Posts Tagged ‘crony capitalism’

The Age Of Impunity

THE PANAMA PAPERS opened yet another window on the global system of financial corruption, showing how political leaders and businesses use shell companies in secrecy havens like the British Virgin Islands and many US states to evade taxes and hide corruption and other crimes. Yet the system of corruption depends on another factor beyond secrecy, one that is perhaps even more important: impunity. Impunity means that the rich and powerful escape from punishment even when their malfeasance is in full view.

Read more by Jeffrey D. Sachs at BostonGlobe.com

News How corporate America bought Hillary Clinton for $21M

“Follow the money.” That telling phrase, which has come to summarize the Watergate scandal, has been a part of the lexicon since 1976. It’s shorthand for political corruption: At what point do “contributions” become bribes, “constituent services” turn into quid pro quos and “charities” become slush funds?

Ronald Reagan was severely criticized in 1989 when, after he left office, he was paid $2 million for a couple of speeches in Japan. “The founding fathers would have been stunned that an occupant of the highest office in this land turned it into bucks,” sniffed a Columbia professor.

Read more by Michael Walsh at NYpost.com

Corporate-Welfare Queens

The GOP needs to take them on.

Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin will release his House Republican budget next week, and one of its themes will be the fighting against corporate welfare. Mr. Ryan says, “We can’t make the case to the American people that we are the reform party if we won’t reform the giant corporate-welfare state in Washington.” Bravo. Too bad so few of his colleagues agree with him.

It’s very simple, really: Republicans have to be willing to cut weak claims, not weak claimants, as Reagan budget director David Stockman used to say. But corporate welfare has strong claimants: deep-pocketed business interests that rely on federal largesse to pad their pockets and jack up stock prices. Too many companies in America, from Boeing to AT&T, have come to regard government as a giant customer. They cheerlead for big government because they are among its chief beneficiaries.

Read more by Stephen Moore at NationalReview.com from March 27, 2014

The Big Short’s Michael Burry Warns “The Little Guy Will Pay” For The Next Crisis

We are sure, just as many of the so-called “smartest men in the room” ignored him last time, so every status-quo-maintaining, asset-gathering, commission-taker will be quick to dissonantly shrug off Michael Burry’s (the economic soothsayer from Michael Lewis’ book “The Big Short”) warnings this time.

As NYMag.com reports, in an email, which readers of the book will recognize as his preferred method of communication, the real-life head of Scion Asset Management answered some of questions about the state of the financial system, his ominous-sounding water trade, and what, if anything, we can feel hopeful about…

The movie portrays all of you as kind of swashbuckling heroes in some ways, but McKay suggested to me that you were very troubled by what happened. Is that the case?

I felt I was watching a plane crash. I actually had that dream again and again. I knew what was happening, but there was nothing I, or anyone else, could do to stop it. The last day of 2007, I couldn’t come home. I was in the office till late at night, I couldn’t calm down. I wrote my wife an email and just said, “I can’t come home; it’s just too upsetting what’s happening, and I didn’t want to come home to my kids like this.” As for punishment of those responsible, borrowers were punished for their overindulgences — they lost homes and lives. Let’s not forget that. But the executives at the lenders simply got rich.

Were you surprised no one went to jail?

Read more at ZeroHedge.com

Why the Big Banks Love Democrats

Since the financial collapse of 2008, the nation’s largest banks have seen their profits boom, as their share of the market has grown. Reuters reports:

Profits have soared since the global financial crisis at the five biggest U.S. banks with market-making dealing operations, New York Federal Reserve economists said in an article released on Wednesday.

From 2009 to 2014, the combined net income of J.P. Morgan, Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley annually averaged $41.73 billion, up from annual average of $25.08 billion from 2002 to 2008, they said.

Meanwhile, community banks are suffering. Why? Because the Democrats’ Dodd-Frank law is killing them, even as it boosts their biggest competitors. ValueWalk headlines: “Dodd-Frank Hurting Community Banks: Harvard Study.”

Read more by John Hinderaker at PowerlineBlog.com

Middle of the Road in Healthcare Leads to Socialism

ever-expanding role of government in healthcare provides an excellent example of Ludwig Von Mises’ warning that “The Middle of the Road Leads to Socialism.” Beginning in the 1940s, government policies distorted the health care market, causing prices to rise and denying many Americans access to quality care. Congress reacted to the problems caused by their prior interventions with new interventions, such as the HMO Act, ERISA, EMTLA, and various federal entitlement programs. Each new federal intervention not only failed to fix the problems it was supposedly created to solve, it created new problems, leading to calls for even more new federal interventions. This process culminated in 2010, when Congress passed Obamacare.

Contrary to the claims of some of its opponents, Obamacare is not socialized medicine. It is corporatized medicine. After all, the central feature of Obamacare is the mandate that all Americans buy health insurance from private health insurance companies. And, as with previous government interventions in the marketplace, Obamacare is not only failing to correct the problems caused by prior federal laws, it is creating new problems.

Read more by Ron Paul at the-free-foundation.org

Eisenhower’s “Military-Industrial Complex” Speech Origins and Significance

January 17, 1961

President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell address, known for its warnings about the growing power of the “military-industrial complex,” was nearly two years in the making. This Inside the Vaults video short follows newly discovered papers revealing that Eisenhower was deeply involved in crafting the speech, which was to become one of the most famous in American history. The papers were discovered by the family of Eisenhower speechwriter Malcolm Moos and donated to the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum. Eisenhower Library director Karl Weissenbach and presidential historian and Foundation for the National Archives board member Michael Beschloss discuss the evolution of the speech.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gg-jvHynP9Y

Eisenhower’s farewell address

The Financial Crisis Was Foreseeable … Thousands of Years Ago

Economists, Military Strategists and Others Warned Us … Long Ago

We’ve known for 4,000 years that debts need to be periodically written down, or the entire economy will collapse. And see this.

We’ve known for 2,500 years that prolonged war bankrupts an economy.

We’ve known for 1,900 years that rampant inequality destroys societies.

We’ve known for thousands of years that debasing currencies leads to economic collapse.

We’ve known for hundreds of years that the failure to punish financial fraud destroys economies, as it destroys all trust in the financial system.

We’ve known for hundreds of years that monopolies and the political influence which accompanies too much power in too few hands is dangerous for free markets.

Read more at WashingtonsBlog.com

Here’s How Wall Street Finds Out Exactly What’s Going On In Congress All The Time

For obvious reasons, Wall Street is always right on top of any legislation in Congress that has anything to do with the world of finance.

And, as you know, it’s not like Lloyd Blankfein is glued to C-SPAN. The Street has Washington watch-dogs that keep a careful eye on what’s happening on The Hill, but even they couldn’t do it without help.

At least, that’s what former lobbyist, Biden aide, and Senate staffer Jeff Connaughton writes in his new book, “The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins.” The way he tells it, information has a bit of a journey before it gets from Washington to Wall Street, but it can happen in the blink of an eye.

Read more by Linette Lopez at Business Insider

The House That Obama Built

This is the house that Obama built

These are the firms
That paid for the house that Obama built

This is the media that didn’t inform
That everyone’s broke except for those firms
That paid for the house that Obama built

These are the crony big business concerns
That gave to the unions what they didn’t earn
That the media saw but didn’t inform
That everyone’s broke except for those firms
That paid for the house that Obama built

This is the stimulus ready to burn
That the crony big businesses didn’t return
That gave to the unions what they didn’t earn
That the media saw but didn’t inform
That everyone’s broke except for those firms
That paid for the house that Obama built . . .

Read more at thepeoplescube.com

The Main Driver of GDP Growth: A Strong Rule of Law

GDP Growth More Strongly Correlated with Rule of Law than Anything Else …

Economist Woody Brock says that a nation’s GDP growth is based mainly on whether or not it follows the rule of law.

–SNIP– Economists have thoroughly documented that failure to enforce the rule of law leads to a loss of trust … which destroys economies.

This is true whether it is in the West, in Nigeria or any other country.

Read more at WashingtonsBlog

My party has lost its soul: Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and the victory of Wall Street Democrats

A former Clinton aide on how Democrats lost their way chasing Wall Street cash, and new populism the party needs

–SNIP– One reason we know voters will embrace populism is that they already have. It’s what they thought they were getting with Obama. In 2008 Obama said he’d bail out homeowners, not just banks. He vowed to fight for a public option, raise the minimum wage and clean up Washington. He called whistle-blowers heroes and said he’d bar lobbyists from his staff. He was critical of drones and wary of the use of force to advance American interests. He spoke eloquently of the threats posed to individual privacy by a runaway national security state.

He turned out to be something else altogether. To blame Republicans ignores a glaring truth: Obama’s record is worst where they had little or no role to play. It wasn’t Republicans who prosecuted all those whistle-blowers and hired all those lobbyists; who authorized drone strikes or kept the NSA chugging along; who reneged on the public option, the minimum wage and aid to homeowners. It wasn’t even Republicans who turned a blind eye to Wall Street corruption and excessive executive compensation. It was Obama.

Read more by Bill Curry at Salon.com

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