Stray stones hurled at the throne's general direction

May 14, 2016

 

 

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew ended the suspense of a long-gestating project when he announced that the American freedom fighter Harriet Tubman would replace controversial former President Andew Jackson on the $20 note in a year or two. AJ was controversial for his racist and politically unstable tendencies; those ashamed of America's original sin (racism)  would prefer to keep Harriet's legacy a secret. She was a conductor on the Underground Railroad, a network that enabled the escape of runaway slaves to free territories. 

A group from San Francisco is being hailed as being the impetus for this change, saying that the role of women in American history deserve more recognition. Susan B. Anthony and Eleanor Roosevelt were also considered.

That narrative might play in the mainstream, but that story is way too vanilla for Dystopian Futurez. Brace yourself for the habanero-level hot-take of how we ended up with Harriet Tubman on the Yuppie Food Stamp. 

In October 2014 I sent a stack of business cards,  which prominently feature Andrew Jackson's visage as pictured above, to the headquarters of private equity giants & pioneers Kohlberg, Kravis & Roberts. At the time the stock was trading right around $20/ share, ironically. Given the disruption that was/ is occuring in finance, I wanted to show my appreciation for their having such an impact on the world of finance. 

 

 

I have learned in my years not to be too megalomaniacal about thinking that I influence the machinations of captialism, or that my musings have the power to move markets. Even thought they do, if you know what to look for, which most people don't. But a lot of weird stuff started happening. I sent them the package above, hoping they wouldnt think it was Anthrax. A few months later, they started returning cash to investors, a very weird action for a PE firm. I thought they were shook that a wave of disruption was coming their way, but no, it turns out it was the result of an SEC inquiry

Still, the wheels of Andrew Jackson's undoing as the face of the $20 were in motion. The arrival of these friendly Jacksonian faces on KKR's doorstep were no doubt at hot topic at the next few secret meetings where the rich and pwerful decided how theyre going to divide up the world's resources, and before you know it, sayonara Andrew and aloha Harriet. 

I haven't mentioned this before and probably should to avoid any legal ramifications, but the primarry goal of this site is to entertain first, inform second. I take a lot of risks in insinuating connections between seemingly unrelated events, and that can be dangerous, problematic, foolhardy, whatever. So let me summarize my goals in relaying this particular parable. 

KKR is celebrating its 40th year in 2016, a period that has seen it grow from into one of the most successful financial enterprises in history. Their blog is really great too, even though by revealing its address I may permanenlty lose a few visitors. But when you're the little guy, you sometimes have to swim in the wake of the big ships inorder to move forward and not get swallowed up. 

One final shoutout to all the chartists out there. On the day I took the photo, the stock closed at $19.87/ share. After rallying to around $24.50 in July 2015, it has fallen to about half that, closing at $12.67 on Friday, May 13, 2016.  

 

  

I hope they're keeping my cards in a safe place!

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