The Wall Street Journal has a solid piece of reporting on the continued power of hedge funds to shape their own—and the nation’s—destiny. The lede says it all (subscription required):
Many hedge funds were relieved last week when the Obama administration’s financial-overhaul plan included no big surprises or threats to the lucrative, secretive industry.
It isn’t clear exactly why hedge funds escaped their worst fears. But one factor might have helped: The hedge-fund industry has been spending a lot more time and money in Washington during the past few years.
In fact, there’s a lot more to it than that. As I note in my book, Family of Secrets, Wall Street has long been the dominant force in shaping the American trajectory, from the selection of presidents to the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency. The Journal’s phrase, “lucrative, secretive industry,” is pregnant with significance. The hedge fund folks are the inner sanctum of the inner sanctum.
The Journal describes a lobbying push by the funds:
In the past, hedge funds usually stayed off the radar screen, often reacting after congressional or regulatory proposals were made. Now they are playing offense, meeting with lawmakers and regulators in hopes of convincing them that hedge funds are important cogs in the financial markets and weren’t responsible for the continuing financial crisis.
Right now, the battle is being met. Iran isn’t the only place where a titanic struggle is occurring—but we can’t see our own because, excepting outfits like the Journal, it isn’t being covered adequately.