They have their own code of laws.

After pointing out that the root of the word “privilege” is the French for “private law,” Noah Smith bemoans the system of private law for the rich and white that he sees evolving in the United States. He supports his case with many examples. Here’s one (emphasis added):

In 2010, Martin Erzinger, a private-wealth manager for Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, was the driver in a hit-and-run of a bicyclist in Eagle, Colrado. The victim suffered spinal injuries and brain bleeding. But the prosecutor dropped felony charges against Erzinger, giving the following justification:

“Felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger’s profession, and that entered into it,” [prosecutor] Mark Hurlbert said. “When you’re talking about restitution, you don’t want to take away his ability to pay.

So a rich guy got a lighter sentence because a heavier sentence would prevent him from being rich. Obviously, this get-out-of-jail-free card isn’t available to someone from the middle class, even if he or she is white.

Smith’s mistake is thinking that there is anything new about the rich having private law, though the privilege of the privileged does seem to be increasing. As recently as the Savings and Loan scandal of thirty years ago, banksters went to jail for stiffing their customers; today they get bonuses.

Follow the link for the rest of Smith’s examples.

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18 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Masters of the Universe

Man surveying forest of foreclosure signs:


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15 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Masters of the Universe

Corporate America, where punishment is just another deductible expense

As Bank of America prepares for a possible multibillion-dollar settlement with the government, the deal is expected to share a feature common to similar settlements with other banks – a big portion that’s tax-deductible as a business expense.

(snip)

In similar deals recently struck by the Justice Department with large U.S. banks, portions of the overall settlement amounts were designated as penalties, which banks aren’t allowed to write off.

But by law, banks can write off portions of their settlements that aren’t considered fines or penalties, such as payments to states affected by their alleged misconduct.

That means billions of dollars in Bank of America’s expected settlement could be tax-deductible.

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11 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Masters of the Universe

President Obama’s recent action to prevent federal contractors from forbidding employees to discuss their compensation leads Michael Carroll down a memory hole:

It reminded me of one of my first jobs where the boss, Big Al — about 300-odd-pounds big — warned employees: “If you discuss your salary with others, you don’t respect your salary.”

He had a point. I did talk to my co-workers about my salary, and it was so low that I did not have all that much respect for it. Al was coming from a different place. He did not want discussion because dissension might flow from comparing paychecks. Employees might learn that there were often big differences in salaries of people doing the same job with the same skills and experience. Discussion might reveal disparities based less on performance and more on race, gender, who was sleeping with the boss and other things best left unspoken. This might generate more discussion and even less respect for our salaries.

More memories at the link.

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10 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Masters of the Universe

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07 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Masters of the Universe

So much for deregulating airlines to promote “competition.”

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06 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Masters of the Universe

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03 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Masters of the Universe

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01 August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Masters of the Universe

Excerpt:

There is one thing corporations have in common with the rest of us. They don’t like to pay taxes. Fortunately, they rarely have to.

Video below the fold in case it autoplays.

More »

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27 July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Masters of the Universe

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25 July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Masters of the Universe

Another bank blanked. Bank no more on

It is kaput, defunct, all gone.

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25 July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Masters of the Universe

Via the Bob and Chez After Party.

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25 July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Masters of the Universe

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22 July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Masters of the Universe

iF THE ECONOMY WAS AN AIRPLANE:  Cutaways of airplanes for 1970s, 1990s, 2010s showing rich persons in first class gradually squeezing coach passengers into sardines.  Plutocrat all stretched out on his reclining seat says,

Via Progressive Populist.

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21 July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Masters of the Universe, Political Theatre

In a longer post about Tim Draper’s plan to separate California into six states (George Smith delivers a scathing take-down of that exercise in narcissism at his place), Tom Hilton highlights the one of the (many) logical fallacies inherent in Libertarianism:

The whole thing is an object lesson in the poverty of libertarianism. Libertarians think governing is easy. They think it’s easy because they don’t really care about the details, and they don’t really care about the details because they think it’s easy. (And of course they think it’s easy because at heart they’re fundamentally anti-democratic, fetishizing the dictatorial rule of all-powerful CEOs as their model for governance.)

And because they think governing is easy, because they don’t care about the details, whenever by some hideous mischance one of them is given a position of responsibility, they invariably prove spectacularly inept at governing.

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18 July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Masters of the Universe

Another bank gets blanked. Bank no more on

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14 July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Masters of the Universe

At Delaware Liberal, one of the regulars compares persons and “corporate persons” and wonders which gets the “Get Out of Jail Free” card. A nugget:

Get out of Jail

Harming Neighbors-Real people harming neighbors, like throwing garbage in their gutter or flooding the neighborhood with the garden hose, can be sued, stopped by health authorities or given restraining orders. Corporate people go on for years polluting neighbors with toxins and it requires a monumental, expensive legal effort to stop or restrain them. Often they are excused because they “give people jobs”.

Follow the link. The whole post is worth your while.

“Corporate personhood” is a Frankenstein’s monster which, like its original, has the potential to destroy its creators while laying waste to the polity and its environs–and its environment.

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13 July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Masters of the Universe

Also, pigs, wings.

After a 16-year struggle, Nationwide gets adjudged to pay a $25,000 claim, plus $18,000,000 in punitive damages, described in the story as the largest punitive damages award against an insurance company for “bad faith” dealings in Pennsylvania history.

The judge in the case determined that Nationwide spent more than $3 million to defend a claim over a Jeep it could and should have replaced for $25,000.

He found that the Jeep remained unsafe even after repairs.

Rather than replace it, he said, Nationwide had engaged in an extensive cover-up, hiding crash photos and other relevant information from Berg and her husband.

He said Nationwide followed a written “litigation strategy” that called for it to fight smaller claims tenaciously – even though such a strategy had been denounced by Pennsylvania courts as “unethical and unprofessional.”

Follow the link for more, including delightful quotations from the judge’s ruling.

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11 July 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Masters of the Universe

Rich man idles which working persons work.  Rich man wonders,


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Via Kos.

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27 June 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Masters of the Universe

Chart showing that 1% of the US population has 35% of wealth, 90% has 25% of wealth.

Via Kavips.

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