Comments about ‘Mary Barker: What crony capitalism really looks like’

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Published: Thursday, Aug. 14 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

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).

Sandy, UT

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?

Burke, VA

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.

Here, UT

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

Karen R.
Houston, TX

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.

Castle Rock, CO

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.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

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.

John Charity Spring
Back Home in Davis County, UT

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 Educator
South Jordan , UT

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?

Far East USA, SC

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.

Ogden, UT

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.

Burke, VA

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.

Mister J
Salt Lake City, UT

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?

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

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)

one old man
Ogden, UT

This is an EXCELLENT op ed!

Unfortunately, it's true.

Orem, UT

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.


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.

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT


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.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

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...

Woods Cross, UT

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)

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