Hey, I liked the ’60s okay. But all my friends who were blowing up the Bank of America back then are now working there.
I find it rather easy to portray a businessman. Being bland, rather cruel and incompetent comes naturally tome.
I think greed is healthy. You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself.
—I VAN BOESKY, arbitrageur
Christmas is a time when kids tell Santa what they want and adults pay for it. Deficits are when adults tell the government what they want—and their kids pay for it.
—RICHARD LAMM, Governor of Colorado, 1975-87
Money is the long hair of the ’80s.
—ELIZABETH ASHLEY, actress
No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions. He had money as well.
It may be that Chrysler was just a little ahead of its time. It went bankrupt quicker than most everybody else.
—LEE IACOCCA, Chairman, Chrysler
When I was spending time in the Bronx, I saw young black men wearing chains with what I thought was the peace symbol. I thought, how interesting that these young men, living in such difficult circumstances, would still be concerned about such issues as world peace. And then I came to realize that these weren’t peace symbols—they were the hood ornament from a Mercedes. And they knew everything about a Mercedes, how much it cost, how fast it would go. They knew Mercedes as the car of choice of the drug dealer. Money, greed, reaches all through society.
I can buy and sell any of these people who are always criticizing me.
Little ol’ boy in the Panhandle told me the other day you can still make a small fortune in agriculture. Problem is, you got to start with a large one.
—JIM HIGHTOWER, Texas Agricultural Commissioner
If we face a recession, we should not lay off employees; the company should sacrifice a profit. It’s management’s risk and management’s responsibility. Employees are not guilty; why should they suffer?
—AKIO MORITA, Chairman, Sony
Huge brains, small necks, weak muscles and fat wallets—these are the dominant characteristics of the ’80s, the generation of swine.
—HUNTER S. THOMPSON, gonzo journalist
Capitalism without bankruptcy is like Christianity without hell.
—FRANK BORMAN, Chairman, Eastern Airlines, 1976-86
Art has been hijacked by nonartists. It’s been taken over by bookkeeping. The whole thing is so corrupt. But I suppose that’s okay. For artists, everything is grist for the mill. Artists are like cockroaches; we can’t be stamped out.
—ELAINE DE KOONING, painter
I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something.
To turn $100 into $110 is work. To turn $100 million into $110 million is inevitable.
—EDGAR BRONFMAN, Chairman, Seagram
One of the high spots of the decade for me was offering the bill which culminated in the tax act of 1986, which brought rates down. That was the most difficult problem to solve: how to make the tax system of the United States more fair. We tried to make it simpler, but we failed on that one.
—DONALD REGAN, Secretary of the Treasury, 1981-85
After our show we stand outside of the theater and sign autographs. A kid, probably about 11 years old, came up and said, “Hi, Teller, do you mind if I ask you a question?” I said, “Sure,” figuring he’d ask one of the usual questions, like, “How do you like being a magician?” or “How do you stay under the water all that time?” So the kid says to me, “How much do you make?” It didn’t matter to him that I was breaking the laws of nature. He just wanted to know what income bracket it put me in.
—TELLER, of Penn and Teller
I ran the wrong kind of business, but I did it with integrity.
—SYDNEY BIDDLE BARROWS, the Mayflower Madam
People who know how much they’re worth aren’t usually worth that much.
—NELSON BUNKER HUNT, Texas billionaire
A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.