Contemporary Quotes on Crony Capitalism

"In a free market, completely absent of government interference, it would be impossible to form the sorts of cartels briefly mentioned here. These cartels owe their existence to the coercive influence of government. It would be impossible to legally bar entrants from entering markets and to enforce set prices, for example, without the backing of government force.

Therefore, it is the free market advocate that represents the best interests of the masses. It is only the free market advocate who would do away with all forms of government-granted privilege and monopoly. Ironically, it is the advocate of government action that promotes the welfare of selected favored groups at the expense of the mass of people."

Christopher Mayer
Mises Institute
July 27, 2000
Library Topic

"The Founders understood that relatively free markets are the most effective form of social organization for promoting individual freedom. Indeed, capitalism is defined as a system wherein individuals are free to pursue their own interests, make voluntary exchanges, and hold private property rights in goods and services. Much of the original intent of the United States Constitution, as seen in the document itself and in the Federalist Papers that advocated its ratification, was to bring about a climate in which this kind of social organization could occur.

In a free society, most relationships should be voluntary, and involuntary exchange should be minimized. Widespread private control and ownership of property is consistent with this objective. Despite the size and alleged power of industrial giants like IBM, AT&T, and General Motors, in a free market they cannot get a dollar from me unless I volunteer to give it to them. Widespread government ownership and/or control of property is the antithesis of voluntary exchange. Government is the major source of forced exchanges, the most prominent of which is taxation."

Walter E. Williams
John M. Olin
Imprimis, Vol. 29
Hillsdale College
August 2000
Library Topic

"Concern #2: Government-controlled investment invites crony capitalism—industrial policy that allows politicians to control the economy indirectly by attempting to pick winners and losers.

The managers of private pension funds are legally obligated to make investments that are in the best interest of workers. In other words, they must try to get the highest possible return, adjusted for risk. Would such a standard apply under a system of government-controlled investment, and could it even be enforced? This is a significant concern because legislators sometimes believe that the marketplace is not producing the right results; they try to help or punish certain industries or companies through spending programs, tax breaks, and regulatory exemptions. They also can do this by providing special access to capital—another risk that would arise if politicians controlled how retirement funds were invested.

The downturn in Asia during the 1990s illustrates the danger of this approach. Decades of industrial policy, or crony capitalism, left these countries with debt-laden banking systems, inefficient industries, and companies that cannot compete. Unlike the Europeans, the Asians largely avoided direct government ownership, but widespread political manipulation of lending decisions and investment choices produced the same result. Ironically, many of the Americans who praised Japan’s industrial policies in the 1980s are the same people who argue in favor of government-controlled Social Security investment today."

Daniel Mitchell
Backgrounder, #1841
The Heritage Foundation
April 11, 2005
Library Topic

"In the summer of 2003, shoppers in Southern California began getting a break on the price of milk.

A maverick dairyman named Hein Hettinga started bottling his own milk and selling it for as much as 20 cents a gallon less than the competition, exercising his right to work outside the rigid system that has controlled U.S. milk production for almost 70 years. Soon the effects were rippling through the state, helping to hold down retail prices at supermarkets and warehouse stores.

That was when a coalition of giant milk companies and dairies, along with their congressional allies, decided to crush Hettinga's initiative. For three years, the milk lobby spent millions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions and made deals with lawmakers, including incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.).

Last March, Congress passed a law reshaping the Western milk market and essentially ending Hettinga's experiment -- all without a single congressional hearing.

'They wanted to make sure there would be no more Heins,' said Mary Keough Ledman, a dairy economist who observed the battle.

Hettinga, who ran a big business and was no political innocent, fought back with his own lobbyists and alliances with lawmakers. But he found he was no match for the dairy lobby.

'I had an awakening,' the 64-year-old Dutch-born dairyman said. 'It's not totally free enterprise in the United States.'"

Gilbert M. Gaul
Dan Morgan
Sarah Cohen
Washington Post
December 10, 2006
Library Topic

“Calvin Coolidge once said that ‘the chief business of the American people is business,’ and indeed, it would be hard to find a country on earth that’s been more consistently hospitable to the logic of the marketplace. Our Constitution places the ownership of private property at the very heart of our system of liberty....

The result of this business culture has been a prosperity that's unmatched in human history.... Our greatest asset has been our system of social organization, a system that for generations has encouraged constant innovation, individual initiative and the efficient allocation of resources.

It should come as no surprise then that we have a tendency to take out free-market system as a given, to assume that it flows naturally from the laws of supply and demand and Adam Smith’s invisible hand. And from this assumption, it’s not much of a leap to assume that any government intrusion into the magical workings of the market -- whether through taxation, regulation, lawsuits, tariffs, labor protections, or spending on entitlements -- necessarily undermines private enterprise and inhibits economic growth. The bankruptcy of communism and socialism as alternative means of economic organization has only reinforced this assumption...

[A]lthough the benefits of our free-market system have mostly derived from the individual efforts of generations of men and women pursuing their own vision of happiness, in each and every period of great economic upheaval and transition we’ve depended on government action to open up opportunity, encourage competition, and make the market work better.”

Barack Obama
Random House
2008
Library Topic

"In the year since the investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed, paralyzing global markets and triggering one of the biggest government forays into the economy in U.S. history, Wall Street has looked south to forge new business strategies, hew to new federal policies and find new talent.

'In the old days, Washington was refereeing from the sideline,' said Mohamed A. el-Erian, chief executive officer of Pimco. 'In the new world we're going toward, not only is Washington refereeing from the field, but it is also in some respects a player as well. . . . And that changes the dynamics significantly.'"

Tomoeh Murakami Tse
David Cho
Steven Mufson
The Washington Post
September 13, 2009
Library Topic

"As President Obama's push for a healthcare overhaul moves toward its final act, the oft-vilified health insurance industry is on the verge of seeing a plan enacted that largely protects its financial interests.

That achievement, should it stand up in the final legislation, would be the capstone of a sophisticated lobbying and strategic campaign that began even before Obama was elected president.

The specifics of the healthcare legislation are still being hashed out on Capitol Hill, and key details will evolve in the days ahead. Even so, there is broad agreement that the final plan will, for the first time, require Americans to buy health coverage, with taxpayer subsidies for millions who cannot afford it.

For the health insurance industry, that means millions of new paying customers. What's more, there are likely to be no limits on what insurers can charge, while at the same time the plan is expected to limit competition from any new national government insurance plan that lawmakers create.

These anticipated wins -- from an initiative that has at times been portrayed as doomsday for health insurers -- is the result of a strategy developed by one of Washington's savviest lobbyists, Karen Ignagni. Under Ignagni's leadership, the industry group America's Health Insurance Plans adopted the goal of universal coverage while setting out to shape it in a way that benefited insurers -- a crucial move that aligned their interests with those of other groups, including consumers and hospitals.

Insurers poured campaign donations into the coffers of key sympathetic members of the House and Senate, and loaded up on lobbyists. And when Obama and other Democrats began attacking the industry, insurers made a strategic choice not to walk away from the negotiating table."

Noam N. Levey
Lisa Girion
Los Angeles Times
October 26, 2009
Library Topic

"Capitalism is a profit and loss system. The profits encourage risk-taking. The losses encourage prudence. Is it a surprise that when the government takes the losses, instead of the investors, that investing gets less prudent? If you always bail out lenders, is it surprising that firms can borrow enormous amounts of money living on the edge of insolvency?

I’m mad at Wall Street. But I’m a lot madder at the people who gave them the keys to drive our economy off the cliff. I’m mad at the people who have taken hundreds of billions of taxpayer money and given it to some of the richest people in human history. I’m mad at Bush and Obama and Paulson and Geithner and Bernanake. And I’m mad at Congress. You made sure that risk-takers continue to expect that the rules that apply to the rest of us don’t apply to people with the right connections.

You have saved the system, but it’s not a system worth saving. It’s not capitalism but crony capitalism."

Russ Roberts
Executive Compensation: How Much is Too Much?
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
October 28, 2009
Library Topic

"Last month, for example, President Barack Obama announced $3.4 billion in government-stimulus grants for power-grid projects. About one-third of the recipients are GE customers. GE expects them to use a good chunk of that money to buy its equipment.

The government has taken on a giant role in the U.S. economy over the past year, penetrating further into the private sector than anytime since the 1930s. Some companies are treating the government’s growing reach — and ample purse — as a giant opportunity, and are tailoring their strategies accordingly. For GE, once a symbol of boom-time capitalism, the changed landscape has left it trawling for government dollars on four continents."

Nicolas Loris
The Foundry
The Heritage Foundation
November 19, 2009
Library Topic

"The actions taken at the height of the financial panic last fall, with credit markets frozen, succeeded in preventing a systemic--and catastrophic--collapse. Since bringing us back from the precipice however, the Troubled Asset Relief Program [TARP] has morphed into crony capitalism at its worst. Abandoning its original purpose providing targeted assistance to unlock credit markets, TARP has evolved into an ad hoc, opaque slush fund for large institutions that are able to influence the Treasury Department's investment decisions behind-the-scenes. No longer concerned with preserving overall financial market stability, Treasury's walking around money continues to be deployed to reward the market's Goliaths while letting its Davids suffer."

Representative Paul Ryan
Forbes
U.S. House of Representatives
2009
11
Library Topic

"We all stand to lose as crony capitalism drains the life from our economy; but we all stand to gain from the fruits that genuine, vigorous, free market competition provides."

Representative Paul Ryan
Forbes
U.S. House of Representatives
December 11, 2009
Library Topic

"Congressional committees overseeing industries succumb to the allure of campaign contributions, the solicitations of industry lobbyists, and the siren song of experts whose livelihood is beholden to the industry. The interests of industry and government become intertwined and it is regulation that binds those interests together. Business succeeds by getting along with politicians and regulators. And vice-versa through the revolving door.

We call that system not the free-market, but crony capitalism. It owes more to Benito Mussolini than to Adam Smith."

Gerald P. O'Driscoll Jr.
The Wall Street Journal
April 20, 2010
Library Topic

"Many of those familiar with the banking industry, overall, say that community banks bore little to no responsibility, on balance, for the financial meltdown that occurred in 2008. Nonetheless, an analysis of the Dodd bill indicates that if it passes, community banks will be subject to a whopping 27 new regulations that one individual who has worked with banks professionally and is closely tracking the legislation says 'could threaten to put many community bankers out of business, thus reducing competition in the banking sector overall, and diminishing consumer choices.'

That individual further asserts that while the bigger, Wall Street banks will likely be able to adapt to the bill (though their efficiency and ability to compete internationally could take a knock), the community banks will not—potentially making the system more risk-prone, also."

Capitol Confidential
Big Government
April 26, 2010
Library Topic

"Big business lobbying for more regulations that will crush smaller competitors is fairly common. Wal-Mart has endorsed higher minimum wage and an employer mandate on health-insurance. Mattel, the world’s largest toymaker, lobbied for the draconian Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. Big food corporations have embraced stricter federal food regulations — both presently, and back in the 'Progressive Period.'"

Timothy P. Carney
Washington Examiner
April 26, 2010
Library Topic

"Stephen Ambrose and other historians have faulted private markets for lacking the capital or the imagination to build the transcontinental railroad. Certainly it was true that private entrepreneurs and financiers did not see the point of risking huge sums to build a railroad across a vast, empty, and sometimes mountainous terrain. Private entrepreneurs and financiers added value by developing the rail network bit by bit, supporting the expanding freight business. The process was gradual. Grandiose schemes like the transcontinental railroad drained resources from some regions to benefit special interests.

There was no money to be made from operating a railroad through a desolate wasteland, yet the federal government rewarded railroad contractors with big subsidies: a thirty-year loan at below market interest rates; twenty sections (12,800 acres) of government-owned land for every mile of track; and an additional subsidy of $48,000 for every mile of track laid in mountainous regions.

Thomas Durant, Oakes Ames, and other officers of the Union Pacific Railroad, which went a thousand miles west from Council Bluffs, Iowa, started the Credit Mobilier company in 1867 and retained it to do the construction. Credit Mobilier distributed to shareholders profits estimated at between $7 million and $23 million, depleting the Union Pacific’s resources. In an effort to stop congressional investigations, the officers bribed Speaker of the House James G. Blaine and other congressmen with Credit Mobilier stock. Seldom modest about their thievery, congressmen voted themselves a 50 percent pay raise. The Union Pacific Railroad fell deep into debt, without enough revenue from passengers or shippers, and went bankrupt in 1893."

Tad DeHaven
Cato@Liberty
Cato Institute
October 27, 2010
Library Topic

"George Soros -- whom we're always told is not serving his own economic interests at all by promoting liberal politicians and big-government policies -- is launching a new investment fund that plans to profit off of the 'green energy' boom, which is entirely dependent on government subsidies supported by the groups Soros funds.

As the press release puts it, this fund will 'leverage technology and business model innovation to improve energy efficiency, reduce waste and emissions, harness renewable energy, and more efficiently use natural resources, among other applications.' As Soros puts it in the same release: 'Developing alternative sources of energy and achieving greater energy efficiency is both a significant global investment opportunity and an environmental imperative.' Cadie Thompson at CNBC's NetNet flagged this.

So, yeah. The big-government policies advanced by the liberal outfits he funds -- like Center for American Progress -- will enrich the companies in which Soros is investing."

Timothy P. Carney
Beltway Confidential
Washington Examiner
February 24, 2011
Library Topic

"Dodd-Frank has largely severed the relationship between risk and return, which is the necessary discipline imposed by a free market. Now, the big banks get to keep the rewards, but American taxpayers bear the risk. If that sounds familiar, it should. That is precisely what happened in Greece, when the International Monetary Fund underwrote hundreds of billions of dollars in loans, leaving American and German taxpayers stuck with the bills. To add insult to injury, these financial institutions are sophisticated market players, with a wealth of resources at their disposal to assess risk. They don’t need any further protection, and certainly not at the expense of the ordinary taxpayer."

Library Topic

"But even if all income differences reflect luck, why are government-imposed 'corrections' fair? The fact that liberals assert this does not make it true, any more than assertions to the contrary make it false. Fairness is an ill-defined, infinitely malleable concept, readily tailored to suit the ends of those asserting fairness, independent of facts or reason.

Worse, if liberals can assert a right to the wealth of the rich, why cannot others assert the right to similar transfers, such as from blacks to whites, Catholics to Protestants, or Sunni to Shia? Government coercion based on one group's view of fairness is a first step toward arbitrary transfers of all kinds."

Jeffrey A. Miron Ph.D.
Huffington Post
September 2, 2011
Library Topic

"Now consider the claim that income differences result from illegal, unethical, or otherwise inappropriate behavior. This claim has an element of truth: some wealth results from illegal acts, and policies that punish such acts are appropriate.

But most inappropriate wealth accumulations results from bad government policies: those that restrict competition, enable crony capitalism, and hand large tax breaks to politically connected interest groups. These differences in wealth are a social ill, but the right response is removing the policies that promote them, not targeting everyone with high income.

The claim that soaking the rich is fair, therefore, has no basis in logic or in generating desirable outcomes; instead, it represents envy and hatred."

Jeffrey A. Miron Ph.D.
Huffington Post
September 2, 2011
Library Topic

"By picking winners and losers in the energy sector, the government-as-investor model distorts markets, weakens the rule of law, and fails to spur sustainable job creation. Instead of helping the economy, the story ends with taxpayers losing billions of dollars, successful companies losing their competitive advantage, and workers losing their jobs – in Solyndra’s case, 1,100 of them.

This is the ugly end of government’s adventures in crony capitalism."

Representative Paul Ryan
U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Budget
September 22, 2011
Library Topic
Library Topic: Green Jobs

"We cannot afford an economy full of Solyndras, where firms exist and prosper only because they have attained preferred status among the politically powerful. Crony capitalism flies in the face of our most deeply held principles, such as equal rights before the law, and it hurts our economy by weakening the connection between effort and reward."

Representative Paul Ryan
U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Budget
September 22, 2011
Library Topic
Library Topic: Green Jobs

"Lawrence Katz, a Harvard economist, adds that some inequality is necessary to create incentives in a capitalist economy but that 'too much inequality can harm the efficient operation of the economy.' In particular, he says, excessive inequality can have two perverse consequences: first, the very wealthy lobby for favors, contracts and bailouts that distort markets; and, second, growing inequality undermines the ability of the poorest to invest in their own education.

'These factors mean that high inequality can generate further high inequality and eventually poor economic growth,' Professor Katz said.

Does that ring a bell?

So, yes, we face a threat to our capitalist system. But it’s not coming from half-naked anarchists manning the barricades at Occupy Wall Street protests. Rather, it comes from pinstriped apologists for a financial system that glides along without enough of the discipline of failure and that produces soaring inequality, socialist bank bailouts and unaccountable executives.

It’s time to take the crony out of capitalism, right here at home."

Nicholas D. Kristof
The New York Times
October 26, 2011
Library Topic

"Embassies in countries from France to Indonesia decided that the American taxpayer would like to give away copies of Obama’s two books—Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope—for the enlightenment of the locals. In Paris, they were still dishing out copies of the 16-year-old Dreams from My Father as recently as March of this year.

The State Department’s generosity with public funds to promote Obama’s literary efforts—at a time when it has been closing American libraries overseas to cut costs—was revealed last week by The Washington Times, which reported that State had bought more than $70,000 worth of the two books for Christmas 'gratuities' and stocking of 'key libraries' abroad.

A review of the expenditures in a federal database did not reveal any examples of State Department purchases of books by former Presidents George W. Bush or Bill Clinton, according to the Times."

Helle Dale
The Foundry
The Heritage Foundation
November 2, 2011
Library Topic

"But there is no doubt that the deals are lucrative for the companies involved.

G.E., for example, lobbied Congress in 2009 to help expand the subsidy programs, and it now profits from every aspect of the boom in renewable-power plant construction.

It is also an investor in one solar and one wind project that have secured about $2 billion in federal loan guarantees and expects to collect nearly $1 billion in Treasury grants. The company has also won hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts to sell its turbines to wind plants built with public subsidies.

Mr. Katell said G.E. and other companies were simply 'playing ball' under the rules set by Congress and the Obama administration to promote the industry. 'It is good for the country, and good for our company,' he said.

Satya Kumar, an analyst at Credit Suisse who specializes in renewable energy companies, said there was no question the country would see real benefits from the surge in renewable energy projects.

'But the industry could have done a lot more solar for a lot less price, in terms of subsidy,' he said."

Eric Lipton
Clifford Krauss
The New York Times
November 11, 2011
Library Topic

"Over the last year, the Obama administration has aggressively pushed a $433-million plan to buy an experimental smallpox drug, despite uncertainty over whether it is needed or will work.

Senior officials have taken unusual steps to secure the contract for New York-based Siga Technologies Inc., whose controlling shareholder is billionaire Ronald O. Perelman, one of the world's richest men and a longtime Democratic Party donor.

When Siga complained that contracting specialists at the Department of Health and Human Services were resisting the company's financial demands, senior officials replaced the government's lead negotiator for the deal, interviews and documents show.

When Siga was in danger of losing its grip on the contract a year ago, the officials blocked other firms from competing.

Siga was awarded the final contract in May through a 'sole-source' procurement in which it was the only company asked to submit a proposal. The contract calls for Siga to deliver 1.7 million doses of the drug for the nation's biodefense stockpile. The price of approximately $255 per dose is well above what the government's specialists had earlier said was reasonable, according to internal documents and interviews.

Once feared for its grotesque pustules and 30% death rate, smallpox was eradicated worldwide as of 1978 and is known to exist only in the locked freezers of a Russian scientific institute and the U.S. government. There is no credible evidence that any other country or a terrorist group possesses smallpox.

If there were an attack, the government could draw on $1 billion worth of smallpox vaccine it already owns to inoculate the entire U.S. population and quickly treat people exposed to the virus. The vaccine, which costs the government $3 per dose, can reliably prevent death when given within four days of exposure.

Siga's drug, an antiviral pill called ST-246, would be used to treat people who were diagnosed with smallpox too late for the vaccine to help. Yet the new drug cannot be tested for effectiveness in people because of ethical constraints — and no one knows whether animal testing could prove it would work in humans.

The government's pursuit of Siga's product raises the question: Should the U.S. buy an unproven drug for such a nebulous threat?"

David Willman
Los Angeles Times
November 13, 2011
Library Topic

"But the real scandal is the loan guarantee program itself. The United States needs alternatives to oil, for reasons ranging from climate change to national security. Shoveling taxpayer dollars into profit-seeking manufacturing companies is not the way to develop them.

You can call it crony capitalism or venture socialism — but by whatever name, the Energy Department’s loan guarantee program privatizes profits and socializes losses. It’s an especially risky approach in the alternative-energy space, where solar energy is many years from being cost-competitive with fossil fuels for most uses — and history is littered with failed government attempts to back the next big thing."

Library Topic

"It’s politically almost impossible to control runaway spending when people believe that government can continue making payments. As long as there’s any money in the lock box, political pressure will be overwhelming to spend it. The tens of millions of voters who receive government benefits – such as elderly pensioners, unionized government employees, solar panel hustlers and rich Wall Street bankers ‑ are likely to demonize courageous politicians who suggest the government can no longer afford to pay for everything. This is where we are now."

Jim Powell
Forbes
November 29, 2011
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"The U.S. slid from the top ten most prosperous nations for the first time in a league table which ranked three Scandinavian nations the best for wealth and wellbeing."

Halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, on a former cattle ranch and gypsum mine, NRG Energy is building an engineering marvel: a compound of nearly a million solar panels that will produce enough electricity to power about 100,000 homes.

"John Broder of The New York Times has an interesting piece on Al Gore’s financial profit tied to his global warming alarmism and push for renewable energy. Gore’s venture capital firm invested in Silver Spring Networks, a company that makes hardware and software to improve efficiency in the...

"Anyone who opposes ethanol subsidies, as these columns have for decades, comes to appreciate the wisdom of St. Jude. But now that a modern-day patron saint—St. Al of Green—has come out against the fuel made from corn and your tax dollars, maybe this isn't such a lost cause.

Welcome to the college of converts, Mr. Vice President. 'It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies...

Hamilton may indeed be worthy of this title; but lest we give him and his economic ideas undue credit, we should pause to consider exactly what kind of 'capitalism' Hamilton and his Federalist allies bestowed on the U.S. economy.

"Free markets depend on truth telling. Prices must reflect the valuations of consumers; interest rates must be reliable guides to entrepreneurs allocating capital across time; and a firm's accounts must reflect the true value of the business. Rather than truth telling, we are becoming an economy of liars. The cause is straightforward: crony capitalism."

"When the government-backed Solyndra filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, policymakers supportive of the loan-guarantee program said variations of the following: 'If this were a venture capital firm and only one out of 10 projects failed, they would be a great success.' That would be fine if it were private money, not taxpayer money. But now a second company is going under."

"Armed with tens of billions in loans from the Chinese government, Chinese solar companies have scaled at a rate unthinkable only a few years ago. At the end of this year, there will likely be 50,000 MW of manufacturing capacity in place around the world, with much of that new capacity being developed in China and other Asian countries. (In the year 2000, there was only 100 MW of production...

"The United Auto Workers union urged senators on Monday to reject any attempt to block a “cash for clunkers” proposal designed to generate new auto sales.

The Senate is expected to consider the proposal this week to provide vouchers to consumers who turn in their gas-guzzling cars and trucks for the purchase of more fuel-efficient vehicles. Lawmakers secured $1 billion for the proposal...

"The Obama administration has just proposed a new fee — otherwise known as a tax — on the country's largest financial institutions.

The tax aims to recover the difference between the bailout funds provided to these institutions a year and a half ago and the amounts ultimately returned to the Treasury. In so doing, the tax will allegedly reduce the federal deficit by some $90 billion....

"The bankruptcy comes about two months after Solyndra -- a solar panel maker with a $535 million loan guarantee -- also filed for Chapter 11, creating a political embarrassment for the administration of President Barack Obama, which has championed the loans as a way to create 'green energy' jobs.

Beacon Power drew down $39 million of its government-guaranteed loan to fund a portion of a...

Federal employees whose compensation averages more than $126,000 and the nation’s greatest concentration of lawyers helped Washington edge out San Jose as the wealthiest U.S. metropolitan area, government data show.

"Many window-making companies struggle because of the recession's effect on home building. But one little window company, Serious Materials, is 'booming,' says Fortune. 'On a roll,' according to Inc. magazine, which put Serious' CEO on its cover, with a story titled: 'How to Build a Great Company'.

The Minnesota Freedom Foundation tells me that this same little window company also gets...

"It may be a difficult case to prove, but the complaint filed last month by the National Labor Relations Board against Boeing is a welcome effort to defend workers’ right to collective bargaining."

"Under John Browne, BP’s CEO from 1995 until a scandal forced him to resign in 2007, BP ventured into the leftist world of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), that trendy manifestation of 21st Century crony capitalism and creeping state-corporatism. Lionized from Hollywood to Harvard Yard for their unorthodox conversion to CSR and smitten with their corporate rock star status, Browne and...

"Big banks are bad for free markets. Far from being engines of free enterprise, they are conducive to what might be called 'crony capitalism,' 'corporatism,' or, in Jonah Goldberg’s provocative phrase, 'liberal fascism.' There is a free-market case for breaking up large financial institutions: that our big banks are the product, not of economics, but of politics.

There’s a long debate...

"As I’ve written here, Propublica must be recognized for their superb 'Buried Secrets' investigative work on the fracking issue. They put the story on the radar screen.

But, now that the paper of record – the New York Times – has weighed into the debate with a massive three part investigative series, the rats are scurying to cover their asses.

The Times...

"With the approval of the Obama administration, an electric car company that received a $529 million federal government loan guarantee is assembling its first line of cars in Finland, saying it could not find a facility in the United States capable of doing the work.

Vice President Joseph Biden heralded the Energy Department's $529 million loan to the start-up electric car company...

"Reporting from Washington— Over the last year, the Obama administration has aggressively pushed a $433-million plan to buy an experimental smallpox drug, despite uncertainty over whether it is needed or will work.

Senior officials have taken unusual steps to secure the contract for New York-based Siga Technologies Inc., whose controlling shareholder is billionaire Ronald O. Perelman,...

Remember the East Asia crisis? When the US Treasury and its IMF allies blamed that region's problems on crony capitalism, lack of transparency, and poor corporate governance?

To put it another way, this is a chance to save capitalism from crony capitalists.

"Insider trading is illegal — except for members of Congress. A Wall Street executive who buys or sells stock based on insider information would face a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and quite possibly a federal prosecutor. But senators and congressmen are free to legally trade stock based on nonpublic information they have obtained through their official positions as elected...

"It’s all the current fashion to dump on 'capitalism.'

It was the greedy free market, supposedly, that created both the housing bubble and the housing bust and led, inevitably, to the 'great recession.' Capitalism, according to most liberal pundits (and even Alan Greenspan in a bad mood), is an inherently risky and unstable system that requires government regulation to correct its flaws...

"New York gave us banks too big to fail. Washington bequeathed us Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Still, when it comes to crony capitalism, no one quite matches Chicago.

Soon the Illinois state legislature will meet in special session to consider the Chicago machine's latest favor: legislation designed to deliver tax relief to three of the state's largest companies. These tax breaks for the...

Despite the growing Solyndra scandal, yesterday the Department of Energy approved $1 billion in new loans to green energy companies -- including a $737 million loan guarantee to a company known as SolarReserve....

"Would a farmer who put out a trough of slop be surprised if it attracted a bunch of pigs? Then why are activists who promote enlarging the size and scope of government shocked when one program after another is hijacked by corporations that find it easier to seek favors in Washington than customers in the marketplace? And, knowing that such corruption is inevitable, why do mainstream media...

"Argentina’s ranking in The Wall Street Journal/Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom—now 135th out of the 179 countries ranked in the Index—has declined steadily in the seven years since President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her husband, former President Nestor Kirchner, took power. It is by far the lowest ranked G-20 nation. Recently Charles Krauthammer neatly summarized why...

"In the summer of 2003, shoppers in Southern California began getting a break on the price of milk.

A maverick dairyman named Hein Hettinga started bottling his own milk and selling it for as much as 20 cents a gallon less than the competition, exercising his right to work outside the rigid system that has controlled U.S. milk...

President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are promising a climactic clash with Wall Street, but there’s a complication in their battle plan: The Democratic Party is closer to corporate America ... than many Democrats would care to admit.

"The growing narrative in Washington is that a decades-long unraveling of the regulatory system allowed and encouraged Wall Street to excess, resulting in the current financial crisis. Left unchallenged, this narrative will likely form the basis of any financial reform measures. Having such measures built on a flawed foundation will only ensure that future financial crises are more frequent...

"A privately held start-up that makes solar panels announced today that they would be filing for bankruptcy. The company, Solyndra Inc., received a $535 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy in September 2009. This follows two other bankruptcy announcements by solar start-ups this month. The explanation for these closures has been that world prices for solar products have...

"Sen. Chris Dodd’s financial regulatory reform bill, on which the Senate is slated to take a cloture vote this afternoon, has been the subject of much criticism of late, primarily for what opponents say amounts to a de facto institutionalization of 'too big to fail' with regard to the biggest power players in the financial sector."

"Economic freedom in the United States is on the wane. Historically a standard bearer for freer markets, the United States has seen its economic freedom rating fall in the last decade according to the latest Economic Freedom of the World index, published by a world-wide network of institutes. In 2000, the U.S. was ranked...

When asked to pick my most frustrating issue, I could list things from my policy field such as class warfare or income redistribution.

"Thanks to CNBC, the Department of Energy has been caught removing references to 'SunPower,' a solar energy company that was given $1.2 billion in loan guarantees, from old press releases (H/T Hotair).

'The changes occurred in two press releases from the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program — the same program that has been the center of controversy surrounding the failed solar...

"The Environmental Protection Agency is offering thousands of taxpayer dollars and free publicity to whoever produces the most compelling pro-government-regulation propaganda, it announced on its website and in a YouTube video.

'...

[Henry] Paulson has said downsizing the giants is the one thing that the next administration and Congress must do.

"First Solar, one of the world’s leading solar-panel makers, announced Tuesday that it will close its German manufacturing operations late this year, indefinitely idle four of its 24 production lines in Kulim, Malaysia, on May 1 [2012] and lay off 2,000 employees — about 30 percent of its global workforce.

The company, which with its thin film panels is the industry leader in...

"Renewable-loving Los Angeles is showing that even the power of billions of dollars in taxpayer 'stimulus' cannot overcome the dominant hand of government regulation, and ironically it’s costing President Obama more green jobs.

One of the darlings of the...

An elite Obama fundraiser hired to help oversee the administration’s energy loan program pushed and prodded career Energy Department officials to move faster in approving a loan guarantee for Solyndra....

'There has been a lot of talk lately about GE and what some call crony capitalism. Unfortunately, those same people don’t want the facts to get in the way of their political rhetoric.

"Hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions made by Goldman Sachs, the New York investment firm facing civil fraud charges, are becoming an issue in this year's congressional election.

...

"Goldman Sachs is launching an aggressive response to its political and legal challenges with an unlikely ally at its side — President Barack Obama’s former White House counsel, Gregory Craig.

The beleaguered Wall Street bank hired Craig — now in private practice at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom — in recent weeks to help in navigate the halls of power in Washington, a source...

"A few weeks before playing a central role in fraud charges against Goldman Sachs, hedge fund titan John Paulson invited colleagues to a fundraiser for Senator Chuck Schumer -- 'one of the few members of Congress that has consistently supported the hedge fund industry' -- according to a copy of the invitation obtained by POLITICO."...

"Former Vice President Al Gore thought he had spotted a winner last year when a small California firm sought financing for an energy-saving technology from the venture capital firm where Mr. Gore is a partner.

The company, Silver Spring Networks, produces hardware and software to make the electricity grid more efficient. It came to Mr. Gore’s firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers,...

"The defenders of free markets are often viewed as apologists for big business. Regulation of business is seen as necessary to the welfare of the public to prevent exploitation by selfish business people. Such a view would be hard to square with reality, with history both recent and distant.

In reality, business often welcomes regulation and openly lobbies for it. Business often doesn't...

Government’s job is to guard and protect us. But who will protect us from the guardians themselves, once they become corrupt? There is no certain recourse against a corrupt government.

"The 'partnership of government and business' is a new term for an old, old condition. We often fail to realize that the point of much of Big Government is precisely to set up such 'partnerships,' for the benefit of both government and business, or rather, of certain business firms and groups that happen to be in political favor.

We all know, for example, that 'mercantilism,' the...

"President Obama's Department of Energy helped finance several green energy companies that later fell into bankruptcy -- but not before the firms doled out six-figure bonuses and payouts to top executives, a Center for Public Integrity and ABC News investigation found.

Take, for instance, Beacon Power Corp., the second recipient of an Energy Department loan guarantee in 2009. In March...

The politically-connected win. Existing job-holders and companies lose. Home electric bills go up. Power also costs more for companies, making it more expensive to go into business or to stay in business.

"Mark Twain famously wrote, 'There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.' Peter Schweizer's new book, 'Throw Them All Out,' reveals this permanent political class in all its arrogant glory. (Full disclosure: Mr. Schweizer is employed by my political action committee as a foreign-policy adviser.)

Mr. Schweizer answers the questions so many of us have asked. I...

"Today, we are constantly being told, the United States faces a health care crisis. Medical costs are too high, and health insurance is out of reach of the poor. The cause of this crisis is never made very clear, but the cure is obvious to nearly everybody: government must step in to solve the problem.

Eighty years ago, Americans were also told that their nation was facing a health care...

"J.P. Morgan Chase for the first time convened its board in Washington this summer, calling the directors to a meeting at the downtown Hay-Adams hotel, then dispatching them to Capitol Hill for meet-and-greets.

Last month, a firm run by the billionaire investor Wilbur Ross hired the head of Washington's top mortgage regulator to pick through the wreckage of the housing bust looking for...

"As President Obama's push for a healthcare overhaul moves toward its final act, the oft-vilified health insurance industry is on the verge of seeing a plan enacted that largely protects its financial interests.

That achievement, should it stand up in the final legislation, would be the capstone of a sophisticated lobbying and strategic campaign that began even before Obama was elected...

Nevada Geothermal enjoyed significant backing from the federal government. It received a $79 million loan guarantee from the same Energy Department program that helped finance the failed solar company Solyndra.

"Vice President Joe Biden is an affable fellow, which sometimes makes his tendency to exaggerate the truth somewhat amusing. However, Biden’s latest tall tale is as unamusing as it is wrong.

From the New York Daily News:

'Every single great idea that has marked the 21st century, the 20th century and the 19th century has required government vision and government...

"The collapse of MF Global, the brokerage dealer headed by former New Jersey Governor and Goldman exec Jon Corzine, may seem like just another case of Wall Street fat cats paying the price for their speculation (actually, though Corzine may have run the firm into the ground, he’s reportedly going...

"'Can capitalism survive? No. I do not think it can.' Thus opens Schumpeter's prologue to a section of his 1942 book, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. One might think, on the basis of the quote, that Schumpeter was a Marxist. But the analysis that led Schumpeter to his conclusion differed totally from Karl Marx's. Marx believed that capitalism would be destroyed by its enemies (the proletariat), whom capitalism had purportedly exploited, and he relished the prospect. Schumpeter believed that capitalism would be destroyed by its successes, that it would spawn a large intellectual class that made its living by attacking the very bourgeois system of private property and freedom so necessary for the intellectual class's existence. And unlike Marx, Schumpeter did not relish the destruction of capitalism. 'If a doctor predicts that his patient will die presently,' he wrote, 'this does not mean that he desires it.'"

"One of the law firms hired to provide legal work for the Treasury Department on a multibillion-dollar federal loan program also lobbied Congress for a private client pushing to expand the same government initiative, records show.

The Treasury Department retained Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal LLP more than a year ago to provide legal advice on the Federal Reserve’s Term Asset-...

"Remember the sloppily written 'for the children' toy testing law that went into effect last year? The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) requires third-party testing of nearly every object intended for a child's use, and was passed in response to several toy recalls in 2007 for lead and other chemicals. Six of those recalls were on toys made by Mattel, or its subsidiary Fisher...

GE is betting on climate change legislation, high-speed rail funding, electric car subsidies, embryonic stem cell grants, expanded federal health care spending, subsidies for renewable energy, defense contracts and continued financial bailouts.

"So, in an effort to stamp out corruption, which U.S. officials have prodded Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai to do, he orders his Central Bank to take managing control of the country’s largest private bank, which, I might add, 'also contributed to President Karzai’s reelection campaign last year.'"

"'Beltway Earnings Make U.S. Capital Richer Than Silicon Valley.' According to the latest Census figures, Washington, D.C. is now the wealthiest metropolitan area in the United States.

That's good news for local property values, but I can't say it fills me with hometown pride. After all, Silicon Valley's wealth was earned -- just rewards voluntarily given for producing innovations that...

"Main Street remains suspicious of government plans to buy distressed mortgage assets. Leading politicians and newspaper editorials are struggling to explain how the financial bailout will help Main Street. They see that the challenge is to get the American people to come around.

In fact, it is the elites who are badly misguided. The reality is that the Paulson plan is nothing more than...

The 'polluter pays' rhetoric is still often used, and most Americans probably think that current environmental policies make polluters pay. In truth, however, this approach is seldom embodied in American environmental laws.

"Green energy investments are coming from every direction. Whether it is the stimulus package or the cap and trade bills proposed in Congress, the government is eager to invest taxpayer dollars in renewable energy technology. As Americans become desensitized to the copious amounts of money the government is spending, clean energy investments are growing from millions to billions. And companies...

"Today the Bureau of Labor and Statistics released its monthly jobs report showing that the U.S. economy added only 103,000 jobs this December. With the unemployment rate now at 9.4%, this marks the 20th month in a row that the unemployment has been over 9 percent, a post–World War II record. You are going to hear a lot of noise from...

Christopher Helman favorably profiled Oklahoma billionaire George Kaiser‘s 'green' energy agenda. Yes, solar-panel-maker Solyndra recently went belly up, leaving 1,100 people out of work and the federal government with a half-billion-dollar liability.

"As the once-formidable Enron Empire continues to implode--and new revelations appear daily about the inner workings (and apparent financial shenanigans) of this firm--we are treated, not surprisingly, to the wrong story by the mainstream news media and their associates from the political classes. It is bad enough to see a huge firm go bankrupt, but what makes this situation even worse is the...

George Soros ... is launching a new investment fund that plans to profit off of the 'green energy' boom, which is entirely dependent on government subsidies supported by the groups Soros funds.

"A year ago, a Reno clean energy businessman warned the Public Utilities Commission that if it didn’t set a few standards for NV Energy’s wind rebate program, its customers could end up footing the bill for turbines that rarely produce electricity.

One reason behind his concern: To be eligible for rebates, customers didn’t need to prove that the wind actually blows enough to justify...

"When President-elect Obama came to Washington in late 2008, he was outspoken about the need for an economic stimulus to revive a struggling economy. He wanted billions of dollars spent on 'shovel-ready projects' to build roads; billions more for developing alternative-energy projects; and additional billions for expanding broadband Internet access and creating a 'smart grid' for energy...

"The appointment by President Obama of Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman and CEO of General Electric, to head the new President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness is just another sign of the commitment of the Obama Administration to 'Crony Capitalism'. For over 100 years GE was known for business innovation and manufacturing excellence. But long gone are the uplifting moments in our nation’s history...

"Despite frosty relations with the titans of Wall Street, President Obama has still managed to raise far more money this year from the financial and banking sector than Mitt Romney or any other Republican presidential candidate, according to new fundraising data.

Obama’s key advantage over the GOP field is the ability to collect bigger checks because he raises money for both his own...

"There are two capitalisms. There is mundane market capitalism and there is political capitalism. Markets regulated by the rule of law and governed by a freely functioning price system are post and beam in the architecture of prosperity. You step into a grocery and there in the freezer are your coveted waffles waiting as if someone knew you were coming for them. But no one is looking after...

"Beacon Power Corporation, which filed for bankruptcy late last week, was the recipient of a $43 million loan guarantee from the Energy Department. Campaign contribution information from Open Secrets shows that Beacon Power's CEO F. William Capp donated to both Barack Obama and two Massachusetts Democrats.

Capp donated $500 to to Obama's 2008 campaign, as well as $500 to...

"As 'Occupy Wall Street' continues to grow globally, many wonder what is causing the movement in the first place and what the outcome will be. The naming of the movement, related to Wall Street where it all started, does not do justice to the real issues. Yes, the original protests started with dissatisfaction at lavish bonuses and salaries in the financial sector, when seemingly little...

"This week's HHS proposed rule requiring everyone to carry contraceptive insurance and forcing insurers to cover the entire price is the latest bit of Public Policy Profiteering on birth control from the drug industry, I argue in my column today.

There's a rich history of Democratic politicians subsidizing Pharma through birth-control initiatives.

For instance, Schering Plough, a...

"President-elect Obama, you have been a strong and eloquent defender of property rights and the rule of law, recognizing that they undergird Americans' freedoms and protect us from unjust government actions. These protections may be most important to those of modest means, who are the disproportionate victims of government takings of property. As explained by the NAACP and other civil rights...

"President-elect Obama, you have been a strong and eloquent defender of property rights and the rule of law, recognizing that they undergird Americans' freedoms and protect us from unjust government actions. These protections may be most important to those of modest means, who are the disproportionate victims of government takings of property. As explained by the NAACP and other civil rights...

"If capitalism was the most influential single economic and social force of the 20th century (and continuing today), there is no better guide to understanding its power and complexity than famed economist Joseph Schumpeter, says Harvard Business School's Thomas K. McCraw. 'I think Schumpeter is the most penetrating analyst of capitalism who ever lived. He saw things other people didn't see...

Sen. Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) office is defending the majority leader's decision to hold a fundraiser with Wall Street executives just as Democrats worked to craft a bill regulating the financial industry.

"The lead story in today’s New York Times is a devastating look at solar and wind power subsidies. Too bad it appears on a Saturday when fewer people will read it (which may not be a coincidence). The print hed and sub-hed tell it better than the online version: 'Rich Subsidies Powering Solar and Wind Projects: Big Rise in Government Aid—Companies Are Virtually Assured of Profits.' It’s worth...

A calm has descended over the federal government’s initiatives in energy amid the furor over health insurance legislation.

"Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) has pledged to block a Bush administration proposal being steamrolled through Congress to grant the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve sweeping new powers. Slowing things down would allow Congress to debate the issue fully before approving measures that could put taxpayers on the hook for billions in debt incurred by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government...

"Government spending drives taxes, deficits, debt and inflation, so it’s at the core of our economic problems. What to do about runaway spending? The tendency is to imagine that it might be controlled by electing the right politicians, enacting a law like a balanced budget amendment, passing a spending limitation ballot initiative, establishing a super committee or coming up with some kind...

What is the 'fair' amount of taxation on high-income taxpayers?

"The White House faced mounting political complications as a second top fundraiser for President Obama was linked to a federal loan guarantee program that backed a now-bankrupt Silicon Valley solar energy company, and as two California lawmakers called for investigations of a state tax break granted to the firm.

Steve Spinner, who helped monitor the Energy Department's issuance of $25...

"To speed economic recovery in Asia and promote the economic well-being of the United States, the Clinton Administration should advance further liberalization in free trade with and investment in Asian countries. Liberalization would undermine the policies of "crony capitalism" that caused the recent financial panic in Asia and, at the same time, encourage Asian governments to adopt the...

"Many of the problems that forced solar company Solyndra to shutter operations threaten other businesses in the sun-power industry, with more upheaval likely in the coming months, analysts say.

The bankruptcy last month of Fremont, Calif.-based Solyndra comes as solar manufacturing undergoes a major transition. Prices of solar panels have plummeted, causing a supply glut and slicing...

The rolls of green energy subsidies show that beyond a few headline-grabbing cases, several well-connected Democrats obtained taxpayer assistance for environmentally friendly projects.

Solyndra LLC, the failed company that House Republicans said may have benefited from White House political connections, unsuccessfully sought a meeting with environment chief Carol Browner to argue for the use of solar panels on government buildings, e-mails show.

"Solyndra, the solar panel company whose highly publicized failure and consequent investigation by federal authorities has flashed across headlines recently, isn't the only business to go belly up after benefiting from a piece of the $800 billion economic stimulus package passed in 2009.

At least four other companies have received stimulus funding only to later file for bankruptcy, and...

"A company that served as a showcase for the Obama administration’s effort to create jobs in clean technology shut down Wednesday, leaving 1,100 people out of work and taxpayers obligated for $535 million in federal loans.

Solyndra, a California solar panel maker, had long been an administration favorite. Over the past two years, President Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu each had...

Solyndra, the now-bankrupt solar-energy company that was, before its demise, the poster child for America’s renewable-energy industry and President Obama’s 2009 Recovery Act.

The Obama administration urged officers of the struggling solar company Solyndra to postpone announcing planned layoffs until after the November 2010 midterm elections, newly released e-mails show.

"Three’s quite a bit of back and forth across the political aisle about Solyndra. Does throwing $500 million at a company that failed [to] show that all government tech pump priming is a waste of money? From the other side, well, sure, some will fail but the program as a whole is going to deliver just great results."

"How did a failing California solar company, buffeted by short sellers and shareholder lawsuits, receive a $1.2 billion federal loan guarantee for a photovoltaic electricity ranch project-three weeks after it announced it was building new manufacturing plant in Mexicali, Mexico, to build the panels for the project.

The company, SunPower (SPWR-NASDAQ), now carries $820 million in debt,...

"The Obama administration already undermined the rule of law by ignoring bankruptcy law to give Chrysler to the United Auto Workers union. Now they are again rewarding union workers at the expense of average Americans.

Sacrificing the rule of law and economic freedom to big labor...

"The three top U.S. tycoons on Forbes’s 'Green' billionaires list have received billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies for their clean technology companies, after they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for political campaigns and lobbying.

Two of the moguls, ...

"In a year where Solyndra became the face of the solar industry’s chronic failures, even the holiday season could not prevent one last flurry of layoffs in 2011.

The Mountain Enterprise (based in Frazier Park, Calif.) reported over the weekend that First Solar, Inc. – which the media sometimes identifies as the largest solar company in the world – laid off half its employees on Friday...

"After President Barack Obama entered the White House in 2009, U.S. embassies around the world apparently felt that foreigners still did not know enough about him, despite the unprecedented blaze of global publicity surrounding his election. As has been remarked, U.S. public diplomacy in the age of Obama often amounts to the same thing as publicity for the President himself, with American...

"President Barack Obama recently announced the appointment of 20 private-sector members to the President’s Export Council. Although the President promised to provide Americans an 'unprecedented level of openness in Government,' the White House announcement did not mention the numerous financial connections between President Obama and his appointees.

To correct that oversight, here is a...

"The Obama administration’s game plan for passing their financial regulatory reform plan is clear: ignore the details of their bill, demonize Wall Street, and cast conservatives as the pawns of big bankers. But as Politico reports today, there’s a complication in their battle plan: 'The Democratic Party is closer to corporate...

"Beware politicians whose legislation bears a grandiose title. You can be certain their schemes will accomplish the opposite of their purported intent. Such is the case with the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act signed into law one year ago today. The massive 2,300-page tome - commonly known as Dodd-Frank - promised to fix the financial system, streamline regulation and end...

"The Clean Energy Deployment Administration (CEDA) proposed in the Clean Energy Financing Act would act as a 'green bank' to provide loan guarantees to energy and automotive projects that Washington deems worthy. Similar to President Obama’s proposed infrastructure bank, in effect, CEDA would distort the energy market by redirecting capital inefficiently and create unlimited taxpayer liability...

Energy Secretary Steven Chu appeared before a Republican-controlled House committee Thursday and immediately turned the tables on his GOP critics. Yes, it’s regrettable that a half-billion-dollar government loan to Solyndra went sour.

"As soon as the federal government announced its trillion-dollar bailout (for starters) of Wall Street plutocrats, defenders of the bailout pulled out what they apparently believed was their secret weapon: the myth of Alexander Hamilton as the alleged inventor of American capitalism. Hamilton, they said, would approve of the bailout. Case closed. How could anyone dispute 'the architect of the...

"Since the late 1960s, the steel industry has sought protection in the form of tariffs or subsidies from the federal government. Now the steel industry wants the US government to protect the market even further by applying tariff rates as high as 40 percent on steel imports. Furthermore, the industry is seeking a federal subsidy of $10 to $13 billion to fund its legacy costs, the pension and health care benefits of retired steel workers. The two most frequently cited reasons for this increased government intervention in the steel industry are for national security reasons and to counter 'unfair' foreign competition. But the justifications the steel industry offers for this increased government intervention amount to nothing more than myths and have no basis in reality."

"All the ire at banks and multinational companies by dangerous communists and anti-globalisation hippies is misdirected. They should reserve their venom for the rustic rich-world farmer living the life of Henry David Thoreau."

"In 1978, to the laughter of many and the derision of a few, I wrote a book called, 'The Downfall of Capitalism and Communism,' which predicted that Soviet communism would vanish around the end of the century, whereas crony or monopoly capitalism would create the worst-ever concentration of wealth in its history, so much so that a social revolution would start its demise around 2010. My...

"If you get someone to answer the phone at Evergreen Solar, chances are they'll sound pretty down. The few employees left are waiting to see what unfolds as the company goes through the death throes of bankruptcy.

The Massachusetts-based solar company's demise has escaped much national notice as Congress delves into the political controversy surrounding the industry's other big failure...

Interest groups have not always been as American as apple pie.

"Throughout the painful and paradoxical existence of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) we have been told by those in the mainstream media, as well as by sympathetic politicos, that at its root, at its genesis, the OWS Movement was both organic and legitimate. We were told that the movement was exclusively about a rebellion against high unemployment and crony Capitalism, even as those championing the...

"THROUGHOUT much of the 1990's, Washington had a standard and somewhat preachy -- message to the rest of the world: In an era when markets rule and military might is of limited use, a nation's influence rises and fall largely on its financial credibility.

That was easy to say when the country's markets were rising, its biggest companies were trusted to report the facts each quarter and...

"This week, Sarah Palin gave a terrific speech in Indianola, Iowa. In it, she tore into the Washington political class. Men and women in government get wealthy by 'bail(ing) out their friends on Wall Street and their corporate cronies...reward(ing) campaign contributors...buy(ing) votes via earmarks...And there is a name for this: It's called corporate crony capitalism...It's the collusion of...

"Through this special series on green-energy crony-corruption, we've been highlighting specific examples of green-energy loan guarantees and grants. What connects each of these cases is that they received fast-tracked approval from the Department of Interior (DOI) for their projects. Of course, they also have many other dots that connect, such as key players with White House visits, raising...

"Who's got the most juice on Capitol Hill? Here's a list of the top industries contributing to members of the 111th Congress during the 2009-2010 election cycle. The first list shows the overall 50 biggest industries. The other two highlight the top 25 industries giving to members of each of the two major parties. In all cases, the Top Recipient listed is the individual member of the 111th...

"The latest data on economic well-being show the biggest slide in entrepreneurship and opportunity. Businesses' start-up costs are rising in the land of pioneers and patents."

"Let's pretend that we have the political guts to expand economic opportunities for people at the lower end of the economic spectrum. What vested interests should be attacked, and what economic regulations should be targeted for elimination?"

"My post in the NYT's Room for Debate blog elicited a good number of comments and questions. So today I thought I might elaborate on the most-important of these questions: What exactly is economic freedom and what do we know about the way it affects prosperity?"

"For over four decades, Richard Posner has made major contributions to the case for limited government, particularly in the regulatory realm. He is one of the most economically literate lawyers in the law-and-economics movement. However, the financial shocks since 2007 have produced in him a crisis of confidence — and, apparently, a decline in his economic acuity.

He therefore did his...

President Obama and the Banking Committee Chairman, Chris Dodd, introduced 27 new regulations for the banking industry. The new regulations are based on the notion that the financial meltdown of 2008 was due to de-regulation of the banking industry.

"Over the next 75 years, the Social Security program will face a cash shortfall of more than $20 trillion (in 1998 dollars). If no changes are made in the program's design, bringing Social Security into balance will require a 54-percent increase in payroll tax rates, a 33-percent reduction in benefits, a big hike in the retirement age, or a combination of the three. Yet tax increases and...

Chart or Graph

Nevertheless, a large proportion of the winners were companies with Obama-campaign connections. Indeed, at least ten members of Obama's finance committee and more than a dozen of his campaign bundlers were big winners in getting your money.

A chart comparing the Index of Economic Freedom from the Heritage Foundation for 2010 to the Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International.

"In four years, the solar manufacturing sector shifted from being led by a geographically-dispersed number of companies to one dominated by Chinese companies."

The most popular company in which members of Congress were invested in 2010 was General Electric, a company that spent more than $39 million on federal lobbying that year and ranked as the No. 3 top spender on lobbying.

"To correct that oversight, here is a breakdown of the $2.1 million in campaign donations provided by individuals associated with the business and labor interests now represented on the President’s Export Council, as reported at opensecrets.org and fec.gov."

Obama’s key advantage over the GOP field is the ability to collect bigger checks because he raises money for both his own campaign committee and for the Democratic National Committee, which will aid in his reelection effort.

Who's got the most juice on Capitol Hill? Here's a list of the top industries contributing to members of the 111th Congress during the 2011-2012 election cycle.

Venn Diagram showing the differences and commonalities of the views of government and corporations from the perspective of Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party.

These 400-plus groups represent a broad range of interests, but the No. 1 interest area among the clients with their sights on the supercommittee was the health sector. 

Analysis Report White Paper

"Since 2009, when the financial reform debate began in earnest, the industry has employed at least 73 former members of Congress, accounting for 47 percent of the 156 former members who have reported lobbying in the time period."

Defenders of the free market are often accused of being apologists for big business and shills for the corporate elite. Is this a fair charge?

We show that state corruption and political connections have strong effects on municipal bond sales and underwriting. Higher state corruption is associated with greater credit risk and higher bond yields. Corrupt states can eliminate the corruption yield penalty by purchasing credit enhancements.

" TIF takes money from schools, fire departments, libraries, and other urban services funded by property taxes. By eliminating TIF, state legislatures can help close current budget gaps and prevent cities from taking even more money from these urban services in the future."

"Since independence in 1948, Korea has seen a seemingly endless flow of corruption scandals bring down scores of elites."

"When their complaints are examined, however, what stands out is not anger at an actual free-market capitalist system, but frustration with the prospect of an almost insurmountable economic system of privilege based on cronyism."

"But at the heart of the meltdown were the financial industry's distorted incentives — created in large part by decades of misguided government policy — which caused bankers and investors to take enormous risks without due regard for their consequences."

"The national Congress is no longer a rubber stamp for the president's initiatives. And there is a growing sense among Mexican citizens that elected officials are there to serve the people rather than the other way around."

"I do not think there is a greater issue in all of our lives than the very message that we are going to talk about today - private property, free enterprise, free market principles, and employee ownership - popular capitalism, spreading the means of production to as many as possible, and the benefits therefrom."

Bandow concludes that "there is no reason for South Korea to continue being Washington's ward--much less to broaden and deepen that dependence.

In this report, the Center for Responsive Politics details the pervasiveness of former lobbyists working in some of the most powerful staff positions in the 111th and 112th Congresses.

"Time series evidence indicates that the 1969 Coal Mine Health and Safety Act, by imposing engineering controls, drove out smaller, less safe mines, thereby shifting production toward larger mines."

"The 2012 rankings of trade freedom around the world indicate that trade freedom in the world has remained constant or regressed slightly since 2011."

"Many attribute the differences in economic performance across countries to factors such as natural resources, climate, education, culture, colonialism, or just dumb luck. Although each of these factors is certainly important, many economists have come to believe that institutions are far more significant in explaining economic development."

Some argue that personal retirement accounts would be a mistake and that the government instead should set up its own investment fund to help finance future benefit payments.

"During the third quarter of 2011, more than 400 companies, unions, trade associations and other groups reported lobbying the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, popularly known as the debt supercommittee, according to a new analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics of reports filed last month with the U.S. Senate."

"Now, however, this claim is being replaced with a skepticism that is equally wrongheaded: a perception that the so-called Asian miracle had no substance, that it was a house of cards destined to collapse under the weight of cronyism and corruption."

"The Federal Estate Tax (aka, death tax) is currently repealed, due to a provision in the 2001 Economic Growth Tax Relief and Reconciliation Act (EGTRRA). However, on January 1, 2011, the tax comes back at the rate of 55 percent on all estates above $1 million."

"These days, being a millionaire typically qualifies you as part of the one percent. But in Congress, it only makes you average."

"I visited Moscow in mid-July, and although I saw some signs of the impending doom at that time, I was there before the devaluation of the ruble."

"With the goal of encouraging greater citizen involvement in government, the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota presents its first Government Transparency report. By analyzing data obtained through public records, we shed light on issues that receive a surprising lack of scrutiny. First up: municipal liquor operations."

Originally conceived as a means to prop up sagging crop prices to support American farmers, the Food Stamp Program, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, has exploded into a welfare program that costs tax payers a record $75.67 billion in 2011.

"However, India continues to be hampered by poor business conditions and misgovernance. Almost a quarter of Indian districts have recorded some sort of Maoist violence, and corruption is a major issue. India ranks very low on ease-of–doing-business indicators."

"What did the founders of the United States see as the legitimate role of government? To answer that question we should turn to the rule book they gave us: the United States Constitution."

"However, in this paper I attempt to show that an adaptation of the standard AngloAmerican political and economic system can offer insights that help to explain numerous aspects of the Asian growth model."

"This study discusses how HUD officials operate within a highly politicized environment, which is heavily influenced by the groups that HUD subsidizes and regulates, including the housing industry, financial institutions, and community activists."

"Under the Obama administration, the influence and involvement of trade unions in government policy decisions has surged to unprecedented levels."

"Is government, through its banking and regulatory roles, the guiding hand that leads entrepreneurs toward socially and economically beneficial innovation? Or does government best support the growth of innovation by providing a non-intrusive institutional environment within which entrepreneurs create new things?"

"Economics is the scientific study of how humans adjust their behavior to seek happiness as they define it, in light of the fact that they can’t have everything they want. Unlike psychology, economics doesn’t attempt to explain the underlying preferences (tastes) that people have, but instead takes preferences as a given starting point."

Advocates of the free market including those considered 'right-wing' and 'conservative' believe it is wrong to violate property rights. Consequently, they oppose egalitarian measures to steal from the rich and give to the poor. Such 'income redistribution' represents naked theft and epitomizes the Founding Fathers' fears of unfettered democracy.

Video/Podcast/Media

In this lecture, Rand discusses the universally accepted negative views of businessmen in general, and "[t]he injustice of the antitrust laws and the manner in which they penalize success for being success" in particular.

"Federal contracts are worth billions and billions of dollars. Those contracts are supposed to be awarded impartially, generally to the lowest and best bidder."

The Prosperity Index combines factors such as GDP, personal freedom, and safety to determine the overall prosperity of a country. This map offers a breakdown of the rating for each nation.

"Peter Schweizer, fellow at the Hoover Institution & author of Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy, on whether Super Committee pols had any put options premised on their own failure, and a detailing of the corruption uncovered in his new book, Throw Them All Out: How Politicians and Their Friends Get Rich Off Insider Stock Tips, Land Deals, and Cronyism that Would Send...

"Peter Schweizer doesn't have many friends on Capitol Hill these days. So few, in fact, that he was told not to even show his face at a congressional hearing on insider trading — even though that hearing was the direct result of his new book, 'Throw Them All Out.'

Schweizer, a fellow at the Hoover Institution, spoke at The Heritage Foundation this week about his research on the '...

"Econstories.tv is a place to learn about the economic way of thinking through the eyes of creative director John Papola and creative economist Russ Roberts.

In Fear the Boom and Bust, John Maynard Keynes and F. A. Hayek, two of the great economists of the 20th century, come back to life to attend an economics conference on the...

George Mason University economics professor Russ Roberts testifies before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The U.S. used to have a mostly free market, but recently it has devolved into a highly mixed economy.

"Susette Kelo's legal battle with New London, Conn. brought about one of the most controversial and troubling Supreme Court rulings in many many years. But her fight also spurred a backlash among property owners and state legislatures. Susette Kelo now lives in a town across the river from New London."

"Though many (especially on the left) blame capitalism for so much of today's problems. But I believe what they are incorrectly calling capitalism, is actually what I call 'corporatism'. Many of my fellow libertarians call it 'crony capitalism', but I think that muddy's the issue by using the word 'capitalism' in a different context.

I'm basically responding to a request from a very...

As Steve Kroft reports, members of Congress and their aides have regular access to powerful political intelligence, and many have made well-timed stock market trades in the very industries they regulate.

From the General Motors bailout to subsidies for Solyndra, crony capitalism is as serious a threat to liberty, free markets and civil society as ever. Cato Institute Senior Fellow Tom G. Palmer recently discussed The Morality of Capitalism (...

Professors Don Boudreaux (George Mason University), Susan Dudley (George Washington University) & Bradley Schiller (University of Nevada-Reno) discuss the causes & solutions to Cronyism in America.

"How is our tax code influenced by special interests?

Randall Holcombe, Professor of Economics explains how cronyism in the tax code can benefit special interest groups, and he discusses how we can address this cronyism by reducing the spending power of the government."

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt appears in a commercial for Good Luck brand margarine.

"Thanks to CNBC, the Department of Energy has been caught removing references to 'SunPower,' a solar energy company that was given $1.2 billion in loan guarantees, from old press releases (H/T Hotair).

'The changes occurred in two press releases from the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program — the same program that has been the center of controversy surrounding the failed solar...

The term monopoly comes from the 17th century era of mercantilism where kings and queens would accept bribes from businesses in order to grant them the exclusive rights to sell goods in a certain area.

"'Fight of the Century' is the new economics hip-hop music video by John Papola and Russ Roberts at http://EconStories.tv."

"Russian philosopher Leonid Nikonov explains the differences between socialism, cronyism, and free market capitalism. Nikonov is a contributor to The Morality of Capitalism, a new book that is being distributed worldwide by the Atlas Network and the Students for Liberty."

Milton Friedman discusses the free market and the role of government intervention in the first installment of the 1980 series "Free to Choose" which aired on PBS.

"President Obama's Department of Energy helped finance several green energy companies that later fell into bankruptcy -- but not before the firms doled out six-figure bonuses and payouts to top executives, a Center for Public Integrity and ABC News investigation found.

Take, for instance, Beacon Power Corp., the second recipient of an Energy Department loan guarantee in 2009. In March...

"It is clear big businesses wield great control over the federal government. How do we stop this so-called crony capitalism, or collusion? Professor Jason Brennan argues that while it may seem paradoxical the best solution is to limit government power. He provides two reasons for this. First, the power to 'regulate the economy' is really the same thing as the power to distribute favors, which...

"Former BB&T Chairman and CEO John A. Allison discusses how mandates like Sarbanes Oxley and the Patriot Act helped cause the housing meltdown and financial crisis. He spoke at the Cato Institute's 29th Annual Monetary Conference held November 16th, 2011."

"Crooked lobbyist Jack Abramoff explains how he asserted his influence in Congress for years, and how such corruption continues today despite ethics reform. Lesley Stahl reports."

This week I have to scream at the Capitol again. Despite our growing debt, politicians continue to expand government.

John Stossel discusses crony capitalism. Its definition, its symptoms, its effects, its causes and its solution.

Mark Calabria discusses the financial regulation reform bill and its effects on the markets.

Milton Friedman discusses the role of greed and political connections in capitalism.

"The Occupy Wall Street movement expresses valid frustrations, but do the protesters aim their accusations in the wrong direction?

Economics Professor Chris Coyne draws the distinction between crony capitalism and legitimate capitalism. Crony capitalism is government favoritism fueled by handouts and is responsible for the plight of the 99%. Legitimate capitalism, on the other hand,...

Paul Ryan discusses the causes and possible solutions of the financial meltdown, its relation to "too big to fail" and crony capitalism.

In response to the overwhelming demand for more Schiff at OWS, we're happy to release all the audible footage we've got - almost two hours worth.

In this lecture, Jeffrey Tucker discusses how government and private sector groups collude at the taxpayers' expense.

this video provides a good example of rent-seeking in action.

The American Idea belongs to all of us – inherited from our nation’s Founders, preserved by the countless sacrifices of our veterans, and advanced by visionary leaders, past and present.

How many more examples of green jobs failure do we need before we realize you can't centrally plan economic prosperity?

At FreedomFest 2011, Reason's Nick Gillespie sat down with Barron's columnist Epstein to talk about his book Econospinning and the failure of what Epstein seens as widespread crony capitialism or 'crapitalism.'

"The triumph of crony capitalism occurred on October 3rd, 2008. The event was the enactment of TARP — the single greatest economic-policy abomination since the 1930s, or perhaps ever.

Like most other quantum leaps in statist intervention, the Wall Street bailout was justified as a last-resort exercise in breaking the rules to save the system. In the immortal words of George W. Bush, our...

"Featuring Tim Carney, Senior Political Columnist, Washington Examiner; Tyson Slocum, Energy Program Director, Public Citizen; and Rosario Palmieri, Vice President of Infrastructure, Legal and Regulatory Policy, National Association of Manufacturers; moderated by Mark Calabria, Director of Financial Regulation Studies, Cato Institute.

Some politicians claim to be both 'pro-business' and...

"Washington is riddled with corruption, much of which actually is legal. The politicians and other insiders claim that more ethics laws and lobbying rules are the solution. Some even say the only answer is campaign finance laws that restrict 1st Amendment rights to fully participate in the political process. This Center for Freedom and Prosperity video explores a different hypothesis and...

"'Regulations actually benefited the regulated industry at the expense of consumers.' Watch as Susan Dudley explains who really benefits from regulations and how that effects the economic freedom of individuals."

Primary Document

A Petition, also now commonly known as the Petition of the Candlemakers or the Candlemakers' Petition, is a satirical publication addressed to the French Chamber of Deputies. It illustrates the rent seeking concept by purporting to petition the Chamber to enact restrictions on the sun and the use of "all openings, holes, chinks, and fissures through which the light of the sun is wont to enter...

The result of the deliberations of the National Convention is now laid before the public, and I congratulate each patriot heart on the important disclosure.

Making supplemental appropriations for job preservation and creation, infrastructure investment, energy efficiency and science, assistance to the unemployed, and State and local fiscal stabilization, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009....

This economic classic is noted for providing us with terms for and expositions of such key economic ideas as the division of labor, "invisible hand," self-interest as a beneficial force, and freedom of trade.

President Andrew Jackson to his cabinet on public deposits from the Bank of the United States.

Yet these public-private partnerships are generally counterproductive. Despite their high-minded titles under the rubric of 'Corporate Social Responsibility' they often end up nourishing a culture of cronyism.

"This is comprehensive legislation to overhaul regulations in the financial sector. It would establish a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency to regulate products like home mortgages, car loans and credit cards, give the Treasury Department new authority to place non-bank financial firms, like insurance companies into receivership, regulate the over-the-counter...

Thirty years later, this crony capitalism is back with a vengeance, accelerated by an aggressive program by President Obama and the Democratic congressional leadership.

Henry Hazlitt's classic primer outlines a straightforward and accessible portrayal of free-market economics. An unshackled market, Hazlitt says, is the only path to "full production".

The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 was not the first stimulus bill passed in 2008, but it certainly was the largest at over $700 billion.

The 'new economy' is based on rapid growth in high-tech industries and on new technologies reshaping manufacturing, finance, medicine, and other sectors.

Over the past two years we have faced the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression. Americans across the nation are struggling with unemployment, failing businesses, falling home prices, and declining savings.

Nations, like men, are travelers. Each one of them moves, through history, toward what we call progress and a new life or toward decay and death.

An Act To provide greater transparency in the legislative process.

Mises explained economic phenomena as the outcomes of countless conscious, purposive actions, choices, and preferences of individuals, each of whom was trying as best as he or she could ... to attain ... wants and ... avoid ... consequences.

The little pamphlet herewith inclosed will give you a collective view of the alterations which have been proposed for the new Constitution.

On Thursday, November 15, 2011, ... the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing entitled ―"The Solyndra Failure: Views from DOE Secretary Chu."

We initiated this audit to determine whether the Department had implemented effective safeguards to manage the Government's risk of loss and to identify opportunities to improve loan processing activities.

This spreadsheet lists institutions which have received funds as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act from various government agencies, but failed to comply with the Act's stipulated reporting procedures. The document lists the names, the award amounts and dates, as well as the awarding agency.

"Written by Elbridge Gerry, member of the Philadelphia Convention from Massachusetts, and one of the number who refused to sign the Constitution, for reasons given in his letter to the presiding officers of the Massachusetts legislature ...." Gerry uses this document to present some of his objections to the Constitution, many of which centered around the lack of a Bill of Rights. Item number...

John Stuart Mill was a British political philosopher and politician. In this classic essay, he argues that "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.... Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign."

If the United States mean to obtain or deserve the full praise due to wise and just governments, they will equally respect the rights of property, and the property in rights: they will rival the government that most sacredly guards the former; and by repelling its example in violating the latter, will make themselves a pattern to that and all other governments.

The Secretary of the Treasury in obedience to the order of the House of Representatives, of the 15th day of January 1790, has applied his attention, at as early a period as his other duties would permit, to the subject of Manufactures....

Consider Solyndra, the now-bankrupt California solar panel company, which was once the poster child of the administration’s 'green jobs' initiative. Solyndra is proving to be Exhibit A in the case for why the president’s economic policies have failed.

"To prohibit commodities and securities trading based on nonpublic information relating to Congress, to require additional reporting by Members and employees of Congress of securities transactions, and for other purposes."

In these 3 vols will be found copies of the official opinions given in writing by me to Genl. Washington, while I was Secretary of State, with sometimes the documents belonging to the case.

In the fall of 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama made a campaign promise to jumpstart the economy with an influx of green jobs.

The Occupied Wall-Street Journal was a publication compiled and printed by the protesters and their supporting organizations in October of 2011 during the protests against corporate/government collusion.

The potential uses of public resources and powers to improve the economic status of economic groups (such as industries and occupations) are analyzed to provide a scheme of the demand for regulation.

Americans are angry about executive compensation.

Professor Tullock's 1967 article entitled: 'The Welfare Costs of Tariffs, Monopolies and Theft' is a widely cited classic that has generated a major ongoing research program in the political economy of rent seeking.

Thomas Jefferson speaks about the foreign perception of the United States.

Jefferson discusses the concept of a republican form of government.

The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying our own money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the dispensation of the public moneys.

In the investigation of the constitution, under your consideration, great care should be taken, that you do not form your opinions respecting it, from unimportant provisions, or fallacious appearances.

Congress is missing its opportunity to restore accountability, transparency, and market discipline now lacking in our financial system.

"The answer to the question in the subject line is crony capitalism. What is crony capitalism? It's
something that looks like markets, except that businesses or unions prosper because of friends
in government instead of going out and doing the hard work of competition"

Books

Link