Saturday, April 19, 2014

Of, By and For the Incorporateds

As if we didn't know it before, but it's always good to be reminded.

Writing for the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog, Princeton political scientist Larry Bartels discusses a forthcoming study in Perspectives in Politics by fellow poli-sci acedemics Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page. Their research provides stunning new evidence of the hegemonic dominance of the rich in our democracy.

Looking at 1,779 national policy outcomes in the United States over a period of over twenty years, Gilens and Page found that:

... economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence. ...

The differences between the influence of average people and moneyed elites on the policy-making process were not small, either. Bartels says that the preferences of economic elites (defined here as citizens at the 90th percentile or above of the income distribution) were fifteen times as important in affecting the government policies that were enacted on the national level.

I don't know what's "stunning" about it. Anybody with half a brain can see that the Top Tiers pretty much get their own way. ...

Just a few examples from the recent past:

* In California, entertainment labor unions are fighting hard for a tax incentive bill that will largely benefit (wait for it) ... large entertainment conglomerates.

* The Affordable Care Act subsidizers private insurance plans and is pilloried by Republicans, even as they work to turn the government's single page plan (Medicare) into a version of ... the Affordable Care Act.

* The Federal Government bails out General Motors and Chrysler when they teeter on bankruptcy.

* The Federal Government bails out the Large Banks when they're sliding into insolvency. (And also fails to criminally prosecute bank officers for money laundering and fraud.

I concluded long ago that we are, like it or not, the United States of America, Inc. The Republicans want to remove the crumbs the riff raff consume at the dinner table, while the Democrats want to add a few crumbs. (Which is why I'm a Democrat.)

But face it: By and large, it's the same. We're a corporatist state, so live with it.


Chevy Nova said...

The previous republican administration had no problem holding corporate raiders and thieves accountable for their actions. They did so with Enron, and Worldcom and Tyco and Arthur Andersen. Executives were indicted. Some went to jail. In nearly all cases these firms went belly up because the government - nay, the Bush adminstration - held them accountable.

How many corporate and Wall Street executives have been held accountable by the current (your beloved) democratic administration? None.
Zero. No one has gone to jail and no firm has been targeted.

Wait - one. SAC's hedge fund trader Mathew Martoma has been found guilty of insider trading. But he's not Steven Cohen, the head of the firm.

Here is RollingStone Magazine's Matt Taibbi - no friend of the previous administration - explaining how this administration has demonstrated no will to convict corporate thieves or hold any corporation accountable:

'Hands Down' Bush Was Tougher On Corporate America

F. Kousac said...

That's obviously false. the previous "administration" was too busy robbing the American Taxpayer, ruining the economy, and letting terrorists attack America to do anything else.

No one misses bush and dick.

Chevy Nova said...

Thats a wonderful opinion, but facts are facts.

Wall Street walked away scott free and have remained so every day of the current administration. If this was a republican administration, you'd be up in arms
"No one went to jail!!"

But you look the other way because of your partisanship. The smart people are the ones that call it as it lies.

To wit:
The Untouchables: How the Obama administration protected Wall Street from prosecutions

F. Kousac said...

You can't create your own facts, and it's obvious from your reference you are a wing nut that doesn't live in reality. Yes, Facts are facts.

But you can't make up your own facts.

Steve Hulett said...

Wall Street walked away scott free and have remained so every day of the current administration.

You won't see me defending Holder or applauding Tim Geithner as regards Wall Street. It's clear the administration doesn't want to throw any oligarch ins jail ... and won't.

But let's not cherry pick too energetically, Mr. Nova. On the Big One, the 2008 meltdown, the Bush Administration's Paulson gave the fraudsters on Wall Street a f*cking blank check, to the tune of $700 billion. AIG bonds were back-stopped 100 cents on the dollar.

That wasn't the Obama administration, which hadn't happened yet, that was George W. Bush and associates.

But thanks for reinforcing my point that both parties are the hand-maidens of billionaires and mega corporations.

Chevy Nova said...

You have your facts wrong.

Paulson did front an unprecedented sum to Wall Street firms. But keep in mind my friend that AIG also was holding teacher pension plans and public union 401k plans.

Yes, union pension plans that would have defaulted if he hadn't bailed them out. Its not difficult to imagine which side of the decision you would be on if teachers pensions had been vaporized huh? Then you'd be arguing FOR that blank check.

But Lehman Brothers didn't collapse until September of 2008. Geithner was sworn in in January of 2009.
So Paulson is responsible for holding Wall Street accountable in a 4 month window?
How is that possible?
Its not.

Geithner was there ALL along. He was the President of the Federal Reserve Bank during the financial crisis and was in the room voicing his approval of all of the blank checks you are so upset about.

When Paulson was in office the Fed hadn't even figured out what the interest rates were for the money that was fronted.

Geithner alone oversaw the recovery of Wall Street from 2009- 2013 under the Obama administration. And they held no one accountable. That was the window to do it. Thats when the meetings took place between President Obama and the heads of the Wall Street Firms. Blankfein and Dimon sat in a room with him sweating and Obama let them walk away scott free.

The Frontline report I posted above details all of this. Those are the facts. You're trying to spin it.

No administration has looked the other way to Wall Streets shell games more than this administration.

Another salient viewpoint on the robber barons of Wall Street is Dennis Kelleher

He doesn't make tired partisan excuses for political parties in contrast to the facts. He calls it as it lies.

"The question is not when, but if the president will step up and takes action that the American people have been looking for since they elected him in November 2008. He has taken care of the banks and the bankers, most of which would be bankrupt and most of whom would be unemployed but for his actions to save the financial system from a collapse they caused, and they have rewarded him with their scorn, antipathy and aggressive political opposition."

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