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"Socialized Risk" or Corporatism?

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You hear this expression-"socialized risk"-again and again these days as the pigs line up at Uncle's trough for feed. I think you can make an excuse for Fannie and Freddie in some way because they are both creatures of the federal government, but you cannot excuse the federal government for allowing them to accept non-conforming loans into their own portfolios. The people just coming to realize what's going on see greed as the fundamental problem, and see in Fannie and Freddie and AIG and soon in Washington Mutual, Wachovia, GM, Chrysler, and Ford and many others the notion that the feds have an obligation to save those that are "too large to fail."

But the fundamental truth is that privatized profits with socialized risk is not galloping socialism ... the Republicans are nothing like socialists. What you are seeing is the ugly down-side mechanism of Corporatism, (or for those of you who do not read European history closely, what Benito Mussolini thought "Fascism" really is, namely, the merging of corporate and government interests without respect to (or for!) the electorate or the law. What you are seeing is the outcome of Corporatist belief that some corporations are "too large to regulate."

On the "up" side, government Corporatism provides contracts, enabling laws, deregulation of boardrooms and line managers to corporations. In exchange corporations provide government officials with baksheesh, their constituents with jobs to support themselves in a consumer society.

On the downside, Corporatism provides bailouts and extralegal assurances to the rest of the market community that the resources of the taxpayers will be brought into play to assist these "engines of progress," the real players in the economy, to succeed, all without regulation of astronomical salaries and viciously predatory business practices.

Corporatism is inevitable when corporations can buy legislation and buy contracts (from the military) with loose change. Literally millions of dollars are spent by corporations to get their way in the law and to get contracts amounting up into the trillions of dollars. It is pennies pushing dollars, and the only loser is the schmuck who wonders why his Representative and Senators no long even give lip-service to his financial and family interests.

Corporatism is here, folks! Call it Fascism or call it Corporatism, the truth is that the federal government no longer works for you, it just uses your money to maintain corporations in the manner to which they have become accustomed.

You will not see McCain addressing this question, this pass our country has gone aground on again. You will not see Obama addressing the questions either, but you can be assured he knows what the problem is and what he must do to begin to solve it. It is going to be a long and laborious task, fighting not only entrenched corporate interests, but entrenched voter mythologies. It is going to take at least a generation to get our government back into our own hands ... and it will not be for once and for all.

Eternal vigilance is the only way. The government needs repair that only serious and dedicated men and women can bring to it over a long period of time. There is only one party that gives any suggestion of knowing that something fundamental is amiss. The Democrats are imperfect, but they are the only real hope of recovering our Republic now that, as Ben Franklin worried, we have lost it.



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James R. Brett, Ph.D. taught Russian History before (and during) a long stint as an academic administrator in faculty research administration. His academic interests are the modern period of Russian History since Peter the Great, Chinese (more...)

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