While attending the most recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, blogger Arianna Huffington bumped into what she described as a markedly “upbeat” Stephen Schwarzman – a standout amid the mostly fearful financial types.
“You are walking with your head high,” she remarked. Schwarzman quipped: “I'm walking with my head still on. That's the good news.”
Schwarzman does indeed have many calling for his head. Not only is a piece of potential US legislation, informally called the Blackstone Bill, aiming to levy extra taxes on investment firms that go public, but the buyers of properties flipped by Blackstone-backed Equity Office Properties are having serious remorse. Blackstone-owned Hilton Hotels also does not appear headed for a golden age of travel and a billion Chinese are wondering why their sovereign wealth fund continues to invest in the firm.
There may be more hard times ahead. Huffington asked when the recession would end, and Schwarzman answered: “Don't hold your breath … And don't buy new clothes.”