Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A billionaire's views on lost democracy

There is little wonder uber-wealthy invest in politicians because the yields can be high. Two decades ago, California developer Charles Keating gained infamy by looting Lincoln S&L of $1-billion, an amount that was shocking in its time, less so today.

Regulators tried to examine Keating's operations but he had invested heavily with United States Senators DeConcini, McCain, Riegle, Cranston and Glenn. After arm twisting from Congress, federal banking supervisors stopped efforts to investigate Keating's S&L. Unfortunately for both investors and taxpayers, it collapsed two years later.

Had Charles Keating expected his political contributions to provide useful influence? Well, at least he deserves points for honesty. Keating said this in April 1989:
"One question among the many raised in recent weeks had to do with whether my financial support in any way influenced several political figures who took up my cause. I want to say in the most forceful way that I can, I certainly hope so."
Contrast this with BC Liberal guru Patrick Kinsella, the longtime lobbyist. He told Sean Holman of Public Eye,
"I don't consider myself a lobbyist. I hold myself up as a communications consultant. I don't do any lobbying..."
More recently, Bill Gross, a billionaire who oversees mutual funds worth almost $1-trillion, wrote opinions on the present state of government in the USA:
"Our government doesn’t work anymore, or perhaps more accurately, when it does, it works for special interests and not the American people...

"What amazes me most of all is that politicians can be bought so cheaply...

"...there will be no change, until we the American people decide to publicly finance all national and local elections and ban the writing of even a $1 check for our favorite candidates. ...When special interests... write a check, it represents a perversion of democracy..."
Don't imagine that Canadian politics is different than politics in the USA. Our governments also work for special interests and not the Canadian people. This applies at municipal, provincial and federal levels.

The audio file presented below is the introduction to PIMCO Investment Outlook by Bill Gross of January 2010. It represents views of a man who has achieved an extraordinary level of financial success. The above quotes are taken from the audio file.

Bill Gross' monthly Investment Outlook on finance and public affairs are available free through I-Tunes.

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1 comment:

  1. "There is little wonder uber-wealthy invest in politicians because the yields can be high. "

    I think this is your single best line ever Norm.

    ReplyDelete

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