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Archive for the ‘crony capitalism’ Category

Crony Capitalism – Part Deux

Posted by Roderic Deane on November 27, 2011

Last week, I talked with Peter Schweizer and Stephen Bannon about Peter’s new book, “Throw Them All Out!” Peter’s book is a huge eye-opener to the legalized graft that exists in Washington, D.C.

Dictionary.com provides a definition as follows:

graft [noun]

1. the acquisition of money, gain, or advantage by dishonest, unfair, or illegal means, especially through the abuse of one’s position or influence in politics, business, etc.

2. a particular instance, method, or means of thus acquiring gain or advantage.

3. the gain or advantage acquired.

Of course, there are other definitions of the word “graft”, but we’ll go the definition that suits us.

Peter Schweizer talked about a number of ways that Washington politicians take advantage of their positions and use inside knowledge to enrich themselves. His book talked about insider-trading, land acquisitions based on inside knowledge, the power of campaign contributions and lobbying efforts to sway legislation to one’s advantage. What’s really sad is that most if not all of the examples cited in his book are perfectly legal. Why, you ask? Because the people that make the laws exempt themselves from that which is enforced against us, their lowly constituents.

Since Schweizer’s book has come out, Congressional hearings have been scheduled after an outcry within Republican Max Baucus’s district. Calls for his immediate resignation after disclosures in Schweizer’s book have forced him to capitulate to these demands. He has scheduled Congressional hearings this December about insider-trading in Washington as an alternative to his resignation. The big question will be whether of not any of these hearings will really effect change.

Oh, I suspect that we’ll see a few Representatives and their staffers get slaps on the wrist, but I seriously doubt that we’ll see meaningful changes until the full scope of the problem becomes known and reported on. Mainstream media is hesitant to report on examples of this legalized graft for fear of losing access to inside sources of information so vital to their jobs.

What we know is that there is a symbiotic relationship between Congress, the mainstream media and what I’ll call Big Lobby. It is the lobbyists’ money that everyone is beholden to. It forms the basis for everything else that leads to legalized graft because it is the conduit through which all information flows.

To be fair, there are certainly other instances of legalized graft that don’t go through the network of Big Lobby, but those instances still involve insider information that Congressional leaders are privvy to. Case in point is Dennis Hastert, the former Republican Speaker of the House. He was privvy to information about the path of a new highway near certain property that he owned. The path of the highway changed and miraculously ran near or through some of his property. You all know what has happened in our communities when a new highway is built to ease congestion into and out of our cities. These highways become the new growth areas and anyone holding property rights at or near an interchange can see huge gains in the value of their land as developers clamor to acquire them.

The truly scary part about all of this is that Washington, D.C. sets the stage for every other level of government, including state, county and local. The major difference is that as politics become more local in scope, the effects on us as individuals are more apparent and measurable. When a United States Congressman takes advantage of his or her position, it is often manifested in areas outside of his or her district and outside the scope of local news reporting.

Our Framers felt very strongly about citizen legislators that would bring the concerns of their constituents to Washington. As we’ve all become part of the “information age”, we now have access to information that extends far beyond local issues. In addition, our legislators no longer deal in information unique to their local districts. As citizens, we must recognize the different world that we live in and adjust accordingly.

Our Framers gave us tools to adapt our founding principles. That doesn’t mean that we cast aside those principles, it only means that we have the ability to address current times and continue to maintain those principles. What we’re seeing today is an abomination of those principles. It’s time to go back to the drawing board and reign in the explosion of extra-Constitutional laws and activities that were never meant to be there in the first place. As Sarah Palin likes to put it, now is the time for sudden and relentless reform. Otherwise, our Constitution will cease to have meaning in our society and we will once again become subject to the powers that be in some far-off place.

Today, that place is Washington, D.C.
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You can listen to the show HERE.

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Posted in crony capitalism, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Sarah Palin: Institutionalizing Crony Capitalism

Posted by Dr. Fay on April 23, 2010

Complete transcript of Governor Palin’s Facebook Note:

Institutionalizing Crony Capitalism

Yesterday at 10:28pm

In the wake of the recent financial meltdown, Americans know that we need reform. Not only have many individuals learned lessons about personal responsibility through this, but we’ve been able to engage in a discussion about government’s appropriate role.

The current debate over financial reform demonstrates what happens when political leaders react to a crisis with a raft of new regulations. First off, the people involved in writing government regulations are often lobbyists from the very industry that the new laws are supposed to regulate, and that’s been the case here. It should surprise no one that financial lobbyists are flocking to DC this week. Of course, the big players who can afford lobbyists work the regulations in their favor, while their smaller competitors are left out in the cold. The result here are regulations that institutionalize the “too big to fail” mentality.

Moreover, the financial reform bill gives regulators the power to pick winners and losers, institutionalizing their ability to decide “which firms to rescue or close, and which creditors to reward and how.” Does anyone doubt that firms with the most lobbyists and the biggest campaign donations will be the ones who get seats in the lifeboat? The president is trying to convince us that he’s taking on the Wall Street “fat cats,” but firms like Goldman Sachs are happy with federal regulation because, as one of their lobbyists recently stated, “We partner with regulators.”

They seem to have a nice relationship with the White House too. Goldman showered nearly a million dollars in campaign contributions on candidate Obama. In fact, J.P. Freire notes that President Obama received about seven times more money from Goldman than President Bush received from Enron. Of course, it’s not just the donations; it’s the revolving door. You’ll find the name Goldman Sachs on many an Obama administration résumé, including Rahm Emanuel’s and Tim Geithner’s chief of staff’s.

We need to be on our guard against such crony capitalism. We fought against distortion of the market in Alaska when we confronted “Big Oil,” or more specifically some of the players in the industry and in political office, who were taking the 49th state for a ride. My administration challenged lax rules that seemed to allow corruption, and we even challenged the largest corporation in the world at the time for not abiding by provisions in contracts it held with the state. When it came time to craft a plan for a natural gas pipeline, we insisted on transparency and a level playing field to insure fair competition. Our reforms helped reduce politicians’ ability to play favorites and helped clean up corruption. We set up stricter oversight offices and ushered through a bi-partisan ethics reform bill. Far from being against necessary reform, I embrace it.

Commonsense conservatives acknowledge the need for financial reform and believe that government can play an appropriate role in leveling the playing field and protecting “the dynamism of American capitalism without neglecting the government’s responsibility to protect the American public.” We’re listening closely to the reform discussion in Washington, and we know that government should not burden the market with unnecessary bureaucracy and distorted incentives, nor make a dangerous “too-big-to-fail” mentality the law of the land.

– Sarah Palin

Posted in crony capitalism, ECONOMY, Governor Sarah Palin | 1 Comment »