The onetime-wunderkind has a special spot in Argentine ruler Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s kitchen cabinet. Bass doesn’t miss a chance to stand up for Kirchner’s most ill-advised actions. After defaulting on foreign debt a second time in only thirteen years, Bass would hear no criticism of the economic skills of the Argentine despot. What’s in it for him?
What was in it for Bass when he stood up for his favored buy-and-hold play General Motors during their recall controversy, insisting victims were somehow to blame for non-deploying airbags, faulty ignition switches and failed power steering units?
One could answer this by simply saying “money,” but that wouldn’t tell the whole story. Kyle Bass was right once – at one point in time. He called the sub-prime mortgage bubble for what it was. He gets credit for seeing the upcoming disaster. But that one insight set Kyle up with a reputation as a mastermind he’s fought hard to justify in the time since.
One way to seem like you have a rare talent for prognostication: Make things happen that ordinarily wouldn’t. Bass has shown he’s not above shorting pharmaceutical companies, then suing them. Win or lose in court, he still profits. He knows to the minute when those stocks are going to tank. He and his parter Erich Spangenberg have the legal paperwork ready to go through a front organization called – ironically – the Coalition for Affordable Drugs. There’s nothing about patent trolling that makes drugs more affordable for anyone.
But Bass gets to say he called top on those pharma stocks. Wunderkind is right again.
Judge Bass by his actions, but know him by the company he keeps: People like Kirchner and Spangenberg in particular.