crony capitalism : Throw Them All Out : Peter Schweizer

crony capitalism : Throw Them All Out : Peter Schweizer

politicians often come into office with relatively modest assets then as investors they regularly beat the market and sometimes beat the most rapacious hedge funds even without trading stocks they often retire rich you may be asking how do they do it well welcome to the insidious world of crony capitalism cronyism exists not so much as an outright bribery using suitcases full of cash but rather in accepted insider routes to wealth members of Congress trade stocks based on privileged information they insert earmarks into bills to improve their own real estate holdings and campaign contributors receive billions in federal grants nobody goes to jail joining me as my special guests on the program is Peter Switzer 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 the rest of us to prison you know Peter there was a definition of wealth when people think of wealth we think of the robber barons we think of all the dot-com millionaires but you're talking about a new rich d'jever mantra JH tell us about it yeah well I mean if you think of people that have accumulated wealth you know in the 20th century you may think of somebody like Steve Jobs you know head of Apple who recently passed away or or the people of Microsoft or somewhere that you know owns an oil company and those are individuals that buy large they're creating products and services so that people like and they want and that's how they get rich what we're seeing now is the rise of what I call the government rich and it really is predicated on crony capitalism it's not about providing goods and services in a free market the people voluntarily up buy and that is what makes you rich this is about political connections it's about getting government contracts government loans government grants leveraging your position of political power to enrich your family you know you may be a senator and a congressman and your son or daughter or spouse may be a lobbyist in fact 30 of the US senators right now having the family member who's a lobbyist these are really the ways that they get rich but it's not based on the voluntary exchange that we're used to thinking of it's based on government power and using your position to enrich yourself and your family and I think it's terribly insidious I think it's terribly destructive and I wonder mine the very integrity of our system now your book is about crony capitalism and as we get into this you know the thing that I found remarkable is these politicians enter office with very meager resources and let's start with the Republican at the beginning of your book Denis hazard I think it was a high school coach or something he enters become Speaker of the House and then makes ten million dollars in real estate in if you take a look at what they're getting paid to begin with Peter these guys salaries range from a hundred and seventy five thousand to two hundred eighty five thousand so they're already making three to four times the average full-time worker in America to begin with so their salaries alone would probably make them the more affluent in this country it would you know they'd maintain a place to live somewhere in Washington DC and then often back in their home district I mean they are well-paid as I point out a freshman congressman makes more than a three-star general in the US Army so by no means are they suffering but when you look at their income and then you look at their ability to accumulate wealth it's dramatic they accumulate wealth 150 percent faster than the average American does and they are able to do so because the sort of legal constraints and ethical constraints that we are subject to they don't have to deal with insider trading on the stock market for example they're free to use and leverage their position and the information they have access to to actively and aggressively trade stocks they are completely capable of getting IPO sweetheart deals from people who have business before Congress that would not be tolerated in the private sector there are all sorts of conflict of interest provisions that would create problems and they're able to use earmarks and taxpayer money to increase the value of the real estate holdings and again to do so quite legally so it gives them a method in an approach to accumulating wealth that none of us can really use and I think that it means that they are totally exempt from the kind of constraints that we have yeah because the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington reported that between 2004 and 2006 members of Congress other net worth go up 84 percent in 2009 we're in the middle of a recession their net worth goes up six percent and I think between 2008 in the year 2010 you had members like Kerry Pelosi whose net worth went up multiple folds in what is considered one of the worst periods in market history that's exactly right another statistic that they came out with it was over the last two years that would be 2009-2010 the average member of Congress's net worth went up 25 percent I don't think a lot of other people could say that this I think is part of the reason that there's not a great sense of urgency in Washington while we don't see a lot of action on issues like the debt and the deficit is because life is good there I mean the bottom line is they're immune to the sort of economic challenges we face we have a situation in America today where the very poor because of the safety net and because of government programs they exist in a situation of socialism and we also have a system where the well-connected and the wealthy that are well-connected also exist in a system of socialism they get bailouts they get government loans they have access to government information that we don't it's really the middle class that is alone dealing with free-market capitalism and I think that until we deal with the socialism of the very rich I think we need to have some safety nets for people that are poor but there's simply no excuse and no reason that we should be giving bailouts we should be giving loans and grants to billionaires I don't care in what cause or in what name you're doing so and until that changes we're going to be continued to face the sort of political circumstances that we do in this country let's begin with a chapter in your book called the drug trade and nowhere talking about the Medellin Cartel in Mexico we're talking about members of Congress who through sitting on various committees that oversee health care in this country literally made millions and millions of dollars that's exactly right people don't realize that members of Congress can introduce and co-sponsor and add amendments to pieces of legislation and at the same time sell and buy stocks in the exact area where that bill is going to effect and this happened in 2009 during the health care reform or the Obamacare debate you had a situation where Senator John Kerry he and his wife's investment funds were actively aggressively picking winners and dumping losers at a time when he was on the subcommittee the Senate Finance Committee subcommittee where the health care reform legislation originated his investment funds were buying and selling stock at the same time that he was amending that legislation and there are many others congressman Jared Paulus from Colorado was making multi-million dollar bets and investments in businesses that were going to benefit greatly from the passage of Obamacare he sits on a very powerful committee the House Ways and Means Committee and helps Shepherd that bill through this is not something that really anyone else I think could get away with it it's kind of akin to you know in the 1990s if Michael Jordan was betting on Chicago Bulls games nobody would tolerate for a second a player betting on games in which they are playing but that's what the political class in Washington is doing and the stakes are much higher than they are as it relates to the integrity of a basketball game so this is crony capitalism at its worst and that is literally where they are looking to profit off of their legislative actions and because the government has become so large and intrusive there could be two or three lines in a massive bill that are literally market-moving for a sector of the economy and if you were a congressman that knows about it and makes the right investments you will become richer as a result and it's completely legal and ethical to do this and as you point out in your book this is not just one particular party members of Congress in both parties participate I mean you had was it McDermott who was betting 10% of his net worth on a biotech stock that he had the inside information on John Kerry and his wife made a hundred and eleven transactions in one year alone on healthcare stocks that sounds to me like a hedge fund well that's exactly right very active and aggressive trading he made a hundred eleven stock transactions in 2003 during the prescription drug benefit plan for Medicare which was a huge boon to Big Pharma and literally those 111 transactions were in Big Pharma and 103 of them were buys so he was very bullish and of course he was bullish on Big Pharma because he knew that Big Pharma was going to benefit greatly from this bill that passed now there was a gentleman by name of Spencer Bachus who I guess you call him the option trader I mean this guy's pretty aggressive with his buy and selling of options and he was on another program national televised program where he denied that he was making any special or he had special insight information in fact Nancy Pelosi was quizzed in a recent press conference and she denied the earmarks that benefited her and her husband's property we're done for personal reasons yeah I mean this is the problem you know they simply issue a denial even though if the SEC were investigating say you know a CEO named John Kerry or a CEO named Spencer Bachus if they looked at the timing of the trades if they looked at the access to information that they had and they showed up at their office and CEO Spencer Bachus said well I you know didn't use inside information the SEC is not going to just go away they would investigate it but we are supposed to give the political class in Washington a complete and total pass and you know believe it or not politicians in Washington have been known to tell the truth before and count me is skeptical when they say repeatedly well I might have been in these meetings I might have access to all this information but I would never use that information to trade my stocks or if they say well I didn't make this trade my broker made this trade you know again if a corporate executive used that excuse to the SEC the SEC would not buy that they would investigate it and look into it and we need to do the same thing with our political leaders now this I found rather interesting during the financial crisis of 2007-2008 you had various members John Kerry once again who was blocking information or attempts to regulate Fannie and Freddie at the same time he and his wife were dumping a major block of shares that they owned in both entities and then you also had during this period of time there was legislation I was working its way through Congress that would eliminate some of the fees that Visa charged that was stopped by Nancy Pelosi and then she and her husband get five million dollars on a visa IPO yeah I mean it's very interesting when you think about Washington DC and you think of an issue like bribery the image we have is somebody coming into a senator's office with a shoebox and saying hey I need a favor here's $10,000 cash that is bribery and you're gonna go to jail if you get caught doing that what happens I think much more often is what I call legal bribery and that's what happened in Pelosi's case they didn't come into the her office with a shoe box and say we need a favor we need you to stop this legislation that we don't like she was called on the phone and said hey we want to give you special access to privileged IPO shares and visa you're going to be able to buy this at $44 a share and literally in one day it's going to go up to $66 share and you're going to make $100,000 in 12 hours that is completely legal but in my mind and that is a distinction without a difference as it relates to the other scenario of the shoebox because at the end of the day you've got somebody who wants something in return that is helping a member of commerce become personally more wealthy as a result of special access and that's what happened in the in the visa IPO case and you know when it comes to Fannie and Freddie you're exactly right John Kerry was dumping shares he avoided a lot of losses because he avoided reform and he avoided and prevented a lot of open disclosure by those entities and you had members of Congress like rahm emanuel who were big shareholders in freddie mac who were able to dump their shares based on inside information that the rest of us didn't know and here's the important thing to keep in mind this is not a victimless crime this is not something that doesn't cost somebody on the other side of those trades are somebody in the case of rahm emanuel for example that are buying freddie mac shares not knowing what rahm emanuel knows so there is a a person on the other side of these trades that is either buying or selling to a member of Congress who has inside information who is literally getting rich at the expense of the other person on the side of the transaction that's what we have to keep in mind in all of this in your book you singled out Nancy Pelosi I'm quoting from your book other members of Congress could be singled out too but Nancy Pelosi stands out for two reasons not only is she and normally wealthy and thus like John Kerry able to invest in large amounts she is also one of the highest-ranking members of the house so she's unusual in the sense that like Kerry she has a very large stock portfolio but the Pelosi's also have large real estate holdings what makes Nancy Pelosi so special well what's interesting is that you have all kinds of different people that engage in this activity and I highlight them Republicans and Democrats in the book some of them are not very wealthy and they end up getting wealthy some of them are pretty wealthy to begin with and they end up getting more wealthy some of them are already super rich but they still engage in this behavior and get even more super rich so people will ask me you know John Kerr and his wife they've already got hundreds of millions of dollars why would they engage in this behavior and you know the fact is is that it's not so much about the money it's about a sense of privilege I mean Martha Stewart had a net worth of more than a billion dollars when she was caught up in that insider trading charge and by the way the money involved in her insider trading charge was less than a hundred thousand dollars so it's not really about money it's about the sense of privilege and the sense of using your access and in Pelosi's case this is an individual who is very wealthy her husband trade millions of dollars worth of stock all the time they own real estates she puts earmarks into the highway bill into mass transit bill that literally builds things like light rail systems and beautifies roads right next to property that she owns and it ends up increasing dramatically the real estate value that she holds again this is deemed legal and ethical by the ethics committees in Washington the standard is so low what they say on these land deals for example is that so long as a member of Congress can show that somebody besides themselves benefits from the earmark it's okay for their real estate values to increase as a result of the earmark so I mean that's an incredibly low standard nobody else would be able to do that with corporate assets you couldn't use corporate assets to increase the value of your personal real estate it would be fraud you'd get into trouble but they do it with taxpayer money all the time and Pelosi is an example because she is wealthy this is large sums of money and she's been in a leadership position which means she has a lot of power in the House of Representatives in your chapter about giving friends billions of our money you talk about for example the Energy Department loans companies that were connected to the Obama administration got sixteen point four billion dollars worth of loans unconnected companies four billion and I think the return to members of the National Finance Committee for every dollar raised for the president they got like 25 thousand dollars and earmarks or loans in return so obviously if you're connected and you're an entrepreneur and you're in business you can make a lot of money doing this oh yes you can I mean people ask me from time to time why is it you know these really rich guys are supporting Obama doesn't Obama want to raise their taxes and my point is you don't understand the business model they may end up paying more taxes with Obama that they don't care because you know for every dollar they may pay in more taxes they're getting a whole lot more in our taxpayer money through set asides and grants and loans etc people are very familiar probably with Solyndra the solar company that ended up going bankrupt it got five hundred and thirty five million dollars in government loans the largest investor in Solyndra was a bundler for the Obama campaign bundler Zoar the you know people that collect a lot of checks and bring them to the campaign Solyndra is really the tip of the iceberg is I point out in the book you can find at least ten members of Obama's 2008 national campaign finance committee these are the guys that direct all the fundraising for the campaign at least 10 of them got Solyndra type sweetheart deals oftentimes much larger in some cases a billion and a half dollars you can also find at least a dozen other campaign bundlers a lot besides the one collect connected to Solyndra that ended up getting sweetheart type loans and for them this is a huge investment this is a-you know they raise money for Obama maybe a few million dollars they end up getting a loan for 50 million a grant for 50 million dollars or a loan for a billion dollars that's a great return on investment for a crony capitalist and if the guy is going to raise your taxes so what you're making so much more on the backend and that's what's really troubling about this I think we need to have our entrepreneurs and businessman focused on making wise financial decisions investing in new products and new services rather than investing in politicians because they want crony deals in return and the reason that a lot of I think businessmen are becoming increasingly political is because they recognize that crony capitalism pays very well I think it's going to undermine the faith in our system and it's going to turn us into more and more of a sort of third world type economy that is more about political context than anything else the next question I'm going to bring up is Warren Buffett and I'll tell you you burst my bubble well I grew up in graduate school studying Ben Graham and Warren Buffett and I always you know he one of my icons in terms of he's very astute financially and he's made some very brilliant moves but after I read your chapter I was just absolutely blown away and now when I think of his I was commenting to myself and I in fact I made a mention to a couple of my portfolio managers that he seems to be more vocal and more doing more press conferences in the last three or four years after reading your book now I know why yeah yeah no you're exactly right I think that that's precisely why and you know it's it's one of these situations where literally you're allowing somebody to wear two hats one is they are the architects of very important policies that shape and move you know sectors of the economy in a major way but at the same time they are free to trade off of plans that they are constructing and so during the you know 2008-2009 financial crisis in Buffett's case he was literally helping to write the so-called public-private partnership which was the bailout that Tim Geithner unveiled in March but as he was guiding that in advising on that he was buying millions of shares of banks stock at the same time and these were companies that obviously saw a lift from the bailout and in some cases were recipients of bailout money like Wells Fargo and to me again this is the sort of thing that if you were to do this in the private sector you would get in huge trouble in fact I would say it's almost akin to what one of the advisors at Berkshire Hathaway did named David Sokol who bought stock I believe it was lubbers well in his personal account and then recommended it to Berkshire Hathaway and he was let go and is now under investigation for conflict of interest and all sorts of provisions I would argue that what Buffett did is very similar the only difference is rather than advising Berkshire Hathaway to buy a stock he was advising the federal government to condition the bail out in a certain way so that his companies would benefit from it if you take a look at in terms of bailout funds Berkshire Hathaway firms got ninety five billion in bailout cash from the Troubled Asset Relief Program and that's not to mention even some of the stimulus money that he got from Mid Atlantic energy and then also the help he's getting for Burlington Northern and you know if you write in his book in addition to being a financial genius I think his real strongest suit over the last ten years has been his political genius because you get this impression when you see Buffett on TV he's this kind of like down-home all-american right grandfatherly type figure you know he plays the ukulele I mean what great control of the press in the meantime he's got his hand out in a tin cup with the federal government helping out the companies that he investment that's very well put and I think that is part of the allure I mean this is somebody that in the 2008 campaign both John McCain and Barack Obama said that they would want as Treasury secretary so you know he is highly highly regarded and you know people assume that when he is advising the president's or were helping with the bailout that it is sort of out of this service to country and and he presents it that way but the simple fact is is that's not all that's going on and when he for example in the financial crisis of 2008 made a very lucrative deal to buy a chunk of Goldman Sachs which included a ten percent guaranteed dividends he was very outspoken and saying he did so based on the assumption that Congress was indeed going to agree to the bailouts and they did and he actively lobbied for it speaking with congressional Democrats and others saying how important it was these are the kinds of conflict of interests if you are a a broker or an investor and you go on say CNBC and talk about the valuations of the certain stocks and you should buy this stock and sell that stock CNBC puts up and notes graphically whether you have a position in that stock but Warren Buffett does it on a much larger scale and I've never really seen him challenged in any of the interviews he's given on these subjects and asked whether he has a personal stake in these policies and these actions that he's taken and what we now know wouldn't based on the book if any mostess surely does based on his SEC filings well I remember when he was taking these positions in these financial firms during the credit crisis and I was saying to myself he's got to be one of the shrewdest investors or one of the most gutsiest investors because I mean it was nip and tuck between September when Lehman went under in November of 2008 whether some of these firms were gonna survive in fact you even talked about in your book I think Barack Obama basically said let's citigroup go under why it didn't but I mean that was the risk and I was thinking to myself man is this guy gutsy and what he was doing was basically lobbying the government for a bailout and because of his insider position he was very persuasive and he got lay as you point out in the book 95 billion he did and what's also interesting by the way as I point out in the book is that there are a number of members of Congress who during the financial crisis made investments bought shares in Berkshire Hathaway in some case hundreds of thousands of dollars of stock and then they were in a situation where he may be lobbying them or there was an issue of you know the goldman sachs purchase and others were they were being asked to make political decisions and so they had tied to their economic fates to that of warren buffett and they're most certainly going to listen to him not only because of who he is but because they own shares in his company so if they very caught looted insider game and it favors the politically bold there have actually been academic studies done on hedge funds there was one in particular that I think looked at it was fifty hedge funds and what they found is that hedge funds that hire lobbyists and give large amounts of campaign contributions outperform hedge funds that are a political and I think the reason behind that is pretty clear the politically connected hedge funds get access to all kinds of information that they can trade on and it's part of the currency and part of the way that the game is played and that's troubling for me I don't think we want high finance to be more and more politicized because it's just going to lead to further and further corruption well as we end your chapter on Buffett you raise two questions and I think our listeners should now think about this because whenever I see him take an investment like Bank of America recently I thought that was rather gutsy I'm thinking okay there's a bailout there somewhere but there's two questions that you raised regarding Buffett's first how can so many people listen to Warren Buffett's policy advice without considering how self-interested in might be and then secondly and more important how are our politics warped by deep pocketed heavily invested in advisers I mean Berkshire I think is a recall is spending about ten million dollars on K Street lobbyists yes that's exactly right and you know they took a big stake in in the railroad which was timed to correspond with the Obama stimulus which included of course high rail systems and others that they would benefit from and I think that really goes to the core of the issue we've got to stop being mystified by these sort of masters of the universe you know these big billionaires who are obviously so extremely smart because they've made all this money and we've got to recognize that they are people like the rest of us and the assumption that a billionaire doesn't want to continue to make more money is just not true what they find a lot of times with insider trading for example is that some of the most aggressive insider trading on Wall Street are some of the wealthiest individuals you know when Martha Stewart was caught up in the insider trading charges her net worth was more than a billion dollars and the transaction involved less than a hundred thousand dollars and so I think we've got to abandon the notion that insider trading or insider dealing is something that wannabes do I think we have to recognize that the most well-known names in in finance are involved in this kind of behavior when I find I guess substance hypocritical is Warren oversees Berkshire Hathaway one of the top ten market cap companies in the sp500 a two hundred billion dollar market cap company now he pays himself a hundred thousand dollars salary and Peter I would think you would be hard-pressed to find anybody in the sp500 earning a hundred thousand and he gets these dividends and capital gains which are taxed at 15% so when you you hear this noble cause here's this very wealthy man wanting people like himself to pay higher tax rates for everybody when he has defined his whole life one of the things if you study buffett is he's very big on tax planning and minimizing his taxes which is the way he is structured his salary at Berkshire Hathaway that's exactly right and one of the reasons for example that he is in favor I think of a high estate tax or death tax is because there are numerous examples in the past family newspaper chains and things where you know families were forced to sell their holdings to in order to pay in the inheritance tax and he was able to buy those properties for a pretty good price because these sellers were over a barrel so I think we have to recognize that when billionaires come out and say look I'm in favor of the stimulus and I think the rich need to pay more taxes they have made a calculation that they are going to make a lot more money through the stimulus and they're ever going to pay in taxes and that it's a good trade to support somebody like President Obama and get access to taxpayer money in large quantities whether it's stimulus or bailout money and if you have to pay a little bit more in taxes so be it you can figure out a way around it I think it's a very sort of Machiavellian approach but I think that's exactly what's going on you know something else that you brother Peter that I find even more disturbing and that is the lobbyist on K Street have found a new source of revenue which is selling information to hedge funds yeah that's right I mean the big money these days for lobbyists is not influencing legislation it's what's called political intelligence that sounds like an oxymoron but actually what it means is hedge funds are paying lobbyists in some cases 50 grand a month and their job is to simply tell them which bills are going to pass when and what the provisions are in those bills and how they're going to stack certain sectors of the economy and they literally trade off of that so you know if there's a bill that's going to pass say on asbestos liability if they know that in advance they will buy lots of shares or sell off the shares as the case may be in companies that deal with asbestos and this is a very common practice it is legal and you don't have to register as a lobbyist to collect political intelligence and if you're a member of Congress you have to wait two years to become a lobbyist but you don't have to wait even one day to collect political intelligence and sell it to hedge funds you know Peters something that is I've been somewhat puzzled about is you look at this situation that's going on we had I'm trying to think of the congressman that you wrote in the book that was hiding money in his freezer and the FBI was looking into it and then the FBI got threats of having their budgets cut I mean these privileges of insider information the ability to use that insider information to make trades in the market or get earmarks to benefit like one's property like Dennis Hastert former Speaker of the House they defend this in threaten agency so is that one reason because there was one of the gentlemen that you singled out in your book and he was on I think it was Kudlow yeah and he was basically saying oh no no no we don't you know we're subject to the same rules that everybody else is yeah if the FEC is going to go after in that particular case the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee which helps direct the budget for the FCC and has oversight responsibility and we forget it's just not going to happen and they know this and the reality is there is not one known case where the SEC has ever investigated or prosecuted anyone a member of Congress a member of the Senate congressional staffers anyone in the legislative branch for insider trading and so unless we're going to believe that every single employee has always been squeaky-clean on these accounts we pretty much know what the game is and I think people are no longer naive enough to believe that that accountability is going to work it sounds to me like the Occupy Wall Street should spend some time on K Street and in Washington because they're so well-connected Peter what has been the the response to this I mean obviously I mean you raise some issues that help clarify for me for example I the issue with Buffett why he could be so gutsy making these moves and now I understand he was getting all this money from the government but in terms of our congressmen who get up in front of the camera and they pound the table there for the average guy meantime they're passing earmarks that are benefiting their properties and as you point out in the book a lot of these guys like Dennis Hastert former Republican Speaker of the House entered Congress just an average guy and walked out worth over 10 million dollars that's right I mean the average congressman over the last two years has seen the net worth go up 25 percent there's very few of us can that can say the same thing in this economy so there are two economies there's the economy for political insiders and there's the economy for the rest of us and that's the reality today well Peter listen I want to thank you for joining us on the financial sense news hour a very very revealing book it's called throw them all out how politicians and their friends get rich off insider stock tips land deals and cronyism that would send the rest of us to prison we've been speaking with its author Peter Schweitzer Peter thanks once again for joining us on the program great thanks a lot bye

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22 thoughts on “crony capitalism : Throw Them All Out : Peter Schweizer

  1. I wonder if anyone ever thought of just watching cspan, see what senators/congressman are proposing and invest into that arena…maybe others can take advantage and have better odds to make a profit…just sayin

  2. Wonder why social security is going broke our money we save for our retirement where is it all what about those who paid in and died before collecting or shortly after where's the ongoing investments into social security? Well now I know where it goes Congress is given free reign the president also to use our money to make criminal investments for their own wealth and bail out their investors politics isn't for the people they are for the rich for themselves they are the biggest criminal cartel along with the bankers and corporations the world has ever seen they are above the law untouchable when will people wake up taxes are illegal we shouldn't have to pay shit anymore

  3. Nicosmind is right.  If we actually had a functional Constitutional Republic and the free markets it engenders;  it wouldn't even be possible for this type of corruption to succeed.  Competition will always force it out.  Only as we corrupt our once free markets with monopoly driven Fascism do we begin to see these problems.  Socialism is precisely the type of top down, centrally controlled government easiest for the big monopolies to manipulate through control of media, press coverage and money.  We should never confuse Main Street corporations with international conglomerate monopolies that foster gargantuan, centrally controlled government, which in turn protects the monopolies via an unelected, Administrative Dictatorship;  all of it enabled by corrupt politicians owned and operated by the World's Elite families, which is now the situation in the United States, circa 2015.

  4. Wow. Not even 3000 views in 2 years.
    But some guy popping a zit on his back gets millions of views.
    There's a saying football coach John Madden used to say. 
    "You are, what your record says you are."………….How sad.

  5. Our Government has changed over the years… Now the Real Crooks are in Our Congress. It is time to change the faces of Our Congress, and in Our Prison.

  6. Well yeah, but statism to my understanding would be like even a state that is all that is promoted as such – the perfect unicorn government. Still akin to slavery and evil.
    Semantics – ask a Marxist about communism and he'll say it never was implemented. That was socialism in USSR he says.

    Why am I not with You then?
    See if communism was called by its proper name statists couldn't force it so easily on polulation.

    Crony it is and you got free market – they ain't stealing that one ..liberal

  7. This book should be read by all. Buffett is finally exposed and Congress as well. I cant believe how these acts of corruption are allowed and have taken place without anyone going to jail. This is why the market is rigged and the USA is not what it used to be.

  8. RICO, RICO, RICO, TERRORISM, TERRORISM, TERRORISM! The Racketeering government needs some R-n-R-n-R cases filed against them!

  9. I cant believe that here we have a person which is a huge supporter of the worst insider traders in congress are now using this subject – which he clearly knows little or nothing about – to promote conservative interests. All of you please check Peter Schweitzer's resume.

  10. @ You cant own people in capitalism youre reading the wrong books. I bet all their complaints are against mercantilism, fascism etc etc. The same complaints us capitalists make.
    Capitalism is about serving people and their desires. So theres a market capitalist who serves the people. And the political "capitalist" who uses the power of the state. Banksters do what no one else in society can do. Government recognises that its wrong for individuals to do what banks do. Its democracy thats at fault

  11. @NicosMind Completely disagree. Capitalism is the problem. People over profits, support the commons, humans are not meant to be owned or lead, especially by ignorant, untrained lackeys. Sociopathic banksters the lot of them. Fuck capitalism. It's time to evolve.

  12. Warren Buffett first started buying WFC in the 90's when they were having trouble with the CA real estate, as WFC kept going down in share price he kept buying, as he always have when companies are down, if the author is implying that Buffett is unethical and made unethical moves he is dead wrong and obviously doesnt know Buffett that well, dont you think he wouldve been buying anyway as the price was down regardless if he was advising the government or not?he is clueless w/ some of his claims

  13. It is not just Insider Trading, Capitol Hill people are no longer there to serve the people, it seems more like the mafia with racketeering and corruption in collusion with the FED and all the banksters. There campaign contributions are coming from the banksters, many of the lobbyist are from the banksters and these Insider Trading things are caused by the very laws they make in collusion with the banksters. Looking at Obamas administration, I see Goldman Sachs related people everywhere. corrupt

  14. I wish people wouldnt call it crony capitalism cause it gives capitalism a bad name by association. They should call it statism. Cause its through the state that most of our problems come from.

  15. It has become clear that without a miracle happening, quite a
    few European nations and a significant number of European banks are not going to be able to
    get the funding that they need from the market in 2012. The only thing that is going to avert
    a complete and total financial meltdown in Europe is dramatic action, but right now European
    leaders are so busy squabbling with each other that a bold plan seems out of the question.

  16. The signs of trouble are everywhere. The signs of trouble are everywhere. All over Europe,
    governments are implementing austerity measures and dramatically cutting back on spending. European banks are substantially cutting back on lending as they seek to meet new capital requirements that are being imposed upon them. Meanwhile, bond yields are going through the roof all over Europe as investors lose confidence and demand much higher returns for
    investing in European debt

  17. Remember, one of the primary reasons for the financial crisis of 2008 was a major credit crunch that happened here in the United States. This burgeoning credit crunch in Europe is just one element of a "perfect storm" that is rapidly coming together as we get ready to go into 2012.

  18. Will 2012 be the year that we see an economic collapse in Europe? Before you dismiss the
    title of this article as "alarmist", read the facts listed in the rest of this article first.
    Over the past several months, there has been an astonishing loss of confidence in the European financial system. Right now, virtually nobody wants to loan money to financially troubled nations in the EU and virtually nobody wants to lend money to major European banks.

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