The Price of Greed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In his book A Failure of Capitalism, Richard Posner denies that greed played a part in causing the Great Recession. I disagree. First let’s define greed as milking the system for excessive and undeserved income, as Mitt did with his 401K north of $100 million. In my opinion, no one is worth or deserves $100s millions or billions in income or net worth. It is true that $1 million doesn’t go as far as it used to, but $1 billion certainly does. Nations that don’t mimic our income inequality do not have the social problems that we do. We won’t solve all our problems with greater income equality, but we will lessen their severity as nations in Scandinavia prove.
The greatest danger of vast differences in income equality lies in the threat to our democratic institutions. Some people with vast wealth will use that wealth to buy favors from government that will increase their wealth at the expense of the rest of us. Louis Brandeis was better able to explain the pernicious effect of income inequality better than I can. He said that we could have democracy or vast concentrations of wealth, but not both at the same time. Please see Freedom and Supreme Court
griftopia (Photo credit: cdrummbks)
In Griftopia, Matt Taibbi tells how Mayor Daley sold the rights to Chicago’s parking meter revenues for 75 years for $1 billion when the estimate was that the revenue was worth $5 billion. Sara Paretsky, resident of Chicago and author of the V. I. Warshawski detective novels, has this to say about the deal in her novel Body Works:
“Parking has also become a source of bitterness in the city–the mayor suddenly sold street parking to a private firm, which had quadrupled the rates overnight. We all had to carry bags of quarters everywhere we went, as if we were heading for slot machines, which I guess the pay stations had become. Slot machines completely and permanently skewed in the house’s favor.”
Please keep this in mind when someone tells you that free enterprise is more efficient than government. Another target of potential profit that the corporate disciples of Adam Smith’s invisible hand have in their near-term sights is our drinking water. Not only will the big oil companies profit from fracking, their chemical discharges into the ground will eventually pollute our drinking water, driving up the price and their ultimate profits. Thus they will profit from supplying energy and decreasing the supply of potable water.
Please see Griftopia
Image via CrunchBase
One billion dollars with a “B” is a lot of money for you or me. However, it is the money in total that GOP superpacs intend to spend to defeat President Obama. How much is $1 billion? It is enough to give 1,000 lucky people $1,000,000.00 each. Divided another way, it could help 1,000,000 people losing their unemployment benefits with $1,000.00 each to help them in their hours of need. $1 billion could do all that and more, but it’s not going to.
This is how I think the money will be spent. Authors will be found to write books criticizing the President with lies and innuendo. Those books will be purchased in quantity to drive them to the top of the NY Times non-fiction list. In reality, they belong in a different category, political fiction. Attack ads by the hundreds will be commissioned from producers caring only for the revenue, not the truth. Those ads will air on TV stations caring only for their bottom lines, not the truth. Employees from non-taxable think tanks will be encouraged to appear on TV talk shows to support any and all of Mitt Romney‘s and the GOP’s positions.