We live in an era of defective government.
This corruption is not an accident. It is the product of years of very patient work. It has been brought about through expensive lobbying, relentless propaganda, agnotology. You can see it in this election cycle, where 196 Americans — 0.000063% of the population — have given more than 80% of Super PAC dollars.
Is it democracy or plutocracy when less than 200 people drive election spending in a nation of 300 million?
Previously, we have pointed out how brazen the lobbying has been to actually cut the SEC enforcement budget. This has created an agency that is defective by design. Take a guess who loses in the battle between you, the individual taxpayer versus the corporation.
Wall Street has taken advantage of the crisis and morphed into a cartel. The tragedy is the only entity that is large and powerful enough to offset their wealth and power are national governments. Yet where ever we look, we see that government has been corrupted and rendered neutered by corporations:
-The Federal Reserve Zero Interest Rate policy is a balm to banks whose balance sheets still have so much bad real estate exposure that higher rates will cause corporate bankruptcy;
-The SEC brings minor insider trading cases while enormous financial crimes go unpunished;
-The Supreme Court has granted natural rights to corporations — rights previously reserved for living and breathing Human Beings;
-The CFTC no longer does the sort of daily audits that can prevent fraud like MF Global and PeregrineFG;-The US Attorney’s office has been captured by the Treasury department, which in turn was captured by large Banks long ago;
-Laws that used to be written by Congressional staffers and academics are now drafted by the regulated industry itself;
-The Attorneys General offices of the states are too timid to sue these same banks for obvious perjury;-Tax loopholes allow wealthy companies to pay very little taxes relative to profits;
-Copyrights that should be in the public domain are retained by companies who have changed intellectual property laws by corrupting legislators.
-The Minerals Management Service (MMS) gives away oil leases and mineral rights for pennies on the dollar.-Money has somehow been equated to speech, turning the idea of “One Person, One vote” on its head.
To function properly, all of these agencies need budgets, a career path for a motivated staff. Yet most of that has been gutted.
Take a look at Neil Barofsky’s book Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street. He describes a Federal prosecutorial system that has been systematically disassembled. There are few career lawyers with the know how, budget and balls to go after the big fish. There is little institutional memory.
We see this throughout government, a product of even a debate that has been corrupted. The framework is not “How can me make government more effective, efficient responsive?“ Instead, the debate has degenerated into “How can we get government out of the way? How can we make taxes lower?”
Its not that I want big government, I want effective regulations. Its not that I want to pay higher taxes, I want efficient government that can accomplish things. I don’t want to live in a corporatocracy, I want to live in a nation where there is a Rule of Law.
The only way to make this happen is to change the campaign finance laws. Without that, we are a plutocracy governed by lobbyists.
Hence: Its the bankers world, we just live in it . . .
This post originally appeared at The Big Picture and is posted with permission.