Transcript: Thom Hartmann: The Big Picture: Do Thom & Sarah Palin agree on Crony Capitalism? 13 September '11
I agree with Sarah Palin.
No need to look up in the air - pigs aren't flying just yet.
But really - Sarah Palin has a new message she's been trying out in recent weeks - and it has to do with taking on crony capitalism - she unveiled it at a Tea Party Rally in Iowa last week - take a look:.
There is a name for this: It’s called corporate crony capitalism. This is not the capitalism of free men and free markets, of innovation and hard work and ethics, of sacrifice and of risk. No, this is the capitalism of connections and government bailouts and handouts, of waste and influence peddling and corporate welfare.
Sarah Palin against corporate welfare?!
Her comments even piqued the interest of the New York Times that noted:./p>
Along with her familiar and predictable swipes at President Barack Obama and the 'far left,' she delivered a devastating indictment of the entire U.S. political establishment - left, right and center - and pointed toward a way of transcending the presently unbridgeable political divide.
Palin kept up the attack against crony capitalism in her Labor Day Rally speech last week:.
Our nation is at a tipping point, so let’s invite candidates who REFUDIATE the crony capitalism and the corporate welfare, and the waste, and the corrupt politics, and the government bailouts for their buddies.
And then she delivered the message again last night on Fox so-called News - bashing Governor Rick Perry's decision to mandate young girls get vaccinated against the HPV virus - a decision that helped a former aide of his who went to work for the same drug company that manufactured the vaccine:
That's crony capitalism. That’s part of the problem that we have in this country, is that people are afraid, even within our own party, to call one another out on that. True reform and fighting the corruption and fighting the crony capitalism is a tough thing to do within your own party. You have to go up against the big guns. And they will try to destroy you when you call them out on the mistakes that they have made.
Yeah, the point is, when a crony corporate mouthpiece like Sarah Palin is decrying crony capitalism, then you know there is a serious problem with too much money in our government.
It's an issue I talk about in Chapter 18 of my book Unequal Protection - the problem of bought-off politicians handing over massive chunks of our commons - from schools to hospitals to energy resources - over to corporations to carve up for profits - and then re-writing the rules of capitalism along the way through subsidies and tax loopholes to make their buddy-buddy CEOs even more profitable.
Of course - Sarah Palin supports the privatization of the commons - but in this new populist incarnation, she just says she doesn't like how it's done - the backroom deals - the political contributions - the quid-pro-quos.
But considering that we live in a democracy - or DID before the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision - then bribing politicians is the only way for corporations to get preferential treatment, or at least, the easy preferred way.
After all - the vast majority of Americans - Sarah Palin excluded - are opposed to the crony capitalism of taxpayer subsidies to oil corporations - yet vote after vote - politicians keep the corporate welfare spigot open to the tune of tens of billions of dollars for the likes of ExxonMobil and Chevron.
Again, the vast majority of Americans - again Sarah Palin excluded - think it's an outrage that billionaires like Warren Buffett pay a lower tax rate than their secretaries do thanks to the capital gains tax loopholes - yet vote after vote - politicians keep the tax breaks alive for America's wealthiest hedge fund managers.
And I'm sure the vast majority of Americans - again Sarah Palin excluded - think dishing out hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer money to defense corporations in the form of no-bid contracts to build unnecessary weapons systems is another outrageous form of crony capitalism - yet just last year half of all the Pentagon's defense contracts to private corporations were of the no-bid variety - costing taxpayers an extra $140 billion according to the Center for Public Integrity.
This is all crony capitalism at work - against the will of the people - but at the behest of billion-dollar corporations hiring million-dollar lobbyists to custom make our economy to meet the needs of the very, very wealthy.
In her Iowa speech - Palin noted that 7 of the 10 wealthiest counties in America are the suburbs surrounding Washington, DC.
This is a topic that historian Thomas Frank explored when he took a drive through some of these incredibly wealthy suburbs:
What this has made Washington into is a city with, you know, a lot of still glorious federal monuments and monumental buildings and these sort of huge bureaucracies and that sort of thing. But the real power is further out. It's in the contractors' offices and the lobbyists' offices out in the suburbs where those people live and where they do their work. And we're going to go take a look at that.
Privatizing is what built this area and what made DC - not DC but the DC metro area - so wealthy, so incredibly rich. Holy cow, look at that, look at that thing. Sorry, there's a car coming behind us. Have you seen the fountain on that? I mean, it's Versailles.
You know you're a lobbyist when...
Those are the monuments to the corporate takeover of America.
And elsewhere around the country - in the communities crippled by foreclosure and unemployment - and in the families now living in their cars or in homeless shelters - you see the consequences of this very same crony capitalism.
Sarah Palin is right - we need to end the corruption in our lobbyist-infested government that has led us to this "for the rich, by the rich" economy.
Of course - Sarah Palin thinks the best way to do that is by electing people who will dismantle government - which will totally leave those corporations and wealthy people to step in and fill the void.
I didn't say she's bright, or that I agree with her solution - which really was just a sideways of attacking Rick Perry.
But I think it's great that she's willing to identify and attack crony capitalism.
But the truth is we need people who'll dismantle corporate power - and that means ending corporate personhood - getting money out of politics - handing the commons back to the people - and making corporations pay their fair share like they used to in America before Ronald Reagan.
Unfortunately - to get Sarah Palin to go that far along with the agenda - we might actually have to wait until pigs start flying.
That's The Big Picture.