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Tag Archives: cronyism

Buy Them Out: Greenpeace plans bid for Vattenfall’s German coal business

This is potentially good business and potentially good for the environment.* We have long asserted that the sort of approach outlined in the attached article is one of the ways environmental issues could/should be addressed. See a problem with a mine? Want it closed? Buy it. Shut it down. That’s a perfectly valid way to address things.

Want to protect the rain forest? Buy vast tracts of it. There are plenty of wealthy greens out there who would love to have a few vanity acres of virgin jungle. Stick a camera on a mahogany tree and let them view the toucans and monkeys running around, and voila a protected reserve.

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Want to Do Business in Cuba? Prepare to Partner With the General

I am unsure if the above headline is a bit of friendly advice, an ad, or a warning. Regardless the attached article offers an interesting window into the changing Cuban economy. There do seem to be opportunities to make money in the tropical worker’s paradise. But just understand that the cronies run the show. All of the show.

At least for the time being. Viva la revelucion capitalismo!

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DEA Employees Fail Drug Tests, Shockingly Face No Serious Consequences (We’re not shocked.)

The Huffington Post says, “shockingly.” I am in no way shocked. I doubt many of our readers are either. If one works for the government, even if one is charged with enforcing drug laws and one is caught using drugs, the chances of being fired are slim. Very slim. More people should know about the completely ridiculous level of “job security” federal employees enjoy. Remember, you pay for them. (Which is why accountability is in such short supply. After all, you are only the taxpayer.)

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How the military and Hollywood partner up to forward narratives

Look, I’m a sucker for many of these films. Top Gun for instance is still one of my favorite movies ever. I grew up with F-14s screaming over my head and the whine of a Tomcat banking before landing is a memory which sits (pleasantly) deep in my grey matter. The Hunt for Red October? Another classic. Red Dawn? Just great. But even as a kid I kind of wondered about how it was that the military and the Hollywood studios worked together. Now we know a little more about that relationship.

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Small businesses losing out in subsidy game: Survey

The game in the United States is absolutely rigged toward big business. We have a crony economic system which benefits the connected and the established at the expense of new ideas and growth. If you’re in the club, we’ve got some taxpayer money for you. If not, well, you can apply for admission but chances are you aren’t getting in.

The fundamental problem here is that governments take from taxpayers and give to connected interests at all. In our opinion that is not the proper role for government and we should be working at all levels of government to reduce subsidies. But proper role or not, it’s got to be immensely frustrating as a small business owner to see streams of tax money flowing to your competition year after year while you the little guy are relegated to the margins.

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The Fed is never going to raise rates (?), Economy facing headwinds from overseas, Job participation rate 38 year low

As we’ve said China is driving things economically right now. The Federal Reserve doesn’t want to say it. It wants everyone to think that though our boat is leaking it is unlikely to leak as much as the rest of the the world’s economic “boats.” And right now that may be true. But we are still taking on water. The Great Economic Experiment post 2008 is failing, as many of the more market oriented have long predicted, and now the American central bank has very few options.

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Congressman Stephen Fincher: From Tea Partier to corporate welfare champion

The old joke is that many a congressperson gets elected by explaining to his constituents that he is going to go to Washington so that he can drain the swamp. But once he gets to DC he decides that the “swamp” is more like a hot tub and he slides right in, martini in hand. Looks like we lost another one to the hot tub.

And the guy is from West Tennessee too. Real “Murica” (in the best sense.) Sounds like the boys in Jackson need to take a trip up the highway to set their Congressman straight.

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The US Chamber of Commerce wants free market conservatives/libertarians gone from Congress, Will spend $100 million to kill TEA Party

Somehow, for many people, the TEA Party has become some sort of social conservative thing. This is the dominant narrative repeated in much of the press and indeed some social conservatives have tried to run with this recharacterization.

But the TEA Party wasn’t and isn’t about social issues. It is about reducing the size of government. It is about bringing the political class in line. It is about We the People saying ENOUGH! And most importantly it is about being TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY. T-E-A.

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Economists Can’t Find the Silver Lining in Today’s Jobs Report

The good news is the market seems to be shrugging off the relatively bad news. The assumption is that the Federal Reserve is unlikely to raise rates before the end of the year in light of the jobs report. The central bank won’t raise rates because it can’t, though it wants to. (Most people think anyway. Some think the Fed has no intention at all of raising rates anytime soon. They are the small minority though.) As such Wall Street gets to continue enjoying 0% rates. So the Street sees at least a bit of a silver lining (for itself) even if “economists” do not.

The jobs numbers are quite poor but not grim. In light of the Chinese, and increasingly global slowdown the dip in the number is of serious concern however.

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In Uber fight, London may mandate five-minute wait for a ride

Why, other than blatant pro cab company cronyism is such a restriction being put on Uber drivers? Uber is a better product than your standard cab ride. It makes more sense than the antiquated cab companies of old. In most cases it’s cheaper and the service better than what we used to have. But the buggy whip…er…I mean… taxi companies around the world have worked to shut out competition by enlisting crony friends in city governments in an effort to stop legitimate progress.

At least London cabbies aren’t beating up Uber drivers (with union blessing) like they are in Paris.

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Obamacare co-opts imploding everywhere, billions of your tax dollars wasted

There are people who honestly believe that markets are some sort of human construct, that supply and demand aren’t as simple as water flowing downhill. These people have done great damage to our economy and our society over the years. The Obamacare “co-opts” are just the latest example of this kind of magical policy thinking.

Markets are natural phenomena. Ebb and flow. But they can be inconvenient for some who would like to construct a new reality out of whole cloth. Kind of like how gravity is inconvenient for those who would like to be able to jump to the moon.

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