How it works folks.
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.
I’ve known a few people in significant positions of power. Some in government. Some in business. The people I like(d) the most are the ones who despite their power are always conscious of the cost of things, either to the taxpayer or to their private employer. Chris Christie does not appear to have that frugal gene.
And I’m not saying that one must always fly coach or must refrain from a steak dinner. But $82,000 of the taxpayer’s money on football “concessions” in a year is a bit much.
I think the most remarkable thing about the reporting Schweizer has done is in simply exposing the breadth of the Clinton empire. They have stuff in Haiti, in Congo, in Canada, in Columbia, Mexico, Asia, the Middle East, pretty much everywhere. The Foundation is a juggernaut of influence, back slaps, and most importantly capital.
I read something somewhere which went something like this;
“Those who don’t understand interest pay it. Those who do earn it.”
This is an oversimplification but the spirit is right on the money (so to speak.) Vast swathes of the suburbs are awash in debt. It contributes greatly to the quiet (so quiet that for many it is unspoken) desperation of the American middle class. It’s pretty sad actually. Particularly when the banks lending via credit cards are getting their money at near 0% interest from the Fed.
In the attached article Kevin D. Williamson associates functionality and competence a little too closely with Republicans. Saying this his analysis otherwise is right on.
What we saw in Baltimore this week is a symptom of big government urban politics. Why are places like Detroit, much of Chicago, St. Louis, Philly, still large parts of New York, Atlanta, Richmond, a good part of Washington DC, and dozens more cities so poor and so dysfunctional? Largely (but not solely), because in these places the reality of the marketplace is not embraced. (At least not the legal marketplace.)
Why do businesses leave these cities? For many reasons. But a big part is because taxes are too high in major cities, almost across the board. Or perhaps like Seattle the minimum wage is being pushed up to levels which are divorced from reality, which also acts as a tax. There is a reason some cities feel like skeletons, because the business community long ago was picked clean. Urban America killed the goose that laid the golden tax base egg. Now it wonders why all the jobs are gone.
It is like a never ending onion peel with the Clintons.
I’ll give them this – they stay busy.
Call it the new abnormal.
Since 2008 the world has been turned upside down. In our collective panic we have disrupted whatever used to pass for economic homeostasis. Now the globe is moving (moved) toward a negative interest rate environment for government bonds.
Please, take my money. I’ll pay you to take my money! Why am I paying a government to hold my money? Well, because the economy is so healthy of course.
All the paper bugs out there can say whatever they want. Gold is a “barbaric relic.” It’s just a yellow rock. Yet, when the dung hits the fan, it’s the gold which gets sold. (Or in this case pawned.) As true for the degenerate gambler in Atlantic City as it is for the degenerate politicos in in Venezuela.
Oh, it’s a bull market alright. Can nothing stop the QE induced party? The sun has come up and set a few times on this market, yet the DJ is still pumping the music and most importantly the drug dealers are still milling about the crowd.
Ibiza in pinstripes. Or if you prefer Las Vegas in pinstripes.
I don’t know what would have been more difficult to get through, the White House Correspondent’s Dinner last weekend or the The Bryce Harlow Foundation awards dinner, which brings the heaviest hitters in Congress and on K Street together to schmooze and give awards to one another. (That’s right, Congress gives awards to lobbyists, and the lobbyists give awards to members of Congress.)
Steny Hoyer appears to be very happy to be hanging out with the Gucci gulch crowd however.
The Fed will always be able to stop a crash. Just like how the prices of houses always go up?
Many of our readers are probably aware that Townhall Finance regularly features our work. John Ransom, the editor there does an excellent job and we encourage everyone to check out the site if you have not visited. It’s a very good mix of free market thinkers from different schools. Though it is generally not “libertarian.”
That is why I was particularly pleased to see this article in Townhall. A new and broad political disposition is clearly emerging. Though many longstanding libertarians would probably take issue with some of the people calling themselves “libertarians” these days, what we see is clearly progress. In the face of a very activist government (going back long before Obama) and a renaissance of constitutional understanding (largely facilitated by the Internet) more and more people are actually embracing the concept of “live and let live.”
My colleague Hunter Lewis has this to say about Paul Volcker –
“Volcker really cares about the poor and the middle class. He is also scrupulously honest, not a scintilla of cronyism or corruption in him. And he has even admitted that the financial system was actually more stable before the creation of the federal reserve.”
Word is that Al Sharpton is holding a hunger strike to protest the fact that the Senate won’t move on the Lorretta Lynch AG nomination. You can guess why Sharpton think things are held up. One of the real reasons why Ms. Lynch is under such scrutiny is her support of civil forfieture. The seizing of property by the police even if someone has not been convicted of a crime. Across the country police departments have used the tool to feather their nests. The practice is often called “policing for profit.” People lose homes and livelihoods even if they have done nothing wrong.
One such example comes from Frederick County Maryland. A small farmer who ran a cash market sometimes would deposit just less than $10,000 after a sale day in the bank in an effort to avoid the paperwork associated with depositing more that $10,000. This practice is called “structuring” and according to police it is a no no. So the police decided to seize the $63,000 in the account used for the farmer’s market. They did this even though the police said they knew their victim was innocent of wrongdoing.