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Posts Tagged ‘Oliver Stone’

State and Municipal Crony Capitalism

Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 3, 2012

Often when this Blog writes about the ills of crony capitalism it refers to the actions of the federal government.  Examples are many with this year’s high-profile ones including the $500 million plus loss that the taxpayers took on the wasted Solyndra investment.  A bit further back there was the ill-advised bailouts of General Motors and the Wall Street banks.  In each of these situations, taxpayers were forced to pony up money to save others who made poor business, personal or job decisions.

Crony capitalism is not limited to the federal level.  States and municipalities are guilty of corrupting capitalism and using it for political power.  The New York Times has published an in-depth look on how state and local governments hand out the People’s money to the benefit of some over others in an article titled: As Companies Seek Tax Deals, Governments Pay High Price.

The Times made studied over 150,000 awards made by states and municipalities to various companies.  It concluded that mayors and governors use governmental subsidies and handouts to attract or retain businesses in their localities in an effort to retain the related jobs.  However, these efforts often do not succeed with costs far outweighing the benefits.  Not only do the companies often close or shrink the facilities after receiving the handouts, but in the negotiations themselves the government officials are outgunned by the professionals hired by the companies to extract benefits.

The Times determined that the state and regional governmental handouts that include tax credits, tax exemptions, subsidize services and tax abatements and up to more than $80 billion annually with 20% of this total being subsidized by the federal government.  It offered examples of these misguided efforts:

General Motors – Long before GM received its $50 billion plus 2009 bailout from the federal government, it was extracting handouts from states and local governments in exchange for opening or retaining plants in certain locales.  Approximately 50 properties involved with the 2009 shutdowns or shrinkage were located in towns and/or states that gave GM incentives and handouts in the billions. The subsidies continue today with GM receiving nearly $2 billion in local subsidies during the past five years.

Ford and Chrysler – Each company received approximately well over $1 billion in subsidies during the past five years

Hollywood – Filmmakers continue to be large recipients of governmental gifts.  It is no wonder that these Leftists are for big government.  An example offered by the Times is Oliver Stone’s 2010 “Wall Street” sequel.  While this film by necessity had to be made in New York City, the filmmaker received $10 million in tax credits from the City.  While Stone has been a vocal critic of subsidies to banking and agriculture, he has no problem justifying handouts to his industry and when questioned said: “It’s good.  Or like basically the way business is done. I don’t understand what the moral qualm is.”  How disingenuous.  Like so many others, Stone is only against handouts that go to others.

New York Times – Yes, even the publisher of the story critical of government givebacks to companies received $24 million since 2000 from the state of New York and New York City.

Shell Oil – Pennsylvania has given this multinational conglomerate tax credits worth up to $1.6 billion over the 25 year period.

Caterpillar – This large equipment manufacturer received nearly $200 million in local aid since 2007.

Twitter – After threatening to leave the city, San Francisco exempted Twitter up to $22 million of payroll taxes.  However, this accompany is flush with cash and has since received a $300 million investment from a Saudi Arabian Prince and $800 million from another source.

BMW – This producer of luxury automobiles perceived a $130 million package from the state of South Carolina in 1992 to locate a plant there.

Mercedes-Benz – Not to be outdone by BMW, another German firm, Mercedes, in 1993 received incentives worth over $300 million from the state of Alabama to locate its plant there.

38 Studios – This videogame startup owned by retired Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling received $75 million in loan guarantees from the state of Rhode Island.  The company never released a game and dismissed nearly all of its 400 workers earlier this year.  The taxpayers of Rhode Island are stuck with the bill.

*******

States and municipalities across the Country are guilty of wasting taxpayer funds on crony capitalism.  The Times reported that Texas offers the most incentives, almost $20 billion per year.  Alaska, West Virginia and Nebraska offer the most corporate handouts per state residents.  Oklahoma and West Virginia giveaways account for about one third of their states’ budgets.  This corruption is massive.

The crony capitalism exhibited in the governments’ corporate handouts is problematic on many levels.  First, it assumes that the states’ constitutions allow these governments to make the gifts.  In addition, there are no guarantees the companies will remain after receiving the handouts.  Finally, giving these awards to particular companies is nothing more than governments’ picking winners and losers.  For example the incentives to bring in new companies come from the tax base that includes long-term payers, the already existing employers in the states.  This perverse system results in money from the long-term tax payers being used to increase the competition for local labor and materials that ultimately increases their costs and lowers their profits.  Not only is this a unfair disadvantage to the already existing corporations, but it ultimately leads to lower tax revenues from these entities as they become less profitable.

A company’s decision to locate its facilities in a state or city should be made only on the basis of sound economics that includes the quality of its labor force, the relative cost of that labor, as well as other factors such as permanent taxes and infrastructure availability.  When the government subverts this most basic of business and economic logic, it guarantees negative consequences in the long term.  It is also a corruptive force on the political class.

 

Posted in Government Handouts, Taxes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bill Maher: Another Progressive Bigot Comes Out of the Closet

Posted by Steve Markowitz on April 9, 2011

What does Progressive Leftist Bill Maher do when he is unhappy with President Obama?  He resorts spouting anti-Semitism.  This past Friday Maher said (video below):

“I heard him a couple of times saying, “You know what? We met the Republicans what they asked, and then we gave them more.”  That’s like your lawyer saying to you,  “You know, I went into the chambers with the judge and the prosecutor, and my first offer was 40 years to life for you. And I think I can get your tailgating charge moved up to manslaughter.  And that’s my first offer.”  What is wrong with these people?  He is a terrible negotiator.  Does he not even know a Jew?”

Adding an exclamation point to his bigotry, Maher then showed a poster for replacing Glenn Beck on Fox News that depicted Joe Lieberman doing a program called, “Morning Jew.”

For years bigotry has been gaining traction in Leftist circles.  In earlier years it manifested itself mainly on the Left’s fringes with the likes of Louis Farrakhan and Pastor Wright.  It is becoming more mainstream in the Left.  Maher joins other Leftist bigots, as previously post on this Blog:

NPR’s Vivian Schiller attacking Zionist and Christians.

Code Pink calling for Clarence Thomas to be lynched.

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell saying the Michael Steele answers to “his masters”.

Helen Thomas telling Jews to go back to Germany.

Oliver Stone indicating that Jews have overblown the Holocaust.

Congressman Paul Kanjorski demeaning minorities.

MSNBC’s Chris Mathews forgets that Obama is black for a few minutes.

Cynthia Tucker taking off on Michael because he is black.

When examples of racism and bigotry from the Left are outed, inevitably Progressive elitists offer excuses such as “they know what is in the person’s heart and therefore that person could not be a racists”.  The Left has wrapped racism in the covers of political correctness for their own continence.  This is a dangerous slippery slope that can lead to fascism.  It is the same slide that allowed half the country to vote for president a man who admittedly attended a bigoted church for twenty years.

Posted in Anti-Semitism, Bill Maher, Racism, Radical Left | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Oliver Stone, Another Progressive Bigot Goes Public

Posted by Steve Markowitz on July 28, 2010

In early June, Leftist Helen Thomas came out of the closet.  As posted on June 5, 2010, long-time White Housereporter and self-proclaimed “proud to be a liberal” Thomas (“Liberal Thomas …”) told Jews in Israel that “They should go home…. To Poland, Germany.”  The fact that Jews were nearly gassed into extinction just a half a century earlier in these same two countries was not lost to Thomas.

While Thomas resigned after her words were caught on tape, the press and Liberals gave her pass on the anti-Semitic rant.  These Liberals burry any story that exposes the Progressive movement’s deep-seated racist beliefs that go hand-in-hand with their superiority complex.

This week another well-known Left-winger, producer Oliver Stone, has gone public with his bigotry.  In an interview with the Sunday Times, Stone made the following statements:

About Jews:

  • America’s focus on the Jewish massacre was a product of the “Jewish domination of the media.  ……  Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people, 25 or 30 [million killed].”  Mr. Stone, your knowledge of history is lacking and your logic flawed.  You did not mention the Stalin signed a “Non-Aggression Pact” with Hitler and brutally attacked Poland in 1939 with his then Nazi partners.
  • There’s a major lobby in the United States.  They are hard workers.  They stay on top of every comment, the most powerful lobby in Washington.  Israel has f***** up United States foreign policy for years.”

Translation: Stone is an apologist for the Holocaust and Israel and the Jews are responsible for the problems of the world.

Mr. Stone, you are just another bigot, but with money and a well-healed propaganda apparatus.  Fortunately, General Dwight Eisenhower understood revisionists like you would come along when he famously said: “Get it all on record now – get the films – get the witnesses -because somewhere down the road of history some bastard will get up and say that this never happened.”  Ironically one of those “bastards” turned be a famous film producer who would make Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minster, proud.

About Hitler, Stalin, Chavez and Iran’s Mullahs:

  • Stone said that his upcoming Showtime documentary, “Secret History of America,” seeks to put Hitler and Communist dictator Joseph Stalin “in context.”  ……  ”  Hitler was a Frankenstein but there was also a Dr Frankenstein.  German industrialists, the Americans and the British.  He had a lot of support.”  Mr. Stone, by “context” you mean revisionist propaganda.  Stalin brutally murdered millions of his own people and Hitler was responsible for killing tens of millions.  See them in a positive context requires a special type of perversion.
  • Stone called Venezuelan’ socialist president Hugo Chavez, “a brave, blunt, earthy“.  And dismissed criticism of Chavez’s human rights record stating: “The internet’s fully free [in Venezuela].
  • Stone slammed the U.S. policy toward Iran as “horrible.”  “Iran isn’t necessarily the good guy, but we don’t know the full story.

Translation: In Stone’s perverted world, despots are acceptable if they agree with his Progressive beliefs.  Stone pushes blame for Hitler and Stalin on Capitalist, keeping with these Progressive views.  Finally, he justifies modern dictators because they offset the power of American, who he views with disdain, again in keeping with Progressive views

The number of Progressives on the Left who have expressed racist, anti-Semitic and/or anti-American views is growing.  Stone and Thomas are part of a group that includes the likes of Jesse Jackson, Reverend Wright and Luis Farrakhan and many others.  It seems more than coincidence that these deep-seated views boil to the top only after America elects its most Progressive President.

Middle-of-the-road Leftist have for too long accepted racists within their larger group in the hope that they would mellow as the Left obtained political power.  The opposite has occurred.  As Plato so aptly said: “The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”

The silence from the Left overwhelming.  The silence from our President is a tragedy.

Posted in Oliver Stone, Progressives, Racism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »