The New American Corporate State

The rise of the American corporate state is the theme of my most recent column at Forbes.

  • caseyboy

    Well said. I hadn't thought about current events from this perspective. What you said makes a lot of sense. The Gov doesn't need to own big business if they can control them and big labor gives Gov the political clout to gain control. So how do we break the cycle?

  • Stan

    Oh noes!! "Corporate State," you're using liberal code to describe something that doesn't fit into their worldview.

  • Dr. T

    You repeatedly describe Obama as a Corporatist. He is not. Obama has repaid favors by making special deals with certain businesses and unions, but his preferred economic model is fascism: private ownership of businesses that are firmly controlled by the state. Obama appears to want ~75% fascism, ~15% corporatism, and ~10% unionism. Here is my evidence:

    The commercial banking business: Still privately held but under more government control than ever in US history.

    Savings and Loans: Same as above.

    Investment Firms: Same as above.

    Student Loans: An exception to Obama-fascism, the formerly bank-held, federally supported student loans are now totally in government hands. (This is socialism, not corporatism.)

    Agribusiness (grains and sugar): Privately held but reliant upon federal price supports and import tariffs. Agribusinesses (all) are heavily regulated by the USDA, the EPA, and other agencies.

    Hospitals: Owned privately or by local governments but subjected to increasing federal oversight (that will skyrocket under ObamaCare).

    Health Insurance Companies: Under ObamaCare, they will remain privately held but will be subjected to massive federal oversight (on top of massive state regulations).

    Pharmaceutical Companies: They will remain privately held under ObamaCare, but regulations keep mounting, and the costs of and time required to develop, test, and market drugs keep increasing.

    Telecommunications Companies: Privately held, heavily regulated, and with regulations increasing (especially those that allow government eavesdropping).

    Internet Service Providers: The Obama administration has proposed strict federal government control of these privately held companies.

    Automobile Industry: GM is the socialist and corporatist exception. The other auto companies are subjected to more and more business-unfriendly regulations such as CAFE.

    Electric Utilities: Under Obama's proposed cap-and-trade law, they will still be owned privately or by consortiums, but they will be more heavily regulated and, if they use fossil fuels, heavily taxed.

    K-12 Education: Still mostly under local government control, but federal oversight (tied to federal monies) has increased markedly under Obama and will continue to increase.

    Universities and Colleges: Almost all of them have doomed themselves to increasing regulations by accepting federal funding. Federal takeover of low-interest, federally backed student loans means that every school that accepts students with those loans is under the federal government's massive regulatory thumb.

    The evidence shows that Obama isn't shooting for European Commonwealth corporatism, he wants Mussolini-style fascism. For politicians, fascism is better than socialism because economic problems still can be blamed on private businesses (that don't exist under socialism) while economic improvements are ascribed to the benevolent effects of government controls. Of course, fascism can be mixed with corporatism and unionism -- selling favors to businesses and unions are great ways for politicians to increase their wealth and power and ensure their reelection.

  • http://evilredscandi.blogspot.com EvilRedScandi

    Great article, but I kind of wish you would have dropped the "f-bomb" in it: "fascism." It's got a pile of baggage, but it is what it is...

    Oh, but that picture. Dude, seriously. That's going to haunt me.

  • John

    Great article, Warren. From some of the comments, you certainly rattled the cages of the Saint FDR crowd.

  • Uncle Bill

    Good article. I read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, and I am currently reading Liberal Fascism, by Jonah Goldberg. Obama clearly is embracing the fascist method. I note that some of the commenters laughed at the idea that Roosevelt respected Mussolini, but Goldberg gives pretty good evidence that he really did. It is very sad that so little of this is taught in school, so almost everyone has a very distorted idea of the New Deal.

  • Mesa Econoguy

    If you liked Shirer's "Rise and Fall of the 3d Reich," you will love Manchester's "The Arms of Krupp (1587 - 1968)."

    Both written well before the History (Hitler) Channel.

    "Liberal Fascism" is quite good for tracing the socialist origin of fascism.

  • Mesa Econoguy

    If you liked Shirer's "Rise and Fall of the 3d Reich," you will love Manchester's "The Arms of Krupp (1587 - 1968)."

    "Liberal Fascism" is quite good for tracing the socialist origin of fascism.

  • Mesa Econoguy

    Nothing to do with coyote, but apparently the filter doesn't like William Shirer's book (see Uncle Bill above), or William Manchester's book

    The Arms of Krupp

  • http://www.freemktproject.com Pat

    Well done, Warren.