Bernie Sanders gets one right 

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is one of a kind. He is the only self-proclaimed socialist in Congress, and he is also the only Democratic candidate in the presidential race to oppose crony programs such as the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Hillary Clinton, a big supporter of the bank, and Sanders clashed quite vigorously on the issue during the recent presidential debate in Flint, Michigan.

Via Bernie Sanders Is Right to Trash the Ex-Im Bank: @ Hit & Run :

Big Business v. Markets

In 2014 big business opposed several of the most free-market members of Congress, and even a Ron Paul-aligned Georgia legislator who opposed taxpayer funding for the Atlanta Braves.

The U.S. chamber jumped into a Republican primary in Grand Rapids, Mich., to try to take down Rep. Justin Amash, probably the most pro-free-enterprise and most libertarian member of Congress. Free-market groups, including the Club for Growth, Freedomworks and Americans for Prosperity, strongly backed Mr. Amash.

And now the chamber plans to spend up to $100 million on the 2016 campaign. Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, reports, “Some of business’ top targets in 2016 will be right-wing, tea party candidates, the types that have bucked the corporate agenda in Congress by supporting government shutdowns, opposing an immigration overhaul and attempting to close the Export-Import Bank.” Politico adds a highway bill to big business’ list of grievances against fiscal conservatives.

This clash between pro-market and pro-business is an old one. Adam Smith wrote “The Wealth of Nations” to denounce mercantilism, the crony capitalism of his day. Milton Friedman said at a 1998 conference: “There’s a common misconception that people who are in favor of a free market are also in favor of everything that big business does. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Via David Boaz: The Divide between Pro-Market and Pro-Business @

Building more for private gain

….it appears NV Energy wants to run short of power on purpose. And the “preferred” solution it wants to pursue is to build a new and costly power plant.

This won’t help its customers. Their bills will go up as a result of the addition of the new power plant built from scratch and the subtraction of those that now supply the power NV Energy sells.

But it will help Warren Buffett and his friends at Berkshire-Hathaway….

Via Crony Capitalism Driving Nevada Energy Controversy @ Human Events.

Chinese Kleptocracy

OK, Politico did not use the exact term, but Charles Davidson and Jeffrey Gedmin make a pretty bold statement in today’s edition. China is a kleptocracy and this encourages instability in the country and in the global economy.

We have argued this pretty much since the founding of this website. A broad system of crony capitalism like the one in China creates distortions in the economy, prices are obfuscated, the connected become wealthy, dishonesty is compounded, until the facade eventually crumbles when the lies become apparent. To some degree that is what we are seeing now with the Chinese downturn.

Via Politico calls out China as the world’s Ultimate Crony Capitalist State @ Against Crony Capitalism.

A New Crony Capitalist for Wisconsin 

Gov. Scott Walker on Thursday appointed banking executive and frequent GOP donor Mark Hogan to lead the state’s troubled job-creation agency…..

M&I Bank faced its own problems several years ago with bad loans and a crashing stock price and ended up being absorbed by BMO Harris of Canada in 2011.

M&I loan losses during the real estate bust — concentrated heavily in Arizona and Florida — totaled $4.8 billion across its portfolio from Dec. 31, 2007, through December 2010, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel review.

Hogan has given $24,125 to Walker’s campaigns for governor since 2009, state records show.

He gave another $10,000 this year to the super PAC backing Walker’s presidential run. His son, Patrick, has worked for Walker’s office and campaign.

Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said the contributions and Hogan’s son’s work for the campaign played no role in Hogan’s appointment.

Scott Walker appoints banking executive to lead state jobs agency @ JSOnline.  

Ex-Im Bank Favors Big & Foreign Over Entrepreneurial and American

“In fact, little of Ex-Im’s money goes to small businesses. In 2013, 93 percent of the loan guarantees benefited five companies. Boeing was the beneficiary of about 20 percent of all commitments. Ex-Im has given hundreds of millions of dollars in loan guarantees to state-owned Russian bank Vnesheconombank (VEB). VEB finances Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport…

Will Congress Re-Authorize the Ex-Im Bank?

There would be absolute frustration because it will be part of a bigger pattern that keeps recurring over and over: The American people are waiting to see the Republican Party lead on matters important to them and not Wall Street,” said Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), a Tea Party darling who upset then-Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a GOP primary last year, clearing the way for McCarthy’s rise.

“It expired,” Brat added in an interview Monday, “So why in the world would you reauthorize something that would slap conservatives upside the head?”

Via Ex-Im vote holds peril for No. 2 House Republican McCarthy @ The Hill.


“Cronyism is not hip anymore,” she said. “If you stand for cronyism, you’re doing it at your own political risk in a way that wasn’t true even three years ago.” Via GE Aviation Presses Kasich as Ex-Im Becomes Republican Test @

Paper Capitalists

“China, despite what you may have heard is NOT now a capitalist country. It is a crony capitalist country. The chief cronies are the members of the old Communist Party.” Via China tells workplaces they must have Communist Party units (Remember when the FCC wanted govt monitors in newsrooms last year?) @

Cronies of the Surveillance State

“If journalists are writing about this they should not be naive about the immensity of the security establishment,” said Columbia Journalism School professor Todd Gitlin. Gitlin says that he understands why media outlets would call upon former government officials to discuss NSA issues given that they have “earned their expertise by virtue of their institutional…