Thursday, January 2, 2014

The new economic order of things


Recall how in David Brook’s “award-winning” column of a few weeks back, he contended that the Oval Office is somehow more shielded and therefore less susceptible to political interests than is Congress.

Here’s Brooks:

This is a good moment to advocate greater executive branch power because we’ve just seen a monumental example of executive branch incompetence: the botched Obamacare rollout. It’s important to advocate greater executive branch power in a chastened mood. It’s not that the executive branch is trustworthy; it’s just that we’re better off when the presidency is strong than we are when the rentier groups are strong, or when Congress, which is now completely captured by the rentier groups, is strong.

Now check this out from yesterday’s Wall Street Journal (subscription required):

President Obama is calling in the political cavalry, notably John Podesta, who was Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff before he became America’s most powerful unelected liberal by founding the Center for American Progress. So it’s instructive to inspect the list of corporate donors that Mr. Podesta’s think tank released last month.

Mr. Podesta founded the alternative to the Heritage Foundation in 2003, but it has long resisted disclosing its donor list. The motivation to do so now seems to be that it would be embarrassing to keep mum amid the current Democratic political campaign against businesses that give to conservative candidates or causes. All the more so with Mr. Podesta in the West Wing. . . .

Whatever the motive, the list of 58 corporate donors is revealing about the ways of the modern regulatory state. It certainly blows apart the myth that corporate America is “conservative” in any modern political sense of that word. It’s more accurate to say that Fortune FT.T +8.00% 500 CEOs think they must buy political protection from the left. So it’s no surprise to see the list is heavily weighted toward the most politicized parts of the economy.

Health insurers are there in force (eight), befitting their new role as public health utilities. That includes the insurance lobby, America’s Health Insurance Plans, whose silence amid the make-it-up-as-you-go start of the ObamaCare shows it is now essentially a business partner of the Obama Administration.

A hat-tip to Instapundit who helpfully reminds us to add Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup, Apple, General Electric, Google, Facebook to the list of the King's court.

Back during the great ObamaCare debate, before it became law, we heard the phrase “If you are not at the table, you are on the menu.” The health insurance lobby saw the writing on the wall back in 2009 and decided that rather than getting carved up by the new law, they would ante-up and play ball with the congressional and Senate Democrats and assist in writing the legislation in a manner that would benefit them to the greatest extent possible.

The individual mandate which was something that the President opposed on the 2008 campaign trail, was implemented at the insistence of Big Health as they knew that there was no way in hell they would be able to finance all the additional health insurance benefits without people paying into the system that would not burden the health care system in a disproportionate manner.

Never forget that the healthcare law is the direct result of the cozy relationship between Big Health and the White House and Congressional Democrats.

So, this interest pressure works both ways. You pony-up as donors to influence favorable legislation and you also pony-up for mob-like protection so that your interests don’t get hammered by additional regulatory burdens. This is the reality as it stands currently in David Brooks’ stronger-executive-branch world.

How sick is our nation when the large moneyed interests over which Brooks frets have effectively encamped themselves inside the "shielded" White House half out of opportunity and half out of fear.

This in no way resembles a free constitutional republic rather a banana republic practicing public-private economic fascism and cronyism and woe to anyone who attempts to stand up to it.

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