Tag Archives: corruption

As Companies Seek Tax Deals, Governments Pay High Price – NYTimes.com

2 Dec

More government-sponsored corporate welfare. Transfer payments, from your pockets to big biz:

A Times investigation has examined and tallied thousands of local incentives granted nationwide and has found that states, counties and cities are giving up more than $80 billion each year to companies. The beneficiaries come from virtually every corner of the corporate world, encompassing oil and coal conglomerates, technology and entertainment companies, banks and big-box retail chains.

The cost of the awards is certainly far higher. A full accounting, The Times discovered, is not possible because the incentives are granted by thousands of government agencies and officials, and many do not know the value of all their awards. Nor do they know if the money was worth it because they rarely track how many jobs are created. Even where officials do track incentives, they acknowledge that it is impossible to know whether the jobs would have been created without the aid.

via As Companies Seek Tax Deals, Governments Pay High Price – NYTimes.com.


A Huge Victory for Global Justice | The Nation

6 Sep

On August 22, the SEC issued regulations that will force oil, gas and mining companies that are listed on US stock exchanges to publish what they pay to foreign governments. The new regulations will finally enforce an anti-corruption section of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, known as the Cardin-Lugar amendment, which requires some 1,100 resource companies to break down their payments and report them in revealing detail. In the more than two years since the law passed, Big Oil lobbyists tried ferociously—and failed—to water down the new transparency regulations.

The SEC decision is the biggest single victory in many years for poor people across the Third World. No longer will the big oil and mining companies be able to hide their under-the-table payments to crooked governments in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

via A Huge Victory for Global Justice | The Nation.

In the Financial World, a Less Scrupulous Class of Lawbreaker – NYTimes.com

7 Aug

The financial industry in 2012 New York City offers itself as almost a Medellín cartel of shady and unscrupulous dealings.

Northeast of HSBC’s headquarters sits that of Barclays, a venerable bank that of late admitted to fixing Libor, an obscure interest rate that underpins trillions of dollars in investments. A wee nudge here and there, and a clever bank insider could make tens of millions of dollars.

via In the Financial World, a Less Scrupulous Class of Lawbreaker – NYTimes.com.

In Barclays Inquiry, the Calculation in Making a Deal – Common Sense – NYTimes.com

14 Jul

Barclays: Too big to indict?

The question needs to be faced in the wake of the bank’s admitted efforts to manipulate the London interbank offered rate, known as Libor, the benchmark for countless interest rate determinations and approximately $450 trillion in derivative contracts.

If the Justice Department was looking for a textbook case of white-collar financial crime — including a conspiracy that was flourishing at the height of the financial crisis — this would seem tailor-made. As the facts released by the government make clear, there were two separate but overlapping schemes to manipulate Libor within Barclays. Yet the bank secured a nonprosecution agreement and agreed to pay a penalty of more than $450 million, a comparatively paltry sum for a bank that had more than £32 billion ($50 billion) in revenue in 2011. “The perception so far has been that the regulators have been toothless,” John C. Coffee Jr., professor of law and specialist in white-collar crime at Columbia Law School, told me this week.

via In Barclays Inquiry, the Calculation in Making a Deal – Common Sense – NYTimes.com.

The States Get a Poor Report Card – NYTimes.com

20 Mar

The principle of breaking up the Federal Government and turning programs over to the states is a good one. The problem, alas, is that state governments are corrupt, too. The Corpstate is everywhere.

And yet all the Republican presidential candidates think it would be a good idea to hand some of Washington’s most important programs to state governments, which so often combine corruptibility with incompetence. In a speech on Monday, Mitt Romney said he would dump onto the states most federal anti-poverty programs, including Medicaid, food stamps and housing assistance, because states know best what their local needs are.

States, however, generally have a poor record of taking care of their neediest citizens, and could not be relied on to maintain lifeline programs like food stamps if Washington just wrote them checks and stopped paying attention. In many states, newspapers and broadcasters have cut their statehouse coverage, reducing scrutiny of government’s effectiveness and integrity.

via The States Get a Poor Report Card – NYTimes.com.

Cleaning Up the Capitol [aka fighting corruption]

8 Oct

Lessig takes on the model of lobbying as “legislative subsidy” developed by political scientist Richard Hall and economist Alan Deardorff as an alternative to the naive lobbying-as-bribe model. Legislators come to Washington passionate about several issues. Quickly, though, they come to depend on the economy of influence for help in advancing an agenda. They need the policy expertise, connections, public-relations machine, and all the rest that lobbyists can offer. Since this legislative subsidy is not uniformly available, the people’s representatives find themselves devoting more of their time to those aspects of their agenda that moneyed interests also support. No one is bribed, but the political process is corrupted.

At the same time, Lessig argues, fund-raising is not only a way of obtaining campaign cash but a method for members of Congress to live beyond their means. Congressional political action committees engage in massive spending on dinners, parties, retreats at fancy resorts, and other fundraising events with donors. These events enable members to treat themselves to vacations and high-priced meals they couldn’t otherwise afford.

via Cleaning Up the Capitol.


H/t Tyler Cowan