The line between The Onion and reality is blurred even further.
What you need to know about the Federal Reserve in three easy to read charts. You want to address income inequality? End the Fed.
The tragedy of politics continues its long descent into farce before our feeds. The cracks become painfully apparent after just a few months of casually observing the dying capital’s peeling façade. Forget r and g for a bit. This is one vignette.
If carefully-branded clientelism and naked deception can be the stuff of comedy, then the Export-Import Bank is one of the biggest jokes in town. A twisted honor, considering the ample competition that oozes about the Demonpit of Columbia, but an accomplishment all the same. If all goes well with the upcoming reauthorization vote this September, the Bank will enjoy five more years of servicing the American public with a smile. What better time than their annual special interest soirée to reflect on some of their greatest hits?
Most people have not heard about the federal government’s export credit corporation. And why should they? It is only one of many of boutique federal programs that continue unabated in five-to-ten year increments quietly, with only perfunctory note. As a budget item, it is tiny. In recent years, to great fanfare, it noisily returned surpluses to the Treasury—a rare miracle for a federal program. Its pamphlets and boosters beam about “supporting U.S. exports,” “strengthening small business,” “creating U.S. jobs,” and “investing in green technology.” At a glance, the Bank appears to be the kind of benign, if not wholly necessary, federal program to which educated people reasonably give a pass. There are simply more pressing matters, the thinking goes.
Truth is, the Bank is little more than a publicly-subsidized piggy bank for large corporations. Through its menu of loan guarantees, direct loans, and insurance credits, the Bank marginally tilts the international playing field in its desired directions. Far from a bedrock of our economy, the Bank doles assistance to roughly 2 percent of all U.S. exports. Total reported exposure for its roughly 4,000 deals reached almost $120 billion in FY 2013. A disproportionate share of this assistance is funneled to well-connected U.S. and foreign corporations. General Electric, Caterpillar, Bechtel, and John Deere are big winners—as are most members of the aerospace-military-industrial complex.
It is crony capitalism, as opposed to free markets, that has led to the gross inequality in American society we have today. Cronyism for the super wealthy starts at the very top with the Federal Reserve System, which consists of topdown economic central planners who manipulate the money supply and hence interest rates for the benefit of the financial oligarch class. It then trickles down through lobbyist money into the halls of Washington D.C.,and ultimately filters down to local governments and then the average person on the street gaming welfare or disability.
As such, we now live in a culture of corruption and theft that is pervasive throughout society. One thing that bothers me to no end is when … Republicans focus their criticism on struggling people who need welfare or food stamps to survive. They have this absurd notion that the whole welfare system doesn’t start with the multinational corporations and Central Banks at the top. In reality, it is at the top where the cancer starts, and that’s where we should focus in order to achieve real change.
That’s where a new report from Open the Books on corporate welfare comes in. In a preview of the publication, the organization notes:
If Republicans are going to get truly serious about cutting government spending, they are going to have to snip the umbilical cord from the Treasury to corporate America. You can’t reform welfare programs for the poor until you’ve gotten Daddy Warbucks off the dole. Voters will insist on that — as well they should.
So why hasn’t it happened? Why hasn’t the GOP pledged to end corporate welfare as we know it?
Part of the explanation is that too many have gotten confused about the difference between free-market capitalism and crony capitalism.
And part of the problem is corporate welfare that is so well hidden from public view in the budget that no one has really measured how big this mountain of giveaway cash to the Fortune 500 really is. Finding out is like trying to break into the CIA.
Until now. Open the Books, an Illinois-based watchdog group, has been scrupulously monitoring all federal grants, loans, direct payments and insurance subsidies flowing to individuals and companies.
It’s an attempt to force federal agencies to release information on where the $4 trillion budget is really spent — and Open the Books will release a new report on corporate welfare payments to the Fortune 100 companies from 2000 to 2012.
Over that period, the 100 received $1.2 trillion in payments from the federal government.
That number does not include the hundreds of billions of dollars in housing, bank and auto company bailouts in 2008 and 2009, because those payments and where they went are kept mostly invisible in the federal agency books.
As suspected, the biggest welfare queens in the U.S. are the super wealthy themselves, but they’d rather you focus on some single mother on welfare simply trying to survive.
KRONIES ACTION FIGURES
This is fantastic.
Oldie but goodie.