Friday, September 2, 2016
The Clintons and Croney Capitalism
What am I missing?
Hillary Clinton continues to insists she is going to soak the rich (Wall Street hedge fund managers, Hollywood celebrities, and Silicon Valley tycoons) for their “fair share” by closing their tax loopholes and raising their tax rates, yet these various constituents are long time cronies, cultivated during her years in the White House, her New York Senate career, her tenure at Secretary of State
Yet she and Bill have accumulated over $100 million in personal wealth, including $123 million from hedge fund donations compared to $19,000 for Trump, and 84% to 90% of campaign donations from Wall Street and Hollywood and Silicon Valley have gone to the Democratic candidate for the Presidency.
And this does not count Bill Clinton’s millions of dollars in speaking fees before foreign leaders, and the billions of dollars contributed to the Clinton Foundation. Nor does it take into account the fact that 60% of non-government officials visiting with Hillary during her stay as Secretary of State gave to the Clinton Foundation.
It may simply be that She and Bill have simply become well-known celebrities that are immune to scandals,. Or that their fellow celebrities are satisfied with the Clinton’s political philosophies.
It easy to jump to the conclusion that the Clintons were running a “pay for play” operation channeling money from personal contacts in government into the Clinton Foundation. But there is no quid pro quid evidence of this.
So what’s wrong with currying and offering favors to cronies, intimate friends you’ve known over the years? And what is this thing called “croney capitalism?’ The term describes financial success based on intimate relationships between political and business relationships with government officials. These relationships may depend on personal relationshiops, access to officials, legal permits, government grants, special tax breaks, and other forms of state favoritism. These favors are often informal, devoid of quid pro quid exchanges, and understood without being stated overtly.
An example be Hillary’s speaking fees before Wall Street groups for $22 million. It is understand the Wall Street people would want to be brought up to speed on the state of the union and the government’s intent and plans for the economy.
We do not know how the fees were determined or indeed what Hillary said, and the transcripts appear to be off-limits for inquiring critics.
Now do we know why Hedge Fund managers contributed $151 million to the Democratic cause. Nor do we know what foreign governments expected in return of the millions they paid for Bill’s speeches or what he said, or billions of dollars into the Clinton Foundation.
Perhaps they did so out of the kindness of their heart and a sense of overwhelming compassion.
But we do know Hillary Clinton signed a document before becoming Secretary of State that she would not mix government affairs with the affairs of the Clinton Foundation. And we do know she and Bill are lawyers who were smart enough to avoid any direct evidence of impropriety. That evidence has surfaced indirectly in emails, which Hillary Clinton apparently did not factor into the ethical inquiry.