American hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer is a big fan of Argentinia’s new president. For one thing, Mauricio Macri doesn’t call him a “vulture lord” or a “bloodsucker,” as his predecessor Cristina Fernández de Kirchner did. More important, the newly elected Macri recently paid Singer’s firm $2.28 billion in debt.
So Singer, founder and president of Elliott Management Corp., isn’t what you’d call a neutral party with regard to Macri’s presidency.
Still, Time magazine chose Singer to write a fawning piece on the Argentine leader, who took office in December, which was published on Thursday among the publication’s “Top 100 Leaders.”
The disclosure at the bottom of the article notes that Singer “has been involved in debt negotiations with the Argentine government for several years.” It makes no mention of the milestone deal between the Macri government and Elliott Management reached earlier this year, nor the $2.28 billion figure, which represents 369 percent of the original sum lent to Argentina, Bloomberg reported.
All readers get is a glowing report card for Macri: “Over the past decade, the policies of Argentina’s ruling duo, Néstor and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, led to rampant inflation, falling currency value and capital flight,” wrote Singer of his financial nemeses. “The result was the 2015 election of the reformist Mauricio Macri.”
“Reformist” is one way to put it. President Barack Obama has certainly praised Macri for aiming to “reconnect Argentina with the global economy” with his free-trade policies, a neoliberal cause célèbre at the White House.
Others call Marci’s new center-right brand a recent invention meant to disguise his right-wing politics: His pick for vice president opposed gay marriage, while Marci himself has said he opposes abortion and decriminalizing recreational drugs such as cannabis, the BBC reported.
Time Inc. did not immediately respond to a request to comment.
The Macri hagiography is the latest in a recent stream of puzzling posts by Time: Earlier this month it published an alarmist if eye-catching cover declaring that average Americans are on the hook for $43,000 apiece for the national debt. A few weeks back, many on social media piled on yet another Time article suggesting that most students can pay off their student loan debt if they simply tighten their belts. (The student in the post happened to have gotten $6,000 in assistance from his parents, a resource unavailable to most debtors.)
Last month, in an interview with Hillary Clinton surrogate David Brock, Time erroneously accused her opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders of having yelled "English only!" at veteran Latina labor leader Dolores Huerta. (Time's error remained up for hours and the correction itself, which did not identify what had been corrected, later had to be corrected further.)
— brendan james (@deep_beige) February 24, 2016
Unlike the Brock post, Thursday's Marci piece cut out the middleman and let the subject's buddy write the talking points himself.
“Macri has removed Argentina’s currency controls, allowing more freedom for trade,” Singer went on in Time. “He has pledged to reintegrate Argentina into the global economy, seeking private investment from abroad. And he has taken action to end the 15-year default that has kept the country in economic exile since 2001.”
Singer dropped a few more bits of advice to Macri before signing off: “Macri still has important tasks ahead of him, including taming inflation. But if he lives up to his promise, Argentina may finally do the same.”
Singer is also a longtime Republican fundraiser and until recently a declared backer of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's failed presidential campaign.
It’s safe to say he got a better, if slightly delayed, return on investment from Argentina.