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Tag Archives: White House

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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Guess Who Leads The GOP Race In Crony Cash?

Crony capitalism is a bipartisan endeavor. The Dems often get dinged pretty hard because they are particularly inclined toward mixing business and politics (and make no bones about it), but the Republicans love to do the the crony pony too.

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Charles Koch blasts Barack Obama, Explains Cronyism Stance

The Kochs are a great target. They are rich. They are white. They have business interests in the fossil fuels industry. And perhaps most importantly, they are not Democrats. They aren’t even big government Republicans. The Kochs are custom made for statist ire.

But in my years of following them I am generally impressed. I’ve read Charles Koch’s book which outlines why it is that Koch Industries continues to grow even given its already immense size. (Not easy to do.) I am also thankful for their efforts in the marketplace of ideas. They sponsor Cato and other think tanks (not this one) which do much good. (I have some beefs with them too which I won’t go into here.)

The Kochs have also taken a pretty explict stance against crony capitalism. In fact Charles Koch talks about the need to eliminate it in the economy even while he admits that such cronyism benefits Koch Industries.

The Kochs as we have said in the past can defend themselves. They don’t need us to do it. But in the grand scheme of things anyone who thinks president Obama and Harry Reid have anything like a leg to stand on when they criticize the Kochs just doesn’t understand the situation. Of course Obama and Reid have a problem with the Kochs. Obama and Reid are classic crony capitalists. They’ve made their money through schmoozing and coercion in the public sector. As such they know that if a truly limited government regime was put in place by some miracle, one favored by the Kochs, they would be on the losing end of things along with all their buddies.

The private sector, the sector in which the Kochs largely operate is legitimate. In order to succeed in the private sector one must produce a good or service of value. The government sector, largely (certainly not totally) is not legitimate.  It benefits those – often – who are not productive. Obama and Reid know this. But government is the teat at which they and the crony class of both parties suckle. Best to dress up their philosophy in “green” garb and “social justice” than confront the truth which is that on an even playing field they can’t compete with those who succeed in the private sector.

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Lockheed Martin pays $4.7 million to settle charges it lobbied for federal contract with federal money

This is nice. Lockheed Martin runs a nuclear lab in New Mexico which gets federal funds, taxpayer money. The company recently lobbied for an extension of its contract with the government on a no-bid basis. Seeing as Lockheed doesn’t have piles of money lying around (they do) the company figured that the best way to secure a no-bid contract was to use taxpayer dollars which were allocated for national security purposes, and to hire a former congresswoman turned lobbyist to help secure said no-bid contract with the money.

That’s right, we allegedly paid for Lockheed to crony it up on the Hill so that the giant company could infuse itself with more of our money. (Without even having to worry about competition.)

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Minimum-wage offensive could speed arrival of robot-powered restaurants

Could? It absolutely willas we have said many times in this space. Good to see The Washington Post coming around.

Fast food jobs are entry level jobs. They are not meant to sustain families. And the harsh reality is that the work does not demand $15 an hour. One can not just use the magic wand of government and make it so. If we raise the minimum wage, jobs disappear. That’s just the way it is.

In many ways it stinks, particularly if one is struggling to get by. We understand that. And we also understand that “understanding” doesn’t pay the bills. But again, forcing a large increase in the minimum wage will only expedite the loss of low skilled jobs. It’s not going to make things better for many of the people holding signs in front of McDonalds.

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Are we witnessing another collapse of the party system?

It is entertaining. All the “Ready for Hillary” bumper stickers seem to have vanished over the last month or so. Donald Trump is making mincemeat of the GOP party apparatus. All sorts of assumptions about the 2016 presidential race have been tossed out. Rules have been broken. New paths are being blazed.

It has all thrown the DC political class for a loop. And that is a very good thing.

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Libertarian-leaning Republicans in a quandary for whom to vote

The libertarian-conservative coalition will likely determine the GOP nominee for president. One way or the other.The coalition is large enough now that the establishment (as we have seen) isn’t just going to waltz into the White House. Who will carry the flag for the real, honest to goodness, small government people in the Republican Party? Is the Republican Party even the place for honest to goodness small government people? Will populism, some of it not very small government, win the day?

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David Stockman: “The world economy, including the US, is heading into what is clearly going to be an apical deflation. The likes of which we’ve never seen in modern times.”

“Kind of a debt supernova.”

Yikes.

It’s a bold statement from a guy who makes bold statements. He’s of course been bearish for a good long while as readers of this site know. However, he is speaking in broad terms here. He is putting together pieces on a global scale. Plus he understands that the market booms we’ve experienced, driven by central banks are not fundamentally sound. That is the key.

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Biden in La La Land? Hollywood breaks out the check books

3 months ago Hillary was absolutely the unquestioned leader of the Democrat pack. Her coronation all but done. A walk, not even a brisk stroll, up to the podium where adoring Democrats would place the crown upon her head. Huzzah! Huzzah!

But boy have things changed.

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Robert Reich: A revolt is taking place against the “ruling class” (He’s right on this, Wrong on most everything else)

Mr Reich generally needs to be taken with a grain of salt. He has been, and as far as I know, continues to be fundamentally wrong on the most important economic questions. Saying that, he has flashes of insight on political issues, and here’s one.

Of course we issue the standard disclaimers with this piece that we do with many of the folks we choose to feature here who we feel are too enamored with the state.

That he still can’t grasp (or is frankly willing to admit) that for the most part this country should thank its lucky stars for the TEA Party and the mini-revolt of 2009 is a big flaw in his argument. Another one is that he says that the TEA Party promoted “outright racism.” (I almost didn’t run his piece because of this chunk of baloney. A few memes promoted in the Huffington Post don’t count. I was there. I never saw it. Ever. I’m betting Reich didn’t attend many rallies.)

And yet another myth he promotes is the idea of some kind of post-World War 2 golden age of government. That is just a flat out misunderstanding of the situation.

He says,

In 1964, Americans agreed by 64% to 29% that government was run for the benefit of all the people. By 2012, the response had reversed, with voters saying by 79% to 19% that government was “run by a few big interests looking after themselves.”

This may be true but this is because before the information revolution the average person didn’t understand how the game, the government game, was played. It is, and has always been played for powerful interests. It’s just that we know it now. It was because Americans were basically ignorant (through no fault of their own) that 64% of people thought government was run for the benefit of the people.

They may have THOUGHT it was. But it wasn’t.

We woke up. Mr. Reich hasn’t. At least on this very important point.

So why run his piece?

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