Steve Schwarzman Swallows His Foot

I understand why everyone hates Nazis. What I don’t get is why some so easily equate other things they hate with Nazis.

For example, I hate peanut butter. Pretty sure, however, that I’ve never suggested that those making Skippy are culinary stormtroopers.

Today’s hyperbloic example comes from Blackstone Group boss Steven Schwarzman, who is pissed off by the D.C. debate over private equity tax policy. According to Jonathan Alter, he said the following during a July meeting:

“It’s a war,” Schwarzman said of the struggle with the administration over increasing taxes on private-equity firms. “It’s like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.”

To state the obvious: No, it’s nothing like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939. I could go into all the reasons why it’s different, but that would be like explaining why a birch tree is different than a water buffalo.

Schwarzman is among those who believe that Obama loathes Blackstone and its Wall Street bretheren. He thinks there should be a former CEO atop Commerce, and that there has been no real effort to understand the capital markets. 

And he’s right to have been stunned when proposals emerged to tax the sale of partnership interests (a dumb idea, which tarred the justified attempt to treat carried interest as ordinary income). But this statement shows that Schwarzman is as tone deaf on these issues as are many of the people he’s criticizing.

No comment yet from Blackstone, although a source close to the firm does confirm that the quote was accurate. Don’t be surprised if there’s some sort of formal retraction before the day is done…