How Big Money Bought Our Democracy, Corrupted Both Parties, and Set Us Up for Another Financial Crisis

"Crony capitalism is about the aggressive and proactive use of political resources, lobbying, campaign contributions, influence-peddling of one type or another to gain something from the governmental process that wouldn't otherwise be achievable in the market. And as the time has progressed over the last two or three decades, I think it's gotten much worse. Money dominates politics."


Those are the words of former budget director for President Reagan, talking to Bill Moyers in this week's episode of Moyers & Company. Continuing to focus on the intersection of money and politics, Moyers' new program talks to Stockman about the financialization of the economy, re-regulating the big banks, the Fed's enabling of Wall Street, and how the banks buy influence with politicians to ensure favorable treatment. 

“As a result,” Stockman says, “we have neither capitalism nor democracy. We have crony capitalism.”

He names names--Larry Summers and Tim Geithner, General Electric's Jeffrey Immelt, and more--who are deeply involved still in the Obama administration. 

"If you have a former community organizer who was trained in the Saul Alinsky school of direct democracy, appointing the worst abuser, the worst abuser of crony capitalism, GE, who came in and begged for this bailout, to head his Jobs Council, when obviously GE's international corporation, they've been shifting jobs offshore for decades, then it becomes so obvious that we have a new kind of system, and that we have a real crisis."

Moyers also talks with Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times business and finance reporter Gretchen Morgenson, who tells him, "You and I don't have a lobbyist and so we are not represented in this melee." 

She continues, "There is no balance here. There's a drastic imbalance between the people who created the problem and the people who had to pay the problem and it has not been addressed."

When Moyers asks if a crisis like the one in 2008, the meltdown that nearly collapsed the financial system, could happen again, Morgenson replies, "It will happen again."

Watch the full episode below. 

Moyers & Company Show 102: On Crony Capitalism from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

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