The Mooch Meets the Moment

Anthony Scaramucci speaks to reporters at the lobby of Trump Tower
Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images
William D. Cohan
August 18, 2021

I’ve known Anthony Scaramucci, the hedge fund manager and erstwhile presidential advisor, for more than a decade now, and I’ve written about The Mooch, as he is known, for almost that long. And while Scaramucci drew some criticism for following a number of Wall Streeters into the Trump Administration, I’ve always found him to be smart and self-deprecating. He’s also easy to root for. He’s the son of a Long Island crane operator who made it into Tufts, Harvard Law School and Goldman Sachs and then founded Skybridge, his hedge fund of funds. His cousins install auto glass and hunt for clams in Oyster Bay. He’s a unique combination of E.Q. and I.Q., brains and brawn and one of the best read people I know, with a Rolodex to boot.

Like many alpha-seeking hedge fund executives, he’s had a pretty good year, pandemic aside, as our markets overheat, to the point where both the stock markets and bond markets are showing every bit of the irrational exuberance that Alan Greenspan once warned about in the 1990s. Mooch’s Bitcoin investment is up nearly 18 percent year-to-date, according to a June 2021 Skybridge investor letter. And The Mooch seems optimistic about Skybridge’s future, but with the same context and “ifs” that I hear daily on my calls and texts with other Wall Street executives. The capital markets “are on a long-term bull run,” Scarmucci told me when we caught up last week, “until they”—meaning the authors of the ongoing loose fiscal and monetary policies—“want to cut back the spigot.” He paused for a moment, then continued: “When they start to cut back the spigot, there will be a correction in the capital markets.”

During the conversation, he was circumspect about his success, and the good fortune of his peer group. He expressed aloud what I hear many say privately: While they are thankful for their good fortune, they also appear to want to find a way to ensure that not quite so much wealth is captured at the top. The Mooch, a product of the American middle class, explained that he feared a sense of hopelessness was entering the American psyche via our bifurcated economy. “You’re furthering the economic divide,” he lamented. “You’re furthering the transition from economic aspiration for the middle and lower class to economic desperation.” In all our conversations, I’ve never heard him quite this worried.