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Tag Archives: economy

Have we reached ‘Peak Wall Street’ in America?

Historical experience says that it is very unlikely that we have seen Wall Street’s zenith of influence. But Charles Hugh Smith has some thoughts on the issue. He argues that high finance may be a threat to what he and many others refer to as the “Deep State.” As such the “Deep State” could move to clip Wall Street’s wings.

I don’t know about that.

(From Of Two Minds)

Many consider it “impossible” that Wall Street could possibly lose its political grip on the nation’s throat, but I suggest that Wall Street has over-reached, and is now teetering at the top of the S-Curve, i.e. it has reached Peak Wall Street.

Consider what the extremes of Wall Street/Federal Reserve predation, parasitism, avarice and power have done to the nation, and then ask if other factions within the Deep State are blind to the destructive consequences.

An interesting question to ponder. And no, many components of the “Deep State” are not blind to it at all. But as Ned Beatty in the classic movie Network says…

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Is the TPP like Obamacare, “Executive Amnesty,” and “Net neutrality”? The public can’t see. Only large vested interests.

A broad, sweeping, global treaty which will/may fundamentally shift how trade is done in the world and in the USA is still secret and thanks to Senate Republicans is halfway to getting “fast track” status. That is the treaty will be voted on for final approval by Congress with a simple “yes” or “no” vote, without debate or amendments. That doesn’t seem right to me.

Now I am all for free trade. I think goods and services should flow without friction across borders. I say make it easier for this to happen. This creates opportunity and better goods at better prices for nearly everyone.

An example.

When I was a kid I used to get Sears brand sneakers with my mom. (Fashion was not a priority for my parents when it came to the kids.) Every 6 months or so I’d get a new pair. The cost was $35-$40.

Fast forward to now. At Target kid sneakers of much higher quality than my Sears kicks can be purchased at about the same price or even lower. And this isn’t even in inflation adjusted terms. Adjusting for inflation, these higher quality sneakers are probably HALF the price of my old sneakers, or even less.

This is an example of free trade raising the quality of life generally.

The same can be said for t-shirts, technology, any number of things. Our lives are for the most part much better because of relatively free trade.

Of course there are losers in this equation. The people who used to make my Sears brand sneakers no longer have a job making Sears brand sneakers. That’s true. But generally life is better in America for all those Chinese made goods which are made for us at lower cost and with higher quality (often) than products made in the States.

But it concerns me that the Trans Pacific Partnership, a supposedly “free trade” agreement, is being handled with such secrecy. This giant agreement has been negotiated and is being voted on (at least fast track authority) by the Congress, without any public review at all. Is this how we do business in the USA now? Are our leaders so afraid that the people will rise up in opposition that government must now be done in the shadows?

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The Myth of the Free Market Cartel | by Murray N. Rothbard (Video)

Cartels rarely survive very long without the backing of the government. The big trusts over the years have only continued on over the long term if they had the protection of the state. In a free market with free prices monopolists are constantly undermined by new firms, with newer equipment and better methods. There is no better trust buster than the market.

If however the companies in power at a particular time can buy into the government and create a regulatory moat around their firms the old, less innovative guard can remain in place. A key part of crony capitalism.

Below the master Murray Rothbard discusses this phenomenon in a short excerpt.

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I’ve Read Obama’s Secret Trade Deal. Elizabeth Warren Is Right to Be Concerned.

The unions don’t like it. Many libertarians and free market types don’t like it. But Obama and the Chamber of Commerce are keen. Something smells here.

Something else to keep in mind. Just because something is called free trade doesn’t mean it actually is free trade. My bet, and the author alludes to this, is that the agreement will be full of crony nooks and crannies. Nooks and crannies some would prefer the public not learn about.

Until it’s too late.

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Ron Paul was right about the Iraq War, Now GOP presidential hopefuls are accepting this fact

Ron Paul has long been ahead of the curve. He anticipated the 2008 financial crisis. His “Ron Paul Revolution” was the seed which grew into the robust and mainstream libertarian tendency within the GOP we see today. And he was right on Iraq—it was a mistake of colossal proportions.

But while Ron Paul was predicting a Fed created economic catastrophe and outlining why it was that invading Iraq was wrong and indeed anathema to what America was supposed to stand for, the GOP was fully engaged in disavowing the spirit of Ronald Reagan (spirit) and embracing a big government philosophy.

The Bush years were years of big government “conservatism.” The neocon coup.

Iraq in many ways is what broke the modern—William F. Buckley, Jack Kemp, Ronald Reagan—conservative movement. Bush blew it up just like so many bridges across the Tigris.

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Amtrak Needs Privatization, Not More Subsidies

Indeed it does as we said a few weeks ago. Someone can make it profitable. The transportation equation is very different from when Amtrak was created. The highways are more full. Plane travel is a much bigger hassle. A private Amtrak can work.

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de Blasio’s ‘Progressive’ agenda lifted straight from Socialist, Communist Party talking points?

Let’s be clear, socialism is fundamentally crony. It is a system of cronies helping other cronies to exploit any legitimate and real wealth there is. That is, until the wealth runs out.

Statism in all its forms is death. Communism, socialism, fascism, all the variants are death – for the economy sooner or later and in many instances for the people who live under such systems. (Sometimes, as in parts of Europe people just go into a kind of coma, like in Denmark for instance where socialism has slowly sapped the vigor of the people since World War II.)

It’s sad to see that 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall some still want to believe that reality can be denied. That markets aren’t just the way universe orders itself in economic terms. Markets are like water flowing downhill. Cities are like economic rain forests with millions of market microclimates and unique economic species. It’s a complex web, an ECOsystem. But socialists want to clear cut this beauty with the bulldozer of the state. All in the name of “social justice” of course.

It should also be noted that Mayor de Blasio who supported the communist regime in Nicaragua during the 1980s was probably not a happy guy when communism mercifully came crashing down around the world. That this fellow has anyone listening to him today is a crying shame.

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Corporate Welfare Is Terrible Policy, But Democrats And Republicans Do It Anyway

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.

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To what degree is the the “Defense” industry driving foreign policy? And why Obama is the military contractor’s best friend

As I’ve written many times before, I grew up around the military industrial complex. I am a Navy brat and am still a Navy Football fan. (Pretty much the only team I care about these days.) I know the squeal of an F-14 as it banks in at sunset to land with its wings open. I can practically recite Top Gun to you. At one point I thought I might want to be a navy SEAL. My mother used to take us to the beach and we’d watch the giant hovercrafts ramp over the dunes. I used to go surfing right next to a gunnery range. (No joke. The break is called Pendleton and one could watch the shells splash into the water just to the south.) The point is when I post articles about the Military Industrial Complex I do not come from a position of ignorance. I do not come from a place of jaded familiarity either. But I am a tax payer. And it disturbs me that the weapons industry is the juggernaut of cronyism it is. It’s not healthy for our republic. To say the least.

It concerns me even more to think that war is perpetuated officially because behind the scenes powerful interests want to see warfare continue. I don’t want to believe that’s true. Most Americans don’t want to believe that’s true. And it may even be less true than many critics believe. But I think most informed individuals think that the MIC drives foreign policy at least to some extent. And even some is pretty messed up and not the way it should be in the United States.

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Connecticut’s tax on hiring low skilled workers

If you are an employer with over 500 employees in Connecticut and you hire someone for less than $15/hr you must now pay a tax of one dollar for each hour your employee works.

It’s a shakedown from the state wrapped in the banner of “wage justice.” It’s a revenue stream for government and another barrier to employment for low skilled workers.

Just another reason people and business continue to leave the Northeast.

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