Filthy Rich Pundit ‘Feeling Crankier Than Usual’

Via A Tiny Revolution, a reminder from Vanity Fair website contributor Peter Newcomb (11/14/08) of the unspoken motivations of a bazillionaire pundit writing an enormously influential column on economics:

It would be easy to dismiss today’s rant… 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.

But Newcomb doesn’t “expect Friedman to go from Beirut to Jerusalem begging for money. The distinguished columnist… is still said to get at least $50,000 per speaking engagement on top of the millions he makes writing best-sellers.”