Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Government Power is an Economic Inequality

Sultan Knish

The liberal defenders of government power attack concentrations of wealth, but in the true concentration of wealth is not found in the hands of a few billionaires, but in the hands of the government.

The editorialists talk about income inequality and the 1 percent, but they focus on individuals rather than institutions,  and it is the concentration of wealth and power in institutions that threaten civil liberties.

The top 10 wealthiest men and women in America barely have 250 billion dollars between them. Federal budgets run into the trillions of dollars, and the national debt approaches 15 trillion dollars. And that's not taking into account state budgets. Even Rhode Island, the smallest state in the union, with a population of barely a million, has a multi-billion dollar budget.

As the 10th richest man in America, Michael Bloomberg wields a personal fortune of a mere 18 billion dollars, but as the Mayor of the City of New York, he disposed of an annual budget of 63 billion dollars that was three times his own net worth. Spending so much money would wipe out the net worth of any billionaire in America.

That is the difference between the wealth wielded by the 10th wealthiest man in America, and the mayor of a single city. And that is the real concentration of wealth. Not in the hands of individuals, but at every level of government, from the municipal to the state houses to the White House.

Monopolistic power in 20th century America lies not in the hands of a few industrialists, but in the massive monopolistic trust of government, and its network of unions, non-profits, lobbyists and SuperPAC's. The railroads are broken up, offshore drilling is banned, coal mining is in trouble and Ma Bell has a thousand quarreling stepchildren-- now government is the real big business.

The 2008 presidential campaign cost 5.3 billion dollars. Another 1.5 billion for the House and the Senate. And that's not counting another half a billion from the 527's and even shadier fundraising by shadowy political organizations. In 2012, the price tag went up to 6.3 billion with 1.7 billion for the House and Senate.

But that's a small investment considering that the political players and their union and corporate allies were spending billions to get their hands on trillions.

Do you know of any company in America where for a few billion, you could become the CEO, run up trillion dollar deficits and parcel out billions to your friends who will then pay the money back to you so you can take over the company again four years later without the shareholders being able to force you out or have you arrested?

This company will allow you to indulge yourself, travel anywhere at company expense, live the good life, and only work when you feel like it. It will legally indemnify you against all shareholder lawsuits, while allowing you to dispose not only of their investments, but of their personal property and that of their children while obligating them to a debt slavery that will run for generations?

There is only one such corporation. It's the United States Government.

Under an ideological cloak of darkness, politicians act as if they can do anything they want. Public outrage is met with alarmist news stories about the dangers of violence, as if this were the reign of the Bourbon kings,  not a democratic republic whose right of protest is as sacrosanct as its flag and its seal. Instead the republic is dominated by political trusts, party machines, media cartels, public sector unions and a million vermin who have sucked the cow dry and are starting in on its tender meat.

Consider that in 2008, Obama pulled in 20 million from the health care industry. (McCain took in 7 million). Afterward, he conspired to pass a law which mandated that every American be forced to buy health insurance from the industry. There is no definite figure for how much money the industry will make from this, but it will be a whole lot more than the mere 20 million they invested in him. During the days of the robber barons, the government never mandated that everyone must buy a product from them. Private companies might have contrived such control over the marketplace, but the IRS was never enlisted to collect their bills for them.

How much money has flowed from the Obama Administration to its friends in the private sector in just the last year alone and how much of it was used to secure jobs for its allied unions, which they then kicked back to liberal politicians running for office.

Entire states are going bankrupt because of political trusts formed by politicians and public sector unions which pass money back and forth to each other in the plain sight of the taxpayers they are robbing blind.

This is not merely a concentration of wealth, but a ruthless concentration of power. The real money isn't coming from that top 1 percent, it's coming from unions, lobbies and companies which use political power to extract public money.

And that money goes to the party which is so determined to keep on extracting that money no matter what it takes.

The big government left keeps playing the class warfare card, but even the worst company in the world isn't as larcenously extortionate as the worst politician. Some of the greediest and abusive companies were either created by the government or operate in close partnership with it.

HMO's were created by the government. Banks fed off Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's subsidized mortgages like vultures. Do we really need to go into insurance companies, defense contractors or Sallie Mae. AT&T is considered one of the worst companies in America, and it's also one of the biggest political donors. Is there a connection there? Only that companies close to the government don't need to worry as much about what the public thinks of them.

Hate the airlines? They've both been overregulated and subsidized into incompetence. Airlines have been bailed out and protected from competition too many ways to count, because of the unions riding on their coattails.

And those unions are destroying airline after airline, while the non-union airlines prosper.

American business is looking a lot like Soviet business did, full of companies with contempt for their customers, and an unctuous smile for the government. They know where the money is coming from. And in an era of cut throat price competition, and high labor and regulation costs, it's just easier for them to extract the public's money by going over their heads to the politicians. Don't feel like paying for any of it? It's no longer a free market in which individuals make economic choices, but a collective economy with government fixing prices and then turning around and taking more of your money to pay back the companies to cover the difference. That's how ObamaCare works.

The new trusts operate out of Washington D.C. for the benefit of the public. Much like the food markets of Venezuela or the hospitals of Cuba. The money goes back and forth, lobbyists, unions, politicians, consultants, contractors, activists and lunatics huddling together and passing bills that no one has read. And still the defenders of big government treat any calls for reform as a conspiracy of the rich. Yet the two richest men in America, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, were holding fundraisers for Obama. And the tenth richest man in America runs one of the biggest bastions of liberalism. And number 14 on the list, George Soros, is the left's sugar daddy.

This isn't a battle of billionaires. Mere money no longer means what it once did. The billionaire is a dinosaur. The wealthiest men in America can't wait to get rid of their holdings. In the free market, money made you king. But under socialism, money just buys you access and leverage. The leverage to force every man, woman and child to buy your product.

The real concentration of wealth is no longer among men, but among institutions. Like electricity passing along copper wire, it jumps among unions, political machines, companies, non-profits and back again. Its function is to provide the motive power for the great beast of government to grind on. And the American taxpayer is left lying flat in the street.

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