Posts tagged ‘cronyism’

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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Who knew nonprofits were such cronies?

During the 2012 election, the Democratic PAC American Bridge attacked Mitt Romney and other prominent Republicans every time one of them attended a “high-dollar fundraiser” or revealed close ties to Wall Street. Yet there was one group that American Bridge never attacked: Bain Capital.

Why? Because, as Ben Smith and Evan McMorris-Santoro revealed today, Bain Capital executives were bankrolling American Bridge:
. . .
May is shaping up to be a bad month for nonprofit groups run by David Brock. Last week, a few of his allies on the left raked him over the coals after the advocacy arm of Media Matters for America published a memo defending the Justice Department’s crusade against the Associated Press. Today, BuzzFeed drops the hammer with their story about Bain. Being called out as a hypocrite is so embarrassing!

But Brock et al. may actually be the lesser of the two “dark money” offenders to be unmasked today. The other is the Center for American Progress, which is up to its neck in corporate cash, reports The Nation’s Ken Silverstein:

Liberal Nonprofit Groups Actually Love Corporate Cash, Wall Street Simoleons

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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The Case Against Cronies and Crony Capitalism

It’s time for a free-market corporate social responsibility. Conservatives who rail against government hand-outs should also blast companies who seek shelter from Washington.
. . .
The Republican attack on President Obama’s economic policy has changed subtly, but significantly, in the last three years. In 2009, he was allegedly a “socialist” and a “Marxist” who lusted for government control of the entire economy. But lately, that has given way to more nuanced charges of “crony capitalism” — of giving special, friendly treatment to certain companies and industries, or allowing powerful corporations to essentially write the laws, themselves.
. . .
Voters despise government officials who get in bed with corporations. But what about corporations who cozy up to government? Are companies who use cronyism to grow their profit acting unethically?

The question makes some free-marketeers uneasy. After all, we not only tolerate the fierce pursuit of profit, but also we defend it against taxes and heavy-handed regulation. Milton Friedman famously said, “The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits.”

But in the age of crony capitalism, libertarians must declare that some means of pursuing profit are immoral and call on executives to reject them. This would create a positive case for capitalism — arguing that the pursuit of profit, in the context of fair and open competition, helps the whole society. The new corporate social responsibility, redefined for libertarians, must stand athwart crony corporatism yelling “stop.”

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The New Deal, The Great Depression

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
George Santayana

The NIRA created monopolies and strengthened crony capitalism.

Where was Woodrow Wilson when we needed him?

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) and to prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading.

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Crony Capitalism

Crony capitalism is not the same as free markets, it is a politicized economy.

Cronyism diverts resources away from the wants and needs of consumers and toward political purposes. Cronyism occurs when an individual or organization colludes with government officials to create unfair legislation and/or regulations which give them forced benefits they could not have otherwise obtained voluntarily. Those benefits come at the expense of consumers, taxpayers, and everyone working hard to compete in the marketplace.

What is Cronyism?

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Ozymandias and the bite-me coalition

“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

ProChoice

The top 10 wealthiest men and women in America barely have 250 billion dollars between them. That sounds like a lot of money, until you look at annual Federal budgets which run into the trillions of dollars, and the country’s national debt which approaches 15 trillion dollars. And that’s not taking into account state budgets. Even Rhode Island, the smallest state in the union, with a population of barely a million, has a multi-billion dollar budget.

As the 10th richest man in America, Michael Bloomberg wields a personal fortune of a mere 18 billion dollars, but as the Mayor of the City of New York, he disposes of an annual budget of 63 billion dollars. In a single year, he disposes of three times his own net worth. A sum that would wipe out the net worth of any billionaire in America. That is the difference between the wealth wielded by the 10th wealthiest man in America, and the mayor of a single city. And that is the real concentration of wealth. Not in the hands of individuals, but at every level of government, from the municipal to the state houses to the White House.

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Government Ethics and the Revolving Door (cont’d), Crony Capitalism at Work


“Citigroup replaces JP Morgan as White House Chief of Staff”

The revolving door is in large measure how the ruling class, the Leviathan, the Cult of the Philosopher Kings, has turned the Republic into a crony capitalist haven of mutually reinforcing money and power. And the price of admission is often a degree from an Ivy League school.

Michael Paese used to be chief of staff to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, until Paese became a lobbyist. When former Tom Daschle intimate Mark Patterson left Goldman Sachs’ lobby shop to become Tim Geithner’s chief of staff at Treasury, Paese took the helm at Goldman’s lobby shop.
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Walmart is so Déclassé….

In a city where the unemployment rate is 9.1 percent, above both the statewide and national average, you’d think that mayoral candidates would be competing to attract businesses and jobs.

And in a city where the cost of living is so high that the city pays $3,000 a month for landlords to house the “homeless” in rooms without kitchens or private bathrooms, you’d think that mayoral candidates would be competing to welcome a discount retailer that would allow residents to save money on clothing and groceries.

Yet this is New York City. Instead of laying out a welcome mat for Walmart, the Democratic mayoral candidates are trying to keep the company out of the city. An account in The New York Times recently quoted the speaker of the City Council, Christine Quinn, declaring, “As long as Wal-Mart’s behavior remains the same, they’re not welcome in New York City…New York isn’t changing. Wal-Mart has to change.”

Maybe Quinn can make “New York isn’t changing” the slogan of the mayoral campaign she launched over the weekend. The candidate who would be the city’s first woman and first lesbian mayor turns out to be, on economic development questions, the spokeswoman for stasis.
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Is it that Walmart employees are not represented by a labor union? Neither are most of the workers at Bloomberg News, yet we haven’t yet heard any calls by Quinn to kick the mayor’s financial news and information company out of the city. The New York Post notes that she is endorsed by a union that represents grocery store workers.

New York City Council Wages War on Walmart: The latest dumb idea from politicians in the Big Apple. By Ira Stoll, Reason, March 11, 2013

Shop Walmart.com and your friends never need know. shhhhhhhhhhh

What is especially hilarious about this is that Walmart is a big Obamacare supporter, along with other members of the crony class. Like GE – swoon.

Ozymandias

Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. We also need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT) and to prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading.

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The Ruling Class and America’s New Mandarins

Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.

Milton Friedman


Term limits increase the power of unelected professional staff.

The real conflict in political theory … is not between individualism and community. It’s between voluntary association and coerced association.

David Boaz
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