It’s hard to be a lone voice of sanity in a mostly crazy (present company excepted) world.
Take this email from a colleague. Fellow is the “smartest guy in the room” which comes to economics but in politics? Not so much. I don’t think he’d mind me sharing bit of his email as it’s a good basis for discussion:
“Re: The swamp gets drained and its denizens move to a reptile petting zoo
By way of follow-up on the short note I sent earlier (see below), just in case you’d like to do some window-dressing fairness in your columns, here’s a more detailed post, and a second post answering comments from the first:
Snippets from two articles:
President Donald Trump’s campaign vow to rid Washington of corruption and special interests has been a sad joke for a long time. Since taking office, he has hired more than 100 lobbyists to the federal agencies that oversee these lobbyists’ former employers. His former aides are now becoming lobbyists, too, cashing in on their connections to the White House. And lately it seems like every federal agency is facing scrutiny over dubious spending by top administration officials. “
Whew! Harsh! Let me gather up my senses here and pen something sensible:
WRT to your first snip (from the New Republic, here ) allow me to observe that in 2013, the Washington Examiner reported “President Obama has hired more than 100 lobbyists in his administration, a new academic study reports. This doesn’t match Obama’s campaign promise to exclude lobbyists, or his pretenses of having kept that promise. “President Obama’s public rhetoric on contact with lobbyists does not always accord with his private actions,” lobbying scholar Conor McGrath writes in the latest issue of the Journal of Public Affairs.”
I do not recall receiving such a dire warning about the danger posed by lobbyists when Obama blew through his promises almost exactly the same thing Trump is now doing. Regrettably, lobbyists are usually the subject matter experts (SME’s) and in politics, as well as finance, the “hired guns/SME’s) go to the highest bidder. There are simply not enough SME’s to go around and not have bias.
Speaking of bias, however, we tend to look at articles from the New Republic as being mainly representative of left-leaning thought. Please review their rating and the reader voting basis of that rating at Media Bias Fact Check here.
I appreciate you will almost certainly argue with their ranking of news orgs, but I find their rankings of the New York Times and Washington Post as center-left to reflect my personal assessment of their reportage.
Thus, when I make an assertion about the Northeast Liberal Press, they tend to be organizations that find themselves listed to the left of center. To be sure, USA Today is considered by Media Bias Fact Check to be middle of the road, as is the Christian Science Monitor. And except for USA Today endorsing whatshername, I’d agree.
Please note that the Drudge Report is considered on the right bias list, as is Accuracy in Media, (AIM) and I have not taken it upon myself to chastise you by sending clippings from the Heartland Institute to do some “window-dressing” I think you called it, of your economic thought.
As I call it, MBFC goes way too easy on the Southern Poverty Law Center, especially when you look at public voting on the matter, so I don’t agree with all of their ranks.
But our discussion won’t change a thing so let’s look at your second snippet:
“In the 2015-2016 election cycle, oil, gas, and coal companies spent $354 million in campaign contributions and lobbying and received $29.4 billion in federal subsidies in total over those same years — an 8,200% return on investment.”
This note appears to come from a story at Motherboard.Vice.com here. The story was under the headline “The US Is Paying Big Oil to Keep Fossil Fuels Profitable.”
One again, I refer to the MBFC ranking of Vice over here. Left of center.
Since you brought up oil, coal, and gas companies, you realize I hope that your financial industry directly spent $337.5-million on the 2015-2016 cycle. And I challenge the asertation about energy spending since OpenSecrets puts lobbying at $302-million while the Financial Industry almost spend half a billion (this includes real estate as financial services, however) on lobbying. So, I round to Financial Industry to $1.5 BILLION from the moneyed folks in the same cycle.
You will no doubt argue “Ure in Wrong – Again/Still) because unlike oil, gas, and coal, there are no “federal subsidies” to keep “financial” industries alive.
It’s here I would point out that the financial industry hijacked the Congressional duty to manage money when Wilson turned on the Federal Reserve in 1913 and the income tax (1912) as well. Such that the Financial Industry has been bleeding average Americans into the poorhouse for over 100 years! I call that an OUTLANDISH subsidy!
To point at one industry which can neither tax, nor make up money, and ignore the industry that does precisely this – and more – including now claiming your “money in the bank” is no longer yours? Please, my friend…a bit more balance in your thinking?
As always, you and I agree on a large number of topics: no out of district money in political campaigns, roll-back of Citizens United decision at the SupCo, and no, drug companies should not be allowed to advertise, nor should anyone working for a regulated industry be allowed to work in government until after a mandatory 10-year cooling-off period.
Now I want to give you a tool that may help keep your blood pressure low.
You see, politics is never worth getting upset out. It simply doesn’t matter. Even when persons have committed massive fraud on the voters (illegal restraint of Bernie Sanders, for example) it’s the political operatives operating on behalf of what professor Carroll Quigley identifies as The Network, that ensures a federal criminal case against Bernie Sanders’ wife remains easily-throttled so as to keep him from suing to overturn the election.
Funny how “established” the Establishment is. They hate Trump, though. Your note amplifies that clearly.
In America, we only have representative government at the purely local level. The rest is illusion.
Once you go to the State level, or above, all government is a negotiation. Might as well put policy on eBay as it would be cheaper than Congress and much faster!
Trump knows this, yet he’s not particularly beholden to the king-makers, hence The Network presents him (in their biased reporting) as an arch-villain. You saw my column on “haters” right?
I am disappointed – for such a grand chess player and mathematician – that you have difficulty seeing this “bigger level of the game.”
A re-reading of Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time (about $8 on Kindle) would be instructive. Bill Clinton was a student of his and that’s how and perhaps why the Clinton’s worked their way up. Know The Network and up you go.
Since your time is more valuable than mine, might I offer an alternative to 964 pages of paperback Quigley?
Try Joseph Plummer’s distillation down to 224 pages in Tragedy and Hope 101: The Illusion of Justice, Freedom, and Democracy.
The art of independence of thought is hallowed around here. Such a keen thinker as you should realize that your inputs determine your outputs. Yours seem to be left. Take one from each side – with 10 you get an egg roll.
For this reason, I make a conscientious effort to read across the spectrum and in doing so, we remain continuously amused by the “useless dance.”
Elaine was asking me at breakfast Monday “But what can we do??‘ The answer is simple:
Keep your head down, manage your profile, try not to confront The Network directly, use them like they use others, and enjoy your personal spiritual journey. Find one person who loves you unconditionally and that’s rich.
Life is too short to be drawn into other people’s dramas. To count Obama lobbyists versus Trump lobbyists (equal now) seems one of the stupider wastes of brain-power. While it may beget one of us a sense of “victory” (and yes, winning at what we do is important) there is no monetization apparent to me.
Politics and religion, my friend, only operate because they “zap people at an emotional level.” Once drawn into their charades they are readily turned into proselytizers and True Believers for whatever Cause you name. Then the peeps are turned upside down as their wallets are shaken empty. For The Cause – whatever it is – it’s all justified.
Fact is, the leaders of such movements get rich, not the followers.
Frankly, we’re interested in running with that crowd- leaders – not their adherents. How much need one tithe to have coffee with the Pope? How much to a Foundation for a lunch with whatshername? Business Models, dammit – business models.
The best measure of success is simple: Count the number of people you love, the number that love you in turn, and add up all your current account balances. People are like fruit trees – easily judged by what they bear.
“As you go through life, make it your goal, to keep your eye on the doughnut, not on the hole.” Burma-Shave!
Ure friend, Write when you get rich,