Posts Tagged ‘Crony Capitalism’

All The President’s Help

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Is this man drunk?

Listening to President Jack-Ass, one would think that nobody could create the first thing without the government standing there to help them.  I take offense at the notion, and more, I am willing to demonstrate how the biggest obstacles I have faced have been born of government regulation, idiotic laws, and crony-capitalism powered by criminal thugs like Barack Obama. As many of you will know by now, I am a horseman, in addition to the profession in which I work, and I have a small thoroughbred farm together with my wife. When we began this endeavor, there was no barn, no tractor, no fences, or horses or even running water. There was no electricity, there was no dwelling, and there wasn’t much at all but an empty field alongside a rural highway with a dozen or so trees scattered far and wide upon it. From the outset, there were problems, and almost all of them were induced by government, and our trials and tribulations have been exacerbated by that same entity, though not exclusively the federal ones. With “help” like his, I would think we’d have been better off on our own.

First, I’d like you to consider the words of the jack-ass-in-chief:

 


Apart from the fact that this maniacal leftist clearly views us all as his property, and all as the beneficiaries of his master plans, he also contends that nobody gets success on their own. In his America, that may be increasingly true, as to be successful, it often seems you must grease the palms of an inordinate number of politicians, both in Washington, and in your home state. Let me take you through a brief litany of how all of these dear helpers, these masterminds of distribution, have helped to hold my small farm down.

In 2004, the entirety of Texas began to fall under a drought that lasted and lasted. For those of us dependent upon feeds and hay, the costs were striking. We watched an ordinary round-bale of coastal Bermuda hay go from a price between $30-40 dollars up to over $110. Just when one thought it couldn’t possibly get worse, the government stepped in to “help.” If you happened to be a cattleman, it was fine help. The government was handing out drought relief, but the key qualification is that your crop had to be for food. Horses did not qualify, since their primary use is not down at the burger stand. Some of you might wonder if I’m not complaining merely because I didn’t get the cash, but I tell you that it was a horrible situation, and I didn’t want the cash, but what I really didn’t want was government deciding who would win and who would lose. You see, all of the cattlemen were now flush with cash, and they could go into the market and buy whatever scarce hay was in existence, and import it from other states too. We soon saw the price of a round-bale escalate from around $100 up to a high of over $170. Now, some of you might be asking: “Well, what if the government hadn’t given them the cash, how would they have fed their cows?” The answer is: They wouldn’t. They would have loaded them up and trucked them to the feedlots and sold them while they could get what they could for them. In short, the market would have responded appropriately. The price of beef would have dropped briefly before spiking upwards, and that would have brought higher prices for future beef that would have eased the pressure on the hay side of the market for everybody.

Of course, in 2005, as all of this was happening, I thought this was a temporary condition, and that the drought would end, and people would come to their senses, and I wouldn’t have need of drastic measures like selling my horses for meat. You see, in a market in which fuel prices were also spiking, and the disposable income of many people was suddenly thin, guess what wasn’t such a big seller any longer? That’s right: Horses. Now you would think that with the end of the drought, the troubles might begin to ease, but no, that wasn’t to be. Government had another nasty surprise: They effectively banned the funding of inspections of horses taken for slaughter. As you might well guess, I hadn’t intended to slaughter mine, but that’s hardly the point. Horse meat is a fine source of protein, much leaner than beef from cattle, and has fed people the world over for eons. In point of fact, long before man ever mounted a horse, he ate them. Some relatively small number of horses always went to slaughter, and much of the meat was exported, or fed large cats at the zoo. These animals shared one general characteristic: They were unfit for other uses, by and large.

What resulted when government decided to “help” again was a glut of unwanted horses, competing for and taking up resources that drove up the cost of maintaining every horse, market-wide. Worst of all, it had exactly the opposite effect of what had been advertised: Many horses were being abandoned, under-nourished, and dumped wherever and whenever their hard-pressed owners could dispense with them. Perhaps all the more ironic, a huge number began to be trucked over the Southern border into Mexican slaughter plants, where they don’t give a damn about humane conditions, never mind meat inspections. In many cases, the horses that did go to slaughter met a more gruesome fate than had they merely been slaughtered here. Meanwhile, the prices of horses was plummeting across the industry, as consumers were under all sorts of new pressures, and as the value of their homes and their money fell, buying a horse hit near rock-bottom on the priority list for many who had enjoyed them for decades. It got so bad, that late last year, Congress actually repealed the ban, although I don’t know if any domestic horse slaughter operations are back in business. The damage has been done.

Just these two federal actions might be enough to convince you of the obstacles government has put in the way of my family’s farm, but there is still a good deal to consider even at the state level, particularly here in Texas. You see, our state hasn’t participated in arrangements like its neighboring states. If you go to Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, or New Mexico, you will find state-bred programs that actually encourage the breeding of horses in those states. Texas has such a program too, though on principle, I do not participate because I see it as a socialistic subsidy. The difference is that in the adjoining states, they have permitted the expansion of gambling to include “video lottery terminals”(that look suspiciously like slot machines) but the deal struck in these states to allow for the enhanced gambling requires that they be placed at racetracks, and that a portion of the revenues be plowed back into purses for qualifying races limited to state-bred horses. Texas has opted to forgo this form of revenue, with pious-sounding legislators pretending they have been swayed by a moral concern over gambling. In truth, like anything in politics, what you must do is follow the money. Various estimates show that as much as $6 Billion leaves Texas for gambling venues in these adjoining states. There are bus-trips you can get on that will take you over to Louisiana from Houston, where you can sample those “video lottery terminals.” Even if the estimate were double the actual amount, it’s still a huge amount of cash that flows out of Texas into our neighboring states.

How much money do you suppose is spent lobbying legislators in this state to continue to uphold their firm “moral” stance against expanded gambling in Texas? That’s right, for all their posturing, many of the legislators in question are merely taking cash in order to vote against something that would provide large revenues to the state that is now merely bleeding out across our borders. Every other year, in our biennial legislative session, somebody brings a bill up, and in short order, it is killed. It’s brought up because it’s like ringing an alarm, to which all the lobbyists respond, and their answer is always in cash. Suddenly, all these legislators concerned about the evils of gambling are able to jump up and make strong statements against expanded gambling, while no small number of them have their palms greased.

Now you might say that because I don’t participate in the State-bred program anyway, it shouldn’t be of concern to me, but it is, and the reason is clear. What has happened is that while the purses in adjoining states have grown in proportion to their VLT revenues, they have stagnated or even shrunk in Texas. At this competitive disadvantage, how do you suppose Texas-bred horses now sell? Even if you were inclined to participate, the ROI isn’t there. Austin has a proposed track license, with the Austin Jockey Club. That license may never be exercised because the industry is suffering so badly in Texas under this scheme. Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie filed for bankruptcy protection. Other tracks are operating on the edge of solvency. The legislators don’t care because they’re getting positive press for their “moral stand” against gambling, while the competing-state lobbyists pile on the dough. That, my friends, is crony capitalism disguised as the moral majority.

Locally, it’s getting harder and harder for a farm to do business. In addition to the mountains of regulations rolling downhill from the EPA, local water control boards are making life difficult even for long-established farms. Oh well, more palms to be greased, I suppose. Of course, then you have the cities that now annex as much as the law allows every chance they get, and if they keep on at this pace, you will soon be able to remain with the boundaries of some municipality or other all the way from Oklahoma to Laredo.

Barack Obama goes to great pains to say that all of us are the beneficiary of some form of government help. That’s his implication, hidden behind a more acceptable-sounding notion that none of us get anywhere on our own, implying everything from the parents who brought us into this world to the teacher who may or may not have taught us the first thing in school. What my wife and I have experienced is something quite remarkably different, and it is that at every turn, it has been some governmental nonsense impeding us, obstructing us, or otherwise prohibiting us from making a go of it. You would think from listening to him that a brigade of his Obama-bots had accompanied us across the blazing hot pasture in July, driving t-posts into the scorched soil until the point of heat exhaustion, but I don’t remember any help. The wife and I, and our daughter a little bit, doing what Americans had always done: Building something where there had been nothing.

We never asked for any of this infernal “help,” and given its nature, we’d be just as happy if government stopped lending its “helping hands” and simply got the hell out of our way. We know how to choose good breeding stock, and we know all the important aspects of good animal husbandry, and I know my way around farm equipment and all the ordinary construction techniques we employ. I’m fairly certain that wasn’t Michelle Obama I lifted onto the skin of the barn’s roof to screw panels down as they were slid into place. I know for certain it wasn’t Barack who was running that welder. That was me. When we stretched thousands of feet of field fencing tight across all those newly planted posts, neither Secretary Clinton nor Sebelius were anywhere in sight, and neither was Harry Reid nor Nancy Pelosi, and not even a soul who had ever seen their offices.

Of course, when it came time to put up the mailbox, there was the guy from the Highway department to tell us how many feet it must be from the road’s edge, and what sort of super-duper break-away mount it must use, lest some weaving drunkard hit something much too firm alongside the road and do himself unnecessary harm. When we wanted to place our driveway, we were told what sort of culvert we must build, if we could build one at all, and so expensive was it that we simply opted to scatter a smattering of gravel across the ditch, and simply put some new gravel down each season. No culvert? No problem. There was the problem of bringing electricity to our homestead, and all of the government rules the electric company must follow, and how this all determined the siting of our home, rather than logic, and what we damn-well pleased. Yes, I am familiar with all the little helpers we’ve had along the way, and to be quite blunt about it, I hope they’ll all line up to help Barack Obama too. The problem is that it won’t bother him at all, because he doesn’t build anything, and he’s never accomplished anything on his own.

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Mitt Romney Had Ethics Problems as Governor?

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Well, Almost Anything...

This is the first I’ve heard of this, but if true, it’s troubling because it’s one more reason that experience in business really doesn’t translate to governance.  Right Across the Atlantic is reporting that Romney went on a trip while governing Massachusetts, paid by Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant, that ultimately looked like a sort of crony capitalism deal, but Romney side-stepped it by going on vacation so that his Lt. Governor would sign the bill, relieving him of any ethics investigation worries.  In fact, the whole manner of the episode is troubling, and you should check out the article in its entirety.

The article closes with this additional nugget:

“Now, again, he’s using the same tactics against Gingrich, and as before, you would think he would know better. But given that members of Romney’s staff have lobbied for Freddie Mac, while he’s tried to rake Gingrich over the coals for that also, it would be a good guess to say he doesn’t care.”

On Sunday, I again posited the notion that it’s Romney’s time as governor we should be heavily vetting, as that has the most direct applications to his qualification to be the GOP nominee.  Apparently, others have begun to catch on.

Romney, Bain Capital, Bail-Outs and an Un-Aired Kennedy Ad

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Teddy Still Kicking Mitt Around

Back in 1994, when Mitt Romney was running for the US Senate in what would become a failed bid to unseat Senator Edward M. “Teddy” Kennedy, the Kennedy campaign put together one ad they didn’t air, and you probably haven’t seen. It covers the period of time when Mitt Romney was at Bain Capital, allegedly “saving the company” but what it reveals is something you might have guessed:  Bain Capital was the beneficiary of $10million in forgiveness from the FDIC.  In short, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation bailed out Bain Capital, and while you’ve been told what a swell businessman Willard “Mitt” Romney is, this un-aired ad from 1994 may tell us a bit of the truth:

Knowing this, it’s hardly any wonder that Mitt didn’t oppose TARP.  It’s hardly difficult to understand why he’s not against government bail-outs.  How could he dare be against them, having been the beneficiary of them?

I realize there are those who will argue that since this ad was put together by Teddy Kennedy’s campaign, it ought to have no bearing on the current race, because after all, Kennedy was a “big government liberal” in Romney parlance, but it seems back in the dark days when Romney took over the reins at Bain Capital, he wasn’t opposed to a little socialism either.

Say what you want about Mitt Romney, but if he’s the nominee, have fun with another four years of Obama, because while you may not wish to air Teddy Kennedy’s ad, you can bet Barack Obama’s outfit already has it updated and ready to go.  I can see it now, can’t you?

Dark, scary pictures, gloom and doom, and a narrator:

“Mitt Romney says he opposes most government bailouts of businesses, but did you know that in 1993, his company, Bain Capital was the recipient of $10 million in debt forgiveness from the FDIC?  At the same time, he profited from the deal.  Is this the kind of crony capitalism you want in the White House?  Tell Mitt Romney to keep his hands off your wallets, and tell the Republicans ‘No special deals.’ Help President Obama preserve change!”

Of course, since they’re liars, it will probably be embellished a good bit.

Nevertheless, if you nominate Mitt Romney, between this and Romneycare and a number of glaring scars on his record, there’s no chance he’ll beat Obama, but at least you’ll have had the privilege of the GOP’s “inevitable nominee.”

Good luck with that.

(Note: Video from a very left-leaning YouTube Member)

Does Money Corrupt Politics?

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

Which is Corrupted: Money or Politics?

Many people believe that money corrupts politics.  It’s certainly an easy conclusion to draw from the evidence if you consider only the superficial aspects of the problem, but my argument is a bit different.  I don’t believe that money corrupts politics nearly so much as politics corrupts money.  Money is merely a symbol of value. It’s a token we use in place of a barter system, since it’s far easier to exchange.  When you work, you’re creating value, but it’s difficult to exchange the value of that work directly to those from whom you would like to purchase, so the people to whom you sell your labor pay you in money, and then you take that money to all the places you would like to spend it.  This is the nature of money.  It’s an efficient system of exchange and it works quite well, right up until the moment you insert politics.  Rather than spend our time on a question I think misses the mark, let us now examine how politics corrupts money.

If you earn your money by honest labor, whether by manual or mental exertions, you are creating new wealth.  If you consider a block of wood, and you carve it into something fantastic, whether practical or artistic, if somebody will pay you more than it had cost you in materials and energy, that net payment is both an assessment of the value of your time and therefore also your profit.  Some of us are able to turn very little time into huge profits, while others of us are able to make only minimal profits on our time and exertions because what we are producing is not so valuable to others.  That is natural, and normal, and must always be the case.  The maker of candles will never be rewarded as highly as the person who invents a light bulb or the electric generation system to power it.  The reason is simple:  Almost anybody can make a candle.  Workers who can do this are numerous.  The mind that can imagine a light bulb or a generator are rarer, and therefore, their efforts are more valuable. It is the market in which you sell that labor that decides its worth.

Here is where politics enters to corrupt money:  Because candle-makers are more plentiful than inventors, they have many more votes.   They can turn to the political class and demand laws to make their candle-making unnaturally more valuable.  Politicians can follow a number of courses in response to the demands of the numerous candle-makers:

  • They can enact a law making candle-making more valuable than it is in fact
  • They can enact a law making inventors’ efforts less valuable than they are in fact
  • They can steal money from the inventor and give it to the candle-maker
  • They can say “No, property is property, you have yours, and the inventor has his!”

Which of these do you suppose the politicians is least likely to do, since it will not satisfy all his candle-making constituents, and thus will lose him his next re-election?  Of course, this situation becomes a good bit more complicated when we add competing inventors.  Suppose somebody comes along with an invention to replace the ordinary light bulb. Let us imagine that unlike compact florescent bulbs, it has no toxic mercury, and it’s much more efficient at the same brightness. If it’s also less expensive than the ordinary light bulb, and is in all measures a superior product, the market will answer by making it the new leader, and it will become the new ordinary light bulb in short order.  Now, the manufacturers of the older style light bulb will descend on politicians to demand protection of their market.  Politicians can respond in a number of ways:

  • They can enact a law outlawing the new style light bulb
  • They can enact a law requiring the use of the old style light bulb
  • They can add extra taxes to the manufacturer of the new style light bulb, driving up its cost
  • They can give a tax break to the manufacturer of the old style light bulb, driving down its cost
  • They can do nothing at all, and ignore contributions from the manufacturers of the old style bulb

Which of these options is the politician unlikely to choose?  Now let us imagine that the new light bulb is actually a terrible idea.  Let us imagine that it is filled with toxic mercury, and that in the long run, you’ll have EPA hazards created in your home if one breaks, and that while they are slightly more efficient, they are also annoying, and the light is actually modulating at a very high rate, and while barely perceptible to you, your eyes lead you to constant headaches, and besides the high frequency buzzing drives your pets insane, because they can hear frequencies you cannot.  Let us now imagine what politicians might do, not on behalf of the old style bulb manufacturers, but on behalf of the new ones:

  • They can enact a law outlawing the old style bulb
  • They can give tax credits to purchasers of the new style bulb
  • They can do nothing and let the market decide and skip the opportunity of contributions

Which of these have politicians actually done?

Now some will tell me this is all well and good, and merely proves their point, in that the money offered to politicians corrupted them.  Instead, I will tell you this is a lie, and now I will be happy to explain it if you missed what has really happened over the course of this post: The law was used as an instrument of enrichment by already corrupt  politicians.  They had no money apart from their salaries and immediate benefits, but in order to have more money, either in their own pockets, or in their campaign war chests, they used the law, your law, in each and every case to skim money from the system for their own purposes.  What this has the effect of doing is to change the market, and to change what people do in the market.  That means you are changing the value of the labor and the value therefore of money irrespective of what the market might prefer.  What you have done is to use politics to corrupt money.

There is an economic law, “Say’s law,” that tells us something about natural economic function, and it is that a supply creates its own demand.  The inverse and equally true corollary of this law tells us that without a supply, there can be no demand.  (Demand as an economic term, but not as a human behavior.)  What does this mean in the question of politics and money?  It means simply that you cannot purchase that which is not for sale.  No candle-maker, no light-bulb inventor, and no manufacturer of any sort can purchase influence that is not first offered for sale.  This is not a question of corruption by money, but of money.  When the politician uses his position and his legislation to influence the markets, whether he takes payment from a player in the market, or instead merely profits directly by his previous purchases in the market, this is not a matter of money corrupting politics.  It is the much more deadly issue of politics being used to corrupt money.

In every way, this upsets the natural order of the market.  Things that the market would find worthless are suddenly made precious, by law, and things that had been precious are made worthless, or even illegal to possess.  Any such action commits a fraud on all holders of money everywhere and at once.  What else could be the meaning of a law that imposes on you the purchase of compact florescent bulbs, that cost many times their traditional competitor, the incandescent bulb?  Do you have any doubt that most of the politicians who supported this law did so in order to profit in some way from the law, your law?  Notice, however, the ordering of cause and effect, and this will tell you which has corrupted the other, money or politics:  Which came first?  The political action, or the monetary result?  How many of these elected thieves had invested in GE or other CFL producers, before the enactment of the law, knowing what gains their investments would see once they made a law banning the good old incandescent bulb?

I am sympathetic to those who believe, innocently, that money corrupts politics, but the truth is something else:  Politics is being used to corrupt money.  When people make money by graft, it is the money that is corrupted.  It is a form of counterfeiting money, and since money is just an expression of value, what you must see if you’re to have any hope of reversing the trend is that the reason our system is so corrupt is not because of money, but because of those who use the law, and the power of government to extort, coerce, and otherwise gain money they haven’t really earned.  This is because government is involved in far too many things, and I’d ask you to consider Bastiat’s view of plunder to understand it.  If you want to solve the problem, don’t seek to get the money out of politics, but instead get politics and politicians out of money and markets.  That’s a real reform that could save our country.

Frédéric Bastiat’s Nation of Plunderers

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

Frédéric Bastiat

That’s what we’ve permitted ourselves to become, isn’t it?  Rationalize it in every conceivable way though we may, when we get beyond all of the petty justifications we spout in order to sound less monstrous, we have become a nation of plunderers.  There are exceptions, as with any generalization, but it cannot now be said that a majority of Americans have clean hands in the matter.  To some degree, greater or lesser, the blood of this fact taints most of us.  Some of you will know what I mean, but others may be less familiar with the concept.  I believe in informed consent, which means that to give one’s consent to an action, one must have full knowledge of the consequences, risks, and tribulations that may attend that action.  What I do not believe is that by ignoring the full facts, but still giving one’s consent in willful ignorance, one can somehow hope to evade moral responsibility for the results.  In his great text, The Law, Frédéric Bastiat, the great French economist, statesman, and author offered all of the reasons a nation must avoid transformation into a den of thieves and villains, though the robbery be legalized.  It is important to note that as the United States has been on a long and progressive march to precisely the sort of nation Bastiat lamented, most of our citizenry have accepted this devolution.

Our founders, imperfect though they may have been, understood clearly what Bastiat would tell us only a half-century later.  Though they were no longer alive to appreciate his works, appreciate them they would have because in them may be found some of their own ideas.  What the founders understood, but Bastiat made explicit, is that the only thing a government offers to its people is force.  By force, I mean the legal monopoly on power to coerce, compel, and even kill.  Strip all of the other dressings from the function of government, and this is all that remains.   Bastiat asked the question: In which purposes may that force be turned?  His answer was simply: “Justice.”  At this point, many become confused, because the term justice has been likewise demolished and diluted and demeaned to have virtually any and all possible meanings at once.  In Bastiat’s conception, justice was merely the protection of the rights of life, liberty and property, as well as the enforcement of compensations and punishment for the violation of same.  In short, Bastiat argued that government exists to create an objective guarantor of these simple human rights.   For students of American history, familiar with our founding document, the Declaration of Independence, this idea should be very familiar indeed:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,[74] that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

How familiar would Bastiat’s words on the subject have seemed to our founders, and the framers of our Constitution?  Let us consider his thoughts on government’s purpose as laid forth in The Law:

Each of us has a natural right — from God — to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties? If every person has the right to defend even by force — his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right — its reason for existing, its lawfulness — is based on individual right. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force — for the same reason — cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups.

What Bastiat understood too well, as his own nation began its collapse into socialism, is that there can be no law that does not respect the rights of life, liberty and property without destroying the entire purpose of law.  Limited to these ends, but nothing more, the law serves all people equally, showing favor to none, but merely confirming the natural rights of all people.  His enduring argument is that a nation based on such an objective standard of law could flourish, and that its people would have none to blame but themselves for their particular predicaments or standing.  Of a “Just and enduring Government,” Bastiat wrote:

If a nation were founded on this basis, it seems to me that order would prevail among the people, in thought as well as in deed. It seems to me that such a nation would have the most simple, easy to accept, economical, limited, nonoppressive, just, and enduring government imaginable — whatever its political form might be.

Under such an administration, everyone would understand that he possessed all the privileges as well as all the responsibilities of his existence. No one would have any argument with government, provided that his person was respected, his labor was free, and the fruits of his labor were protected against all unjust attack. When successful, we would not have to thank the state for our success. And, conversely, when unsuccessful, we would no more think of blaming the state for our misfortune than would the farmers blame the state because of hail or frost. The state would be felt only by the invaluable blessings of safety provided by this concept of government.

It can be further stated that, thanks to the non-intervention of the state in private affairs, our wants and their satisfactions would develop themselves in a logical manner. We would not see poor families seeking literary instruction before they have bread. We would not see cities populated at the expense of rural districts, nor rural districts at the expense of cities. We would not see the great displacements of capital, labor, and population that are caused by legislative decisions.

The sources of our existence are made uncertain and precarious by these state-created displacements. And, furthermore, these acts burden the government with increased responsibilities.

This is a monumentally important concept Americans must finally reconsider:  So long as government extends into all parts of every American’s life, no American is safe from the predations of other Americans.  So long as it is accepted that government’s duty is merely to guarantee the rights of individuals, the government is correctly limited, and it does no harm to any citizen.  Each citizen is then safe from predation, or as Bastiat calls it, “plunder,” because protecting people from plunderers, or punishing plunderers is the government’s only just purpose.  As Bastiat explains, man can live by only two basic methods: by his own ceaseless labor in creation of property(material wealth,) or by seizing the property(and wealth) of others.   That’s really all there is, and no exceptions exist in all the world.  What Bastiat noticed is that since people have a tendency to exert themselves to the least necessary extent, they will easily be convinced to engage in plunder by their own rationalizations, or the justifications provided by others.  This is the siren song of socialism, or indeed any form of statism, and Bastiat knew it well.  In explaining how plunder is to be prohibited by the law, he wrote:

It is evident, then, that the proper purpose of law is to use the power of its collective force to stop this fatal tendency to plunder instead of to work. All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder.

Bastiat also understood what would happen when the law is turned to the purposes of legalized plunder.  When the proper purpose of law is to prevent or punish plunder, turned to the purpose of managing the plunder instead, the law becomes a great and vast evil from which no man is safe.  This is the reason our framers gave to us a Constitution that protected against plunder, even if the understanding of that Constitution has been perverted precisely to permit the very practice it had been instituted to prevent.  On the Results of Legal Plunder, Bastiat wrote:

It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.

What are the consequences of such a perversion? It would require volumes to describe them all. Thus we must content ourselves with pointing out the most striking.

In the first place, it erases from everyone’s conscience the distinction between justice and injustice.

No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree. The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable. When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law. These two evils are of equal consequence, and it would be difficult for a person to choose between them.

The nature of law is to maintain justice. This is so much the case that, in the minds of the people, law and justice are one and the same thing. There is in all of us a strong disposition to believe that anything lawful is also legitimate. This belief is so widespread that many persons have erroneously held that things are “just” because law makes them so. Thus, in order to make plunder appear just and sacred to many consciences, it is only necessary for the law to decree and sanction it. Slavery, restrictions, and monopoly find defenders not only among those who profit from them but also among those who suffer from them.

Consider this carefully in examination of our own country, not as it was founded, but as it has come to be over the span of the last century of Progressivism, from both the left and the right.   His enduring prescience was to realize that such a system would of necessity destroy and obscure the differences between actual justice and all the fraudulent forms we’ve been offered in its place.  What else could be the meaning of such contrived notions as “social justice,” “environmental justice,” “economic justice,” “racial justice,” and any other contrivance and dilution of actual justice you can imagine?  Consider only one of these, for instance “economic justice,” by which the speaker intends to say that taking from one person to redistribute to another person or person(s) is a matter of justice.   Is it?  Or is it truly injustice?  If plunder is the determinant, then such notions are all only plunder dressed up behind a facade of some bastardization of actual justice.   As Bastiat notes, justice concerns itself only with the protection of life, liberty, and property.   With what does “economic justice” concern itself?  The answer is clearly: The collective violation of the rights of life, liberty and property.

Many will have noted that when Governor Palin began making use of the term “crony capitalism,” others began to notice the issue.  “Crony capitalism” is merely another form of plunder:  Use the law as an instrument to get from others that which you otherwise would not have gotten.   What it describes is a system in which plunder is not merely legalized, but normalized and institutionalized through the political process.  Two parties, a politician and a corporation, collude to the benefit of both by using the power of the politician to enrich both.  Is there any doubt but that this is the meaning of Solyndra, or any of the other “green energy/jobs” initiatives in which the current administration has invested our precious dollars?

This is ever the purpose of those who extend the meaning of justice from that which it is, to that which it is not.  How many plunderers do you know?  Are you a plunderer yourself?  Before you blanch at the suggestion, consider it carefully:  Do the things you may receive from government, directly or indirectly, spring from the plunder of the property and wealth of others?  In short, are they yours, in fact, or are they really the property of others bent to your purposes, or so-called “needs?”  You need not even have consented to it, at least not knowingly, and yet there you are tied as another perpetrator and victim in this institutionalized plunder.  Examine all the ways you are being plundered, but then examine more carefully all the ways in which you plunder others.

You might claim, as most will, that: “I had no choice, and besides, they plundered me, first.  Mine is just compensation for an earlier plundering of my property(wealth.)”  Let me ask you bluntly then: If your neighbor’s house is robbed, is it thus acceptable for him to rob the houses of his neighbors?  You would decry that suggestion, and tell me that “two wrongs do not a right make.”  I say to you the same, but that some robberies are given cover of legality does not excuse them.   You might say, for instance, that your situation is dire, and having been plundered all these years, you now have no choice but to resort to legalized plunder.  Is this your best offering against justice?  I am in that stage of life in which I am the constant victim of the plunder, but as a child, I was the beneficiary once too:  Did my parents pay directly for my education, or did they rely upon the plunder of their neighbors, many without children, to pay for said primary education?  I could offer that I was a child, but then I must admit that my daughter also received a public education for most of her schooling, and I might note that for one child, the taxes I paid might well have been roughly proportional to the benefit, but nevertheless, I cannot ignore the timber in my own eye on this matter.  Very few of us have unstained hands.

Yet, even if this is so, that we have nearly all participated to some degree, greater or lesser, does it excuse our continuing the practice?  Bastiat thought not.  He completes The Law with a brief suggestion, exhorting readers “Let Us Now Try Liberty:”

God has given to men all that is necessary for them to accomplish their destinies. He has provided a social form as well as a human form. And these social organs of persons are so constituted that they will develop themselves harmoniously in the clean air of liberty. Away, then, with quacks and organizers! A way with their rings, chains, hooks, and pincers! Away with their artificial systems! Away with the whims of governmental administrators, their socialized projects, their centralization, their tariffs, their government schools, their state religions, their free credit, their bank monopolies, their regulations, their restrictions, their equalization by taxation, and their pious moralizations!

And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.

Whatever else you may say about Bastiat’s work, we must admit he had been thorough, and we must acknowledge the wisdom of his position.  He knew what most of our founders and framers had known with respect to the purpose of the law, and why it must be kept to those vital purposes, but permitted no more.  In subsequent centuries, we have permitted the law to fall into disrepair, beguiled with promises of plunder, as we have been plundered, but there exists now a burgeoning front of Americans who have never lived by any means but plunder, from cradle to grave, and they expect it to grow and magnify.  Politicians, engaged in a different form of legalized plunder, have created this army of plunderers to excuse and offer cover for their own(as detailed by Sarah Palin, Peter Schweizer, and a number of others.)  Unless and until the American people recognize that these interwoven systems of plunder are the root cause of most of our discontents, our miseries and our pain, we will continue to suffer them until revolution begets even greater and more perverse systems of plunder.  None of us should think ourselves absolved, but let us take Bastiat’s words and restore justice in law.  That’s the only way we’ll save our nation.

Note: I would encourage readers to read The Law in its entirety.  I’d also encourage you to read Bastiat’s other works, translated here.

Ten Reforms to Save America: Reform Number Four

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

Is This How It Works?

Whatever we may do about the limiting of congressional terms, or the length of service of Congressional staff, one of the main reasons to tackle that problem is the revolving door between Congress and the lobbying interests in Washington DC.  Whether representing trade groups, corporations, unions, or other groups, the problem is that the lobbyists often know the lay of the land, both physical and political, better than many members of Congress.  Too often, members and staff leave those offices to become lobbyists, and with equal frequency, we find lobbyists becoming Congressional staff.  This cozy relationship will be ended only by doing something drastic:  We must enact a lifetime ban on lobbyists from serving in government, and government  officials or staff from going to work in the lobbying racket.

Once again, I can hear the squealing of all the pigs at the DC troughs: “You can’t do this to us!”  Yes, we the people can.  When most Americans think of politicians leaving office for the private sector, they think of them returning to work in some profession or field that takes them back home, away from Washington DC.  All too often, when politicians depart government service, where they land is in some lobbying firm.  This frequently applies to staff too.  For most Americans, this isn’t considered to be “private sector employment,” but instead merely “public sector looting.”  It’s part of what makes Washington DC stink of corruption, and most Americans suspect it is the reason we have so many complex and convoluted laws.  Naturally, the American people are right about that, but in most cases, they have only the a glimpse of how thorough the corruption is.

The other problem is that the American people have been conditioned to view lobbyists as the source of the problem.  They’re not.  Lobbyists are a symptom just like the runny nose, achy muscles and spiking fever that tells you you’ve been infected with influenza.  The virus is already there, and while you can treat the symptoms, and it will at least make you feel better, your body still must combat the illness or you’ll never recover.  Everybody harbors and image in their mind’s eye of some lobbyist, a briefcase full of cash, and some elected or appointed official waiting greedily to be in receipt of the loot.  The problem is, this isn’t what actually happens in most cases.  Outright bribery of that sort would be caught fairly easily, and the people involved would be dealt with under existing law.  It’s not to say this never happens, because it does, but that’s a fairly stupid politician or lobbyist who gets caught in that fashion.

Instead, there are other ways to enrich themselves, and most involve a kind of extortion racket, or kick-backs, or insider information to be used for personal profit.  Imagine you’re a business, and imagine  the business you’re in is one regulated in some fashion by the federal government(but which industry isn’t?)  Imagine that some politician introduces a bill that you know will effectively destroy your company, or make it easier for a competitor to displace you in the market?  Your inevitable response would be to play self-defense, and you would do that by lobbying Congress.  You might contribute to campaigns and parties, but in all cases, you’d try to make happy everybody who holds your business in the palms of their hands.  This kind of extortion racket is common, and what you discover is that the number of legal contributions “enticed” by this method is scandalous.

Naturally, this works the other way too, as a matter of offense.  Do you need a “competitive edge” in the market?  No problem for Congress.  They just pass a bill that either directly or indirectly fouls the business of your competitors, and “Bingo!” To ensure a Presidential signature, you make sure the provision is attached to the most popular legislation, or at least something certain to get the approval of those who run the show.

Imagine yours is a large concern.  One way to pay off folks for their good deeds on your behalf is to provide them information that will enable them to make a killing in the markets.  A bit of info here, and a little investment there, and before you know it: Instant Congressional millionaire.  Of course, the member just happened to “get lucky” in the market.  Consider how frequently members of Congress get in on the Initial Public Offering of stock in a company commencing public trading.  It’s obscene.  It’s not easy to get in on an IPO for most people, and insider information is frequently a good head-start.  Some have suggested that Congress ought to be forbidden from investing in things related to that on which they’re currently legislating, but the problem with this approach is that the Congress now legislates on every matter under the sun.

Apart from the ban on lobbying, there is something more we can add to this reform, and that is to require members of Congress and their staff to convert their investments into cash savings.  That way, as the value of the dollar goes, so goes the value of their savings.  Under such a regime, the Congress would have every reason to safeguard the value of the dollar by prudent fiscal policies, and you could bet they’d be eye-balling the Federal Reserve a good deal more closely.  Many suggest the use of blind trusts, but the problem is that most things called “blind trusts” aren’t really blind at all, as Governor Sarah Palin recently pointed out in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

Of course, all of these suggested reforms still only address part of the issue.  The biggest part of the problem is that Congress is involved too deeply in business at all levels, and in all respects.  This has become the biggest problem we face: As long as Congress can stick its nose into any business for any reason at all, to impose their notion of “regulating interstate commerce” as they see fit, under whatever outrageous definition they concoct, and with courts willing to interpret the Constitution that way, we’re in serious trouble.  It means they will always have some way to dig their claws into not only business, but also into our lives and our pockets.  We need a wall of separation between business and state at least as thorough as the one that’s been erected between church and state.  If we wish to save America, we’ll need to tackle this too.

 

 

Obama and His Crony Connections Run Wild

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

All The President's Friends

We’re all familiar with the story of Solyndra, and a number of the other firms connected to the Obama administration and the “Green Jobs” programs that have been little more than a slush fund for Obama’s donors. Now enter Siga Technologies, with controlling stock held by Ronald O. Perelmaan, longtime Democrat Party donor and Obama supporter. The Los Angeles Times is now reporting that Siga was given a no-bid contract worth nearly one-half billion dollars by the Obama administration, and that the circumstances of how that happened seem to be less than above-board.  While vaguely reminiscent of the Perry-Gardasil scandal, this is much larger and has even more far-reaching potential consequences.   The real scandal lies in the method by which the contract was secured.   The administration replaced its own lead negotiator in order to push this contract through.   From the LA Times article:

When Siga complained that contracting specialists at the Department of Health and Human Services were resisting the company’s financial demands, senior officials replaced the government’s lead negotiator for the deal, interviews and documents show.

When Siga was in danger of losing its grip on the contract a year ago, the officials blocked other firms from competing.

This is a clear sign of serious corruption, and along with other cases involving Barack Obama, it puts the lie to the meme that this administration pushed that it would be “the most open and ethical administration in history.”  Perhaps most stunning about this case, the drug in question hasn’t even been tested, meaning the tax-payers could be footing the bill for something that is completely worthless:

Siga’s drug, an antiviral pill called ST-246, would be used to treat people who were diagnosed with smallpox too late for the vaccine to help. Yet the new drug cannot be tested for effectiveness in people because of ethical constraints — and no one knows whether animal testing could prove it would work in humans.

What we have here is another Solyndra-like instance of tax-payer funds going to purposes of questionable or even seriously flawed merit, conveniently to companies closely tied to this administration.  When Sarah Palin raised the alarm about crony-capitalism, few outside the cesspool of Washington DC had any idea just how bad and how commonplace these sorts of tax-payer rip-offs had become.  Apparently, it’s much worse than all but the most wary observers might have guessed.

Meanwhile, ABC News is reporting that the administration knew they would face blow-back over Solyndra and other Energy Department loan guarantees and contracts.  CBS News’ 60 Minutes is supposed to be devoting its show on Sunday evening to the entire question of Crony Capitalism.  Given CBS’ tendency to be in the tank for Democrats, I expect them to downplay the matter, or at least spin it in some way favorable to Democrats and President Obama.

It’s what they do.

Obama Administration Rejects Congressional Subpoena

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

Obama Cover-up?

The Washington Examiner is reporting on the Obama administration’s rejection of a House Energy and Commerce Committee Subpoena for additional documents related to the Solyndra scandal.  Apparently, this president is above the rule of law.  Congress is carrying out its duty to investigate why tax-payers were effectively robbed of a half-billion dollars under the auspices of a “green energy” initiative.  The Obama administration is keen on hiding this entire fiasco, and now that the committee has looked at all the documents from other federal agencies, they need to look at documents related to the case from the White House, but as the administration’s response makes clear, there will be no further cooperation.  Clearly, his lawyers don’t believe they must respond to legitimate subpoenas for documents pursuant to the oversight role of Congress.  The lawyer is claiming executive privilege on behalf of Obama because the committee vote was along partisan lines, there is no need to answer it:

“I can only conclude that your decision to issue a subpoena, authorized by a party-line vote, was driven more by partisan politics than a legitimate effort to conduct a responsible investigation,” Obama’s counsel, Kathryn Ruemmler, wrote in a letter to the top Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce committee.

(read complete response here)

I want my fellow Americans to remember this.  Essentially, what you should understand is that you don’t need to worry about Obamacare, because it was passed by a party-line vote.  You needn’t sweat it. Just ignore it.  When the federal revenuers come to collect money from you pursuant to Obamacare, you just go ahead and tell them “Hey, I’m sorry, but that was passed by a party-line vote, so no thanks.”  See what that gets you.  Enjoy your jail cell.

The most important claim made by the Obama’s attorney, Kathryn Ruemmler, is that the committee’s subpoena was “overbroad” and thus interferes with the confidentiality interests of the executive branch.  This, from an administration that continues to make claims about its transparency. The problem is that this letter suggests that the party-line nature of the vote is what makes the subpoena invalid, but my question is:  Would the intrusions on the executive privileges of the Obama administration be less if this subpoena had been issued by a unanimous vote of the committee?  No. They’d still make the same claim.  Don’t be fooled by this partisan-ship claim of the president’s attorney.  This is all about hiding the truth.

For his part, Committee Chairman Fred Upton responded to this rejection in scathing language:

“We have been reasonable every step of the way in this investigation, and it is a shame that the Obama Administration and House Democrats continue to put up partisan roadblocks to hide the truth from taxpayers. Solyndra was a jobs program gone bad, and we must learn the lessons of Solyndra as we work to turn our economy around and put folks back to work. Our judicious and methodical work over the last eight months has garnered tens of thousands of pages of documents from DOE and OMB that have proven we are on the right track. Now, we need to know the White House’s role in the Solyndra debacle in order to learn the full truth about why taxpayers now find themselves a half billion dollars in the hole. The White House could have avoided the need for subpoena authorizations if they had simply chosen to cooperate. That would have been the route we preferred, and frankly, it would have been better for the White House to get the information out now, rather than continue to drag this out. Our request for documents is reasonable – we are not demanding the President’s blackberry messages as we are respectful of Executive Privilege. What is the West Wing trying to hide? We owe it to American taxpayers to find out.”

This is setting the stage for a conflict between House Republicans and the Obama administration on an unprecedented scale.  As usual, the Obama administration is obfuscating, obstructing, and otherwise attempting to thwart this investigation into the scandal arising from their approval of loan guarantees to the now bankrupt Solyndra, because this would likely reveal the depths of the crony capitalism inherent in the green energy  initiative.

So what will Congress do if the Obama administration ultimately tells them to pound sand, as it now seems certain to be the case?  I suspect with Speaker Boehner’s tepid leadership, nothing will happen, which is why the Obama administration is responding in this manner.  They know that Boehner simply won’t call for an impeachment, in part because Boehner will consider it pointless since the Senate will never take action on it, and in part because Boehner is afraid of controversy, and instead simply wishes to get along.

Enough is enough.  It’s time that Congress demands the President and his administration comply with the subpoena.  As usual, the response to the subpoena came late Friday after most Americans check out on news.  The Obama administration is betting that the House of Representatives is a toothless paper tiger.  Sadly, with leaders like Boehner and Cantor, they’re likely to have been right in that assessment.  Meanwhile, the American people are taking a beating at the hands of this administration, and its corrupt crony capitalism, which hands out favors to friends and big-money donors while stiffing the American people with the bill.

Sarah Palin Slams Obama Crony-Capitalism

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

Only twenty-four hours ago, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin tweeted a link to an ABC story about a electric car manufacturer from Finland receiving US government loan guarantees that decided to take its loan and its plant home.  As the details have begun to  emerge from the swamp that is the Obama administration, it’s becoming crystal-clear that we have a giant problem in Washington DC.  In a follow-up to here tweet on the issue, Palin has posted a note on Facebook entitled American Crony Capitalism Brings Jobs to Finland.

Her posting begins by explaining some of the linkage that has been revealed to Obama cronies like Al Gore, whose investment capital firm is a partner in the venture.  That’s simply another stunning revelation about how deep the corruption goes.  I’m certain there was probably nothing illegal, since those who right the laws permit these sorts of things, but it’s not merely a matter of law.  It should be a simple matter of right and wrong, and it wasn’t so long ago that decent Americans, including many politicians, didn’t think the law was the only limit on their conduct.  I don’t need a law to tell me some things are simply wrong, and even if they figured out a way to stay within the strict wording of law, they certainly have shredded its spirit.

She hammered away at the obvious corruption and said this:

“It’s bad enough that we borrow money from foreign countries to give to foreign countries. Now we borrow from foreign countries to finance jobs in foreign countries. (This kind of reminds me of the $2 billion assistance President Obama provided Brazil for their off-shore energy developments, while shutting down or blocking much of our own off-shore domestic drilling. He’s in favor of energy jobs in Brazil. But in America? Not so much.)”

Yes indeed, I remember the story quite well.  The main Brazilian company involved is Petrobras, the Brazilian oil monopoly(I thought liberals hate monopolies?) and as an interesting side-note, George Soros has been an investor in the venture, and his timing seems to have been impeccable. Interestingly, it’s a deep drilling operation off the coast of Brazil, much deeper than the Deep Water Horizon that gave Obama the excuse to band off-shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.  Isn’t this also a case of the ultimate in crony-capitalism?

This is the game being played in Washington, using your dollars on boondoggles to enrich politicians and their well-heeled friends and family members.  This ought to be stopped.  Sarah Palin goes on to further support her case, before she  concludes:

“Wake up, America, before it’s too late.”

Indeed, America, wake up!

Mitt Romney Won’t Get My Vote

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

This Guy? Please...

I can’t believe Mitt Romney is dredging up Michael Chertoff as a foreign policy adviser.  Chertoff is the former Homeland Security Secretary who lobbied for the so-called “naked-scanning” machines now in airports across the nation and profited from it.  He’s also the pro-amnesty shill who has repeatedly pushed the country in the direction of some sort of amnesty for illegal immigrants.  For Governor Romney to bring in this guy is akin to inviting the fox into the henhouse, which unless you’re a fellow fox, would seem a remarkably bad idea.  There are at least three things wrong with Chertoff, and probably a good deal more, but if Romney thinks this is the man to whom he should turn for foreign policy advice, I can’t imagine that Romney is a man I can support for dog-catcher, much less for president.  Irrespective of what others may say, or endorse, there’s simply no way I can support this un-conservative pretender.

Add to this the latest news that Romney’s son and one of his fund-raisers may have been using campaign ties of his father’s 2008 in finding investors for his project, and what you begin to wonder is if he’s not the sort of crony-capitalist we fear him to be.  Whether there was any sort of illegality isn’t really the question, as we all know how people leap through the holes in laws, but a question of the propriety of all of this, and whether it represents the sort of judgment we ought to expect from a president.  On the other hand, given the crony capitalism running wild in Washington DC, particularly at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, it may be that he’d fit right in.

Worse yet, it turns out that Romney has appointed a full-blown environmental nut-job while he was governor, and actually pandered to leftists over coal-fired power plants.  From the Wall Street Journal article linked above:

With Mr. Foy by his side, Mr. Romney joined activists outside an aging, coal-fired plant in 2003 to show his commitment to the emissions caps. “I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people, and that plant, that plant kills people,” he said.

Can you imagine anything more ludicrous?  Perhaps taken together with the headlines of the day, we can put this into context: The Obama administration’s EPA has decided to regulate more coal-burning plants out of existence, to the tune of 28 giga-watts of power generating capacity.  This is a prescription not merely for the destruction of thousands upon thousands of jobs in American coal mines, but a complete catastrophe for the economy in general.  This is a program of intentional impoverishment aimed squarely at the American people, and as recently as during his term as governor, Romney was aboard with this sort of ridiculous program.  He’s a dangerous panderer as well as being the liberal in this race.  Please don’t offer that Huntsman is worse, since I believe he’s in this race only to make Romney appear less liberal by comparison.

I’ve written two other articles on Mr. Romney, and the more I learn about his record, the less I like him, and that’s to say I don’t think he’s worthy of the job, and certainly not the sort of president a beleaguered America needs.  I can tell you with certainty that I cannot now or at any future point support a Romney candidacy, because all of these things combined with the Massachusetts health-care initiative signed into law by his hand resembles Obamacare in almost every important detail.  In short, Romney is the next best thing to Obama from the standpoint of an honest conservative.  Only in the deepest blue of blue states could a person such as this pass for a “conservative.”  I will have no part of supporting him.  There is no running mate with whom you could couple him that could present any improvement.  None.  Mitt Romney is the definition of RINO.  Nominate this guy, and it will guarantee four more years of Obama.

You can read my other articles on Romney here:

You’re Being Robbed

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Stealing The Future Uncovered

The crony-capitalism running rampant in the “green energy” initiatives of the Obama administration continue to escalate.  Today, it’s being reported in several media outlets that another three-quarter billion dollars in loans are being guaranteed by the federal government. Worse, some of the same people are involved including Steve Mitchell who was on the board of directors of Solyndra.  He also serves as a “board participant” for Solar Reserve, the parent company of Tonopah Solar.  The US Department of Energy provided another $737 million in guarantees to Tonopah Solar for a new project in Nevada.  As it turns out, Nancy Pelosi’s fingerprints are all over this too.

As we have suspected all along, the Democrats who had been in uncontested control of Congress and the White House until January 2011 have been looting the country. In short, you’re being robbed.  It’s not that anybody is surprised about it, but that the confirmation is just one more reason that Americans are to the point of complete frustration with their government.  Over the last few days, Democrats elites in Washington and around the country have clearly taught us the following lessons:

  • They think we have “too much democracy.”
  • That elections should be suspended to permit them to rule without consequence.
  • That our money is theirs to expropriate, steal, reward friends and relatives, and use as they see fit.

These politicians have always claimed that what they do, they do only for our best interests.  We should have begun to recognize that they hold our interests as irrelevant to their plans, and that any claims they make to the contrary are simple camouflage for the theft in which they’re engaged.  Who among us views the extravagant vacations of the whole Obama family as anything other than looting done under the cover of their position?  Let’s not pretend that they have any intention apart from a malevolent desire to cash in at our expense.

One of the most frightening aspects of what these incidents of crony capitalism and insider trading reveal are that this has all become quite routine in Washington DC.  Our elected federal leaders have no problem squeezing us dry, and ultimately discarding us when we’re used-up.  This can be the only real meaning of the voluminous bills that move from the House to the Senate and finally to the President’s desk for signature:  They are using every opportunity to steal from us.  Even if we imagine that we need some form of healthcare reform, even a grandiose vision like Obamacare, a notion I discard, is it truly necessary to engineer a piece of legislation that is thousands of pages long if it is only honest governance?  No.  As has been demonstrated since its passage, since we weren’t permitted to see it beforehand,  the law is laden with all sorts of set-asides, boondoggles, and instances of crony capitalism for which we will pay with our wallets and our lives.

Other pieces of legislation match this same description.  It cannot be that it takes thousands of pages to craft such laws, and yet the laws and the continuing resolutions and stimulus plans are packed with page after page of hand-outs to this company and that group and these individuals and the other state or locality.  As I’ve explained at length before, even the borrowing constitutes a theft as our currency declines in value in response to the wholesale printing.

Most rational Americans are frustrated to the point of exhaustion.  We must have reform, and it can only come at the ballot box, but this can only happen with the staunch and unflinching devotion of an American people moved to a house-cleaning frenzy.  We must rid ourselves of the old and intractable Senators who wield our dollars like a club over our heads.  We must remove this President who sees no problem with spending money on frivolous things while the country languishes in economic hardship to which he is a primary component.  Perhaps more importantly, however, we must confront another part of the government that few of us ever notice, because we focus on the elected officials.  In Congress, there is an army of staffers who use the laws that they author on behalf of their bosses in part to enrich themselves, generally with a wink and a nod from the elected members.

These people constitute the palace guard and the fox in the hen-house simultaneously.  They peddle influence and they use knowledge of the dark reaches of bills on page 2,214, Section 23x, where you will find the most outlandish things.  Just like the officials for whom they allegedly work, they’re a mixed lot.  Some are very decent and conscientious, but you could in no way consider that to be a majority of them.  The White House is full of similar people, and indeed the entire executive branch is overwhelmed with them, and the executive levels of the various departments and agencies are stuffed full of people who are there because they knew somebody or contributed something to somebody important.  This is the ugly back-side of Washington DC most never see, but it is there and quite prosperous nevertheless.  Did you wonder why it is that only Washington DC’s housing prices seem to continue upwards while the housing market at large has been in free-fall?  It’s much easier to afford nicer housing in better neighborhoods when the tax-payer is footing the bill.

In 2012, voters will face an awful set of choices.  If the country is going to survive, this gravy train must be derailed.  The DC insiders love to lament how the spending is unsustainable while they vote to continue it, but the truth is that as long as we leave them in place, it will be the American people who will bear the worst of this growing catastrophe. It’s no longer enough to simply change teams.  We must change the character of at least one of those teams, and we must clean up the supporting cast of characters too.  This will not be accomplished all in one wave, but we can make a great first installment next year.  For a change, we will all need to leave our comfort zones.  This must be a sharp reversal.  Time is nearly up.

Sarah Palin Posts New Note on Obama Crony-Capitalism

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Sarah Palin on Facebook

In a scathing criticism of the scandalous usage of taxpayer dollars in what has all the appearances of a slimy pay-to-play shell-game, Sarah Palin takes on the Obama administration and the potential wrong-doing in the Solyndra Scandal.  Not satisfied with just calling out Solyndra, Governor Palin also talks extensively about GE’s relation to the Obama administration.

As this site has reported previously, the giant sham of Solyndra is now exploding onto the pages of major media in a scandal that is threatening to overturn the entire apple-cart of DC crony capitalism as expressed in the current administration, and hopefully beyond.

As usual, when confronting this sort of apparent corruption in government, Governor Palin is on the front lines on behalf of the American people.  Among other things, she offers:

“President Obama has his sights set on raising $1 billion for his reelection campaign. Raising that money won’t be easy. But if you can hand out other people’s money to friends, it must get a whole lot easier. This crony capitalism and government waste is at the heart of our economic problems. It will destroy us if we don’t root it out. It’s not just a Democrat problem or a Republican problem. It’s a problem of our permanent political class.”

Amen! Our country cannot withstand much more of this, irrespective the party responsible.  Kudos to Sarah Palin for once again telling it like it is.