Home / Culture and Society / Crony Capitalism Caused the Crisis

Crony Capitalism Caused the Crisis

Please Share...Print this pageTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on Tumblr0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

Our power-grubbing politicians never shy away from blaming the shortcomings of capitalism for the “Great Recession” of the 21st Century. The old mantra goes, “Capitalism is a flawed system that requires government intervention to alleviate the suffering caused by its shortfalls.” Supported by their tax dollar dependent cronies in academia and their big government loving mouthpieces in the mainstream media, our ruling elite has been effective in socializing the masses that they know what they are talking about. It is, of course, all an attempt to justify expanding the size of government even more, so there is more for the politicians to give away to their faithful supporters.

Capitalism did not cause the financial crisis that we are still mired in some 29 months after it began; crony capitalism did. Crony capitalism is loathed by every proper capitalist because it is more akin to the corrupt socialist systems of the past than to true capitalism. In true capitalism, the primary responsibility of the government is to protect private property rights and prevent and punish fraud. How can a system that confiscates private property through taxes (income and property) and transfers that property to others (domestic and foreign welfare) be called capitalist? How can a system that takes from one to prop up the failure of another be called capitalist? In terms of fraud, how many bank loan officers and borrowers who provided false information on the mortgage applications that contributed to the crisis have been prosecuted and jailed? Uncle Sam has a weak record at best when it comes to exhibiting the qualities of a government operating in a capitalist system.

Instead, Washington has built a system based on favoritism and patronage. Look at “Too big to fail.” This should be translated into “Our Friends are the best.” Hundreds of billions, if not trillions, of taxpayer dollars, have gone into bailing out companies that in return can be counted on to contribute billions of dollars to Republican and Democratic campaign coffers. The rationale we were told is that if any one company went under our economy would fall off the cliff. Really, I don’t remember being airborne when Lehman Brothers was allowed to go belly up. “Too big to fail” was a hoax perpetrated on the American public so the politicians could repay their campaign benefactors. And they are at it again with their attempt to institutionalize “too big to fail” in financial reform legislation before the Senate.

In a true capitalist system GM and Chrysler would have been allowed to go bankrupt. Their assets would have been purchased by other entities and workers would have been hired for hopefully a more profitable endeavor. The economy would have been rid of a drag on it and, therefore, would be more able to operate at an efficient level. Instead, what we got from our crony capitalist system was a huge taxpayer bailout that primarily benefitted the United Auto Workers Union (UAW). In fact, it’s telling that the entity which for years demanded higher wages and benefits and was most responsible for the demise of GM and Chrysler was able to claim a huge stake in both companies ownership as a result of the government’s bailout deal. At the end of the day, the UAW is richer, the politicians get their campaign contributions from Motown, and the American taxpayer will ultimately have to bail out the car companies again sometime in the future.

Now, it is true that if the bailed out financial companies were left to go under a lot of honest folks would have lost a lot of money. But, that is only because of the system the crony capitalists have built. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) allows depositors to place their money in banks without any worry that regardless of how irresponsible their bank may be they will always get their money. Would you eat at a restaurant that was known for food poisoning? I didn’t think so, but it doesn’t matter to you that you probably still have your money in a bank that acted irresponsibly and lost it in the early 2000s. Even though they have brought the economy to its knees, you will still get your money through government insurance. Then, there is Fannie and Freddie Mac who really work on behalf of mortgage lenders and the real estate industry. These two entities guaranteed (with taxpayer money) all the irresponsible behavior of the failed banks. When the crisis unfolded what did Uncle Sam do to them? He bailed them out and allowed them to add even more mortgages to their portfolio.

In a true capitalist system much of the behavior that brought on the financial crisis would not have happened. Bankers would have known that they faced the possibility of losing everything: their wealth, careers, and even their freedom through reckless and/or fraudulent acts. Government would not have been there to cushion their fall. Of course, the biggest thing that would not have been there for them in a capitalist system would have been the existence of a central bank.

Indeed, the Federal Reserve Bank is certainly the most anti-capitalist feature of our economy. In essence, it is a secretive small cabal of monetary central planners that determine the value of our money and stands ready to act as lender of last resort for over-leveraged banks. It has been responsible for all of the big economic crises since its inception in 1914. It caused the Great Depression with its easy credit policies towards banks and Wall Street. It was responsible for the hyper-inflation of the 1970s and the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s because it monetized the Vietnam War and the social programs of Johnson’s “Great Society” of the 1960s. In just the last fifteen years, it inflated the dot com and housing bubbles causing the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression. The Fed’s answer to the crisis: lower interest rates and bailout the banks. There is no question where the Fed’s loyalty lies. And this loyalty has paid off handsomely for its constituency – Goldman Sachs (GS), JPMorgan (JPM), Bank of America (BAC), Wells Fargo (WFC), Morgan Stanley (MS), and Citigroup (C) — together have posted $62 billion in after-tax profits in just the last 18 months! Meanwhile, the true unemployment rate continues to hover around 17 percent, foreclosures are up, and the cost of health care is through the roof.

True capitalism is not perfect, but then again no system is. To blame capitalism for the financial crisis is absurd. We have a crony capitalist system in the United States where politicians pander to corporatists and unions and in return get huge amounts of money to monopolize the political system. It’s a vicious cycle that benefits Washington. No wonder it spends all of its time blaming capitalism for crises.

Powered by

About Kenn Jacobine

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    A few observations:

    How can a system that confiscates private property through taxes (income and property) and transfers that property to others (domestic and foreign welfare) be called capitalist?

    1 – Are we to not have a system of taxes that provides all the myriad benefits for the common good?

    2 – What happens when there is no social safety net…and few jobs? Yes, some will try harder and be more successful (which is in accordance to conservative and libertarian dogma), but many will turn to crime in order to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves and their families. The true goal of the social safety net, Kenn, is not to engender laziness and truancy on a grand scale, but to keep people from having to turn to crime in order to live, much less prosper. It allows them to have time to reset their lives and to find a proper (and legal) job. If we didn’t have a social safety net, sure – people might be able to keep more of their taxes, but is that a good tradeoff for having a much higher crime rate? Without a social safety net, crime and corruption become a way of life for many of the people because such is often their only remaining resort for food, shelter, and clothing.

    Greece took their social safety net way too far – from what I understand, their retirement age is 55. We’re not nearly in as bad a shape as they are…and our social safety net, for all its flaws, does much more good than harm.

    3 – Other than oil-rich nations (such as Qatar), what first-world industrialized democracies (such as those found in the West) have little or no taxes? None. Are there third-world countries that have high taxes? Surely. But unless a country has a source of revenue that is wildly out of proportion with its population (such as in the oil-rich Mideast), that country canNOT achieve the status of a modern first-world democracy without a social safety net and the taxes that provide for it.

    Again, you might still have a high crime and corruption rate even if your country has a good social safety net, but you’ll surely have a high crime and corruption rate without it.

    The answer to your complaint about crony capitalism is getting corporate money OUT of our campaign system…and thanks to the Citizens United decision laid down by SCOTUS (supported by ALL of the conservative judges and bitterly opposed by ALL the liberal judges), that’s not going to happen.

    Between liberals and conservatives (as opposed to Republicans and Democrats), one side has strongly worked for Big Business and the massive deregulation that Big Business has always wanted (which brought about nearly every economic catastrophe since (and including) the Great Depression)…and the other side supports the workers and the regulation necessary to properly protect an economy from itself.

    You know which is which.

  • Ruvy


    The weakness with your argument is that the simon-pure capitalism you argue in favor of hasn’t been around the United States since the early 1800’s. By the time the Civil War was over in 1865, all capitalism in America was “Crony-capitalism.

  • Ruvy, I know.


    My point was that it is ridiculous to blame pure capitalism for any crisis because we don’t have one in the U.S. as per Ruvy’s point in #2.

    When people lose their jobs why isn’t it the responsibility of families, friends, charities, churches, etc… to take care of them? If you say because they won’t then why do we force people to pay taxes for welfare programs. Also, stealing from people upfront by extracting taxes from them to prevent crime when someone loses their job is pretty lame. If I lived in the U.S. I would be happier keeping my taxes and using my 9mm to prevent crime at my house.

    We are in worst shape than Greece. We don’t know it because our government can print its own money. But, the ability to do that will also come to an end. SS and Medicare are in the 10s of trillion in debt due to unfunded future liabilities. And Washington isn’t paying any attention.

    In terms of too much money in campaigns – it is because our government doesn’t follow the Constitution and gives away the house to whomever contributes enough money to their reelection coffers. Money is contributed because the giver expects something in return. Under our current system (unconstitutional welfare state) corporations have as much right to influence government as AARP, Greenpeace etc… Otherwise they would be at a real disadvantage and you think unemployment is bad now. You want to fix campaign finance, make Washington constitutional again.

    Please tell me what “massive” deregulations brought us the Great Depression, the S & L crisis and the most recent housing bubble.

  • Mark

    in light of the ‘commerce clause’, pure capitalism would be unconstitutional

  • Mark,

    Quite the contrary, the commerce clause was meant to allow Congress to only have the power to regulate, make regular in the words of Jefferson, trade between the states. Thus, if a state placed a tariff or some other unfair trade practice against other states of the United States Congress could intervene and declare through legislation the unfair trade practice unlawful.

    Besides, even if you believe wrongly that the commerce clause makes pure capitalism unconstitutional it is a ridiculous proposition because you infer that Congress is obliged to act on its power in the first place.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    Please tell me what “massive” deregulations brought us the Great Depression, the S & L crisis and the most recent housing bubble.

    You’re kidding, right?

    I won’t be able to answer till at least Wednesday – I’ve got to get ready for Church and my youngest son is flying overseas on Tuesday, so I won’t be able to devote the time necessary to answer you till then.

  • Kenn,

    While Glenn is away at church, and, and, and, let me make just a couple of brief observations. Practically speaking, “simon-pure” capitalism is not all that far away from syndicalist socialism. The big difference is that syndicalist socialism provides a more equitable distribution of wealth and keeps that distribution equitable.

    What made America great was that it was a nation of tinkerers and of Bible READING Christians who didn’t let “Pastor So and Shmo” do their thinking for them.

    But by the time 1900 rolled around, most of these tinkerers were no longer tinkering – they were working for someone else and becoming more and more alienated from their work.

    Jet Gardner is an example of a fellow who is not alienated from his work. Artists are tinkerers by nature, and Jet is an artist – and from his latest article on the “Kennedy $25 Bill”, he is a damned good one – and a good tinkerer as well.

    What created many of the institutions in America was the reaction of workers who had become alienated groaning under an oligarchy of crony capitalism. You can’t just dismiss that out of hand. The reason my wife had health insurance was the National Treasury Employees Union – NTEU. I latched on to her insurance because as much as I liked the owner of the restaurant I worked at, the woman was as tight-fisted and as cheap as a Persian Jew (who are known even in Israel to be cheapskates who make the rest of us Jewish cheapskates look like the souls of generosity). Unions didn’t come into existence because workers had nothing to do with themselves.

    Samuel Gompers fucked up the American labor movement with his philosophy of “more”. He should have been aiming at control of corporations.

    But that is water under the bridge. If you can at least acknowledge that the union movement was a reaction (even if misdirected) to crony capitalism, you are on the road to an intelligent analysis of the falling collusus of the American economy.

  • John Wilson

    Kenn speaks like a demented dreamer.

    “Capitalism did not cause the financial crisis that we are still mired in some 29 months after it began; crony capitalism did.”

    Crony capitalism is inevitable, given capitalism. The terrific concentration of money and power attracts cronies with irresistible force.

    It’s inevitable.

  • And, unfortunately, it spills into politics as well, which is another face of cronyism.

    That, too, is inevitable.

  • STM

    Can’t say I disagree with you for once Kenn in regard to crony capoitalism, but not that crony capitalism is akin to “socialoism”, wghich you too often mistake for community.

    Crony capitalism is more like like the current system in Russia … an oligatrchy/

    I have long held. living in a very transparent parlialmentary democracy, that the American system is very close to being an oligarchy – in that the real power in America no longer lies with the American people but the those with enough power, money and influence to get the ear of throse in Washington. The tail indeed does way the dog.

    Regulation, however, should not be seen as the bad guy here – if only in the financial markets, where transparency and sensioible prudential is the key to another GFC not happening again. Suirely, I thought recently, it couldn’nt happen again.

    But no, one of the type of cerdit derivatrives – the credit default swap – which is Wall Street;s equaivalent of betting on two flies crawling up a wall – and the leat transparent of all the derivaitaves packaged up as investment and sold as a potential money-maker by sprinklinh ot with truple AAA rated golden fairy dust – was one of the things that got the big banking houses in Wall St and the City of London into big strife in the first place and was a major cause the crisis, has been active again recently on Wall Street with the big US hedge funds betting on Greece defalting on its debt. Those traders who played the game – largely to line their own pockets ) know stand to lose zillions as a resut of of the 750 million euro package aimed at Greece, and how possibly Spain, Portugal and to a lesser extent, ITaly. Their system – as opposed to the British, although the Brits are in debt – are a classic example of doing absolutely nothing construtive on a large scale when something like the GFC hits. The same thing happened when the Great Depression hit (governemts did nothing) and the results speak for themslves. In the case of the recent CDS swaps on Wall St, the lobal hedge funds (mainly in the US) making bets og Greece defaulting of their debts now stand to lose zillions. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunnch of people, As it turns out, the smartest guys in the room turned out to to be the dumbest (although they are still walking awawy with millions for running companies into the ground while folks like you and I and I suffer),

    Any trader worth his/her salt should have known that Greece, as part of the Euro(currency)zone that would have catastropic effects on (at least) France and Germany, and spill over to Spain, Italy and Portgugal, and was never going to be allowed to fail as it would have devalued the euro incredibily (which is only good – extremely good – for exports and holiday makers, a lesson the US is slowly learning after years of bullshit about “King dollar” and is now learning to rebuild its expor markets) and was never in a million years going to be allowed to go under. Shuffling moeny about on Wall St is wealth on paer – but not real wealth.

    America has to get back to what it’s good at: making quakity stuff and selling it.

    As I keep pointing out – and have yet to see you write a story in regard to it that I won’t be able to pick holes in, how a country like Austral;ia – which fills all you criteria for a socialist state = has one of the world highest GDPs (exceeding even that of America ) and a higher stangard of living and liveability than the US, comes of out of the GFC in the strongest position of all the western developed national economies (growing during the GFC rather than going into recession), including the US and Britain

    It’s an interesting one and one shows it can be done in a transparent democcracy that is less an oligacrchy than a nation that has it real rulers – the people – at heart,

    For the record, as a member of the very pragmatic right-wing pf the Labour party (now more centrist than anything but so far from namby late-sipping, oppose-anything American-style liberalism, inluding the making peace with toweleads whose avaowed aim is destrution of western values and whose first vitims would be namby-pamby liberals) as to not to even bear comparaosn. I do believe however in minimal controls and regulations that lessen exposure to dodgy investmets, which is what happened here and why Australia’s boig four banks emerged from the GFC largely intact abd very strong and anong the top 10 in the wold. By now, you might have gussesd that I’ve made a study of this.

    One oter hing I have learned over the years is that trickle-down economics only works if regulation makes sure it trickles down, and that governments and private indusstry are happy to see it trickle down provided they get returns in the forms of better producticity.

    Like I say, community, workers rights and private enterprise are not mutually exclisve and can co-exists with the racking up of very, very, very large super profits provided there are is one thing included: ACCORD…

    Without it, we are headed for nowheresville,
    and left to the whims of private enterprise whose main focus is the bottom line to the detriment of everything else, including the goodwill of long-term loyaL customers and the dispensing of loyal workers,the answer is what is happening now in The US and elswhere with similar philosophies. And it’s not good.

    My view: worker don;t get good jobs, good pay and good workimng conditions/good standard of living inless they work with private industry to boost productivity and do that by expecting to offer something tangible in return. For instance, if they are getting good overtime rates, they MUST give something back in return. Workers can share in profits provided they help BOOST profits.

    That’s not socialism; it’s just commensense

    (pardon on the typos … am very sick right now amnd am taking serious drigs that make my brain even harder to cope with than normal).

  • Shoot, Stan, I thought you were on something more potent, like two or three gin martinis, extra dry, straight up, and with two or three olives on top.

    The effect would have been the same.

  • For a while, I thought it was a tough day at the office, but then I remembered: it’s Sunday (or is it?)

  • Doug Hunter

    “The terrific concentration of money and power attracts cronies with irresistible force.”

    Power corrupts, in government as well as private industry. Don’t think bureacrats and politicians are immune. I’m more interested in cutting corporate welfare and special treatment than in tearing down safety nets. Unfortunately, it’s never the bloated salaries, or the no bid contracts, or the corporate welfare, or the special treatment to the well connected developer that gets cut… it’s the police and fire departments or the health services they threaten to slash to tug at your heartstrings. The politicians know how to play the population like a fiddle and ain’t nothing gonna change.

  • The bottom line is that when government goes off the tracks even a little bit the flood gates open and everybody is looking for their share. We didn’t begin having a deficit problem until Reagan lowered tax rates significantly. That wasn’t the problem – the spending was. If Nixon, Ford, Carter had lowered the rates in the 70s we would have had a deficit problem starting then. Spending has and will always be the problem with government deficits. Since the “Great Society” Uncle Scam has spent like a drunken sailor. We have passed the point of no return as it has been proven that the government cannot be all things to all people – individuals, old folks, military industrial complex, corporates, starving artists, vagabonds, third world countries, etc, etc, etc,….

    With a debt to GDP ration of about 300 percent, and unemployment over 17 percent Washington has done a great job of managing our affairs!

  • Mark


    …the commerce clause was meant to allow Congress to only have the power to regulate, make regular in the words of Jefferson, trade between the states.

    “[The Congress shall have power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes”

    …you infer that Congress is obliged to act on its power in the first place.

    see the tariff act of 1789 through which the government originally funded itself

    You always ignore Hamilton.

    On the other hand, “anti-constitutional” would have been a better choice of words than “unconstitutional” in #4.

  • STM

    Rog” “it’s Sunday (or is it?)”

    Monday, old mate, we’re a full day ahead. Scary, isn’t it, that we’5re a full day ahead …in essence, I am from the future.

  • STM

    Mind you Rog, the way I feel right now .. two or three (or five) triple gin martinis would be nice about now. Am in so much pain I can’t thin straight.

  • STM

    In some -some- repects, I do agree with Kenn about crony capitalism. Capitalism only works if it’s transparent and creating jobs.

    Which is threason we love it in the first place.

    Crony capitalism is a bastardisation of something inherently good.

  • STM

    Although we hav agree on things in the past: the transparent rule of law that makes us (collectoively) different from the other counties like the latoin American dictatorships and the unstable France of the five republics, the Germany that has only just become a democracy, the Iberian countries that only became true democracies in the 1970s, and Italy that can;t make up its mind whether it’s a basket case or a democracy, Red Chian, the old S oviet Unuion, etc etc.

    Perhaps we in the US and British Commonwealth should always reflect on how lucky we are that our ancestors going back thousands of years believed that rule of law was the true guarantor of freedoms, stable democratic government and personal liberties that trump all other other considerations and have worked for all that time … in Britain since 1988, and arguable in the US since 1777.

    Every time I look at my flag and understand what it represents, I a) thank my lucky stars at my sccident of birth and b) understand wht people from all over the world are banging down the door trying to get into this country and other countries like the US, Britain, New Zealand and Canada.

    We have much to be thankful for. Let’s not fuck it up.

  • STM

    Oh, and yes, we are only where we are because of two things: rule of law + free-market capitalism.

    Checks and balances, as history has shown, need to be applied to both, however.

    (Hope the typos are better … haven’t taken my drugs yet. Once that happens, I can barely find the keyboard, let alone type).

  • STM

    Sorry, I am still off the plot: Number #19: “Make that 1688 (since the glorious revolution in England) in the case of Britain, and 1777 in the US since the declaration of independence. Even the American civil war was only a necessary hiccup in the determination to effect rule of law, despite the dreadful loss of life.

  • Stan, bastardization, right. But consider yourself lucky that it hadn’t happen yet in your land. Perhaps because the ethical component is still intact, perhaps because you’re sufficiently insulated from the corrupting influences, perhaps because of the sense of community you’re talking about – our greatest point of agreement – which is still alive and going strong. How long will you able to resist the pressures? Even in the US, America’s brand of capitalism was relatively speaking “harmless” because it could afford to be – until 1970 (refer you once again to Wolff’s video)- until the competition kicked in. After that, it went haywire. So the question remains, for how long would Australia be able to remain a viable model while the rest of the world is burning?

    Lots has to do with the British parliamentary system – superior in so many ways to the American system. The very formation of the government, via coalition(s)- is definitely a preferred way to go. It creates a reasonable consensus for times ahead, leaving the government free to deal with the impending problems (as per basic agreement) rather than turning every single issue into a battlefield. So wasteful, so distracting, so posturing. It only divides the electorate and plays to the lowest possible sentiment rather than having the formed government and the reached consensus simply reflect the electorate’s wishes.

    Americans have surely taken the notion of absolute individual freedom to extreme and unreal heights – beyond consideration of society or community, as you are so fond of saying. Australians may have started as a penal colony, but the damned Yankees are the true rebels – rebelling against everything they’ve come from, against their origins and everything British, good bad and indifferent.

    And their emblem, the damn Yankee dollar – their king.

  • #15, Mark,

    Exactly. Kenn’s diatribes are a by-product of a historical vacuum, or willful ignorance perhaps – as if constitutional issues were never debated almost from the very inception, conveniently bypassing the still-unresolved controversy.

  • Mark

    …we are only where we are because of two things: rule of law + free-market capitalism.

    …surfer dude, you mean at the edge of oblivion?

    xxoo feel better

  • Mark,


    “[The Congress shall have power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes”

    If this clause gives the Congress power to regulate all commerce in the U.S. (down to electric garage doors) then I guess foreign nations would include Congress regulating commerce in other countries. Maybe Congress can regulate the price that Saudi Arabia and/or OPEC sell their oil to us. Your logic along with other loose interpreters of the Constitution is irrational. The interstate commerce clause was meant to allow Congress to ensure that we had a free trade zone between states. Under the Articles of Confederation this was a common problem.

  • STM

    Rog: “The very formation of the government, via coalition”

    Rog, the drugs have kicked in …. sorry about the typos. Coalitions are actually qite rare in parliamentart government … althoughbwe have one in Oz known as The Coalition. They will never split, never change sides. Currently, it is the main Opposition. Often, it;s the govrenmet, Their policies are so similar, they join foces. In Queensland, the norther state, they have recogbised that the policies are so similar they have formed a single party out of the two – the Liberals (misnomer, that) and the Nationals.

    Both are right wing (although the right is a very broad churhcm ranging from the rabid right to what we call wet Liberals, who are in many respects even left of where I stand as a supporter of the right wing of the Labour Party.

    one represents city folk, the other country folk but their part platforms are virtually idenrical.

    It’s very different to the uneasy coalitions you find in Europe, especially what I predict will be an uneasy coalition in the Uk right now bewteen the Tories and the Lib Dems. One is anti-Europe (the Brits have never really considered themselves part of the greaqt unwashed of Europe).

    They are diametrically opposed on a range is issues … such as defence spending. The Tories under Cameron want to maintain ritain’s righful place in the world as a defender of freedom and would up defence spending; the Lib Dems don’t care, and would cut it. It’s that kind of round-table discission at 10 Downing St that should see more than a few fireworks.\\I see it as unworkable and predict anothervelection within a year or so so that hopefull will give the conservatives a majority government.

    Not because I believe in their policies; I just believe in the democractic process. They won more seats than the other two parties and deserve to govern.

    Tories have a habit of restoring budget deficits, cutting spending and making big business the key to restoring jobs and getting people back to work.

    They will also cut immigration … which can only be a good thing.

    As for the buffoons we have in government in this country at the moment, the less said the better. I want to see a Labour government here as John Howard, the previous conservative Prime Minister, was taking is bcak to the 50s. They did a good job og getting the budget back in surplus, but some of their policies were a bit over the top. Right now, though, even though I disagree with them, anything would be better.

    The only flaw I saw in the US political system is that the House doesn’t run the government … the p;rez does, and he behaves like a monarch elected every four years and has the power to surround himself with an unelected cabinet.

    That is too much power in the hands of one man and his cronies.

    Ask yourself this question: are Americans really free, and do they have a voice?

    They have all the appearances of being so, but they’re not. The process also leads to increadible polarisation of the political process, whereby Congress might make the legislation but all the focus is on one man: the president … a bit like a return to nast old King George.

    About time you did something about that and brought in some genuine checks and balances.

    Just my two bob’s worth, for what that’s worth.

    It’s vey different to Europe

  • STM

    I mean Britain, Oz, NZ, Canada, the British commonwealth counties. Having said that, nothing’s ever perfect.

    But transparancy is the key. Rule of law cannot just be about lip service,

    It is all we have as citizens and is the only way we have of letting people know what we really think.

    Freedom of speech is all very well, but iy must have tangible effects.

  • STM

    Mark, you know how left wing I am, except I am on the right. I believe that everyone can share in the benefits of free-market capitalism … both the workers and business and corporataions.

    I base my experience of living here. If a country that according to Kenn is “socialist” comes out of the GFC on top of everyone else, something has to be working in regard to this philosophjy.

    Pardon the typos … I’m on some very powerful mood/mind altering drugs as I’m quite bloody crook at the moment to point of not being able to work.

    Just on that: they sent me home in a cab ($100), let me leave my car in the executive car park, called paranedicas which they paid for, and paid fom my drugs out of their own pockets. They also told me not to return to work until I was better not how long it took and told me not to worry about my pay – it would be looked after. Not bad for an average joe worker.

    Perhaps this is the difference between Us and you ..

  • STM

    Mark, make that the right of the left. Any left-wing leanings I have come from getting my hands dirty, dirty raising three kids and working overtime to put them through school. For that, I am rewarded by the company as a valuable employee … which is how it should be.

  • STM

    Not to mentworking my bloody tits off for a company that goes out of its way to look after its employees … also how it should be oin the 21st century.

    And company boses that haven’t realised it workers are its most valuable asset, not just the bottom line, shouldn’t be working in the jobs they are in.

    Witness the recent debacles in the US, and the huge numbers of employees laid off or sacked after years of loyal service.

  • STM

    Lt’s hope Doc can fiz my typos. Sorry Doc, but I probably shouldn’t even be here.

  • I see it as unworkable and predict another election within a year or so so that hopefully will give the Conservatives a majority government.

    If this idea of fixed-term parliaments and requiring a 55% majority of MPs to force a new election goes through, that ain’t going to happen.

    This is the policy of the new government which most worries me. Although we do need stability right now, one of the major problems which have plagued British politics in recent times has been complacency and arrogance on the part of the ruling party – usually because they’ve enjoyed a huge and unassailable majority, but if the coalition succeeds in getting this into law we can add ‘mathematical impossibility of getting rid of the buggers’ to the recipe.

    Hopefully it won’t fly, as there are a number of MPs in both the Conservative and Lib Dem parties who’ve expressed their reservations.

    It’s been argued by some Lib Dems that although 50-54% wouldn’t be enough to force an election, it would still in effect be a vote of no confidence and the PM would have to either resign or attempt to form a new coalition.

    Unless that’s actually part of the proposed law, though, I’m not entirely convinced that that would be the case.

  • Sorry to hear you’re crook, mate. What happened – lost an argument with a wave at Bondi? 🙂

  • STM

    Nah, completely rooted my back. To the point where I was lying on the floor in absolute agony and could not move. I made it from the car to the front counter at work (rather embarassing as I start work at lunchtime) , got stuck there, got some painkillers and managed to get home, but after that – couldn’t move, at all. Literally stuck on the floor for 12 hours. They had to call the paramedics at work. Not good, trust me …

    I have a bulging disc and it’s got worse since I stopped smoking as I’ve put on weight.

    God – or the universe – telling me to take a week off work, maybe.

  • Arrggh, I feel you, Stan: been a martyr to back pain myself, on and off, for most of my adult life.

    It’ll flare up every couple of years after I forget and do something daft: whereupon I spend a week or two vegetating at home and then several more weeks walking around like the crooked man in the nursery rhyme.

    Once I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the loo and my back spasmed so badly that I was literally stuck halfway out of bed: couldn’t stand up, couldn’t lie down, any movement I made caused excruciating agony. Worst pain I’ve ever been in.

    Hope you’ll be on the mend soon. In the meantime, enjoy the drugs! 🙂

  • STM

    Thankful I work for a decent employer, though … they really pulled out all stops to make sure I was OK. Out of pocket costs: zilch, except for the nice extra whack of pay I get for working 14 hours on a Saturday. The upside. I get taxed less on my normal pay. Anyway. A Chinese real estate agent was trying to clutch start a borrowed (get this) automatic on the hill outside my place. He managed to jump out and push it DOWN the hill three times and was jumping in and out trying in vain to start it three times.On the fourth go, it has built up too much speed and he was chasing it down the hill, smacked into a 4WD on his side of the road, before it crossed diagonally across the road and totalled my wife’s car outside our place and knocked her car into mine.

    Four cars buggered altogether. I am driving a Corolla paid for by the insurance company and my car, although it has two grand’s worth of damage, is driveable and my wife is using it.

    The seats on the Corolla are not set up for my crook back, which I believe is what caused the problem on Tuesday. I’d have been better of catching the train. It’s five minutes walk to the station and 28 mins into town.

    Did it for a few days till I got the replacement vehicle. Should have stuck to it.

    Best part of the train: it’s $6,40 return and there’s no rushing outside doing the parking shuffle to avoid the parking cops.

    Anyway, I’m drugged up and recovering. Must fly now to get some more drugs into me,.

    Won’t be much use typing after that.

    No surfing for this little black duck for a while, either … although I’ve had this problem since I was 21 and managed to play A-Grade rugby league without it ever being an issue. Doing that, though, I did break a leg and a collarbone, among other things – nose, mostly, and often, along with most of my back teeth. Nothing serious but!!

    Cheers dudes.

  • Mark

    Kenn #25,

    If this clause gives the Congress power to regulate all commerce in the U.S. (down to electric garage doors)…


    …then I guess foreign nations would include Congress regulating commerce in other countries.

    …..I’m not sure what this is or what it follows from.

    The interstate commerce clause was meant to allow Congress to ensure that we had a free trade zone between states.

    What about the other 2/3 of the clause?

    In any care, the Constitution enables regulation. The question is, at what level of regulation (and its accompanying rent-seeking) does your pure capitalism become crony capitalism? Can our economy be ‘a little bit pregnant’?

  • Mark,

    This is a fairly lucid and brief presentation touching upon Kenn’s topic,