Posts Tagged ‘crony capitalism’
Like all mergers, the proposed $45.2 billion Comcast merger with Time Warner Cable—the largest and second largest cable providers in the nation—has its advocates and critics. There are certainly important questions about what impact the merger would have on consumers—but there are equally significant issues associated with the highly politicized approval process.
The Obama Department of Justice, led by Eric Holder, must review the merger and decide whether to approve or block it. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration and Justice Department have a long track record of pushing the rule of law aside and making decisions based on politics. Will the proposed Comcast merger with Time Warner Cable receive the scrutiny it deserves, or simply be fast-tracked for approval based on politics?
Read more by Kerri Toloczko at Forbes.com
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
Crony capitalism is the most serious current danger to the American community, a threat not simply to government or the economy, but to our very way of life. It is the worst such threat since the trusts and monopolies of the early 20th century, and in much the same way. Cronyism is one of the major forces behind the establishment of the corrupt pseudo-aristocracy that has been taking shape in this country over the past two decades, a synthetic privileged class made up in large part of politicians, hustlers, and hangers-on who have become expert in exploiting the rest of us.
The legacy media, for some obscure reason, tends to bury discussions about this group. While the reportage on discrete incidents is there — see the parade of stories on Solyndra, Goldman Sachs, and MF Global for examples — we find little effort to pull it all together. Academics, with the single exception of Angelo Codevilla, who sounded the alarm two years ago in The Ruling Class, appear oblivious, as if they had no idea what’s going on, which may well be the case.
The customary watchdogs having remained asleep, we need to rely on independents. Chief among these in Peter Schweizer, whose latest book Throw Them All Out (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011) gives us the clearest picture we’ve yet had of the activities of the new crony class.
–SNIP– Though Schweizer makes an honest attempt to remain bipartisan, the book is dominated by members of a certain political party the name of which I will not mention but which is run by politicians named Kerry, Durbin, and Pelosi among others.
Read more by J.R. Dunn at American Thinker
Confessions of a Quantitative Easer
We went on a bond-buying spree that was supposed to help Main Street. Instead, it was a feast for Wall Street.
–SNIP– Where are we today? The Fed keeps buying roughly $85 billion in bonds a month, chronically delaying so much as a minor QE taper. Over five years, its bond purchases have come to more than $4 trillion. Amazingly, in a supposedly free-market nation, QE has become the largest financial-markets intervention by any government in world history.
And the impact? Even by the Fed’s sunniest calculations, aggressive QE over five years has generated only a few percentage points of U.S. growth. By contrast, experts outside the Fed, such as Mohammed El Erian at the Pimco investment firm, suggest that the Fed may have created and spent over $4 trillion for a total return of as little as 0.25% of GDP (i.e., a mere $40 billion bump in U.S. economic output). Both of those estimates indicate that QE isn’t really working.
Read more by Andrew Huszar at WSJ.com
Just more ink-and-paper tickets being created.
A few decades ago, politicians hatched a Tom Friedman-esque idea to unite U.S. and Western Europe. Did it succeed?
The idea of a country seems pretty simple. I live in America, and I’m an American. She lives in France, and she is French. The Americans have a president who is their leader, the British have a prime minister, the French have their own president, and so forth.
But the way political decision-making around security issues ricochets around the world, from Western capital to Western capital, is making a mockery of commonly held conceptions of national sovereignty. In recent weeks, a British parliament vote on Syria forced the U.S. president to seek authorization from Congress, while leaked documents detailed extensive cooperation between the intelligence services of the U.S. and other nations. The president of Bolivia was forced to down his plane by Italy and France, just because he joked about having Edwards Snowden on board. And so on, and so forth.
This all demands the question: Why do we hold the conception that we live in separate nation-states? Well, it turns out that this question was actually asked after World War II, and the answer American leaders came up with was … we shouldn’t.
Read more by Matt Stoller at Salon.com
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
Is there a single doubt left in your mind?
Are you still a believer in
Rufus T. Firefly Jamie Dimon as the world’s smartest banker?
Is there a scintilla of wonder left in your mind that the giant banks are legitimate?
Have you come around to understanding — finally — what some of us have long understood about banks?
Are you willing to accept the truth about these corporate behemoths — that they are a horrific combination of economically dangerous, criminally inept, led by pathologically lying CEOs?
Do you harbor any doubts that the giant banks are anything less than ruthlessly efficient criminal enterprises?
Can you — finally — admit that our bank-created financial crisis of 2008-09 has led us to where we are today?
Read more by Barry Ritholtz at The Big Picture
Submitted by Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,
How Jack ‘Bailout Bonus’ Lew Got To Treasury
As I and many others have pointed out for years, unless you are a crony Wall Street welfare queen you can pretty much forget about any high level position in the Obama Administration. Barack made that clear from day one when he decided to surround himself with two of the people at the core of the 2008 financial crisis, Larry Summers and Tim Geithner. The trend is simply continuing with the current nominee for Treasury Secretary: Jack “Bailout Bonus” Lew. The revolving door is institutionalized and at this point as reliable as a Swiss watch.
Read more at ZeroHedge.com
On television, in interviews and in meetings with investors, executives of the biggest U.S. banks — notably JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Jamie Dimon — make the case that size is a competitive advantage. It helps them lower costs and vie for customers on an international scale. Limiting it, they warn, would impair profitability and weaken the country’s position in global finance.
So what if we told you that, by our calculations, the largest U.S. banks aren’t really profitable at all? What if the billions of dollars they allegedly earn for their shareholders were almost entirely a gift from U.S. taxpayers?
Granted, it’s a hard concept to swallow. It’s also crucial to understanding why the big banks present such a threat to the global economy.
Read more at Bloomberg.com
Every nation-state has a body of laws woven into the fabric of society. As Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto has commented on extensively, the stronger the rule of law, the stronger the economy.
And by “stronger” laws, I mean laws that are impervious to tampering for personal or political gains. The connection between a sound judiciary and economic health is readily comprehensible, except maybe to a politician… businesses and individuals are far more likely to invest capital in a country with understandable laws that are impartially and universally enforced than if the opposite condition exists.
That’s because the lack of a consistent body of law breeds uncertainty and adds a huge element of risk for entrepreneurs. That is the case here in Argentina, where hardly a week goes by without La Presidenta and her meddlesome comrades cooking up some new hurdle for businesses to overcome.
Which brings me back to the matter at hand – American justice on a slippery slope.
Read more by David Galland at CaseyResearch.com
It is a dark day for the rule of law. Federal and state authorities have chosen not to indict HSBC, the London-based bank, on charges of vast and prolonged money laundering, for fear that criminal prosecution would topple the bank and, in the process, endanger the financial system. They also have not charged any top HSBC banker in the case, though it boggles the mind that a bank could launder money as HSBC did without anyone in a position of authority making culpable decisions.
Clearly, the government has bought into the notion that too big to fail is too big to jail. When prosecutors choose not to prosecute to the full extent of the law in a case as egregious as this, the law itself is diminished. The deterrence that comes from the threat of criminal prosecution is weakened, if not lost.
Read more in NY Times Editorial
Monday night’s meeting of the Milwaukee South branch with Dr. Yuri Maltsev was impressively entertaining to say the least. Dr. Maltsev gave a wonderful talk and left many thankful for having attended. For those of you who were not able to make the meeting, here is Dr. Maltsev at the Ludwig von Mises Institute’s conference in Naples, Florida where he presented the same talk. Enjoy!
Michael S. Murphy
Chair, RPMC-South Branch
The Justice Department’s decision not to prosecute Goldman Sachs in a financial-fraud probe is another sign of the cronyism that has kept Attorney General Eric Holder from taking action against other big Wall Street firms, says Peter Schweizer.
On Thursday the Department of Justice announced it will not prosecute Goldman Sachs or any of its employees in a financial-fraud probe.
The news is likely to raise the ire of the political left and right, both of which have highlighted one of the most inconvenient facts of Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department: despite the Obama administration’s promises to clean up Wall Street in the wake of America’s worst financial crisis, there has not been a single criminal charge filed by the federal government against any top executive of the elite financial institutions.
Why is that? In a word: cronyism.
Read more by Peter Schweizer at The Daily Beast
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