Friday, March 16, 2012

Excellent Point: US Becoming More Like Russia

So, an excellent point:

"Polls tell us that the teenagers who in the 1990s dreamed of becoming rich in business now aspire to be public servants. Many view public service as a source of fast and easy cash. As long as this incentive exists, purges will be useless — unmasked thieves will only be replaced by others."

Strangely, this claim was made, not in the WS Journal, but in the Washington Post.

Even more strangely, the claim was made by one V. Putin. Who ought to know how profitable public office is. (Note: I changed "oligarchs" to "rich in business," so as not to give it away...)

The layers of hypocrisy here almost cover the long sharp prickles of irony.
The disturbing thing is that in a crony capitalist system, it is the "businessmen" who make the most from "public service." Check this article on Warren Buffet, who has made a fortune by telling President Obama to invest in companies Buffet himself owns.

Excerpt: Consider Warren Buffett. Often seen as a grandfatherly figure above the rough-and-tumble of politics, Buffett appears to be immune to the folly and excess of finance as well. He lives in Omaha, Nebraska, in a house he purchased in 1958 for $31,000. He made a fortune for himself and his investors at the business conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway through the humble-sounding approach of value-based investing. He uses folksy expressions: “You don’t know who’s swimming naked,” he said during the height of the financial crisis, “until the tide goes out.” He frequently takes to the nation’s op-ed pages with populist-sounding arguments, such as his August 2010 plea in The New York Times for the government to stop “coddling” the “super-rich” and start raising their taxes.

But this image does not always reflect reality. Warren Buffett is very much a political entrepreneur; his best investments are often in political relationships. In recent years, Buffett has used taxpayer money as a vehicle to even greater profit and wealth. Indeed, the success of some of his biggest bets and the profitability of some of his largest investments rely on government largesse and “coddling” with taxpayer money.

The US is not in danger of becoming a socialist country like Russia WAS. The US is in danger of becoming a corrupt crony capitalist country like Russia IS. Warren Buffet, oligarch.


Dave Hansen said...

I had a sad.

Augis said...

Putin possibly enjoys lion shares of the fiscal machinations.
I doubt, however, that Obama does.
And it is a big difference.

Mike said...

There is no way the US would be come a crong capitalist country like Russia. First our elections are more robust and the press much freer. Second the Federal Government is divdied (house/senate/presidency) and we have the states and local municiplities, third there were no mass privitizations to help enrich a select few supporters.