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USA: plutocratic? Corporate capitalisic? $4.4 trillion from just $5.8 billion

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  • USA: plutocratic? Corporate capitalisic? $4.4 trillion from just $5.8 billion

    The Sunlight Foundation estimated that big shots who made contributions to political campaigns and hired people to lobby the Federal Government got in return ~760 times the combined contributions and lobbying expenses.
    http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2...get-trillions/
    The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

    [T]he truth Im after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

  • #2
    I think that would be an apt descriptor.
    "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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    • #3
      I think the focus should be on those trillions paid out by the government. Economist Frederic Bastiat wrote about this in 1850 (in The Law). He identified it as "legal plunder":

      "But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.

      "Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals. If such a law which may be an isolated case is not abolished immediately, it will spread, multiply, and develop into a system.

      "The person who profits from this law will complain bitterly, defending his acquired rights. He will claim that the state is obligated to protect and encourage his particular industry; that this procedure enriches the state because the protected industry is thus able to spend more and to pay higher wages to the poor workingmen.

      "Do not listen to this sophistry by vested interests. The acceptance of these arguments will build legal plunder into a whole system. In fact, this has already occurred. The present-day delusion is an attempt to enrich everyone at the expense of everyone else; to make plunder universal under the pretense of organizing it."
      http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html#SECTION_G020

      And, yes, one thing people will do is to pay money (e.g. lobby, campaign) to acquire or continue receiving an amount of legal plunder. The problem is not the existence of such campaigning, but the existence of legal plunder in the first place. As Bastiat wrote, once legal plunder exists, we should expect everyone to seek to control/influence the laws and the distributing of the plunder. The only real solution is to abolish the practice of legal plunder.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
        The Sunlight Foundation estimated that big shots who made contributions to political campaigns and hired people to lobby the Federal Government got in return ~760 times the combined contributions and lobbying expenses.
        http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2...get-trillions/
        Free Market Capitalism,
        no such thing.
        To say that crony capitalism is not true/free market capitalism, is like saying a grand slam is not true baseball, or like saying scoring a touchdown is not true American football ...Stefan Mykhaylo D

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
          The Sunlight Foundation estimated that big shots who made contributions to political campaigns and hired people to lobby the Federal Government got in return ~760 times the combined contributions and lobbying expenses.
          http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2...get-trillions/
          This is what happens when the Federal Government has so much control/influence over our lives. Much of this is about companies vying for tax advantage - go to a national sales tax or flat corporate rate with zero deductions and a lot of this will go away. And the bigger government gets the more it needs to be served by the private sector - again, companies vying to those crumbs.
          Last edited by seer; 03-29-2015, 08:03 AM.
          Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by jordanriver View Post
            Free Market Capitalism,
            no such thing.
            The more I read the more it appears that the concept of free market is very much like the myth of Communism: sounds good in theory, but completely unworkable in practice due to human nature.

            Comment


            • #7
              The Pitchforks are Coming.

              Plutocrat Nick Hanauer warns his fellow plutocrats.

              He says that what he sees in the future "...I see pitchforks, as in , angry mobs with pitchforks..."

              (on topic, cites and rebuts Forbes complaint: "Nick Hanauer's Near Insane $15 An Hour Minimum Wage Proposal" Forbes )
              To say that crony capitalism is not true/free market capitalism, is like saying a grand slam is not true baseball, or like saying scoring a touchdown is not true American football ...Stefan Mykhaylo D

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Paprika View Post
                The more I read the more it appears that the concept of free market is very much like the myth of Communism: sounds good in theory, but completely unworkable in practice due to human nature.
                You did not point out the best way for the world to take with due consideration to human nature. Why would the best way not be, the world strives toward the ideal in which everyone strives to put Christianity's two greatest commandments in full practice? The more people don't, the less perfect the world is, no exceptions. We may never attain that ideal, but we must try nevertheless.
                The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

                [T]he truth Im after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jordanriver View Post
                  The Pitchforks are Coming.

                  Plutocrat Nick Hanauer warns his fellow plutocrats.

                  He says that what he sees in the future "...I see pitchforks, as in , angry mobs with pitchforks..."

                  (on topic, cites and rebuts Forbes complaint: "Nick Hanauer's Near Insane $15 An Hour Minimum Wage Proposal" Forbes )
                  You and Nick fail utterly to see a major cause of our burgeoning inequality: the corporate capitalism our runaway governments are aiding and abetting. For example, the Fed pushed interest rates to near zero. Plutocrats can thus borrow their way to even more $$$.

                  If you want to argue for Nick's "new capitalism," you should start a new thread . . . my preference anyway.
                  The greater number of laws . . . , the more thieves . . . there will be. ---- Lao-Tzu

                  [T]he truth Im after and the truth never harmed anyone. What harms us is to persist in self-deceit and ignorance - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
                    If you want to argue for Nick's "new capitalism," you should start a new thread . . . my preference anyway.
                    I don't want to argue for anybody's capitalism.

                    ...I was just pointing out a "plutocrat" who sees the writing on the wall.
                    To say that crony capitalism is not true/free market capitalism, is like saying a grand slam is not true baseball, or like saying scoring a touchdown is not true American football ...Stefan Mykhaylo D

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well the obvious solution to powerful/rich individuals and business interests having a great deal of control over the government is to systematically crack down on the ways in which they wield that influence:

                      * Make all campaigns publicly financed so that politicians are not bribed / influenced by donors.
                      * Remove the Super-PACs / place strong limits on the amounts of money that can be spent on political ads by outside parties, in order that the rich don't have a megaphone so big that it shouts down everyone else's voice.
                      * Limit the favors and pay-checks that politicians and political appointees and their families are able to receive from business interests upon their retirement from politics or upon their entering politics.

                      These sorts of things will take a variety of laws and a constitutional amendment to accomplish. The Democrats have shown great interest in passing these, and have proposed and voted unanimously for various laws and a constitutional amendment to accomplish some of these things. However the Republicans have thus far unanimously voted them down, and proposed nothing themselves. This ongoing push to pass a constitutional amendment via the states rather than congress looks like it may eventually have the desired effect, since the Republicans at the state level are often opposed to the corruption at the federal level and so are far more willing to do something about it.

                      The suggested alternative solution (implied by Truthseeker, Joel & Seer), of making the government less powerful, actually worsens the situation. Without the government having centralized power, power falls into the hands of local powerful people, thus essentially giving Feudalism where local warlords assert control over people around them and they can get away with this because there is no central government to stop them. The lords in this modern feudalistic system would be the wealthy business owners, who can then run their businesses as they wish, unhindered by rules. They can destroy the environment as they please without the pesky government to stop them, and treat their employees like dirty peasants. Such feudalistic type societies tends to be the logical result of libertarian-type ideology where a central government is largely demolished: Removing the government doesn't make all citizens equal, rather it takes the referee out of the game and lets the bullies / elites / warlords loose to do as they please.

                      The democratic government and, specifically, its ability to rein in the wealthy elite is the precisely the one thing that limits the power of the wealthy oligarchs. Limiting or reducing the power of that government is therefore the favorite catch-phrase of those wealthy elite because it directly gives them more power. They have spent many decades trying to indoctrinate people into believing that reducing the power of the government to control them is a good thing.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Paprika View Post
                        The more I read the more it appears that the concept of free market is very much like the myth of Communism: sounds good in theory, but completely unworkable in practice due to human nature.
                        To borrow from another phrase - Capitalism is the worse possible system, except for all the rest.
                        Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
                          You did not point out the best way for the world to take with due consideration to human nature.
                          Because I don't know. And I highly suspect that given great cultural differences between (and even within) societies, there is no practical one-size-fits all answer - that is, any such broadly applicable answer will be too vague and in and of itself meaningless.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by seer View Post
                            To borrow from another phrase - Capitalism is the worse possible system, except for all the rest.
                            The same rejoinder would apply: that there doesn't merely exist one form of capitalism. Indeed, even within one specific societies changes happen over time.

                            Some forms are better than others.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Starlight View Post
                              Without the government having centralized power, power falls into the hands of local powerful people, thus essentially giving Feudalism where local warlords assert control over people around them and they can get away with this because there is no central government to stop them. The lords in this modern feudalistic system would be the wealthy business owners, who can then run their businesses as they wish, unhindered by rules. They can destroy the environment as they please without the pesky government to stop them, and treat their employees like dirty peasants. Such feudalistic type societies tends to be the logical result of libertarian-type ideology where a central government is largely demolished: Removing the government doesn't make all citizens equal, rather it takes the referee out of the game and lets the bullies / elites / warlords loose to do as they please.
                              Excellent points. However, you omit the very important fact that many governments often become the bullies and oppressors. What then?

                              Comment

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