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Mary Barker: What crony capitalism really looks like

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  • Cav Pilot St George, UT
    Aug. 18, 2014 3:40 a.m.

    LDS Liberal.

    there are tons of problems with your list of successes. the first and last require that EVERYONE actually do their part. There can't be some pigs who are more equal.
    with the declination of the "family" in this world, poor example, I have dealt with many many familial dictatorships, even within the Church.
    Pilgrims: more than half died within 18 months, they had to be supported by an outside government in order to survive. Learn a little history
    US Military: served 28 years, Not even close. Some pigs are more equal.
    United Order: failure because there were people who felt that they deserved to get more and work less, returned to a lower law.

    You listed 6 successes, I see 3.9 that are failures and one that is theoretical, because it hasn't happened yet. You can't call something that hasn't happened...a success

  • Cav Pilot St George, UT
    Aug. 18, 2014 3:25 a.m.

    Lagomorph,

    Why provide more compensation to those who will not take a risk. You think those who have invested their own money into something should give more to those who are already accepting a fair wage? I can agree that the definition of "fair wage" is debatable. Based on high school drop-out burger flipper in Seatle, they deserve more compensation than a public school teacher. (check Utah's pay scale for teachers)

    I can claim that I deserve more pay also. My company would be out of business if I didn't put in a 12 hour shift. they pay me a lot to sit and wait in case I am needed. The owners make huge profits every time I actually work. But they are also the ones taking the risk. they have to pay me regardless.

  • Cav Pilot St George, UT
    Aug. 18, 2014 3:14 a.m.

    Kent Deforrest, I've lived in Germany too, and their version of capitalism is not that great. Sure everyone is taken care of....I refer to it as equal poverty. You do have everything that you absolutely need, food, shelter, minimal medical care. AND THERE IS NO POSSIBILITY of getting above that.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 11:44 p.m.

    @Light and Liberty
    St. George/Washington, UT

    To all Socialists: A challenge! Rather than being hypocritical, how about showing all of us right wing extremists how this Socialism works.

    ======

    OK,
    The City of Enoch,
    The United Order,
    The Pilgrims,
    The United States Military,
    The Family,
    The Celestial Kingdom,

    Shall I continue?....

  • Light and Liberty St. George/Washington, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 9:55 p.m.

    To all Socialists: A challenge! Rather than being hypocritical, how about showing all of us right wing extremists how this Socialism works. I challenge all of you to give up your possessions and show us! Since Capitalism spawns everything you hate, give up your nice cushy jobs, your expensive SUVs, your double income households, and show us. after all, isn't example the best teacher? Or is this just one of those tricks to just talk about others doing what you say, while you actually just like to talk about it! Typical patronizing progressives! Your grandiose ideas for others to live!

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    Aug. 15, 2014 3:19 p.m.

    Redshirt

    I think your intemperate comments are part of the larger problem. You just can not get away from a victimhood mentality by those on the radical right who see the bogeyman in every possible liberal motivation to make this society work better for us all.

    I feel great pity that you do not find the ability to see beyond the propaganda you have apparently swallowed hook, line and sinker.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Aug. 15, 2014 11:51 a.m.

    To "ordinaryfolks" you are wrong. The vast majority of liberals and Progressives are calling for socialism. They don't call for it by name, but if you went along with what they have planned you will end up somewhere between a fascism and communism. Liberal and Progressive ideology puts government up as the solution for our problems. The problem with that is each time government comes in to fix something they break 2 more things. It becomes a self perpetuating problem until the government finally says that they just have to take things over and run the economy and businesses itself. Once you get to that point it doesn't take long before they decide that you are not doing what you should be doing so they will run your life for you too.

    Liberals don't like to admit it, but they think they can run your life better than you can. They also think that if the right people are put in place with the right amount of money government can run businesses better than individuals could.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 15, 2014 10:57 a.m.

    Re: "What crony capitalism really looks like"....

    Answer: It looks like our politics TODAY (under Barack Obama). Remember... he has been President for almost 8 years now... If he was going to CHANGE something... he would have done it by now.

    But instead we have the CEO of GE as the Government's "jobs Czar", and a Goldman Sachs exec running the IRS, etc... NOTHING HAS CHANGED!

    Gas prices still go up... it used to be blamed on Bush wanting bigger profits for his "Big Oil Buddies"... now it's just blown off as "Necessary cost increases"...

    We had lower unemployment when Bush, Clinton, and Reagan were President... but we do nothing but praise Obama for keeping it under 10%...

    Why don't we ever expect President Obama to actually DO something?

    I know, I know... because Republicans won't LET him do anything... But THEY didn't appoint the CEO of GE, or the Goldman Sachs exec to be in high Government posisions... did they???

    THAT... is "Crony Capitalism". You help get me elected and we'll give you big jobs in the Government where you can make regulations that help you and your company...

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    Aug. 15, 2014 7:01 a.m.

    Mary Baker has rightly pointed out a problem with the unholy relationship between big business and big government.

    That anyone can contest this problem only proves the famous point made by P T Barnum (which I will not cite due to fear of censorship by the paper).

    I don't think the vast majority of liberals/progressives are about advocating socialism or any other evil doing to the holy grail of pure capitalism. They are about making things work better for all. The system we have is corrupted by elements other than the economic philosophy of capitalism. I don't have a name for it, but I know the corrupt nature of it. And what we have is corruption by a "nice" name.

    It is high time we had a government that looked after the general public, and not the already powerful and wealthy special interests. Defenders of this system of legal bribery and grifting are the fools in the debate.

  • Light and Liberty St. George/Washington, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 9:53 p.m.

    Gary o: all that you say about corporations and capitalism would be true if the world were made up of robots that had no choice. Capitalism doesn't force anyone to buy the product. Ghandi tried to teach the millions of suffering Indians that they could make use of a word that would help them. The word was "no". You have a choice. the trouble you have is that, like many on the left that promote socialism and communism, is that you treat everyone like they are robots that can't make decisions and must have the government helping them how to say "no" or "yes". Of course, then again, that is what the left wants. It gives them the power, rather than the corporations. Yes, everyone has a choice in free markets to make their own decisions. We are not all victims that must be rescued by "socialism" or "Capitalism". We are capable of making our own decisions. That is called Liberty, something that some don't want or believe in because it forces you to live with the consequences of your decisions.

  • Pops NORTH SALT LAKE, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 9:51 p.m.

    GaryO wrote: "Pure Capitalism creates a few super-rich plutocrats who are free to be as greedy as they want. Workers are treated like garbage, and products are expensive. Consumers suffer . . . and so does everyone else."

    Competition actually prevents this from happening - that is, until government steps in and tilts the playing field, as described by Mary Barker. The irony in what GaryO and many others suggest as a solution is that they want more of what caused the very problem they're trying to solve. I suspect that in reality it's a power struggle pitting greedy businessmen against greedy politicians and bureaucrats and not at all about creating a free, just, peaceful, and prosperous society.

    The Founding Fathers understood the corrupting nature of too much government power, so they drafted a Constitution that limited the role of the federal government. It would help if government could be contained to the specific roles that pertain to government, rather than allowing it to engage in the kinds of abuses described by Mary Barker.

    And if we all just practiced morality, virtue, and integrity, the problem would vanish.

  • FreedomFighter41 Provo, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 6:28 p.m.

    @ mike

    "What those who climb all over Wal-Mart and Cabelas seem to forget is that other businesses are continually running break-even-analysis spreadsheets. If the only reason that Cabelas and Wal-Mart are profitable is because the local government is giving them tax breaks, then when those tax breaks end, those businesses will become unprofitable and they will be forced to close."

    But what happens when those corporate hand out don't expire? What happens if they never end because they use so much money to buy off government? Remember, your judges declared bribery a form of free speech.

    That's why so many of us liberals want to get money out of politics. Why don't you support us in this?

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 14, 2014 5:40 p.m.

    Has Mary Barker ever owned a business? Has she ever invested her own money in a business? Has she ever done anything more than point fingers at others?

    One of the first things that a potential business owner does is to run a "break-even-analysis". He finds out how many "widgets" he has to sell at what price to make a profit. If the "numbers" are favorable, he might invest his money.

    What those who climb all over Wal-Mart and Cabelas seem to forget is that other businesses are continually running break-even-analysis spreadsheets. If the only reason that Cabelas and Wal-Mart are profitable is because the local government is giving them tax breaks, then when those tax breaks end, those businesses will become unprofitable and they will be forced to close.

    Every businessman is looking for a way to enter the "fray". If Cabelas or Wal-Mart is charging too little to sustain opporations, then they will fail, no matter what government does.

    A good businessman charges what he must to remain in business. Prices at Cabelas are not "bargain basement". The argument is moot.

  • blackattack Orem, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 4:53 p.m.

    Joecapitalist2, "take away the ability for government to shower bribes" (paraphrase)- how will you be able to do that? Maybe this is a chicken and the egg argument but I don't see how you can enforce that when there are no legitimate checks and balances anymore (ex: Supreme Court ruling that Super PACs are legal). I see the only way to do this is by limiting donations severely or funding campaigns thru tax dollars in a thrifty way. Until there is no gardener (or checks and balances) the weeds will continue to thrive.

    Bribery is legal and any corruption that is illegal is often not enforced. Every political party is guilty of this. Until the system is changed, the results will remain the same no matter who is in office.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Aug. 14, 2014 4:50 p.m.

    To "The Educator" what tea party person is pro-fascism? If anything the Tea Party is against it because they are the ones that said to let the banks and car companies fail.

    Please back up what you say with facts. I have yet to see you do that, so please do so.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 4:48 p.m.

    @2 bits
    I've worked for corporate America for 30+ years. That does not mean I'm blind to the fact our political system is joined at the hip with them. We all could use another Teddy Roosevelt about now.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 4:20 p.m.

    My oh my! The cons are all in a tizzy!

    Love it! Very few writers can tick off the radical right like Robert Reich, Pat Bagley, and Mary Barker! I love her columns! They're clear, easy to understand, provide specifics, and so true. I think the reason why the right despises her so much is because they find the truth to be hard. Just like those who followed Amalickiah became so bitter because they knew that what they were doing was wrong. Many cons around here know that Dr. Barker is correct but don't want to admit it. Time to wake up repubs! Your country needs you! We're under attack from the 1 percent. Will you support the aristocracy or be a patriot and fight for freedom?

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 3:59 p.m.

    Pops said: Bear in mind that "capitalism" is a synonym for "freedom". Freedom doesn't destroy itself.

    Nonsense, how does "everything is for sale" the same as freedom? Those with the most money should be the most free, a conservative moral.

    They speak of morals but only of the servants morals, for the master has no need for such foolishness, because corporations have no soul to save and no body to jail.

    Gary you make to much sense, they really hate that.

  • The Educator South Jordan , UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 3:56 p.m.

    @ Redshirt

    "Again with another letter about Fascism. Crony Capitalism is just another name for Fascism."

    If crony capitalism is fascism then why are tea party republicans so pro-fascism?

  • What in Tucket? Provo, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 3:45 p.m.

    Crony capitalism seems alive and well under Obama. On the other hand our corporations have to put up with a 40% tax vs Europe of 25%. Does this help us compete? We could have a robust economy if we has a better tax structure, less red tape, and were at least trying to balance the budget. Socialism doesn't work. Europe is in the doldrums. And it is dangerous too. The Islamic State is ready to take over the whole world given the chance.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 14, 2014 3:03 p.m.

    Yes Pops .

    Pure capitalism ultimately weakens and destroys itself.

    “Bear in mind that "capitalism" is a synonym for ‘freedom’.”

    Think so huh?

    With pure capitalism, who has the freedom? . . . The most successful and perhaps the most RUTHLESS capitalists.

    Money creates money. Monopolies and Oligopolies can force all completion out of business and then charge whatever they want with no fear of competition.

    That’s why the Great Republican Theodore Roosevelt and his Trustbusters broke up the huge monopolies and oligopolies through GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE.

    This allowed the little, innovative, eager entrepreneurs to get their products to market, thus creating a truly VIGOROUS and COMPETITIVE form of capitalism that allowed superior products and services to be produced and purchased at cheaper prices. That benefitted the consumer, America, and the world.

    Pure Capitalism creates a few super-rich plutocrats who are free to be as greedy as they want. Workers are treated like garbage, and products are expensive. Consumers suffer . . . and so does everyone else.

    That weakens capitalism and ultimately destroys it . . . as evidenced in Europe where Communism took over as a reaction to out-of-control Capitalism.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 14, 2014 3:02 p.m.

    LDS Liberal, corporations have had Constitutional rights since the 1810s. For heaven's sake, don't take those political direct mailers seriously.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 14, 2014 3:01 p.m.

    The best way to get money out of politics is to get politics out of money.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    Aug. 14, 2014 2:49 p.m.

    Talk about biting the hand that feeds you! You corporation haters make me laugh! If you don't like them, don't buy their products! No one is forcing you! That's right, produce your own clothing, food, medicines, cars, airplanes, tools, fuel and everything else that your life depends on! Or move to Cuba or N. Korea, where they hate corporations too! Corporations are the life blood of America and only exist IF they are successful in producing goods and services people CHOOSE to pay for!

  • Pops NORTH SALT LAKE, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 2:29 p.m.

    "Pure capitalism ultimately weakens and destroys itself."

    Huh?

    Bear in mind that "capitalism" is a synonym for "freedom". Freedom doesn't destroy itself. What destroys freedom is that we fail to teach and practice "morals, virtue, and integrity". Don't confuse symptoms with causes. There is no amount of government intervention that can create utopia in any way, shape, or form, whether it be capitalism, socialism, marxism, or whatever. A peaceful, just, and prosperous society can only result when we, the people, decide to teach and practice "morals, virtue, and integrity". Until then, it's just a futile exercise of trying to make people do the right thing, and it's especially futile because the people trying to do the coercing are just as corrupt as those whom they're trying to coerce.

    Thanks for the reminder, Light and Liberty.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Aug. 14, 2014 2:22 p.m.

    Again with another letter about Fascism. Crony Capitalism is just another name for Fascism.

    What I can't figure out is why liberals think that the cure for the first step towards Communism is more socialism. Why give more power to government officials that are just going to turn around and sell it to somebody else or use it to funnel money to themselves and their allies?

    The cure for Fascism is Capitalism. Stop the subsidies, stop allowing government to bail out businesses, stop the power that the Feds have taken to control the economy, and stop allowing the Government to pick the winners and losers.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Aug. 14, 2014 2:16 p.m.

    "Take away the power of those politicians to shower their donors with special favors and the "legal bribes" will instantly dry up."

    And how do you propose that? Specifics please.

    Congress has the legal means to affect and give favors to those with money. Given enough money, most will give in.

    Limiting the money would be by far the easiest way to do that.

    But limiting the amount of money that flows to our congress in the form of campaign donations and lobbying doesn't seem to be anything those on the right are interested in.

    Hey, I just thought of a unique idea. How about they both compromise?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 2:08 p.m.

    @FT
    Re: "Corporations are the new Kings and we their serfs"...

    Over-drama IMO.

    I asked for this job. I get paid very well. I doubt the kings paid their serfs this well back in the day.

    I have a nice house, new car, and well educated kids... he pretty much bought all of that.... not ALL bad is it?

    =================
    =================

    @ECR (about how well Socialism's working in Norway, Sweden, etc)...

    I only have 200 words and I've used most of them, so I'll give you a way to find and read these articles...

    Google "Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state"...

    On national TV he declared, "the welfare state of the 20th century is gone.... In its place a "participation society" is emerging, in which people must take responsibility for their own future and create their own social and financial safety nets, with less help from the national government"... hmmm interesting...

    =============

    Google "François Hollande and the French Socialists: Failure Goes Deeper Than the European Elections"...

    ============

    Google "Scandinavian Socialism Argument Debunked"...

    Addresses your talking-points...

    =========

    THEN... tell us how great Socialism is working in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, etc...

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 1:58 p.m.

    Gee this all sounds very bad Mary. I guess we need to put the Democrats in power in Congress and in the White House to solve these problems. Too bad we've had the Republican Controlled Congress since 2007 and that Republican in the White House since 2009 and they do nothing to change it......

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 14, 2014 1:49 p.m.

    Hey JoeCapitalist2 –

    “Take away the power of those politicians to shower their donors with special favors and the "legal bribes" will instantly dry up.”

    Oh yeah? How? Got any specifics?

    How are you going to force powerful politicos to not assert their power?

    No, the answer is to control the amount of donations that can be made to political campaigns.

    We could start by reversing our Right/Wrong-leaning Supreme Court’s ridiculous Citizens’ United decision. But of course that will not happen until we get rid of our Right/Wrong SC justices . . . And that will take time.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 14, 2014 1:33 p.m.

    Hey 2bits -

    "So... what's the Solution?"

    The solution is to apply some common sense and do what works. Forget about isms and ideologies. And people who are terrified of the word "socialism" need to get over it.

    And just DO WHAT WORKS. Embracing practicality is the solution.

    Someone said we haven't had true capitalism for years. That's true. We've had a mixed economy . . . Because THAT IS WHAT WORKS.

    Pure capitalism ultimately weakens and destroys itself. A truly competitive and energetic capitalism can only be sustained through the assistance of government as necessary.

    And in the present reality where our domestic economy is influenced so much by world competition, we need to interject even more government influence and learn from best practices.

    There's a lot wrong with the way the government interacts with big business. We have been privatizing profits and socializing risks.

    Low corporate taxes are wise, but it would help hugely if we could get rid of trickle-down economics (low taxes for the highest individual earners). That way, we would be back to socializing profits a little bit more too . . . like we did when this nation could pay its bills.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 1:05 p.m.

    blackattack: "Any suggestions on how this will be possible when all the politicians are taking legal bribes?"

    I already made the suggestion earlier. Take away the power of those politicians to shower their donors with special favors and the "legal bribes" will instantly dry up.

    But limiting the power of government doesn't seem to be anything those on the left are interested in.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 1:04 p.m.

    Corporations are the new Kings and we their serfs. All supported by the very people we elect. Look no further than the recent SC decisions by the right wing idealogues. What politicans put them there and why?

  • blackattack Orem, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 12:54 p.m.

    This op-Ed was well written. Whether you are GOP, democrat, or neither, this crony capitalism is affecting you. One thing that bothers me is that Walmart has the most employees on Food Stamps. They have the profits to pay their employees better but they choose to have the taxpayers pick up the tab.

    I am outraged at the stuff corporations get away with, and their influence on government is one example. These corporate leaders sometimes end up as members of a cabinet or other political body. I will agree with many of the comments that perhaps the biggest improvement will come thru campaign finance reform. I will happily pay taxes for a reasonable amount instead of let the government be run by the corporations and for the corporations, rather than by the people and for the people.

    Any suggestions on how this will be possible when all the politicians are taking legal bribes?

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 12:50 p.m.

    JoeCapitalist2: "...if that same thing also benefits some wealthy person even more, then it must be bad and should be eliminated."

    You vastly oversimplify and misrepresent the income inequality issue. It's not that a few people make more than others. There will always be rich and poor in society; absolute income equality is never going to happen, nor is it even a desirable goal.

    However, the growth of inequality in American income distribution in the last few decades is disturbing to many of us. The ratio of executive to labor compensation has swelled from 20-40x in the 1940s-70s to 300-400x now, all while worker productivity has skyrocketed and worker wages remain flat (corrected for inflation) over the same time period. It looks like all of the gains are going to those at the top while the labor producing the wealth get crumbs. Some of us would be happy if shareholders spread the profits around to everyone who contributed to making them rather than showering CEOs with all the compensation. That way there will be more people who can actually afford to buy the products. It's fine that some earn more, but let's rein in the excess.

  • Light and Liberty St. George/Washington, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 11:47 a.m.

    You are all wrong. There is nothing that can change a system when morals, virtue, and integrity aren't taught and practiced. There is nothing that can be done, including the awfully naive, or downright foolish, notion that "Socialism" is the answer! Can anyone actually promote Socialism as a means to "fixing" the inequities in our society? The only possible solution to any method for fixing things is a return to the principles that every stable society rests upon, morals, virtue, family, and liberty. If, however, one is espousing one system that offers the most freedom, liberty, and choice, and equality, then Capitalism wins it hands down. America hasn't practiced Capitalism for decades. Instead, it is a fascist corporate Socialism that has broadened that income disparity. Some foolish think that because Germany practices Socialism (more like Corporate Socialism), that there isn't any corruption, power plays, or fraud there. How foolish!

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 11:04 a.m.

    Schnee:

    Your argument seems to follow a common thread among the "income inequality" crowd. It doesn't matter if something raises the wealth and/or well-being of millions of people, if that same thing also benefits some wealthy person even more, then it must be bad and should be eliminated.

    Giving poor people access to affordable products that improve their lives must be bad if a few Walmart executives get rich doing that. Providing cheaper energy so that millions of people can live more comfortably and get to work must be bad if a few oil executives make a lot of money.

    There are lots of problems with capitalism, but you have to address those problems specifically. Calling X bad simply because providing X benefited one person more than another, is wrong.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 11:03 a.m.

    Keep in mind --

    The right-leaning Supreme Court has just given full Constitutitonal "rights" to these same Corporations.

    Corporations who do not even have to be AMERICAN.

    I applaude Prof. Barker for speaking the truth on this matter of how these Master Mahan Gadianton Robbers who are all about "gain" have now taken over the handling and managing of our Government.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Aug. 14, 2014 10:58 a.m.

    2 bits said, "Marxist says "what's the fix? Socialism! Not just for big capital, but for everybody... But we know that has failed every time it's been tried."

    Do we? The government of Norway and Sweden are officially capitalist by definition but they incorporate many socialist programs in the economy. And many of the countries in the European Union do so to a lesser extent. Yes, we can all point to the problems of Greece over the last many years but wasn't it another of those socialist leaning nations (Germany) that helped to prop up their economy?

    And, if truth be told, our own country has many socialist programs as well. This essay today points out a few of those programs that have helped only the rich and powerful, but they are, nevertheless government sponsored largesse provided to the wealthy and not the folks who need it most.

    Pure capitalism. Show me where that had worked.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 10:30 a.m.

    @a_voice_of_reason
    "Keep in mind, don't we benefit from the use of these corporations cheaper products?"

    Considering the increasing wealth and income disparities over the past 35 years it would seem to while we may benefit as consumers from some of those things, it is those at the top of the income distribution that benefit the most from the current system.

  • Random Redlands, CA
    Aug. 14, 2014 10:24 a.m.

    I didn't gather that the author was asking for socialism; rather, I understood her to be asking for a fair fight. The presence of your big box in my neighborhood isn't so wonderful that I will do anything to keep it, including letting you off paying taxes. The small store in my neighborhood plays fair by employing local people and paying local and other taxes.
    Lobbying is one of the most disturbing thing this country allows. Why don't we just say what it is? It is bribery to the politician who passes the bills the industries want passed.

  • water rocket Magna, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 10:03 a.m.

    The problem is that we trust our politicians to protect the interests of the public, but they are on the "take" for large "donations" from these very people. Just look at how Enviroteck (sp) stores nuclear waste from eastern states here in Utah, and guess who is one of the biggest political contributors is in Utah! They all have their slimy hands in the tax till.

  • a_voice_of_reason Woods Cross, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 10:02 a.m.

    While the author gives many compelling arguments and figures - which are not to be ignored - one must remember that she is addressing one side of an issue. Keep in mind, don't we benefit from the use of these corporations cheaper products? Otherwise how would they make money? Don't we benefit from the jobs they provide to ourselves, our families, and neighbors? Don't we benefit from their profits due to our sliver of ownership held in our 401k accounts? Also, she attacks them for having not paid taxes from 2008-2010, but still lobbying congress. Remember in during that time period the government (Obama) passed a tax law allowing all companies to deduct the full cost of their investments (in equipment, buildings, etc.) in full in the year of purchase instead of over a period of time (3-30 years) as the law is typically. So, these companies didn't PAY taxes those years due to investments, but still showed profits because those investments aren't expenses. They will end up paying the tax over those future years when that deduction they would have had has already been used. (Yes - I'm a CPA - this isn't just spin)

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 9:58 a.m.

    So... what's the Solution?

    Marxist says "what's the fix? Socialism! Not just for big capital, but for everybody...

    But we know that has failed every time it's been tried.

    Mary seems to want us to become more like Socialist-leaning Spain where she teaches (Hint... Bankrupt)

    Google "2008–14 Spanish financial crisis" or "Spain Economic Crisis"...
    Even the Huffington Post acknowledges that their economy is in crisis...

    I don't think Socialism is the answer... maybe there's an answer that doesn't require overwhelming our government with demands for handouts to the point that it collapses and the people revolt and demand the Government give them what they need to live, and adopt a standard of living that is below what Americans enjoy today (even below what poor Americans have today).

    Usually Capitalism is the answer to Capitalism's problems (Hint... government handouts to corporations is NOT "Capitalism", that's Socialism). Maybe what we need is more Capitalism in America (less Government intervention and handouts to companies that donate to them)... Not Socialism, Marxism, or Communism...

    If you can show me where these have been the answer and it worked long-term... maybe I'm wrong...

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 9:22 a.m.

    John:

    That's the best defense for the current system you can come up with? Please try harder. I've lived in Germany. They would be totally surprised at your depiction of their very successful capitalist society. They believe they have more freedoms than we do because of how their government operates. Look at how they distribute wealth and how they control their corporations. You could learn a lot. Our politicians could learn a lot. Conservatives love to toss around the loaded term "socialism" as if they actually understand what it means. They don't.

  • Pops NORTH SALT LAKE, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 9:17 a.m.

    JoeCapitalist2 nailed it. Restricting campaign donations would not address the problem. The problem is that government is prostituting itself and corporations are buying. It's government that needs to be cleaned up and put back in its place.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 8:49 a.m.

    The main problem is the government. If the government restricted its duties to those enumerated within the Constitution, it would not have the power to grant so many favors to big businesses.

    Why would big business donate tons of cash to political campaigns if elected officials would not have the power to "return the favor" once in office? Answer: they wouldn't!

    The only way to stop the corruption is to cut off much of the power currently wielded by government. Liberals want everyone to believe that this problem is caused by conservative support for big business. I think much of the blame falls on liberal support for big government.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 8:41 a.m.

    This is an EXCELLENT op ed!

    Unfortunately, it's true.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 8:36 a.m.

    JoeBlow said: "Ok, so the article details out the extent of what is happening. Title: What crony capitalism really looks like’

    "I don't think it is a revelation to anyone."

    I do. I talk to many radio fans who complain about welfare queens, but completely miss the real culprits and abusers who profit greatly for the bribes they pay. They've gamed the system. Big Oil's lobbing was so good they were embarrassed they had to pay so little for the BP disaster.

    How about an article on how to fix it?
    I hoping for a part 2 too. Your Ideas are good but how are we going to get these yahoo's in office to vote for not being bribed, in or after (see shurtlef) they've served? (themselves)

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 8:35 a.m.

    re: Irony Guy

    Another example would be those bastians of capitalism & conservative "values"; Duck Dynasty who get subsidies for their TV show.

    to JCS

    How then would Mary differ from a large transnational Corporation?

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Aug. 14, 2014 8:04 a.m.

    JCS said, "Perhaps Mary would be more satisfied if America becomes just another European-style post-Christian socialist state. Then she can have her every want and need provided by the government."

    The evidence she has presented (just imagine how much she had to leave out) shows that she would have to become a member of the privileged, wealthy class for the government to provide her every want and need.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 7:50 a.m.

    There's another form of 'crony capitalism" that's even worse -- the vulture capitalism where people/companies buy companites that are struggling a bit but have strong assets, excessively encumber those assets, drag the company down while imperiling workers' jobs, compensation and pensions; and vinally either drive the company into bankruptcy or "kill" the company by sending the assets and jobs overseas while shutting down the in-country operation. At each step of this process, the vulture capitalist rakes in obscene amounts of money for himself and his company. One example -- just days before the 2012 election, Romney's "past" operation did just that while Romney was promising to create in-country jobs. The workers from the company being out-shorted (Google "Sensata" for full particulars) begged Romney to stop the process or, at the very least, meet with them so they could present their case to save their company and jobs. Romney wouldn't even meet with them. That's vulture capitalism at its worst.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Aug. 14, 2014 7:48 a.m.

    Ok, so the article details out the extent of what is happening. I dont think it is a revelation to anyone.

    How about an article on how to fix it?

    I only see one way.

    Restrict lobbying and campaign contributions from unions and big business. Heck, restrict them for everyone.

    Make the amount of money a union, corporation or private individual an insignificant sum.

    That will fix the problem.

    This would have to be a bi-partisan, grass roots effort. Our politicians will not do it on their own.

  • The Educator South Jordan , UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 7:37 a.m.

    This is what happens when government goes up for sale.

    Both locally and nationally. I mean, look at what happened over the past few years at our AG.

    But what can you do when activist Supreme Court justices declare bribery a form of free speech?

  • John Charity Spring Back Home in Davis County, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 7:31 a.m.

    Perhaps Mary would be more satisfied if America becomes just another European-style post-Christian socialist state. Then she can have her every want and need provided by the government.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Aug. 14, 2014 7:07 a.m.

    I recently saw a t-party presentation about an Idaho potato farmer whom they tout as a model of "self reliance." He's waving the t-party flag, "Don't Tread on Me," "Get US out of the UN," etc. ad nauseam.

    It took about 3 minutes on Google to find out this very same potato farmer gets about a half million a year in subsidies from the Federal gov't. He's a welfare queen who makes the average food-stamp recipient look like a piker.

    The Cliven Bundys of the world are also "crony capitalists" who take from the rest of us.

  • vern001 Castle Rock, CO
    Aug. 14, 2014 6:58 a.m.

    Wonderful piece that captures the essence of our country today. In our haste to judge and condemn the 47% who are supposedly "takers," we forget that the biggest "takers" are the corporations and their leaders who show no loyalty to local communities but threaten to take jobs away unless they are accorded special privileges and incentives no one else could obtain.

    Then they turn around and use that money to influence Congress and local and state leaders to pass more laws benefiting them. It's why multi-millionaires can pay a lower tax rate than teachers and police officers. It's why they can write off their jets and dressage horses. It's why all kinds of regulations and laws that would protect the little people have no hope of passing.

    This isn't a democracy. It's an oligarchy.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Aug. 14, 2014 6:56 a.m.

    And then there are the sports stadiums, privately owned, but paid for by the "fortunate" communities in which they reside. Nice.

    IMO, one way to fight back is to support politicians who will commit to changing campaign financing laws. Public financing will help wrest some of the power from the clutches of The Entitled Class.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 6:47 a.m.

    American corruption is "moral"; at least that is what conservative, corporate America would have you think.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Aug. 14, 2014 6:15 a.m.

    As always, Ms. Barker provides us with compelling evidence of how the wealthy class have been the takers over the past decade rather than the image that most of that class would have us believe. And yes, the guilty parties of who has let this happen are on both sides of the political aisle. But I find one of her paragraphs particularly telling when she says:

    "A recent study found that between 2008 and 2010, 30 of the largest American companies paid more to lobby Congress (about $400,000 per day, including weekends) than they did in federal taxes. In fact, only one of them actually paid federal taxes, despite the groups’ combined profits of $164 billion. Not surprisingly, they also financed federal campaigns."

    Now ask yourself, whose campaigns have benefited from that financial support? Answer that question and you'll find the source of the problem.

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 6:14 a.m.

    There is a temptation, and a well-deserved one, to pile on to the recipients of corporate welfare. But that's like blaming the alcoholic for giving in to an offer for unlimited free booze at a party. Who's providing the booze and who's turning a blind eye to the drunken state of the patrons? Don't these people understand how much damage these inebriated beneficiaries can inflict on the general public? Yet, when they do cause harm, they're patted on the head, given a wink and a finger-wag and sent on their way. Who's more at fault?

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 14, 2014 1:25 a.m.

    So what's the fix? Socialism! Not just for big capital, but for everybody. There must be a revolt of some sort, else the status quo cannot be altered. Perhaps the revolt will come with the next collapse (not if, but when).