Imagine that the U.S. government decides to invest $3 billion of taxpayer money in a Chinese private equity firm.

Now substitute "Chinese" for "U.S." (and vice versa), and you have today’s news story about the Republic of China’s purchase of a stake in private equity outfit Blackstone.

China of course remains Communist, and the U.S. persists in its capitalist thrust.  But any government’s investing in a "private" equity strikes a discordant note.  It makes "private" near-meaningless, if not deceptive.  Or does it?  Possibly it exposes a public-private connection that already exists.

Barry Barnett

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