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November 14, 2008

Suck. On. This.

Schadenfreude has never been so, so sweet:

It would be easy to dismiss today’s rant (however spot-on it might be) by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman as yet another ideological tirade against the U.S. automobile industry. But based on the bad news coming out of shopping-mall owner General Growth Properties [GGP], it is no wonder Friedman is feeling crankier than usual. That’s because the author’s wife, Ann (née Bucksbaum), is an heir to the General Growth fortune. In the past year, the couple—who live in an 11,400-square-foot mansion in Bethesda, Maryland—have watched helplessly as General Growth stock has fallen 99 percent, from a high of $51 to a recent 35 cents a share. The assorted Bucksbaum family trusts, once worth a combined $3.6 billion, are now worth less than $25 million.

If you click through to this chart, you'll see the drop has actually been even more precipitous than described above. GPP was trading at $27.55 the week of September 8th. It's now at $0.44. Thus, it's lost 98% of its value in the past two months.


—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at November 14, 2008 10:03 PM

Free Enterprise -- We for get how well it works.

There was a tv commercial. I saw it as a kid back in the seventies. It showed a kid who was delivering newspapers and told you how he made more money than 2/3 of the people of earth or something like that. At the end, the voiceover said, Free Enterprise -- We forget how well it works. This post reminded me of that. Thank you, Jonathan Schwarz.

Posted by: cemmcs at November 14, 2008 11:29 PM

oh god. yes. now this is the kind of "trickle down" i can get behind!

Posted by: sloweducation at November 14, 2008 11:40 PM

$3.6 billion down to $25million? Who suffers on $25million dollars?

Posted by: rich at November 15, 2008 02:18 AM

Oh, the humanity!

Tell you what, I'll settle for 10% of that.

Posted by: Mike at November 15, 2008 03:09 AM

This is precisely the market outcome economic theory predicts if you assume all agents are rational and are perfectly informed by Thomas Friedman columns.

Posted by: buermann at November 15, 2008 03:53 AM

friedman can piss away 25 mil in a couple of weeks. I am loving this big time. Next time I visit my parents in bethesda, I hope I see Friedman somewhere so I can laugh in his fat face.


Posted by: Sam at November 15, 2008 04:51 AM

Easy come, Easy go...
What did you expect MR. KNOW IT ALL?

Posted by: Rupa Shah at November 15, 2008 09:32 AM

Here's hoping the Bucksbaum family trusts are the overwhelming majority of the GGP shareholders.

Posted by: Nell at November 15, 2008 11:13 AM

You may hate TNR, but its review of Friedman's "The World is Flat" by Ronald Steel--titled "Birth of a Salesman"--is pretty good.
Basically: F is pompous, windy, with little to say, and what he says is superficial or wrong.
Problem in making reporters into columnists remains. And their "serious" books might make decent articles but are three quaters bloated padding. The curse of think-tank thinking, most of which is throat-clearing babble.

Posted by: donescobar at November 15, 2008 12:44 PM

Yeah, well, as much as I may laugh at Friedman, he's still sitting on a cushion of $25 million dollars that most of us don't have. He still gets to get paid for his banal observations about the world - no matter how wrong-headed his analysis may be. And he still gets somewhere in the neighborhood of $50K for a single speaking gig, despite being Thomas Friedman.

So the schadenfreude is fun and all, but the fact that people still take Mr. Tom "Suck on this" Friedman seriously blunts it quite a bit for me.

Posted by: NonyNony at November 15, 2008 02:17 PM

On the other hand, he is (now) in favor of developing renewable/sustainable energy...

Like everyone else who isn't a damn oil or coal company. Seriously, why do his books sell?

Posted by: Doctorb at November 15, 2008 03:36 PM

I didn't know the guy was a billionaire. It's kinda surprising, actually; it seems to me that writing a weekly column, even a stupid one, is relatively hard work. That's some impressive ego.

Posted by: abb1 at November 15, 2008 04:49 PM

$25M may not be enough to pay for the taxes and upkeep on that mansion..... so maybe he will lose it. If he ends up homeless, he would still get no sympathy from me.

Posted by: Susan - NC at November 15, 2008 11:14 PM

A couple of years ago, C-Span aired a debate between Friedman and Joseph Stiglitz. What I remember best was the "What the fuck?" expression on Stiglitz' face whenever Friedman would spout one of his frequent but meaningless aphorisms. I'd certainly heard of the guy before that, but had never actually read anything by him (except the cover of a copy of The World is Flat that a guy I worked with carried around) and had never heard him speak. He reminded me a little of Chauncey the gardener from Being There.

Posted by: rs at November 15, 2008 11:52 PM

to add insult to it, rumor is all his books were printed on toxic paper and they are also worthless.

Posted by: hapa at November 15, 2008 11:56 PM

"Friedman would spout one of his frequent but meaningless aphorisms."

Like this:

Posted by: buermann at November 16, 2008 03:01 AM

Will they be wanting to sleep under the bridge I call home?

Posted by: Bob In Pacifica at November 16, 2008 09:25 AM

I'm investing in cardboard refrigerator boxes. Its the new housing bubble and will work well with micro-financing.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at November 16, 2008 12:00 PM

You're just jealous. I'm still awesome.

Posted by: Thomas Freidman at November 17, 2008 05:06 PM

The flat earthers should learn about diversification.

Posted by: An Outhouse at November 17, 2008 06:07 PM