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Posts Tagged ‘Crony capitalism’

Socialism is the Problem Capitalism is the Solution

In the long and dismal History of human bondage an unbroken chain of command economies and tyrants has kept their boot on the neck of humanity.

Then came the American experiment, the spirit of 76, the miracle at Philadelphia, and for brief moment in the hours of human bondage the flame of freedom flickered and then blazed, lighting the way to a new age: the Age of Liberty. Unfettered by central planning and tyranny the ingenuity and enterprise of man brought forth in two short centuries more innovation and accomplishment than the previous eons of slavery.

Then the shackles were re-forged by the Progressives who want the power to dictate the lives of others for goals they say are for the betterment of others but which are in reality merely tools they use to gain power. Through manipulation of the media and control of education the Progressives gained the tacit approval of the general population. Most people were too busy working and living their lives to keep their attention on the wider society. The prosperity freedom had created bred generations of people who began to take it for granted. Today after years of bread and circus cycles of neglect we have a mass of citizens who follow like sheep to the slaughter or lemmings to the cliff anywhere the Progressive puppet masters portray as the next free entitlement.

Founded upon a limited government, today we have an imperial president who rules by decree as we pretend that the Constitution is still in force. We live in a dysfunctional oligarchy that is masquerading as a functional republic. We flounder and lurch from one crisis to the next on the world stage because we are divorced from our principles and hypnotized into believing we actually still stand for freedom when we actually are a front for multi-national corporations and international banks. A giant hobbled by pygmies unable to understand that by discarding our heritage of personal liberty, individual freedom, and economic opportunity we have made ourselves no different from every other plunder empire that has fallen from Rome to Britain.

We have descended into mediocrity by adopting the same over regulated, ”from everyone according to the ability to everyone according to their need” pathology that doomed the commissars with their five-year plans, their gulags, and iron curtains. Whenever this rob from the rich to give to the poor looting of producers to support non-producers runs into trouble, which is whenever they run out of other people’s money, they blame Capitalism: the goose that lays the golden eggs. In a classic bait and switch the Progressive collectivists offer freedom and deliver regulations. They offer prosperity and deliver stagnation, inflation, and economic ruin. Our rob Peter to pay Paul pied pipers blame capitalism when in reality Socialism is the problem and Capitalism is the solution.

This progressive slide into the dustbin of History will only be reversed by applying the opposing force of freedom. This must include freedom of action, freedom of association, of speech, thought, and the freedom to excel.

If we outlaw failure with a security net of social programs we ensure that some will turn it into a hammock. When we open the borders and welcome the world should we really watch in disbelief as the programs our elected masters have implemented turn the greatest nation the world has ever known into a third world hellhole saluting the stars and stripes and repeating like a robot, “We’re number one!”

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2015 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

Do You have Hope?

hope11

Marching out of Yorktown to surrender the British Army played the song “The World Turned Upside Down.” As I drive to Meg Lo Mart to make my latest deposit of monopoly money in a Chinese savings account all I can do is mumble the final tag-line of the Wicked Witch of the West, “What a world? What a world?”

There is a massive unspoken problem in America today, floating like the iceberg in front of the Titanic waiting to sink the unsinkable ship. Founded by revolutionaries crying “No taxation without representation!” the Republic these revolutionaries devised has devolved into a society where more than 40% of the people pay no Federal Income Tax and the number of people receiving government benefits is even higher. What incentive would these non-paying receivers have to reign in an overbearing and intrusive government? This unseen and unspoken problem is a cancer in the body politic.

Self-serving professional politicians buy votes by exempting non-productive people from personal financial responsibility while providing ever-expanding benefits at the expense of the productive. This is not the right versus left, conservative versus liberal, democrat versus republican he-said-she-said endless debate that devours the chatocracy of cable’s wall-to-wall talking-heads. This is not an academic exercise that pointy-headed political science and history majors with dueling pocket protectors debate for hours in their mother’s basement as they post their latest scoop on their samizdat blogs. If it is not any of these things what is it? It is a dagger pointing directly at the heart of our civilization.

Western Civilization awoke from the slumber of the Dark Ages enlightened and empowered by a belief, based in the Judeo-Christian tradition that humanity has an innate right to be free and a natural right to excel. Rights and freedoms are given by God not bestowed at the whim of some Legend-in-his-own-mind Leader. This civilization gathered steam in Europe exploding upon the world stage through an energetic period of exploration.

In America after a revolution fought by farmers and merchants against the greatest empire of the day the Founders, dared to declare “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, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” After centuries of government thugs standing on the windpipe of everyday people these self-sacrificing giants observed that in a civilized world government was not imposed by the strong upon the weak it was instead built upon a social contract between the governed and those entrusted with the privilege to govern when they said, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Today this bold and unique experiment in freedom is being devoured from within and challenged from without. Those who believe the collective should reign over the individual, those who believe in the suffocating sameness of socialism over the rough-and-tumble of capitalism have worked for generations building a culture of dependency which has tempered the steel will of the pioneers into the sloppy demands of the couch-potato slacker waiting for someone to find their remote as they guzzle some refreshments and wait for the game as bread and circuses take the place of innovation and accomplishment. Schools teaching 2+2 might = 5, trophies for everyone, politically correct new-speak and affirmative action promotions have sapped the vitality from the citizens of our Republic. Politicians and their fellow-travelers use a system of cronies and sweet-heart deals to reward each other for siphoning trillions from the public treasury promising the dumbed-down descendants of revolutionaries that they just might win the lotto before they have to declare bankruptcy so they might as well re-elect the same old grafters once again.

There comes a time when those who are raising the sails and paddling the boat have to admit to themselves the ballast down in steerage weighs more than the cargo. There comes a time when even the most non-confrontational and loyal among us begin to ask, “Who is John Galt” as Atlas tires of his thankless job and shrugs the burden of dead-weight into the dustbin of history. As the perpetually-reelected and the propaganda spewing Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media trumpet the inevitability of government rationed health-care, cap-n-trade industrial suicide, comprehensive import-a-voter immigration reform and the surrender of sovereignty through treaties supposedly designed to deal with mythical global warming there shines a light in a bell tower, one if by land and two if by sea.

Without hope you’re hopeless and I refuse to allow the unbelievable changes currently assaulting our economy and our political system to bring about my own personal Great Depression. Those who believe in the Devil believe he comes to steal, kill and destroy. I believe if he can’t steal your joy he can’t keep your stuff and weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning. Don’t despair pray. Don’t give up, give it up to God. Let me ask you, “Do you have hope?” I hope so. Personally as for me and my house we will trust the Lord for our hope is in Christ.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2015 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

If We Blow It Up Again It Will Blow Up Again

Back in 2007 when I was speaking of the crash to come I noted that we really didn’t have to worry because our fearless and infallible leaders intuitively know the remedy.  When the bubble bursts they will blow up another bubble.

The absolute triumph of Keynesian economics in America and the West has never been more on display than during our rocky journey through the Great Recession.  An economic contraction which our leaders say is over and those of us who work and live in flyover country know is still grinding us down to the new normal.  TARP was going to save the economy.  It didn’t.  President Obama’s porkulus stimulus was going to save the economy.  It didn’t.  QE 1 and QE 2 were going to save the economy.  They didn’t. 

Then along comes QE 3 with an open ended commitment to pump 85 billion per month into the economy, and presto-changeo alakazam and miraculously the stock market is breaking new highs and the real estate market is beginning to revive.  Unemployment keeps inching down and even the Neocons over on Fox are telling us the cratered economy is showing signs of life.  It turns out if you magically create trillions of dollars and drop them from helicopters across the country there seems to be more money blowing in the wind.  As one very profitable prophet once said, “It doesn’t take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”

Hang on to your hats because a booming economy has to become part of the Obama legacy so that the transition to a centrally-controlled economy can ever be hailed as the prescription for success.  Just as the booming economy of the 90s is constantly brought up as “The prosperity we experienced during the Clinton years” so to if any politician ever attempts to restore economic freedom, or when there is another crash it can be blamed on too much regulation, a pathological fear of deficits, and return to the old days of greed and avarice.

Those of us old enough to remember the Clinton years should know that it was the peace dividend and the Tech Boom Bubble which fueled the prosperity of the 90s.  We should also remember that it was a phony peace dividend since our military was engaged in interventions around the world during Clinton’s depredations in the oval office.  We should also remember that the Tech Boom flew through the air with billions in stock values for companies that made no profit and eventually delivered not prosperity but the crash of 2000.

Our Constitution was not written to be not a living document that evolves over time.  The words were never meant to take on new meanings with every passing generation.  The accumulation of case law and judicial proclamations was not meant to supplant the written political contract that the Sovereign States individually decided to ratify.  However, contrary to the oft stated desires of the Founders of our nation and the Framers of the Constitution the United States has evolved into a behemoth bureaucracy.  In all bureaucracies instead of the best and the brightest rising to the top those who learn to pull the levers the best end up controlling the machine.  Often the official leaders are merely telegenic front men for the powers behind the throne.   The grifters who have gained power through elections filled with ineligible voters, outright fraud, gerrymandering, and a two party system where-in Progressives control both parties use the living document ruse to turn the Constitution into a dead letter.

Crony capitalism has replaced free enterprise.  Just watch the big gaming table at the New York Stock Exchange.  Its volatile swings are dictated not by innovation, profits or production they are instead moved by real or projected government actions.  Will the Fed keep creating money out of thin air?  Will the EPA impose Cap-N-Trade?  Will the imperial presidency use a foreign adventure to grasp more power?  The banks act as willing accomplices of the Fed borrowing money at 0% interest and buying Treasuries at 3% helping to maintain the fiction that we aren’t monetizing our debt and printing our way to prosperity.  The foreigners who used to crowd the treasury auctions know what is going on.  Today the biggest purchasers of American debt are American banks using the Fed’s funny money.

How many times must this Ponzi scheme economy show itself for what it is?  How many times must this self-serving Progressive cabal be exposed for the hypocritical central-planning neo-fascists that they are?  How many articles like this must be written before enough people wake up and do something?  We glory in the American Revolution.  It overthrew tyranny and established personal independence, individual freedom, and economic opportunity on a scale that had never before been seen in the world.  This is something worth celebrating.  However, the counter revolution has been in progress since Hamilton founded the first bank and John Adams threw his opponents in jail.  The cost of freedom is eternal vigilance, and today’s generation may be too busy watching the game to notice their country is being transformed into something they won’t recognize by the time they get up for their seventh inning stretch.

Any semblance of a freely functioning economy has vanished since Progressive leaders like FDR, LBJ, and BHO birthed government control and intervention as an 800 pound gorilla on steroids.  The mirage of false prosperity is once again raising its crowned head out of the sea of financial calamity it created with the last bubble.  A new bubble is forming and happy days will soon be here again with a chicken in every pot and a flat screen in every home.  How many of our fellow citizens will be swept up in the coming Obama Boom?  How many will be devastated when it all comes crashing down again?

The too-big-to-fail friends of the government will be made whole.  The perpetually re-elected and their handlers will have their golden parachute pensions and plush jobs on K-Street and at Fannie, Freddie, and crony filled board rooms across the country.  The only ones hurt will be those who do the real work, those who play by the rules.  When the new bubble blows up the remedy is ready made: we’ll just blow up another bubble.  How could this ever go wrong?  

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2013 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

Crony Capitalism Alert: Ex-Im Bank Props Up Failing Solar Company with Big Loans

First Solar is the recent beneficiary of guaranteed loans from the Export-Import Bank. The Export-Import Bank is a government corporation that operates within the Executive Branch, with the mission of financing the foreign purchase of domestic goods. The unaccountable bank has rightly been labeled as corporate welfare by House conservatives, but was reauthorized by the Republican majority a few months back.

The bank’s recent loan guarantee to support First Solar calls into question the wisdom of that reauthorization. First Solar, as pointed out by Ashe Schow at Heritage Action , is the last company a government bank should be supporting with taxpayer dollars:
Last December, First Solar, a solar panel manufacturer which received a $1.46 billion loan guarantee from the Department of Energy, announced that they would lay off 100 employees. Then, in April of this year, the company announced another round of layoffs totaling 2,000 employees. But First Solar’s troubles weren’t over, in early May, the company reported 1st quarter losses of 8 cents per share, a 12% revenue decline.

The Export-Import bank, not deterred by First Solar’s recent history, guaranteed two loans to Indian companies that totaled $57.3 million so that these two companies could then purchase solar panels from First Solar. These loans should raise red flags. Either the Export-Import bank is simply engaging in crony capitalism by propping up a failing company that fits the Obama Administration’s agenda, or the bank truly thought that First Solar deserved the loan strictly on its merits. So the Export-Import Bank is either engaging in blatant crony capitalism or utterly incompetent. Yet, Congress continually reauthorizes the bank so that taxpayers can bail out Obama’s favorite green companies.
This post was authored by Townhall.com editorial intern Kyle Bonnell.

Why Koch Industries Is Speaking Out

The Wall Street Journal

By CHARLES G. KOCH
MARCH 1, 2011

Crony capitalism and bloated government prevent entrepreneurs from producing the products and services that make people’s lives better

Years of tremendous overspending by federal, state and local governments have brought us face-to-face with an economic crisis. Federal spending will total at least $3.8 trillion this year—double what it was 10 years ago. And unlike in 2001, when there was a small federal surplus, this year’s projected budget deficit is more than $1.6 trillion.

Several trillions more in debt have been accumulated by state and local governments. States are looking at a combined total of more than $130 billion in budget shortfalls this year. Next year, they will be in even worse shape as most so-called stimulus payments end.

For many years, I, my family and our company have contributed to a variety of intellectual and political causes working to solve these problems. Because of our activism, we’ve been vilified by various groups. Despite this criticism, we’re determined to keep contributing and standing up for those politicians, like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who are taking these challenges seriously.

Both Democrats and Republicans have done a poor job of managing our finances. They’ve raised debt ceilings, floated bond issues, and delayed tough decisions.

Senior Economics Writer Stephen Moore critiques Washington’s pending budget deal.
In spite of looming bankruptcy, President Obama and many in Congress have tiptoed around the issue of overspending by suggesting relatively minor cuts in mostly discretionary items. There have been few serious proposals for necessary cuts in military and entitlement programs, even though these account for about three-fourths of all federal spending.

Yes, some House leaders have suggested cutting spending to 2008 levels. But getting back to a balanced budget would mean a return to at least 2003 spending levels—and would still leave us with the problem of paying off our enormous debts.

Federal data indicate how urgently we need reform: The unfunded liabilities of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid already exceed $106 trillion. That’s well over $300,000 for every man, woman and child in America (and exceeds the combined value of every U.S. bank account, stock certificate, building and piece of personal or public property).

The Congressional Budget Office has warned that the interest on our federal debt is “poised to skyrocket.” Even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is sounding alarms. Yet the White House insists that substantial spending cuts would hurt the economy and increase unemployment.

Plenty of compelling examples indicate just the opposite. When Canada recently reduced its federal spending to 11.3% of GDP from 17.5% eight years earlier, the economy rebounded and unemployment dropped. By comparison, our federal spending is 25% of GDP.

Government spending on business only aggravates the problem. Too many businesses have successfully lobbied for special favors and treatment by seeking mandates for their products, subsidies (in the form of cash payments from the government), and regulations or tariffs to keep more efficient competitors at bay.

Crony capitalism is much easier than competing in an open market. But it erodes our overall standard of living and stifles entrepreneurs by rewarding the politically favored rather than those who provide what consumers want.

The purpose of business is to efficiently convert resources into products and services that make people’s lives better. Businesses that fail to do so should be allowed to go bankrupt rather than be bailed out.

But what about jobs that are lost when businesses go under? It’s important to remember that not all jobs are the same. In business, real jobs profitably produce goods and services that people value more highly than their alternatives. Subsidizing inefficient jobs is costly, wastes resources, and weakens our economy.

Because every other company in a given industry is accepting market-distorting programs, Koch companies have had little option but to do so as well, simply to remain competitive and help sustain our 50,000 U.S.-based jobs. However, even when such policies benefit us, we only support the policies that enhance true economic freedom.

For example, because of government mandates, our refining business is essentially obligated to be in the ethanol business. We believe that ethanol—and every other product in the marketplace—should be required to compete on its own merits, without mandates, subsidies or protective tariffs. Such policies only increase the prices of those products, taxes and the cost of many other goods and services.

Our elected officials would do well to remember that the most prosperous countries are those that allow consumers—not governments—to direct the use of resources. Allowing the government to pick winners and losers hurts almost everyone, especially our poorest citizens.

Recent studies show that the poorest 10% of the population living in countries with the greatest economic freedom have 10 times the per capita income of the poorest citizens in countries with the least economic freedom. In other words, society as a whole benefits from greater economic freedom.

Even though it affects our business, as a matter of principle our company has been outspoken in defense of economic freedom. This country would be much better off if every company would do the same. Instead, we see far too many businesses that paint their tails white and run with the antelope.

I am confident that businesses like ours will hire more people and invest in more equipment when our country’s financial future looks more promising. Laying the groundwork for smaller, smarter government, especially at the federal level, is going to be tough. But it is essential for getting us back on the path to long-term prosperity.

Mr. Koch is chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, Inc. He’s the author of “The Science of Success: How Market-Based Management Built the World’s Largest Private Company” (Wiley, 2007).