You would think that a net worth of $4.6 billion would make a guy comfortable. But that's not the case for Paul Tudor Jones II, an American billionaire and the founder of the Tudor Investment Corporation, a private asset management company and hedge fund. Because despite this huge amount of wealth, Tudor Jones devotes much of his time and money to figuring out how to take advantage of the most disadvantaged in our society and profit off of them through complex financial schemes and political maneuvers.
Whether it's for-profit colleges, for-profit prisons, anti-immigration laws, stand-your-ground pushes, anti-environment lawsuits, or more tax cuts and loopholes for the wealthy, Tudor Jones is committed to figuring out how to keep down those in need for him to continue to make more money and gain more power.
For example, he's contributed millions to help conservatives who support policies that hurt poor people win control of the NY State Senate. Why would he do this if he is supposedly so committed to economic inequality as he professed in his recent Ted Talk? One big reason - to make sure efforts are blocked to close the carried-interest loophole, assess taxes and fees on helicopter-commuting hedge fund managers doing business in New York, or establish a "Robin Hood" transaction tax on the high-frequency trades that distort markets but make hedge fund managers rich!
A man who wants to be seen as Robin Hood - and celebrates himself as one at his annual Robin Hood Foundation gala, which is taking place tomorrow at the Javits Center, is openly opposed to the Robin Hood transaction tax! Now, that's rich.
So while, it's nice that he has a foundation through which he had increased GED and job training in New York City, among other things, it's a bit like putting a band-aid on a person who just had his head chopped off -- by Tudor Jones. It doesn't quite make up for the whole head-chopping bit. And it definitely doesn't stop the hemorrhaging.
For example, while the Robin Hood Foundation is supporting immigrant communities and working to fight poverty and homelessness, campaign cash from Jones helped fund a PAC that attacked immigrant college students and prisoners seeking education and rehabilitation. And Jones' contributions directly supported organizations that drove out several New York state legislators who were supporters of the DREAM Act and elected new senators who oppose it.
And while the Robin Hood Foundation is helping to reform the civil and criminal justice systems, Tudor Jones gave over a million dollars to support "tough on crime" legislators and former Staten Island DA and newly-elected member of Congress Dan Donovan, who has resisted calls for criminal justice reforms including special prosecutors to review police killings of unarmed men of color. Huge contributions from Jones put criminal justice policies into the hands of State Senator (and target of federal corruption investigations) Marty Golden, who said he'd block any reforms, defending Donovan's Staten Island grand jury on the Eric Garner case and other grand juries that have investigated allegations of police brutality, insisting, "The system has worked extremely well over the years, and it should continue the way it's working.''
In the education world, the Robin Hood Foundation pushes for "young adults to tackle their plight of disadvantage... and give them a second chance to improve their educations and find a path to productive adulthood." But in the Tudor Jones world, he was one of the main investors in Vantage Media, which was the first piece of a pipeline that turned students over to a network of for-profit colleges including Corinthian Colleges, which had been facing heightened scrutiny from the federal government for their well-known tactics of exploiting poor students, strapping them with a lifetime of debt, and offering little in terms of job prospects.
So sadly, the good work that his foundation does is eviscerated by what he does on a much larger scale in New York state politics, national politics, and throughout the world in order to continue to line his coffers.
That's why Brave New Films is joining with HedgeClippers to open up America's eyes to the men (and yes, they are pretty much all men) of the hedgefund world who have been controlling our national economy in a time of unprecedented growing wealth disparity. Because they shouldn't be given awards. They shouldn't feel good about giving what amounts to pennies for them to programs. They should be called out for the real damage they are doing. And they should absolutely be forced to pay their fair share of taxes!
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