Ralph Nader is one our favorites here at ACC. We disagree with him on a myriad of issues. He likes government quite a lot. We, well are more skeptical of the state. Saying that though, there is no doubt that Mr. Nader is an enemy of crony capitalism and one of the good guys running around Washington. (There are a few.)
Below is a declaration. A call to town halls. A call to take the rhetorical fight directly to our elected officials during their summer recess. If our representatives are going to ignore us in DC they will have a much harder time ignoring us at community meetings and grandstanding events. Turn on your iPhones. Record responses to hard questions. See what happens.
They do work for us.
Obamacare is a giant jack. And no, single payer is not the solution. That is the last thing we need. Single payer is an excuse for all sorts of other cronyism. Not to mention that socializing healthcare in the 21st Century is just a backward idea. We should be opening up healthcare not centralizing it.
There is some debate around here as to the world’s most crony company. There are many candidates but consistently in the top 5 or so is Goldman Sachs, Government Sachs.
Few companies have exploited the taxpayer and political connections to the extent Goldman has. Truly it is a company built fundamentally on cronyism.
In 2008 Goldman Sachs was leveraged more than 100 to 1 on its assets. (That is probably a conservative estimate.) When the economic tide turned it was fully exposed. It should have died the disgraced death it deserved. It should have been crushed under the wheel of the market.
Goldman however had a former CEO at Treasury, Hank Paulson, who bailed out his buddies with money taken from taxpayers.
If you really want to understand why the crony capitalist system is so insidious as well as ubiquitous I highly recommend listening to this bit from the master Murray Rothbard. If you really want to get what is so messed up about government and the “privavte sector” partnering up, one must know at least a little bit of his work.
Warning though. Rothbard can rattle one’s whole understanding of politics and economics.
The change is happening actually. I feel a shift, on a broad scale. It has just started, but pay close attention. Statism is failing and people are beginning to remember (or learn) that real markets solve problems and allow people to create wealth.
The everyday person is becoming more aware that tossing one’s lot in with the Grubers of the world is just foolish.
It will take a revolution in economic thinking to turn the USA around, and I am more optimistic now than I have been in a long time that such a shift can happen. Indeed that it is happening.
Ron Paul calls out the Plunge Protection Team on CNBC. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it mentioned on financial television. Seriously anyway.
And boy is he right. There is an assumption that the Fed will never let stocks (and other assets) revert to real levels.
The thing is the Fed for all its power is still subject to the laws of thermodynamics, just like the rest of us. That is, even the mighty central bank will feel the sting of its hubris.
Of course so will the rest of the planet. Which let me tell you is a real bummer.
Some surprises here. Did not know that Long and Foster, a real estate broker was the largest business in Virginia.
There was a time when I had more time and I used to play poker sort of seriously. I still play occasionally. I enjoy the game. I find it endless in nuance and full of lessons about life.
As Kenny Rogers says, know when to hold ’em, when to fold ’em, when to walk away, and when to run. (Though I would say that if you ever find yourself running away from a poker game it’s probably time to consider another pastime.)
Poker, real poker, is a great analogy for life. Some of us come to the table with big stacks. Some of us come to the table with small stacks. Big (tall) stacks are a huge advantage. Small stacks are harder to work with.
Now why oh why oh why would McDonalds, which is under pressure from the marketplace (my kids refuse to eat at McDonalds – I still like an egg McMuffin on occasion) and the unions which are whining that fast food workers aren’t paid enough (really they just want the minimum wage adjusted up so union wages will be adjusted up) hire an Obama insider to build a revamped “progressive” burger joint?
Shoot, I’ll tell McDonalds how to do it right here. For free.
It is fair to say that the Republic is in serious peril and that this president has done GREAT damage to this country.
The silver lining to the Obama presidency has been that many people have finally become aware of what our system of government is supposed to look like. Many more people have read the Constitution since Obama came in than before. For too long Americans took our system for granted. It has taken an accelerated assault on the Bill of Rights and our founding document generally – from the White House – to wake at least a large minority up.
Crony capitalism is bipartisan, transpartisan even.
Though there is a general rule which holds, and that is that the degree to which a politician enables the state is the degree to which that politician will probably enable cronyism. The bigger the government the more crony the government. It’s just the way it is.
The only real way to fight crony capitalism is to lesson the catalyst which makes crony capitalism possible, government. There is no “electing good people” to government and then having a large government “work for the people.” Government corrupts. It is at best a necessary evil. For the most part, get it out of the way.
It is often said that the state is not that much different from a mafia. This is true and it’s not true. But to the extent it is true can be seen in the horrible business climate in Tegucigalpa Honduras.
Want to do business? Pay a crippling tax. Don’t pay the tax? Meet Mr. Bullet.
In the USA thankfully entrepreneurs are rarely shot by the government. But they are shaken down for taxes. And they can go to jail for not paying taxes.
Tim Carney is our colleague at AEI. He has long done excellent work on crony capitalism.
I remember sitting in my car in college listening to Howard Stern on the radio before class sometime in 2000. Howard and his crew were talking about the stock market which was roaring. The Tech Bubble was in full effect. The sky was the limit. If you weren’t in the market you were losing out. It was a similar vibe to the Housing Bubble which would emerge only a few years later.
Stern took a call from a listener.
The caller, who sounded like he might have been on the tail end of a serious bender explained in candid terms that he was affiliated with some unsavory characters and that he and his unsavory friends were manipulating the market up. He said there was little under the prices of many of the stocks which were rising at breakneck speed.
In a few months we would see how right that caller was.