I know it should be billions, but I’m billing this little piece as a sequel to Clinton Cash and Bush Bucks (both propagandas sponsored by Mercer) and that requires alliteration. The Mercer, of course, is Robert Mercer, who is in the limelight these days as the billionaire behind Donald Trump’s stunning victory. Who is this man, how did he acquire his billions, and how did he get Trump into the White House?
Robert Leroy Mercer was born on July 11, 1946, in Santa Clara, California. He grew up in New Mexico, where he developed an interest in computers. He worked as a computer programmer at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base while studying for a degree in physics and mathematics at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.
In 1972, Mercer joined the Watson Research Center of IBM, where he had a brilliant career in computer linguistics. He developed “Mercer Clustering,” a technique for machine translation of languages. That may sound esoteric, but I use some of the results of Mercer’s work every time I talk to my iPhone and SIRI (Apple’s computerized voice assistant) answers having understood what I said. His lifetime of work garnered him the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Computational Linguistics in 2014.
In 1993, Mercer was recruited by James Harris Simons to join Renaissance Technologies, a New York based investment management firm that specializes in systematic stock market trading using only quantitative models derived from mathematical and statistical analysis of mountains of data—the BIG DATA that I recently wrote about (see Big Data). This program scans the available data, which is growing exponentially, and makes trades automatically, engaging in rapid moves in and out of the market. The accuracy of this program has been honed to perfection by Mercer and a small army of PhDs, with the result that Renaissance Technologies flagship fund, the Medallion Fund, has averaged 71.8% annual return from 1994 to the present. (Consider for a moment the implications of an investment earning 71.8% per year compounded.)
The “fly in the ointment” with this scheme is taxes. All those rapid trades are generating short-term capital gains, which are taxed at some of the highest rates by the US government. Mercer and company have circumvented this by an arrangement with Barclays Bank, Deutsche Bank, and others, where the assets of the fund are held as assets of the bank, and Renaissance is issued a single option, which it holds. When, and if, this option is sold it will result in long-term capital gains. In 2014 the IRS contended that “the arrangement Renaissance’s Medallion fund had with the banks . . . is a ruse and that the fund investors owe taxes at the higher rate.” (Bloomberg 2014)
A more successful scheme is to call the fund a “retirement fund” and shelter it from taxes through a Roth IRA. This can result in the desired goal of never having to pay taxes on that 71.8% yearly growth. In 2012 Renaissance was granted a special exemption by the United States Labor Department allowing employees to invest their retirement money in Medallion.
Where can you buy shares in Medallion? You can’t. They are reserved for certain “qualified” employees of Renaissance Technologies. In essence, they have their own, private printing press for money, and they are rich beyond your wildest imagination. The number of shareholders is around 100, with Robert Mercer, the current CEO, likely to be the largest. Robert Mercer has many millions of dollars every year to fund projects he is interested in. And most of those projects fall in the “alt-right” category.
For example, $10,000,000 of those funds were given to the infamous Breitbart News to get it up and running. And Mercer funded the Government Accountability Institute with approximately $1,700,000 to produce the “investigative” books—Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich and Bush Bucks: How Public Service and Corporations Helped Make Jeb Rich. He then set up and funded Shining Steel Productions to produce a film based on Clinton Cash. Then there is Cambridge Analytica, which is funded by Mercer. It uses similar statistical methods to those that have been so highly successful for the Medallion Fund to influence elections.
A name that runs through all these organizations is Steve Bannon. Bannon was the CEO of Breitbart, a key figure in the Government Accountability Institute, and a board member of Cambridge Analytica. Steve Bannon is currently in the Oval Office guiding Trump administration policy on an hour-by-hour, day-by-day basis. His avowed philosophy is to “move fast and break things.” He is quoted as saying that “the new administration is locked in an unending battle against the media and other globalist forces to ‘deconstruct’ an outdated system of governance.” He clearly wants to bring down the US government. We’ll see if he succeeds.
Is it any wonder that Robert Mercer might like to see the US government diminished? After all, the government is the only agency blocking him from keeping all his profits from Medallion Fund.
So, the Mercer millions (billions) were acquired by superior brain power and are being used to further the fortunes of the Mercer family. Trump and Bannon are the current vehicles for that effort. The fox has, indeed, taken up residency in the chicken coop.