By Tyler Durden
Source: Zero Hedge
The supposed “choice” between “capitalism” and “socialism” is a useful fabrication masking the worst of all possible worlds we inhabit: Capitalism for the powerless and Crony-Socialism for the powerful. Capitalism’s primary dynamics are reserved solely for the powerless: market price of money, capital’s exploitive potential, free-for-all competition and creative destruction.
The powerful, on the other hand, bask in the warm glow of socialism: The Federal Reserve protects them from the market cost of money–financiers and the super-wealthy get their money for virtually nothing from the Fed, in virtually unlimited quantities–and the Treasury, Congress and the Executive branch protect them from any losses: their gains are private, but their losses are transferred to the public. The Supreme Court ensures the super-rich maintain this cozy crony-socialism by ensuring they can buy political power via lobbying and campaign contributions–under the laughable excuse of free speech.
Cronies get the best political system money can buy and you–well, you get to carry a sign on the street corner, just before you’re hauled off to jail for disturbing the peace (and you’re banned by social media/search Big Tech, i.e. privatized totalitarianism, for good measure).
The Federal Reserve is America’s financial Politburo: cronies get a free pass, the powerless get nothing. While the three billionaires who own more wealth than the bottom 165 million Americans can borrow unlimited sums for next to nothing thanks to the Fed (i.e. Crony-Socialist Politburo), the 165 million Americans pay exorbitant interest on payday loans, used car loans, student loans, credit cards and so on.
Capitalism (market sets price of money) for the powerless, Crony-Socialism (nearly free money) for the powerful–thanks to America’s Crony-Socialist Politburo, the Fed. Consider the “free market” plight of America’s working poor: earning low wages that are rapidly losing their purchasing power makes them a credit risk, i.e. prone to defaulting, so lenders (i.e. capital’s exploitive potential) charge high interest rates on loans to the working poor.
Since they pay such high rates of interest and earn so little, they default on their debt at higher rates–just what the lenders expected, and what the lenders created by charging sky-high rates of interest: gee, you’re having trouble paying 24% interest? Too bad you’re poor. You see the point: low wages, poverty and exorbitant rates of interest are mutually reinforcing: a primary driver of defaults and poverty is paying sky-high rates of interest and all the late fees, bounced check fees, etc. that go with 24% interest rates.
The Crony-Socialists have a much different deal with the Fed and its crony-bankers: the super-wealthy arrange for the corporations they own shares in to borrow billions of dollars to fund stock buybacks (which in a less exploitive era were illegal market manipulation). The super-wealthy Crony-Socialist’s personal wealth rises by $100 million thanks to the stock buybacks, and then the super-wealthy Crony-Socialist borrows $10 million for next to nothing against this newly conjured “wealth” (thanks, Fed!) to fund living large.
Crony-Socialist corporations pay no income tax thanks to loopholes and the Crony-Socialists who own the shares report $1 in salary and zero income because they borrowed their living expenses against their Fed-conjured wealth. Do you discern the difference between capitalism for the powerless and crony-socialism for the super-wealthy?
If you can’t yet discern the difference, then ask yourself: can you borrow $1 billion from the Fed’s cronies to buy back shares of your own company, and then borrow $10 million for near-zero rates of interest against the newly conjured “wealth”? You can’t? Well, why not?
If you answer “I don’t have enough collateral,” you missed the key point here: thanks to America’s Crony-Socialist Politburo (the Fed), the super-wealthy have no exposure to the market price of money. The Fed manipulates the cost of money to near-zero, and then funnels unlimited sums of this nearly-free money to corporations, financiers and the super-wealthy.
Collateral is unnecessary in Crony-Socialism; that’s just a excuse given to the powerless. Crony-Socialists borrow $1 billion for next to nothing, buy Treasuries with the free money, put the Treasuries up as collateral (but wait, didn’t they borrow the money? Never mind, it doesn’t matter), originate some financial instruments (CDOs, etc.), post those as collateral, and then leverage up another bet on that fictitious collateral.
If the bets all go bad, the Crony-Socialist claims the whole fraud is now a systemic risk and so the losses are transferred to the public / taxpayers to “save the financial system from collapse.” Isn’t Crony-Socialism fantastic?
Just as the rich kid caught with smack gets a suspended sentence and probation while the powerless kid gets a tenner in the War on Drugs Gulag, the super-wealthy Crony-Socialists avoid all the consequences of their gambles and frauds. America’s Crony-Socialist Politburo (the Fed) takes care of its cronies and the powerless bear the brunt of predatory exploitation that’s passed off as “capitalism.”
The only dynamic that’s even faintly “capitalist” about America’s Crony-Socialism is the price of political corruption is still a “market”: what’s the current price of protecting your monopoly or cartel from competition? It’s moving up fast, so better get those bribes (oops, I mean campaign contributions for the 2022 election) in now before the price of corrupting “democracy” goes even higher.
The real antithesis to socialism is not capitalism but individualism. And corporations are not individuals in the natural sense. Only in the legal sense. Which is the problem. A person in the natural sense has a soul. That, of course, is a generalization.