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Posted by on Sep 25, 2011 in At TMV | 2 comments

The Misbegotten Right And Left Populist Approaches To “Crony Capitalism” On Wall Street

Whenever Sarah Palin or another Tea Party favorite rails against “crony capitalism” and its Wall Street incarnation, there’s always wild applause. The right wingers in attendance may not have any real idea of how this crony capitalism works on The Street, but they have a visceral understanding that it’s a major cause of our present economic malaise.

Since the Tea Party is largely funded and its economic views so much shaped these days by the cronies they purport to dislike so much, the solution they have been conned into favoring involves reducing government regulations that have tried — ineffectively and far too modestly — to at least control some of The Street’s crony capitalism defects.

Turning now to the left wingers response to Wall Street crony capitalism. Its legislative element, Dodd-Frank, is an asprin for a cancer. While its most vocal incarnation to date is the current comic circus protest on New York’s financial district, where a few hundred oddly attired folks with drums and puppets who look like they’ve been trucked in from Vermont organic farms, or maybe temporarily reanimated for this event after being cryogenically frozen at a Grateful Dead concert, perform and prattle.

The Tea Party, the right-wing populist opposition to crony capitalism on Wall Street, is thus absurd. While the left-wing populist opposition to crony capitalism on Wall Street is pathetic.

Is there a sensible populism in this realm? Of course. It is one that could dramatically reform The Street, get it refocused on allocating capital to worthwhile, jobs creating projects rather than self-serving churning, and also bringing in much needed revenue to help improve this country’s fiscal position. t consists of: a) instituting the transaction tax on flash traders that European governments are pushing to recapitalize their own banks and b) tax hedge fund piggies at an appropriately higher rate in order to bring much needed additional billions into government coffers.

These are two very good ways to address the blight of crony capitalism on Wall Street in a populist manner. Too bad they won’t fly because the prevailing railers against crony capitalism are clowns and useful idiots serving the interests of those they purport to oppose.

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