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Monday, October 03, 2011

Sachs: Corporatocracy is Replacing Democracy

Jeff Sachs:

Paul Ryan, American Values and Corporatocracy, by Jeff Sachs: My new book, The Price of Civilization, describes why America needs a "mixed economy," one where a more effective federal government regulates business and invests alongside the business sector. In his review of my book, Congressman Paul Ryan, an avowed libertarian, describes my book as anti-American in its values. ...
Ryan ignores the extensive evidence in the book showing that Americans support the values of a mixed economy, not of Ryan's free-market libertarianism. Americans today by large majorities support public education, Medicare, Social Security, help for the indigent, stronger regulation of the banks, and higher taxation of the rich. ...
On issue after issue, Washington is presently bucking the public's values, rather than respecting them. A majority of the public wants to preserve social programs, but they are being cut anyway. A majority wants higher taxes on the rich, but they are being cut rather than raised. A majority wants to end the wars, but they continue anyway.
The reason is the following. America is losing its democracy as our politicians trade their votes for campaign contributions from the corporate lobbies. We have a corporatocracy rather than a democracy, and Ryan stands at the center of it. The Wall Street Journal, which commissioned Ryan's review of my book, is the leading print mouthpiece for the corporatocracy.
Since entering Congress in 1999, Ryan has helped to prevent effective oversight and regulation of the banking sector. ... Ryan's re-elections have been consistently funded by the insurance, banking, and homebuilding industries. Banks such as the Bank of America and Citigroup, two of the largest bailout recipients, have been high on Ryan's contribution list; so too have major lobbying groups for the financial industry, such as the American Bankers Association and the Securities Industry & Financial Market Association.
America's corporatocracy is governed by vested interests rather than moral or economic principles. After financial deregulation led to the 2008 collapse, Ryan's enthusiasm for free enterprise suddenly took a second place to his new enthusiasm to rescue the banks through a giant taxpayer-funded bailout. The "free-market" Wall Street Journal similarly defended the bank bailout, all of a sudden lecturing its readers about market failures and the limits of the free market.
As soon as the banks were saved with public money, Ryan, the Journal, and most of the political class swung back to deregulation. Ryan voted against reforms of Wall Street. He inveighed against taxing or otherwise controlling the bonuses received by the CEOs and senior managers of the bailed-out banks. When it comes to the poor, however, Ryan has a different response: slash Medicaid spending, come what may. ...
My views ... run to the very idea of America: a democracy of the people, by the people, and for the people, not a government of the corporations, by the corporations and for the corporations. ...

    Posted by on Monday, October 3, 2011 at 09:45 AM in Economics | Permalink  Comments (39)


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