Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Predator State

New book, "The Predator State" by James K. Galbraith, details how "conservatives," beginning with Reagan (the lie-creator) ceased being conservative and became minions of the corporations.

And the outcome? The mess we're dealing with right now.

Kevin Horrigan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, writes:

It's hard to find a true conservative any more. As economist James K. Galbraith points out in "The Predator State," a book to be published next month, what we call "conservatism" today is actually "an economic system wherein entire sectors have been built up to feast on public systems built originally for public purposes and largely serving the middle class."

His theory: There's no such thing as a "free market" anymore. The market has been rigged and the government taken captive by predators posing as conservatives. Truly principled conservatives have disappeared into irrelevance, where they join liberals who still are trying futilely to bend market theory to fit their social goals.

"There are those who praise the free market because to do so gives cover to themselves and their friends in raiding the public trough," Galbraith writes. "These people call themselves 'conservatives,' and one of the truly galling things for real conservatives is that they have both usurped the label and spoiled the reputation of the real thing. And there are those who praise the 'free market' simply because they fear that, otherwise, they will be exposed as heretics, accused of being socialists, perhaps even driven from public life."

Galbraith argues that the Reagan Revolution of the 1980s created philosophical cover for corporate conservatives to seize the government and use it for narrow, private goals rather than to serve broad public goals. The practice has reached its apotheosis during George W. Bush's administration.

Click HERE to see more.

See my earlier blog about Lehman Brothers.

With the announcement tonight of the bailout of AIG, we see the Federal Government called upon to pick up the pieces left by corporate leaders who all retain their bonuses and golden parachutes, their homes in the Hamptons and their yachts. This kind of imbalance encouraged risk-taking without danger - and now that the house of credit-cards has failed, go crying to Uncle Sam.

And, yes, it's a mess, and if AIG fails, it's hard to say just how far-reaching the fallout will be. In their unrestricted greed and unprincipled behavior, they have entangled millions here and abroad in a dangerous web.

Conservatives say, "Let 'em fail."

I say, "If we're going to bale them out, let's also put together a comprehensive regulatory reform program to see that such never happens again. Beginning with the Great Liar (Reagan), and accelerated under Bush, we have welcomed the fox to the hen house by asking big biz to police itself.

And let's get back to a decent and reasonable tax system.

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