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Tag Archives: crony capitalism

Median Total Compensation for Redwood City (California) Firefighters – At Least $226,365

By Ed Ring, executive director, California Policy Center

 

Back in February 2014 the California Policy Center publicly announced the Transparent California website, developed in partnership with the Nevada Policy Research Institute. An article covering this announcement was posted on the Forbes Magazine website, entitled “Hundreds Of California Government Employees Are Paid Over $400,000 A Year,” which a review of 2013 Transparent California data (2014 data is still being assembled) easily confirms. As a matter of fact, in 2013, total compensation in excess of $400,000 was paid to 1,292 public servants in California. A staggering 2,818 of California’s public employees collected total compensation in excess of $300,000 in 2013.

Some have argued that it is misleading to claim people are making, for example, over $400,000 per year, when in fact the $400,000 being referenced is total compensation, not regular earnings. We reject this argument categorically. It is incumbent on anyone who assesses compensation to treat total compensation as the only valid measurement both for comparative purposes and, especially, when considering employer costs. Total compensation represents the actual cost to the employer, and it represents the actual value earned by the employee. Every penny of total compensation, whether it’s to fund future retirement benefits or to pay for current benefits such as health insurance, is something a worker will have to pay for themselves out of their regular earnings, unless it is instead paid for by the employer.

When talking about how much we pay our public servants, we contend that it is misleading to reference anything but total compensation.

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How Airbnb actually makes NYC affordable

Airbnb isn’t just making New York affordable for tourists, it’s making it (more) affordable for people who live in the city.

Have an extra bedroom? Why not rent it out a couple of nights a week to help make ends meet? The rent is $5000/month so every little bit helps.

But the hoteliers don’t like people doing this and they, like the cab companies battling Uber are fighting Airbnb in the courts and at City Hall instead of tailoring their product to a new, more competitive marketplace.

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The Crony Capitalist Crash Continues*, Dow down 468, S&P at 1913

Oil got hammered over 8% today. Stocks in the US 3% roughly.

This is largely driven by reality hitting China, the Ultimate Crony Capitalist State, and reality hitting investors around the world who have ridden the Fed driven asset inflation of the last few years. As we have said there are huge, massive, pockets of monetary cotton candy in markets which will collapse sooner or later.

But don’t worry, supposedly China has another dose of “stimulus” on the way. That ought to make things better.

Below are a few of the articles we have done on markets and China in the past 6 months or so for your information.

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World’s Poor: “We Want Capitalism”

The way out of poverty is through capitalism, free enterprise, free markets, and free prices. But so many people who I believe honestly want to do good do not understand this. They believe that central planning and aid from “rich countries” will solve the world’s problems even though they have only worsened things in aggregate around the world for decades.

Where poor people can build wealth and enjoy property rights and honest pricing the tendency is toward prosperity. Where there is government intervention, where the government or connected cronies can just seize the limited wealth of the poor (often in the name of “justice”), where prices are obfuscated, there is poverty and misery.

We do not believe in free prices and free markets because we want to keep “what’s ours.” We believe in them because we know, and have seen, how much better capitalism is for everyday people than state intervention and its associated cronyism.

In order for a society to truly proper people need both personal liberty and economic liberty, which are actually one and the same. Capitalism allows for both and offers a path out of poverty. (Not that it is always easy.) But many people just refuse to see this. It fundamentally conflicts with everything they’ve been told, to date.

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Lobbying firm has you covered no matter who’s in power

We say often that fundamentally there is little real difference between the establishments in the Democratic and Republican parties. The below graph sums it up pretty well.

So it makes sense to have a lobbying firm which is comfortable dealing with whomever. Because in the end, Republican or Democrat it really does come down to just getting paid.

(From The Intercept)

The founders of Rokk Solutions, a new political consulting firm that serves corporate trade associations and other lobbying ventures, offer their clients an unusual value proposition: whichever party triumphs, they’ll have had a hand in a big-money group that can claim victory.

While bipartisan political consulting firms are a dime a dozen in Washington, D.C., what makes Rokk noteworthy is that it is comprised of campaign operatives with major roles in two big-money groups — one Democratic, one Republican — expected to play major roles in the 2016 elections.

Click here for the article.

The counter summit to the Fed meeting in Jackson Hole

Calls to reform, audit, and even eliminate the Federal Reserve have been growing in recent years. We certainly call for an end to the Fed and I encourage anyone interested in monetary policy and the Federal Reserve to read Free Prices Now by ACC co-founder Hunter Lewis. Hunter is a scholar of the highest order and a remarkably successful financier. If you want to understand the sins of the Federal Reserve read his book.

But many people already understand the sins of the Fed and many of these people gathered in a counter summit to the party the Federal Reserve was having this week in Jackson Hole Wyoming. One of the people criticizing the Fed was Benn Steil who, believe it or not, is a director of international economics at The Council on Foreign Relations.

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The long, slow death of the rule of law in America

The rule of law (and not man or woman) is vital to a free society. If might makes right there is little room to do business, to invest, to build wealth, to be secure in one’s person, to be an actualized human being. If contracts can be dismissed and government officials and their cronies (in government and the nominal “private sector”) can do as they please because of their connections, we have a problem. And that is what we have now, and it’s getting worse.

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China likely to drag the world into global recession, Citigroup says

China is, as we say, The Ultimate Crony Capitalist State. Business and government are an amalgam. Long a crony paradise where a premium was placed on compliance and government favor and not on real pricing.

It looks like reality is finally starting to hit however.

About 6 months ago I was talking to a China energy markets analyst and he explained the complexities of implementing a carbon tax regime in the country to me. One bit I found particularly interesting. He explained that no one knew what the real price of energy coming from a particular plant actually was. A mandate from Beijing had been handed down, that energy would cost X amount, and that was the number used for “business.” Everyone knew the official price was way below the actual market rate but it sounded like no one really knew what the market rate was.

One can’t keep running a country like this. One must have real pricing for long term prosperity. The problem is that real pricing can create problems for the political establishment, anywhere, but particularly in China.

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Welfare Is the Highest Paying Entry-Level Job in 38 States

If one is trying to get people employed incentivising unemployment isn’t wise. It is however politically great for those who are for a large government. So long as the main part of a person’s income comes from welfare one can rest reasonably assured that such a person will vote for more government.

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The Struggles of New York City’s Taxi King

He wanted a bailout because Uber and Lyft have hammered his business. He leveraged himself to the hilt financing more taxi medallions than he should have and now he’s crying in his beer because he is losing business and medallion prices are tanking. Boo hoo, he wants his government protected monopoly to remain insulated. Unfortunately for him the market has come calling and creative destruction is doing its thing. Even Freidman’s new crony buddy, Mayor DeBlasio probably wont be able to save him.

Uber is just better than taxis. It’s as simple as that. The taxi companies should either evolve and compete or they should close shop. And that whole bit about cab companies having to adhere to laws Uber doesn’t have to is a red herring. If it’s such a problem why don’t the cab companies lobby to reduce livery regulations?

Why don’t they? Because these regulations were written originally to benefit the cab companies in large part.

I’ve got no sympathy for this guy.

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