An interesting and somewhat desperate statement on corruption from a fan big government in Salon.
Thing is, as we say often, government is inherently corrupt. One can’t just get “good people” into office and then things will change. Government must itself be reduced.
Yes this means that many big modern liberal dreams must be abandoned.
I do not write this flippantly. I understand that this would constitute a political sea change.
The Export-Import Bank’s charter was not renewed earlier this summer. The vehicle for blatant crony capitalism, “Boeing’s bank,” closed its eyes. But it is not dead – yet.
Most Dems and a good number of particularly corporate inclined Republicans in the Senate and the House would like to see the bank resurrected. Ex-Im means big bucks to some very large companies. As such the lobbyists have descended on Capitol Hill en masse.
Put this thing into the ground. Or better yet, cremate 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.
As one reader commented a few days ago, “It just doesn’t stop.”
Indeed it doesn’t. This is the culture of Washington. The big cash-in carrot is why many people go into government these days. In the warren of Washington regulation there are caches of dollars along the way. If you know where to look for them.
A tour (or multiple tours) in high level bureaucracy provides one with a nice map of potential taxpayer funded riches.
By Ron Paul
The drama over Greece’s financial crisis continues to dominate the headlines. As this column is being written, a deal may have been reached providing Greece with yet another bailout if the Greek government adopts new “austerity” measures. The deal will allow all sides to brag about how they came together to save the Greek economy and the European Monetary Union. However, this deal is merely a Band-Aid, not a permanent fix to Greece’s problems. So another crisis is inevitable.
The Greek crisis provides a look into what awaits us unless we stop overspending on warfare and welfare and restore a sound monetary system. While most commentators have focused on Greece’s welfare state, much of Greece’s deficit was caused by excessive military spending. Even as its economy collapses and the government makes (minor) cuts in welfare spending, Greece’s military budget remains among the largest in the European Union.
Despite all the handwringing over how the phony sequestration cuts have weakened America’s defenses, the United States military budget remains larger than the combined budgets of the world’s next 15 highest spending militaries. Little, if any, of the military budget is spent defending the American people from foreign threats. Instead, the American government wastes billions of dollars on an imperial foreign policy that makes Americans less safe. America will never get its fiscal house in order until we change our foreign policy and stop wasting trillions on unnecessary and unconstitutional wars.
Fascism and (Marxist) socialism are sisters. Close sisters. Both are fundamentally about controlling the economy in a quest for a greater “good.” They have important differences which are more than stylistic differences. But both are fundamentally opposed to free markets, free prices, and fundamentally the free will of individuals. At least most individuals.
What is “socialism” and what is “fascism” is a point of ongoing debate on this site. Invariably someone posts a meme which purports to define fascism as what we see it in the movies. See, FDR and Obama can’t have fascist tendencies. (In FDR’s case it was probably more than just a tendency.) They don’t (didn’t) wear jack boots and goose step around the White House. Fascists have a look. They are “right-wing.” (Right and Left as we know them in this country really are vestiges of another time and are less and less useful.)
But fascism is not about a look. It is about state control of a nominally private economy. And most of the fascists I know of tend(ed) not to watch Triumph of the Will on loop. Many look(ed) perfectly respectable.
I forgot who said it, but it is true that the most dangerous fascist of all may prefer tweed jackets to arm bands and over-starched shirts.
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.
Farage addresses Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras personally on the floor of the European Parliament and encourages the leader, and it appears that Tsipras is a leader, to exit the Eurozone “with (his) head held high.”
Indeed there are many “friends of Greece” around the world. More friends than Goldman Sachs, that’s for sure. Though Goldman’s friends tend to be more powerful.
Greece, pull an Iceland.
Well China stocks are cascading. Now the NYSE has suspended trading and may for the rest of the day? Yeah, things are fine. Totally cool.
We are told that the NYSE is “rebooting” now. But it’s been 2 hours and that’s a long bit.
I post this because I feel like retail investors (most of our readers who invest) should be more informed about the markets into which they put their money. It’s not a game. There are inefficiencies in information relay. Sometimes such inefficiencies are created by governments (such as when the Fed leaked minutes to big banks before the minutes were released to the broader public) and this is totally wrong. Other times such inefficiencies (and opportunities for profit) present themselves because of the shifting nature of the market. Either way it is good to have at least a sense of what one is up against.
And a special note to mutual fund investors – Check your expense ratios and keep them low.
Hayek had a name for the hubris which clings to big government planners like herpes – “the pretense of knowledge.”
Planners always think they can plan large social experiments, but experience has shown us over and over and over, from the Soviet Union, to France, to Britain, to North Korea, to the United States, they just can not. Obamacare is just the latest example.
20%-40% increases because, surprise surprise the people who signed up for Obamacare are sicker than the planners planned and fewer healthy people signed up than the planners planned.
It’s not like anyone said this would happen. Oh wait, all the people who understood basic supply and demand said this would happen.
We are beginning to see the Great Experiment, the post 2008 Crash experiment, disintegrate. A crack here. A crack there. A hairline fracture. A fissure. The underpinnings of printed money have always been unsound, but now the edifice appears to be unstable. Will a hard Greek gale bring the thing down, or will winds from somewhere else finally do this fiat superstructure in?
Guess we’ll find out soon enough.
Hey, he had a good week. Obama appeased both his corporate sponsors with the passage of fast track authority for the TPP and the Supreme Court rewrite of Obamacare. Then he appeased the West Coast folks with the gay marriage ruling. Add in a couple of other factors which we will not comment on and there you go, the bourgeois, middle class, flyover country people are put in their place.
OK, so Greece is messed up. We know that. It’s not a surprise. The call for a referendum from Athens was a surprise but not the end of the world.