noted that these hedge fund managers engaging in risky speculation were well aware of what could happen in the case of an economic downturn, but still made the investments.
When Wapner pressed him on why anyone would “deserve” to get wiped out, the CEO of Social Capital suggested that losing money wouldn’t hit billionaires as much as it would the average person.
“Just be clear, like, who are we talking about?” Palihapitiya said, via Common Dreams. “A hedge fund that serves a bunch of billionaire family offices? Who cares? Let ’em get wiped out. Who cares? They don’t get to summer in the Hamptons? Who cares!”
Palihapitiya — who Common Dreams pointed out is also a billionaire — went on to suggest that small businesses are the ones that should be bailed out, not large companies that may have taken unnecessary risks and have engaged in stock buybacks to enrich CEOs and board directors. That has led them to “fritter away” tens of billions of dollars that should have been put away for a rainy day or invested in research and development. Now that the economy is in crisis, these are the corporations hurting, he said.
“On Main Street today, people are getting wiped out,” he said. “And right now, rich CEOs are not, boards that had horrible governance are not, hedge funds are not. People are.”
The interview has attracted some viral interest, with a clip of the exchange garnering tens of thousands of user votes and reaching the top of the link-sharing site Reddit. Many others shared the video on social media, agreeing with his message that economic relief efforts should be focused on small business and not large corporations.
Palihapitiya is not the first to take aim at large companies for using cash on stock buybacks rather than preparing for a potential economic crisis. As The Inquisitr noted, some Democrats in Congress even pushed for adding limitations to stock buybacks and CEO compensation in the coronavirus relief bill that ultimately passed last month, though these were not included in the final version of the bill.