Progressive Corporatism at Work

Conn Carroll /

The most important thing to remember as Capitol Hill debates the auto bailout this week, is that the incestuous relationship between big business, big labor, and big government is not confined to the auto sector. Instead it infects everything Washington touches. CATO’s Dan Mitchell writes:

Naive and/or deceptive politicians often claim that sleaze is the enemy of good government, but the real truth is that government is the biggest friend of corruption. Simply stated, when politicians redistribute more than $3 trillion (and more indirectly via regulation), lobbyists and interest groups will line up to stick their snouts in the trough. The Wall Street bailout is an excellent example of this distasteful practice. The headline of a recent New York Times story summarizes the problem, noting “Lobbyists Swarm the Treasury for a Helping of the Bailout Pie.” The excerpt below reveals some of the corruption that is so pervasive in Washington. The most absurd part of the story is the quote from a Treasury Department official who says the government shouldn’t pick winners and losers – a rather strange statement since the bailout exists so that government can pick winners and losers.

And after your done reading the Times story, check out Tim Carney’s latest on President-elect Barack Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel:

Studying Emanuel’s brief stint—between his “public service” jobs in the Clinton White House and the U.S. House of Representatives—as a corporate dealmaker provides insight into the functioning of the “revolving door” Obama seems to deplore.

Emanuel left the Clinton White House in late 1998 with a job offer in hand from investment banker Wasserstein Perella & Co. Emanuel, with no experience outside of politics and no MBA, took a high perch as a managing director at Wasserstein Perella, and proceeded to get very rich.

Surely Emanuel’s work ethic, focus, and effectiveness were critical to his job success, but looking at the deals he worked on, it’s unarguable that government connections were what made him the best man for the job. (more…)