Posts tagged ‘crony capitalism’

Sugar, Carbs, and Fat. And Cronyism.

Recently, 45 international medical and scientific societies, including the American Diabetes Association, called for bariatric surgery to become a standard option for diabetes treatment. The procedure, until now seen as a last resort, involves stapling, binding or removing part of the stomach to help people shed weight. It costs $11,500 to $26,000, which many insurance plans won’t pay and which doesn’t include the costs of office visits for maintenance or postoperative complications. And up to 17 percent of patients will have complications, which can include nutrient deficiencies, infections and intestinal blockages.

It is nonsensical that we’re expected to prescribe these techniques to our patients while the medical guidelines don’t include another better, safer and far cheaper method: a diet low in carbohydrates.

Once a fad diet, the safety and efficacy of the low-carb diet have now been verified in more than 40 clinical trials on thousands of subjects. Given that the government projects that one in three Americans (and one in two of those of Hispanic origin) will be given a diagnosis of diabetes by 2050, it’s time to give this diet a closer look.

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Yet there’s another, more effective way to lower glucose levels: Eat less of it.

Glucose is the breakdown product of carbohydrates, which are found principally in wheat, rice, corn, potatoes, fruit and sugars. Restricting these foods keeps blood glucose low. Moreover, replacing those carbohydrates with healthy protein and fats, the most naturally satiating of foods, often eliminates hunger. People can lose weight without starving themselves, or even counting calories.
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Most doctors — and the diabetes associations — portray diabetes as an incurable disease, presaging a steady decline that may include kidney failure, amputations and blindness, as well as life-threatening heart attacks and stroke. Yet the literature on low-carbohydrate intervention for diabetes tells another story. For instance, a two-week study of 10 obese patients with Type 2 diabetes found that their glucose levels normalized and insulin sensitivity was improved by 75 percent after they went on a low-carb diet.

Before You Spend $26,000 on Weight-Loss Surgery, Do This

The link between a high-sugar diet and the development of metabolic problems had begun emerging in the 1950s. In 1965, a group called the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) funded a study assessing previous studies on this possibility. That literature review, published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine in 1967, concluded that fat and cholesterol were the real culprits when it came to coronary heart disease.

“The SRF set the review’s objective, contributed articles for inclusion, and received drafts,” according to a new paper published in JAMA Internal Medicine “The SRF’s funding and role was not disclosed.”

The New York Times wants this to be a story about junk-food bigwigs screwing with science to the detriment of American health. And it is, in part. But beyond that, the findings also indict “dietary science” that the U.S. government has been pushing for decades, and still continues to push.

As we know now, high cholesterol levels in the blood may portend heart problems, but consuming high-cholesterol food—such as eggs, long demonized as a heart-health no-no—doesn’t correlate to high blood-cholesterol. And saturated fats come in many forms, some bad for you and others some of the healthiest things you can consume.

But for decades, conventional wisdom in America said that dietary fats and cholesterol were to be extremely rare in a nutritious diet. Meanwhile, sugar got a rep for rotting your teeth (and maybe packing on a few pounds) but was otherwise considered benign. And this demonization of fat actually helped increase U.S. sugar consumption, as health conscious Americans replaced morning eggs and sausage with carbs like bagels, or turned to low-fat and fat-free offerings where added sugar helped fill the taste void.

Drafter of U.S. Dietary Goals Was Bribed by Big Sugar to Demonize Fat

End sugar and all other government subsidies.

Ozymandias

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Crony Capitalism in DC. Again.

Five years ago, a new quirky-sounding consumer-rights group set up shop in a sleepy corner of Capitol Hill. “Consumers for Paper Options is a group of individuals and organizations who believe paper-based communications are critically important for millions of Americans,” the group explained in a press release, “especially those who are not yet part of the online community.”

This week, Consumers for Paper Options scored a big win, according to the Wall Street Journal. Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Mary Jo White has abandoned her plan to loosen rules about the need to mail paper documents to investors in mutual funds.

Mutual funds were lobbying for more freedom when it came to mailing prospectuses — those exhaustive, bulky, trash-can-bound explanations of the contents of your fund. In short, the funds wanted to be free to make electronic delivery the default, while allowing investors to insist on paper delivery. This is an obvious common-sense reform which would save whole forests of trees.

Consumers for Paper Options fought back. The group warned that changing the default from paper to electronic delivery would “Confuse potentially millions of investors who suddenly stop seeing important printed fund performance material from investment firms.”

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This is almost laughable: A D.C. lobbyist forming a sham “consumer” protection to fight for federal rules requiring more paper and envelopes be wasted, while getting paid by the envelope lobby.

But the envelope CEOs and the paper lobbyists aren’t the only ones who care about keeping this junkmail flowing. Those paper mills that exist in the U.S. are deeply threatened by digitization. Among the shrinking list of things that go on paper these days are things the government forces people to put on paper. Allow mutual funds to mail fewer prospectuses, and those paper mills will lose a significant amount of work.

The employees at these mills will see their hours reduced, if they’re not simply laid off. The added costs of mailing me unwanted paper nibbles away the value of my retirement account, but is a tiny uptick in my 401(k) really worth laying off paper mill worker in East Millinocket, Maine?

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Here’s the thing about the federal rule requiring the mailing of the prospectus: It’s absurd and wasteful, and it differs only in degree from most subsidies whose defenders use the same “save the jobs” rhetoric.

In a federal mandate for waste, envelope lobby reveals Washington

Ozymandias and statolatry

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“Lobbying”

What if you could bet on Wednesday’s NBA game between Golden State and Oklahoma City, and before the game or at least before the final buzzer, you could lobby the referees and the league to change the rules? Maybe you would bet on Oklahoma City and then lobby to abolish the three-point shot.

Hedge funds and other investment firms are playing that very game in Washington, D.C., these days. Recently, Capitol Hill has seen a blitz of lobbying on how Puerto Rico should handle its debt amid fiscal disaster, and how Treasury should deal with private investors in bailed out government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Behind the barrage of lobbying, op-eds and public relations is a handful of hedge funds who have gambled one way or another on GSE stock or Puerto Rican debt, in the hope that they could pull enough strings in Washington to make big bucks.

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Investors allocating capital according to which policy tweaks they think they can win doesn’t sound like the type of capitalism that maximizes economic efficiency. It’s just public-policy profiteering.

As government gets involved in more parts of the economy, hedge funds will increasingly engage in this public-policy profiteering. This will make lobbying on these arcane issues more common and more intense.

So maybe it’s a good time to be long on K Street.

Puerto Rico’s debt, Fannie Mae’s stock, and public-policy profiteering

Ozymandias

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Crony Capitalist Supports Crony Poltico

Politically connected billionaire investor Warren Buffett has been unwavering in his support for millionaire presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, but this weekend Buffett pledged to go to greater lengths to get his fellow 1-percenter elected.
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[Hillary] Clinton endorses subsidies for green energy, and [Warren] Buffett is positioned to profit from such subsidies. Clinton opposes the Keystone pipeline, which could make Buffett’s railway more profitable. Hillary supported the Wall Street bailout, which directly benefited Buffett. Hillary is on board with Buffett in supporting the death tax, which has meant much profit for Buffett — he owns part of a life insurance company, and he’s bought profitable businesses whose owners were forced by to sell because of the death tax. Buffett is invested in ethanol giant Archer Daniels Midland, and Clinton supports federal ethanol mandates.

Clinton and Buffett: It’s a good match.

Politically connected billionaire financier to campaign for politically connected multimillionaire candidate

See also:
– “The Crony Capitalist Pretense Behind Warren Buffett’s Banking Buys

Warren Buffet tag on AgainstCronyCapaitalism

– “Warren Buffet Reaps Crony Capitalist Billions from Gov Bank Bailouts

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“Pro-Business” is NOT Pro-Market

Instead of being “pro-business,” policy makers should aspire to be “pro-market,” eschewing both targeted punishment and targeted privilege.

‘Pro-Business’ Is Bad Business for the Middle Class, by Matthew Mitchell

Being “pro-business” is crony capitalism in disguise and rewards the Clerisy and the political class. Free markets are all about voluntary cooperation.

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The Kronies!

Introducing General Surgeon, The Team Medic!

The Kronies: Laughing All The Way to the Export-Import Bank!

This description could easily be about crony capitalists, the Clerisy, and the political class: The resiliency of Silly Putty, without the fun.

Hurray for Crony Capitalism!

We need more happy warriors!

In world filled with screaming partisans, we feel that there is a need for playful and thoughtful content that tackled important subjects.

John Papola

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We need a fat president, not President Finger Wagger.

We need a fat president. Or at least one who rarely thinks and never speaks about how he looks in jeans. And one who doesn’t spend his day testing his wits against a Hollywood stoner or bantering with Ryan Seacrest while a European ally is being pummeled by Russia. And one who would rather spend his time working than working out, even if it means putting on a few pounds.

Bret Stephens

What we have is the Moral Preener in Chief. President Poofter. President Finger Wagger.

I didn’t build that! Says President Smartest Guy In The Room. President Self Esteem.

Russia Sanctions Fail to Soothe Poland’s Frayed Nerves

Hmm, wonder why….

Forward!

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Mockery, Truculence, and Minimalist Living = Irish Democracy

President Blah Blah Blah, President Poofter

There are many who have expressed the opinion over the years that the United States should go down some sort of “revolutionary” road. The topic has come up repeatedly in various areas of what was Tickerforum and I have repeatedly slapped it down, noting that only a fool who pays no attention to history pines for such a thing irrespective of how bad you may think the situation is.
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Folks, the simple fact is that odds are 100:1 you’re going to get a bad result when you go down the road of violence. There are far too many people who think that when you take such a path you get a Thomas Jefferson moment.

The fact is that most of the time what you actually get is a Pinochet moment.

There are many means of non-violent action, including but not limited to withdrawing your consent by working less and reducing your footprint — and thus the ability of government to sustain its own size.

That’s lawful, by the way.

What raises my eyebrows are those who argue that this sort of perfectly-lawful choice will never work because the people won’t do it, yet at the same time they want to make noise about committing violence. Well, not only will most people not go along with that, but in addition the odds of a good outcome from getting involved in violence are much smaller than the odds from taking lawful and peaceful action instead!

Ukraine: A Warning To Those Who Are Fools

Irish Democracy

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The Crony Class Includes the Political Class

The Kronies, from John Papola and Emergent Order

For most of US history, crony capitalism has been in a struggle with free-market capitalism for the heart and soul of the American economy. For the past half century, crony capitalism has been gaining the upper hand. There are many reasons why, all of which can be traced to the insatiable desire of the state to gain and hold power.

How the World Was Made Safe for Crony Capitalism

Crony in Chief

Crony Chronicles | The Cronyism Resource

Cafe Hayek – Crony Capitalism

Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Exemplify The Horrors Of Crony Capitalism

ObamaCare’s Crony Capitalism: Worse than We Thought

Crony Capitalism in America: 2008-2012

An Obama renaissance of crony capitalism

Curt Schilling, Crony

We need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT)

Sheila Bair, Crony
Sheila Bair, regulator who criticized the revolving door, passes through the revolving door

Chuck Schumer, Crony
Chuck Schumer: Voice of the little man, courtier of plutocrats

Joe Lieberman, Crony
Joe Lieberman’s revolving-door spin, and the profitability of bigger government

David Strickland, Crony
Obama revolving door: Auto safety chief who oversaw Toyota case cashes out to Chrysler’s lobbying firm

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Academic Capitalism is Crony Capitalism

1. It’s not about college, it’s about college-for-all.
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2. How do you calculate a college wage premium?
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3. So, what policies might add marginal students in a productive manner?
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4. By the way, what do basic descriptive data say about college students?
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5. If college is sometimes just “signaling,” what are the policy implications?
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6. Charts!
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There are reasons to think that some people might benefit from more education than they’re getting now. But at the same time, there remain reasons to be highly skeptical of the push to dramatically expand college attendance.

When Is College Worth It?

Ai yi yi. And he wants more subsidies and even less of a free market in education. Higher ed is already mostly “non-profit” and free of burdensome taxes, and funded with government money in the form of grants and student loans.

This same industry, despite its legal status as a public charity, is today driven by motives indistinguishable from the profit-maximizing entities traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

The coming of “academic capitalism” has been anticipated and praised for years; today it is here. Colleges and universities clamor greedily these days for pharmaceutical patents and ownership chunks of high-tech startups; they boast of being “entrepreneurial”; they have rationalized and outsourced countless aspects of their operations in the search for cash; they fight their workers nearly as ferociously as a nineteenth-century railroad baron; and the richest among them have turned their endowments into in-house hedge funds.

Now, consider the seventeen-year-old customer against whom this predatory institution squares off. He comes loping to the bargaining table armed with about the same amount of guile that, a few years earlier, he brought to Santa’s lap in the happy holiday shopping center. You can be sure that he knows all about the imperative of achieving his dreams, and the status that will surely flow from the beloved institution. Either he goes to college like the rest of his friends, or he goes to work.

He knows enough about the world to predict the kind of work he’ll get with only a high school diploma in his pocket, but of the ways of the University he knows precious little. He is the opposite of a savvy consumer. And yet here he comes nevertheless, armed with the ability to pay virtually any price his dream school demands that he pay. All he needs to do is sign a student loan application, binding himself forever and inescapably with a financial instrument that he only dimly understands and that, thanks to the optimism of adolescence, he has not yet learned to fear.

The disaster that the university has proceeded to inflict on the youth of America, I submit, is the direct and inescapable outcome of this grim equation. Yes, in certain reaches of the system the variables are different and the yield isn’t quite as dreadful as in others. But by and large, once all the factors I have described were in place, it was a matter of simple math. Grant to an industry control over access to the good things in life; insist that it transform itself into a throat-cutting, market-minded mercenary; get thought leaders to declare it to be the answer to every problem; mute any reservations the nation might have about it—and, lastly, send it your unsuspecting kids, armed with a blank check drawn on their own futures.

Academy Fight Song

“We do see pressure on small private colleges as a group and that’s primarily because they don’t have a lot of different things they can do, so they are primarily dependent on tuition revenue,” said a Moody’s analyst, Edie Behr.

Moody’s has pointed out the fiscal dangers of colleges relying on a small number of revenue streams.

Downgrading Elite Colleges

Boo hoo.

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