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Kevin O’Leary Was Embarrassing on TV Again

Television pundit and professional foot-in-mouther, Kevin O'Leary, ostensibly visited CNBC earlier this week to discuss a new executive order that forces companies to report salaries broken down by gender and race, but instead opted to spend his camera...

by Tannara Yelland
Apr 11 2014, 3:23pm

Kevin O'Leary looking smug: quelle surprise. Photo via WikiMedia Commons.

TV personality, financial pundit, and terrible busines​sman Kevin O'Leary continued his bid for international—or at least North American—infamy on Tuesday, April 8, when he appeared on CNBC's business talk show Squawk on the Street.

The segment O'Leary appeared on was about income equality in honour of Equal Pay Day; or at least that's what the segment was supposed to be about, and what it would have been about if O'Leary had been willing to discuss anything other than the awesome power of jobs and The Market.

Host Carl Quintanilla began the segment by mentioning a new executive order that will require federal contractors to report their employees' wages and how they break down based on gender and race. Seemingly uninterested in discussing gender-based wage equality, or even wages (or gender) at all, O'Leary shifted immediately to more familiar ground.

"Carl, let me ask you a question that is core to America's success," O'Leary said. "How does this help create one incremental job anywhere in America? It doesn't. It retards the process."

Later on, O'Leary went back to this idea that equal pay is "retarding" the American economy, saying that with "all of these false manipulations on what pay should be, we are retarding the growth of America. Period. Period. There's no other debate."

Anyone who's seen O'Leary guest as an "financial expert" will probably recognize some of his favourite talking points:

  • What about the jobs?
     
  • "The Market" is perfect.
     
  • Being rich is always good.
     
  • People who aren't rich are either jealous or ungrateful.

He sticks to these pretty much without fail, regardless of how or if they fit into the conversation. It's quite likely he does this because it seems he is only capable of holding four points in his brain at the same time and has chosen to stick with these ones. Whatever the reason, if you talk to Kevin O'Leary, you're going to have to discuss the above.

What's most bizarre about O'Leary's Tuesday appearance on CNBC is that even there, on a show held on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, he managed to be the most conservative, wealth-worshipping reactionary by at least an order of magnitude. One would think that if Kevin O'Leary has peers, they would exist on CNBC: the network so desperate to cheerlead for JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon that they wouldn't accept the New York Times as a credible news source.

But Kevin O'Leary is a visionary in the field of economics and business, as his every public appearance makes clear. Either that or he's an embarrassing and incompetent blowhard who's happy to make himself into a laughing-stock for more sweet, sweet dollars. The real question is why anybody puts him on TV; presumably the producers at CNBC aren't doing it for comedic value, but really, that's the only reasonable explanation.

It's a shame he has such a large platform to spew his nonsense, but since he does, the rest of us may as well enjoy it. I leave you with a few of his most hilarious statements on Tuesday's show:

One host makes the reasonable point that many companies create shitty, low-paying jobs that abuse workers (often women and people of colour), and it "doesn't do anybody any good except the person getting the discount."O'Leary responds by claiming that "companies that even try to do that go bankrupt," which ignores all of history and the present day.

"The market determines the value of work. Let it do what it did for 200 years in America, creating the greatest economy on earth."For a significant chunk of America's history, the "greatest economy on earth"was built on the backs of slaves. Their work was determined to have no value. So yeah Kev, this may not be the best argument to use.

In response to the question, "You're not arguing there's been wage disparity between men and women in the past, right?"O'Leary throws down a completely different gauntlet: "Look: I don't even think we should have a minimum wage." Wait, what?


@tyelland

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