Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Michael Milken Still Doesn't Get It

Michael Milken
President Donald Trump has pardoned Michael Milken.

By all indications, Milken aggressively sought the pardon.

Milken, 73, originally was sentenced back in 1990 to 10 years in prison for "crimes" while heading the bond department at the investment bank Drexel Burnham Lambert. He was also fined $600 million.

He actually served only 2 years.

The charges against him have always been considered absurd by libertarians. It was just establishment America going after Milken for financing takeovers of establishment corporations.

Lew Rockwell wrote at the time:
The Dom Perignon must be flowing in the boardrooms of New York: the feds finally got the kid from Encino.
To avoid a worse fate, Michael R. Milken agreed to say he was guilty of six regulatory offenses, manufactured transgressions typical of the Alice-in-Wonderland world of big government. Crimes are supposed to have victims. But who exactly was harmed by the dread offense of “stock parking”?..
If we had a free-market Amnesty International, Michael Milken would be listed as a political prisoner of special-interest big government.
I have always held the view that Milken never quite knew how government operated back then. He didn't protect his political back.

I knew a money manager who was operating in the same period. He always kept a white-shoe law firm on retainer. Out went a big check every month to the firm. At first, I never understood why. As it turned out he was doing some, shall we say, curious trading that was a lot more problematic than what Milken ever came close to doing.

So when the overseeing agency eventually came knocking with a lot of questions, the money manager picked up the phone and called the law firm he had been sending the big checks to every month. They met with the agency agreed to have the money manager install "better controls" and the problem went away.

Milken didn't start hiring such lawyers until after he was charged and his arrest was headline news.

He learned his lesson but rather late: The state is the enemy of creators and innovators, even in finance. Or so I thought he learned his lesson.

But why the hell, decades later, was he seeking a pardon from the government?

There was no threat he was going back to jail. And it sure looks like he has been successful working around the agreement that barred him from working in the securities industry. Plus he is 73 years old. Does he want to do cold calling? Is that why he needs a pardon?

As best I can see, the only "benefit" he gets is the ability to vote in elections. Big deal.

Does he not get that it is government officials that have been harassing him most of his adult life?

Why would he want to vote for any of them?

If there is anyone that needs to understand Ayn Rand's warning about the "sanction of the victims," it sounds like it is Milken.

From Wikipedia:
The concept "sanction of the victim" is defined by Leonard Peikoff as "the willingness of the good to suffer at the hands of the evil, to accept the role of sacrificial victim for the 'sin' of creating values".
Geez, Michael,

 Wake up.

You don't need these clowns to bless you.

Or is it really that they realize you have converted and are now part of the club?



  1. Even if he was wrongly accused, still feels to have his name cleared. I think that is a basic human desire.

  2. Perhaps he wants to go quail hunting and needs to hold a shotgun. Felons have lots of legal disabilities.

  3. RW - great observations. When Milken was operating in the late 1970's early 1980's I loved watching the deals get done. Opening opportunities for new younger managers and making whole industries more efficient servers of consumer needs. He was an inspiration, particularly after I was dragged thru the Chrysler/Iacoca debacle with government subsidies. It was disheartening to see the government take him down while his own industry silently stood by. Shortly after that I left the banking industry. I agree he doesn't need the governments pardon and its sad to see him become an example of the "sanction of the victim" concept.

  4. I think Jule may have hit it - gun rights restored.