Well, that would be weird. I’ll take this report with a grain, but if true…
We’ve reached the point where crony capitalism has become such a problem, it is hurting the economy and society so much that even media outlets like The Washington Post are reporting on it.
Very happy to see this.
Woodrow Wilson was a flat out terrible president. Maybe the worst we ever had. The Federal Reserve Act. The Income Tax. World War 1. The Harrison Narcotics Tax Act. All were on his watch and all were radical reworks of American life. All were “progressive” dreams. (So was alcohol prohibition which would come 5 years later.)
I am very much for free trade and the exchange of goods and services between states. It helps to ensure peace between peoples and often brings higher quality and lower cost products to market, thereby raising the quality of life for the average person. But it’s hard to see what advantage opening things up with Cuba gives us right now. We certainly shouldn’t be legitimizing the regime. At the very least we should have waited until Castro died.
Also why are we saving Cuba’s lunch? Venezuela is dying thanks to the bottom falling out of oil prices. Venezuela finances much of the Cuban economy. Now would be a time where we should be dictating very strident terms to the island nation. Cuba is running out of money. And we are about to give these guys, and they are communists, a new infusion? It doesn’t make much sense to me.
Don’t get me wrong, though I am for free trade I am not for intervening in the affairs of other nations, which we did quite a lot in Cuba. But this regime should be hung out to dry, not rewarded.
This is the 3rd and probably last time we’ll give a shout out to Senator Warren, who as we always have to note is wrong on many many things. But on the embedded “pre-bailout” in the Cromnibus bill she is absolutely right. We should not be on the hook for big bank derivatives which go south. And we are talking about trillions in derivatives. (For those who are unclear as to what derivatives are here is a good explanation.)
In a recent post we highlighted a piece by Charles Hugh Smith where he asserted that. “The 35% drop in the price of oil is the first domino.” He warned that the world was floating on a sea of fossil fuel derivatives that were about to go bad.
Funny that the pre-bailout bit got put into the Cromnibus at the last second. It reminds me of when the banks got the bankruptcy laws more to their liking right before the Great Recession started. Let’s hope the pre-bailout isn’t a direct countermeasure to immediate developments in the world economy. That would be bad news.
Sheldon Adelson, Republican moneybags extraordinaire and head of Las Vegas Sands wants online gambling to remain illegal. He would prefer you lose your shirt in his brick and mortar establishment. As such Adelson has been pursuing a GOP centered strategy in Congress to make sure the status quo remains in place. But he’s been having problems. Many Republican members of Congress see Adelson’s efforts as little more than a crony capitalist effort to protect his bottom line, and so have not been as open to helping the magnate as he might have thought. (That other gaming donors are on the other side of this issue probably has a lot to do with this too.)
Murray N. Rothbard explains in 3 minutes why it is that when economic downturns happen the government should just get out of the way. Let prices correct, the pain will be short and sharp but then life will go on, typically in a more prosperous manner.
Kudos to Phillip Bump at the Washington Post for this one.
We at ACC often talk about the fracturing going on within the 2 main parties. The Tea Party for instance is a de facto party within the GOP which the author takes into account. He also identifies an increasingly active fault line within the Democratic Party. (We think he’s wrong on who falls on which side of this line to some degree however.)
A thought experiment to be sure, but one which isn’t that “out there.” Very interesting.
(From The Washington Post)
If we assign members of Congress to political parties based on the spending votes, we end up with four parties. The Liberals bucked the Democratic president to oppose the spending package. The Democratsvoted for it. The Republicans followed Boehner and McConnell’s lead. TheConservatives didn’t. It gives us maps of the House and Senate that look like this, with the actual party composition underneath. (Note that this is only based on 1) people who voted on the spending package and 2) are returning to the 114th Congress.)
Whose money is it anyway?
Her real crime is staying a little too far off of the taxation grid.
This is one of the frustrating things about people who I believe legitimately care about reining in crony capitalism on what is called the “Left” in this country. They seem always to want more of the thing which enables crony capitalism – government.
Crony capitalism can not happen without government. Government is the lever which cronies use to expand their power and wealth.
My friends on the “Left” fret about “corporations taking things over” if government is reduced. As if government is some kind of counterweight to corporate power. It is not. For the most part government is a tool of special interest power (and about equally the reverse). It’s a partnership.
The key is to decentralize. Diffuse the power in Washington (and other capitals) and move it as much as humanly possible back to real live humans.
We don’t really need much government at all.