Posts tagged ‘cronyism’

Superman Politics

The Carrier bailout is awful, of course. It is a case of two politicians’ using public funds to bribe a business into doing things that benefit them personally and politically while creating no real long-term economic value. Pence, who dropped his free-market principles like the world’s hottest potato once he got within sniffing distance of presidential power, can burnish his populist credentials at the taxpayers’ expense, and Trump can get ready to flit on to the next publicity stunt.

But the emerging “Superman” politics here are truly poisonous. One of the genre conventions of superhero stories is the compression of all the world’s drama into the immediate presence of the hero — only his actions and intentions are relevant. People may be dying all over the world, but Superman saves Lois Lane. (Comic-book movies have lately subverted that convention by focusing on the collateral damage done by superheroes to the cities in which they live.) What that means in the context of our contemporary presidential politics is that no one takes any note of the fact that Carrier is not the only HVAC company in the United States or the only industrial concern in Indiana. Carrier has competitors that employ Americans, pay taxes, and produce real economic value, and they have been put at a relative disadvantage by the political favoritism extended to Carrier. What about them? They’re not on the stage, so they do not matter.

What is important to understand here is that this is not part of an economic-development agenda: It is theater. It is an adolescent fantasy of political power, and wherever Superman happens to land is where the action is. Nothing else is relevant. It does not matter that there is no broader logic at work: Small displays of efficacy can work to create an illusion of general efficacy. It is busyness as business.

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Trump’s big idea so far is spending $7 million of other people’s money to delay an embarrassing headline. Some deal. Some deal-maker.

Trump’s Superman Style of Politics

Cronyism has a new moral preener and Crony Capitalist in Chief.

Ozymandias

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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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“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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Washington, DC – Cronyism – Ozymandias


Is Big Business a Danger to Economic Liberty?

This all reflects the aspect of lobbying most observers miss: the lobbyists are often more closely bound to the politicians they are supposedly swaying than they are to the clients they are supposedly representing. The result: the lobbyists serve largely to extract money from companies, and use that money to help their political friends, whose success will ensure the lobbyists more clients.


Big Business Loves Big Government: Cronyism in American Politics

This is how wealth begets wealth, power begets power, and how on K Street, they are all intermarried.

Timothy Carney

The DC Revolving Door swings wide and it swings both ways

See also, “Obama Administration Helps Wall Street Criminals Dodge Accountability Hope and Change! LOL!


Crony Capitalism as Progressive Reform

Books by Timothy Carney
The Big Ripoff
Obamanomics

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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!

Continue reading ‘We need a fat president, not President Finger Wagger.’ »

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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

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More Crony Capitalism Masquerading as “Public Service”

These columns recently interrupted the coronation for Ron Binz to become one of President Obama’s key energy regulators, and apparently reporting on his record is a violation of Capitol Hill decorum. We’re happy to have the story to ourselves because there is so much more that Senators ought to scrutinize before they vote on his nomination this fall.

“Ron Binz’s Rules for Radicals” (July 30) questioned his fitness to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, whose narrow mandate involves interstate energy transmission and protecting the U.S. electric grid’s reliability and affordability. The White House wants to conscript FERC for the climate wars—and now environmentalists and crony capitalists are teaming up to install their man inside this supposedly independent body.

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What crony capitalism? Rent seeking at the C-Level

“Increasingly CEOs are seeing the need to get engaged because the government more often than not is a business partner that can affect their bottom line positively, or negatively,” said Nick Calio, a Washington veteran who now heads the trade group Airlines for America.
. . .
CEOs have also been welcomed with open arms by political leaders looking to take on major issues like immigration reform, tax policy and the deficit and debt [Ed., and campaign contributions, all for the public good of course].

The Obama administration has brought business leaders into the White House repeatedly in his second term on issues like cyber security, immigration and the economy [Ed., and campaign contributions, all for the public good of course].

Earlier this month Obama met privately with energy CEOs in preparation for hurricane season. Attendees included: Tony Alexander of FirstEnergy, Chris Crane of Exelon, Lew Hay of NextEra Energy and Joe Rigby of Pepco.

He also huddled in April with Wall Street execs in an effort to sell them on his fiscal policy plans. That group included Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan’s Dimon, Brian Moynihan of Bank of America, John Stumpf of Wells Fargo, among others.

[As the federal government gets bigger and bigger, enabled by Congress] “I think there’s more to lose now than there has been in the past,” said Ivan Adler, a headhunter with the McCormick Group. “So losing a big legislative fight has more of an impact on the bottom line than it did in the past, and therefore there’s a higher cost for failure.”

CEOs storm Washington

Goldman Sachs, Facebook, GE, JPMorgan, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Exelon, NextEra Energy, Pepco, FirstEnergy, GM, Airlines for America, T. Boone Pickens, Warren Buffet – special interests and crony capitalists all, and all TBTF.

Buck McKeon’s family is getting into the defense lobbying game.

A firm run by the California Republican’s brother and nephews has landed five lobbying clients, according to newly filed disclosure forms. Each one lists “defense” as an issue area.

As chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, McKeon has major influence over the Pentagon’s annual spending plan — not to mention a last name recognizable to almost anyone in the defense industry. So, the congressman says he’s trying to avoid even the perception of any conflict of interest.

Buck McKeon kin join defense lobbing game

“avoid even the perception of any conflict of interest” – Too late.

For a good roundup about rent seeking, see “What happens when you try to give away money?

We have the best political class, crony capitalists, and plutocrats our money can buy.

Ozymandias

Unfortunately, it seems that the future Aldous Huxley predicted in 1932, in Brave New World, is arriving early. Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. However, we do need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT), learn what Members of Congress pay in taxes, and prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading.

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