Tuesday, March 31, 2009

THE CORPORATE STATE, AKA CORPORATE FASCISM, AKA FASCISM

Tough talk from Obama about America's failing auto industry. Fix yourself or die! No more easy bailout money! We're making the rules now! Day-um.

Now let me be real clear: I'm not in favor of bailing them out with one more penny, and frankly I'm not even looking for any form of "nationalization," or government-sponsored unwinding, or any of that jazz. They wanna declare Chapter 11, let 'em. They wanna go out of business, that's fine by me. Nevertheless, something strikes me as juuuuuuuust a tad inconsistent about Fauxbama's tough talk here. I can't quite put my finger on it, but this doesn't jibe with some of his other public statements lately.

Very briefly, let's review:

1. Detroit better get its shit together or we're gonna let it fail. Wall St. and the banking industry, on the other hand, are "too big to fail."

2. If the Big Three can't fix themselves, we're forcing them into Chapter 11! On the other hand, we will never "nationalize" Wall St. and the banking industry.

3. Extending on that theme, Detroit's creditors can basically go fuck themselves. Wall St.'s creditors, on the other hand, will be protected. Since many of them are banks themselves, they too are too big to fail.

4. Rick Wagoner, you're gone! The CEOs and other executives of Wall St. institutions, on the other hand, can't be fired because we need their "expertise." This expertise, apparently, focuses primarily on making risky investments and using tax dollars to make themselves richer.

In general, this is so fucked up I can't even explain it without breaking into a smirk. The government can just step into a private company on one hand, nationalize it, fire its CEO, and dictate its business policy . . . while simultaneously giving away our money to the world's wealthiest bankers with no conditions or requirements attached. None of this takes place through any sort of public debate, none of it has a contingency plan more than two steps down the road, none of it makes a shred of economic sense, none of it even passes the smell test of constitutionalism or American political traditions.

What's the goddamn difference between Obama and Hugo Chavez on one hand? Or Mussolini on the other?

I'd say the biggest problem here is how arbitrary the decision-making is, except it's not arbitrary. There's one set of rules for the biggest bankers . . . and another set of rules for everyone else. It's clear who runs this country, and it ain't the auto industry, it ain't Congress, it ain't the press, and it sure as hell ain't you & me.

Bow down to Wall St., people. They're your bosses. You work for them. You pay your taxes to them. They make the rules. Just hope they're kind enough to let you live where you want and raise your children under your own rules. Because if they decide not to, there doesn't seem to be a damn thing we can do about it.

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9 Comments:

Blogger Rickey Henderson said...

Question: isn't GM already in de facto bankruptcy proceedings? Haven't they already been shedding their components piece by piece?

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Applesaucer said...

so many different commenting angles here. It reminds me of an email I sent to you last week re: the "Vampire Economy:"

The Vampire Economy: Guenter Reiman

February 12, 2007 11:32 AM by Mises.org Updates | Other posts by Mises.org Updates | Comments (11)

The Vampire Economy, by Guenter Reimann (1939) is a rare and wonderful thing: a detailed account of how the Nazis crushed the private sector and hamstrung the economy with vast regulations, violations of property rights, inflation, price controls, and taxes.

It is now available in PDF, and also as a print on demand book.

The author emigrated from Germany and worked on Wall Street after the war. One very odd thing: Reimann was a member of the Communist Party.

THE business organization of private enterprise has had to be reorganized in accordance with the new state of things. Departments which previously were the heart of a firm have become of minor importance. Other departments which either did not exist or which had only auxiliary functions have become dominant and have usurped the real functions of management.

Formerly the purchasing agent and the salesmanager were among the most important members of a business organization. Today the emphasis has shifted and a curious new business aide, a sort of combination "gobetween" and public relations counsel, is now all-important.

His job—not the least interesting outgrowth of the Nazi economic system—is to maintain good personal relations with officials in the Economic Ministry, where he is an almost daily caller; he studies all the new regulations and decrees, knows how to interpret them in relation to his particular firm and is able to guess at what may be permitted or forbidden. In other words, it is his business to know how far one can go without being caught. He also develops special knowledge on how to camouflage private interests so that they appear to be "interests of the community" or of the State.

9:48 AM  
Blogger DED said...

In general, this is so fucked up I can't even explain it without breaking into a smirk. The government can just step into a private company on one hand, nationalize it, fire its CEO, and dictate its business policy . . . while simultaneously giving away our money to the world's wealthiest bankers with no conditions or requirements attached.
...
There's one set of rules for the biggest bankers . . . and another set of rules for everyone else.


I completely agree. That's how it looks from here.

10:50 AM  
Blogger Mr Furious said...

Agree 100%. I just finished writing a Cliff Notes version of the same post.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Smitty said...

In general, this is so fucked up I can't even explain it without breaking into a smirk. The government can just step into a private company on one hand, nationalize it, fire its CEO, and dictate its business policy . . . while simultaneously giving away our money to the world's wealthiest bankers with no conditions or requirements attached. None of this takes place through any sort of public debate, none of it has a contingency plan more than two steps down the road, none of it makes a shred or economic sense, none of it even passes the smell test of constitutionalism or American political traditions.

And that, sir, is why my head exploded yesterday. I am in a mental institution. I get to knit potholders with dull plastic needles now. So nice. Pretty birds. I get to eat mac and cheese today!

We're actually bitching about this on our blog right now. This is basically a huge double-standard, and as one Michigan-based economist said yesterday, this decision is being made by people who either are driven to work in limos or light rails, or are driving their own foreign cars.

12:56 PM  
Blogger Weaseldog said...

Smitty, I don't think it's about cars in particular.

Autos are being singled out, simply because that's the USA's current big industry.

When the automotive industry is gone, the next big industry will be targeted.

1:07 PM  
Blogger steves said...

Autos are being singled out, simply because that's the USA's current big industry.

I can see this, but do you think it would be happening this way if the auto industry was concentrated on the west coast or the north east?

5:01 PM  
Blogger DED said...

Chicago is pretty close to Detroit. I realize Obama was educated at Harvard and grew up in Hawaii, but his political years were spent in Illinois. One would've thought that might've rubbed off on him. Either it didn't or his associates (Wall St. aligned or owned) convinced him otherwise.

Where do Defense contractors rank in terms of size compared to automakers? Heh, one could argue that they were too big to fail since Eisenhower's day and that a good chunk of the Defense Dept budget is just one big bailout for them.

5:24 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

do you think it would be happening this way if the auto industry was concentrated on the west coast or the north east?

Yes.

6:02 AM  

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