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Senator Warren: America’s Newest Corporate Raider?

Last week, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) introduced the Accountable Capitalism Act, a fully drafted plan that would introduce federal supervision of the country’s large corporations and require forty percent of their boards of directors to be elected by their workers. Lots of smart critiques have already been published. Walter Olson offers a brief round-up, and the Niskanen Center’s Sam Hammond convincingly explains at National Review why Germany’s worker councils, which seem to be an inspiration to Warren, are no kind of example worth emulating. Warren’s plan is almost certainly a bad idea, and deserves to be criticized as such.

Still, I can’t help but feel that Article I conservatives ought to stick up for Warren, at least a little, and defend her from attacks like Kevin Williamson’s, which calls her bill a “batty plan to nationalize . . . everything.” He also says that because Warren knows this is a “go-nowhere proposition” in the current political environment, we should understand it as a cheap and cynical play to win the hearts of the far left. Neither part of that is right, and it is worth explaining why not.

First, consider the political positioning of the bill. Of course, Williamson is obviously right that the bill isn’t going anywhere in this Congress, and Senator Warren understands that as well as anyone else. In no way does that imply, however, that she is wrong to offer such a bold and sweeping plan. The general pattern in American legislative history is for an idea to be “incubated” for some time before it is actually enacted into law, and that process includes having legislators champion bills before their time has come. If a legislator such as Warren wants to have an ambitious program ready to launch in, say, 2021, subjecting it to public criticism and scrutiny in the summer of 2018 just seems admirably well-prepared. On this account, it’s also worth noting that Warren offered a full bill, not just some flowery language to pander to progressives.

More broadly, we all know that Senator Warren is running for the Democratic nomination for president right now, and it is impossible to understand her recent legislative proposal apart from that fact. She is among the nation’s leading political celebrities with a strong anti-corporate brand, and she is building on that reputation with this proposal. That’s just sensible presidential politicking by a national legislator. We should want our legislators to establish themselves as champions of big, substantive ideas that address what they (and their constituents) take to be the pressing problems of the day. That is their job, even if many of our representatives today seem to think that their responsibilities are limited to showing up to cast votes at their party leaders’ behest, fundraising, and aiming a steady stream of invective at the other party.

So, does Warren’s bill address an important contemporary problem? Yes and no.

Under the bill, every company operating in the United States with gross receipts exceeding $1 billion in a year would need to seek a charter from a new Office of United States Corporations. That charter would commit each company to the “purpose of creating a general public benefit,” defined as “a material positive impact on society resulting from the business and operations of a United States corporation, when taken as a whole,” to be more specifically identified in the company’s charter. Every company would be committed to looking out for the interests not only of its shareholders, but also: the employees of the corporation itself, its subsidiaries, and its suppliers (!); its customers; “community and societal factors, including those of each community” it or its suppliers are located in; “the local and global environment”; and the short-term and long-term interests of the corporation. Although the priority of these many criteria would remain undefined, shareholders and state attorneys general would be empowered to sue for a failure to strike a suitable balance.

Warren has picked a smart target in Milton Friedman’s idea that corporations exist solely for the purpose of maximizing shareholder value. Friedman wrote that well-meaning businessmen discussing the social responsibilities of business were most likely “preaching pure and unadulterated socialism.” Rightly understood, the corporation’s sole purpose “will be to make as much money as possible while conforming to the basic rules of the society, both those embodied in law and those embodied in ethical custom.” As Friedman saw it, those basic rules were fairly easily satisfied, such that profit-maximizing could and should be the near-exclusive focus. But, as Hammond says, Friedman “was simply wrong, descriptively and prescriptively.” In fact, social expectations about how responsible corporations ought to behave have always been complex, and most citizens have generally regarded a monomaniacal focus on profits to the exclusion of all other goods as pathological.

And it isn’t as if disillusionment with Friedman’s idea is confined to progressives, either. President Trump’s frequent demands that American corporations should prioritize American job creation are quite clearly a rebuke to multinationals thinking of nothing but their profits. Many more articulate voices can be found advancing similar ideas in the pages of American Affairs, one of the more intriguing new publications in recent years. Nor is this anything new. Americans have always had a tense relationship with their corporate creatures, frequently suspecting them of illicitly taking advantage of the many in favor of the few. When voices across the political spectrum rail at corruption today, they are very often talking of the corruption perpetrated by large corporations.

Warren is also mostly swimming with the tide of history here. As Joseph Schumpeter put it in his Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (1942), as capitalism proceeds, it seems to routinize innovation in large corporate structures such that “economic progress tends to become depersonalized and automatic. Bureau and committee work tends to replace individual action” (133). That leaves society at large with a diminished sense of the importance of “the figure of the proprietor and with it the specifically proprietary interest” (141). He continues:

The capitalist process, by substituting a mere parcel of shares for the walls of and the machines in a factory, takes the life out of the idea of property. It loosens the grip that once was so strong—the grip in the sense of the legal right and the actual ability to do as one pleases with one’s own; the grip also in the sense that the holder of the title loses the will to fight, economically, physically, politically, for ‘his’ factory and his control over it, to die if necessary on its steps. … Dematerialized, defunctionalized and absentee ownership does not impress and call forth moral allegiance as the vital form of property did. Eventually there will be nobody left who really cares to stand for it—nobody within and nobody without the precincts of the big concerns. (142)

The truth is that most of us highly diversified or passive investors who own a tiny fraction of every one of America’s largest public corporations don’t feel much in the way of real proprietorship just by being shareholders. Senator Warren is probably right to realize that many people feel that large businesses ought to be run as quasi-public concerns, even if direct government control of the traditional socialist variety is distinctly unappealing. Some politician in our era is likely to find a winning political issue in demanding more from corporations in some form or another.

Having said that, it isn’t clear that Warren’s favored solutions would be at all helpful. Incumbent workers at many large firms will look out for their own interests rather than those of American workers, generally. Empowering them might well yield stagnation without any compensating long-term gains. The bill would also give enormous power to the director of the new Office of United States Corporations, who (it seems) would have great discretion to simply dismember a corporation it disliked. Creating such an unchecked discretionary power over America’s largest companies would seem to open the door to rank political cronyism of the sort Warren often decries. The open-ended litigation this law would invite would be interminable and would further politicize our judiciary. In short, it is easy to see why Warren’s solutions would be worse than the disease.

Still, you can’t blame her for trying. Or, at least, you shouldn’t.

Reader Discussion

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on August 23, 2018 at 08:03:43 am

Ah, the "John McCain White Flag of Surrender" is raised yet again in Washington. The Bushes are gone, and the Maverick himself is dying, but their "It's never too late to surrender spirit," their concupiscence for sleeping with the enemy; their persistent, politically-suicidal naivete; their blind insistence that conservative good dwells at the heart of Leftist evil live on.

Except through wish-fulfillment, this compulsive will to die politically, this omnipresent death wish, as Freud would say, is simply indestructible. It would seem that Washington-careerist Republican politicians and denizens of "moderate" Washington think-tanks can find emotional relief from their death wish only by committing acts of political suicide, acts which invariably consist of aiding and abetting a nemesis.

HW Bush had his Ted Kennedy, W Bush had his "brother by another mother" Bill Clinton, John McCain and Mitt Romney simply slept around, and Mr. Wallach has his Pocahontas.

Vive la stupidite!

My sweet Lord, where to start with this morally-dispiriting mess? and is it even worth expending mental energy and verbal skill to denounce a well-intentioned, politically- feckless RINO for virtue-signaling yet more feckless good intentions? and do I even have the energy?

I think not. It's just not worth the effort to argue with the Democrats and their crypto-Leftist allies, and to do so raises the risk of dignifying them even if only by damning the aggression of the Democrats and exposing the faux "conservativism" of the Republicans who would appease them. Chamberlain the appeaser meant well. He was just wrong, as was the aggressor Hitler. But only history, not debate, would convince them of that.

History will teach Mr. Wallach; I don't have the time.

But a word of advice: Sleeping with Elizabeth Warren may give one more than fleas.

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Pukka Luftmensch
on August 23, 2018 at 09:49:55 am

First:
"We should want our legislators to establish themselves as champions of big, substantive ideas that address what they (and their constituents) take to be the pressing problems of the day. That is their job,..."

Balderdash and Poppycock!
That is not their jobs, even if the deluded, envious and frustrated members of the citizenry may seem to, at times, demand that our political leaders continue to arrogate to themselves those powers NOT GRANTED or delegated to them by the Constitution of the United States.

Second:

While Wallach rightly points out the diminished sense of "ownership" consequent upon the *corporate8 form of governance (BTW: American Affairs is exceptional and has treated on this topic extensively), his response is exceedingly curious:

He. along with the Indian Shaman, would have us further diminish the ownership of "corporate" forms by surrendering the last faint vestiges of corporate control to some (as yet to be determined) commission of bureaucrats, union officials and various other "do (NO) gooders."

YEP, that will really engneder responsible corporate behavior, wise and sustainable investment and innovation.
The ONLY innovation resulting from this bastard form of ownership will be found in how readily corporate revenues will be siphoned off to the various dependent appendages of our society.

THEN AGAIN:

Consider this new innovation:

We on the right are always arguing to get the government out of our affairs, etc. Well, the Indian Shaman must have been listening. after all, under the aegis of corporate accountability, corporations will no longer have to contend with the IRS. Nope, the corporate monies will flow DIRECTLY out of corporate coffers into the preferred pockets of the innumerable SJW organizations.

Now that, my friends, is streamlining. No more green eye-shaded tax accountants or IRS functionaries.
Acme Mfg. makes money; Acme gives it to the LBGTQ******** society.
How efficient.

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gabe
on August 23, 2018 at 14:16:32 pm

Pukka and gabe are spot-on. Personally, while I would entertain the suggestion that there might be room for more enforcement of anti-trust laws, this thinly-veiled quasi-nationalization proposal of Warren's should be terminated, with extreme prejudice.

And consider: the replacement of defined benefit pension plans with 401(k) plans has basically turned the NASDAQ and the Fortune 500 into one gigantic national pension plan. Market values would crash under Warren's plan, thereby precipitating a financial crisis not seen since 1930. All of that retirement money would disappear almost overnight, the government would then feel itself obliged and entitled to fully nationalize corporations and direct their operations "for the public good." A faster path to Venezuela I cannot think of.

Redistributionists like Warren always forget that there must be something to redistribute.

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QET
on August 23, 2018 at 15:19:34 pm

No problemo, senor QET!
Meet any legislatively-induced money crisis, weather any storm of finance caused by Socialist schemes.
Just make money the old-fashioned way, print it.

And when inflation hits 6 digits, as in the current socialist paraiso, just drop 5 or more zeroes from the face value of the currency. That'll fix it.

Recently, Venezuelan TV dropped the program, "Do You Want to be a Millionaire" because "it lacked credibility." The most recent "big winner" took home $32 American; other recent winners received 50-70 cents, all of which is taxable at a 1/3 rate.

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Pukka Luftmensch
on August 23, 2018 at 15:19:39 pm

With apologies to another of our blogging friends, R. Richard Schweitzer, who posted this at WSJ in response to Bernie's idiocies:

""Continuously missing from the observations on "Democratic" socialist proposals, the PPACA as a particular example, is the shift from redistribution of incomes which has some limitations in the availability of, or access to, the productive efforts of individuals (Thatcher's "other people's money"); shifting to reallocation of costs via government fiscal policy, WHERE THE LIMITING PRINCIPLE IS FOUND IN CREDIT AVAILABLE [or not] FOR FEDERAL DEBT." (caps and brackets mine).

As always, R. Richard is "spot-on."

In a nutshell, that IS it, isn't it. The only thing stopping these economic illiterates is the possible exhaustion of Federal Debt.

What a comforting thought for my grandkids!

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gabe
on August 23, 2018 at 15:49:14 pm

PA Leez! Pocahontas is not an "Indian Shaman." She's a Native American Shame-on.

And the Pequots as reparations will deservedly get a chunk of that cash as it flows out of the corporate accountability coffers, although the 8th generation descendants of slaves surely deserve (morally-speaking) the lion's share of that inheritance.

Do you wonder what Harvard's Wonder Woman thinks of what's going on in South Africa as we speak? Bet I know!

I say remove all the Confederate statues and build in place of each a memorial to either Marx or Lenin, the former apparently now the most revered man in America; the latter the Founder of modern Democrat political strategy.

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Pukka Luftmensch
on August 23, 2018 at 15:59:04 pm

Ay Dios mio.

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QET
on August 23, 2018 at 16:10:43 pm

While the contents of this site have been extended to other social, economic and political subject matter, in commenting, I (a pronoun desperately avoided) tend to reserve interest only where there is a nexus to that concern of the founder of Liberty Fund, Pierre Goodrich - individual liberty; in particular where it is impacted by or has its own nexus with LAW.

There are such nexi in this subject raised by Mr. Wallach. So, let me begin by congratulating the editors in providing Mr. Wallach’s seemingly contra-liberty views. To attempt clear (we do not use “fair”) analysis of those views, as presented above, we will strip away considerations of political personalities and arcane economic arguments (“theories of surplus value” e.g.) and go at this as if it were a serious proposal from some particular kind of “think tank.”

What is the fundamental nature of this kind of proposed legislation (Rule of Policy)? What does it “do?” What would it represent as a “function” of federal legislation; the “purposes” of government?

The fundamental principle of this type of legislation is prescription of, and therefore constraint on, Association, in its formation, composition and on relationships within its components. It attempts (things never go as planned) to allocate particular (control and authority ) forces that may determine objectives of activities and the allocation of resources. Through governmental coercion it creates a form of “collective” in which the internal relationships are constructed for intended “planned” results, displacing the freedom of relationships that evolve in the sharing of individual objectives in ranges of individual aptitudes and capacities.

Such proposals for these uses of legislation are a constraint on (and reversion from) “Open Access” [see, North Wallis & Weingast – NBER Working Paper 12795 and “Violence and Social Orders”] in the formation and maintenance of commercial associations which became an essential extension of the exercises of individual liberty in this country in the late 1820s, with the ultimate replacement of legislative control of the issuance of business charters and the establishment of rules for public access to formation of business organizations. Shall we regress back to legislative control of the modes of association as business entities evolve? If so, why; and what should be the authority or role of the legislature in that control?

Which takes us next to legislative dispositions of beneficial interests; assuming, of course, that we have not gone past the point of accepting that individual liberty encompasses rights of ownership. In large “publicly owned” corporations we are dealing with beneficial interests and the separation of ownership from control [see, Berle & Means 1932] as well as by other intermediary factors of control and agency (mutual funds, ETFs, investment trusts, REITS, etc., etc.); which interests have been selected and determined, voluntarily, as exercises of individual liberty by individuals separately or collectively – and not determined by legislative or “State” directive.

The types of proposals made here, at minimum, alter, and in most cases diminish, those beneficial interests currently extant in large publicly owned corporations. As they are forms of property rights in our form of Republic, the legislative function is to **protect,** not reallocate or diminish, beneficial interests.

Opinion: it is not the function of that wisest and best 535, though backed by 1000 or so staffs of highest intellectual acuity to determine how members of our society should associate themselves for any level of social, economic or political activity whatsoever; nor to prescribe the relationships that shall exist in any of those associations.

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R Richard Schweitzer
on August 23, 2018 at 17:54:10 pm

Well, yes if, generational reallocation of costs is the political objective then the only limiting funding principle of fiscal policy is the availability of credit (thank you the Fed and the PRC) which is where we are today. But the reallocation must end when credit is stopped (the Red Chinese stop buying our debt) and the loans come due, since the United States can neither default on its foreign creditors nor restructure its debt through the Bankruptcy Code. That's when Gabe's grandkids are going to get hit hard and work even harder to pay for Pocahontas' dream than Gabe did to pay for the dreams of LBJ and W Bush.

But the redistribution of incomes, while theoretically limited by limitations on access to and the monetary value of the production of private individuals, is in actuality unlimited if the constitution and laws are dirigiste and allow near-total confiscation of private property and commandeering of most of the fruits private production for purposes of income redistribution. In effect, Thatcher was wrong, a dirigisme prepared to jettison the legal protection of private property never runs out of other peoples' money. That's what Soviet Russia and Maoist China set about doing and what lurks behind so much of the "Democrat" socialist thinking as to how to fund Bernie's and Pocahontas' utopia. That's the redistributionism that's REALLY lurking behind her Accountable Capitalism Act and what's behind the economically- ignorant but politically-appealing proposals of that not-so-wise Latina, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and it's behind what's happening in South Africa today and what happened in Zimbabwe starting in 1980.

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Pukka Luftmensch
on August 23, 2018 at 18:24:31 pm

I would only add to R. Richard's comments the following:

1) Perhaps, we shopuld have Wallach undergo several tutoring sessions with R. Richard on the *proper* functions of government and on the deleterious effects on "liberty" of government mandated diminishment of associational (DAMN SPELL CHECKER - it is worthless) freedoms.

2) Mr Wallach may have conducted a cursory review of the Articles (slyly) cited in American Affairs Jouranl; however, he either did not understand or misrepresented the thrust of the discussion in that periodical. The AA authors were quite critical of the *separation* of ownership from control and raised serious questions (properly, to my mind) about the "Managerial Revolution", not the least of which is a distinct loss of focus on innovation, sustainability (no, not the enviro Nazi stuff), and NEW product development before the New GODS of Wall Street posing as "twenty-something" equity experts.

Contrast that with the "dummy" Trumpster's call to eliminate quarterly earnings. There in a microcosm is the problem associated with the separation of ownership from control - and anyone who has ever been around during quarterly reporting times knows exactly what i mean.

And no, I am not disputing R. Richard's comments on "shareholders" as beneficiaries. The managerial resolution was the outcome of specific AND voluntary decisions NOT government DICTA. Thus, we live with our choices whether optimal or not.

Talk to you later, Richard. But again, excellent analysis!

BTW: don;t let Wallach's "interpretation(s)" dissuade you from reading American Affairs - quite good and at times superb!

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gabe
on August 23, 2018 at 19:13:39 pm

There is a further cavil with this particular proposal and with what Mr. Wallach (correctly) invokes from Schumpeter.

This particular proposal purports to direct (“make accountable”) a segment of what is conceived of as an **economic system** labeled “Capitalism.”

That feature of our present society, commonly labeled as “Capitalism,” is not an "economic system;" it is a **resulting condition** from the activities of individuals acting separately or in groups to determine THEIR OWN specific objectives and the means of attaining them, including the establishment and conduct of relationships for those objectives. In the “economic” sense the larger part of those objectives involve the acquisition or safeguard of durable (or preservable), transferable assets and resources ("Capital") for deferred consumption or further production. The interplay of those activities and relationships, in our case through choices involving individual liberty; and, where there is division of labor and specialization, employing the instrumentality of “markets” and other forms of exchange.

The challenge for those who assert the "economic system" category for our "Capitalism," whether to adjust "it," or make "it" accountable, "equalizing," or whatever, is to DEFINE "it." The condition can be DESCRIBED, but *not* defined -unlike the systems of socialism ("democratic" and other) which can be, and require close definitions.

Prescriptions that would purport to alter a resulting condition would have to operate by impacts upon the factors that give rise to the results which produce the condition. In our case those factors include individual liberty in choices and determinations of objectives and the means for attaining them.

Freedon of Choice - Milton Freeman's great reminder (and warning).

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R Richard Schweitzer
on August 23, 2018 at 19:25:25 pm

"Without choice, there is no morality." John Paul II

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R Richard Schweitzer
on August 23, 2018 at 20:03:27 pm

Yep, good reminder: Free will was what Saint JPII and Milton Friedman were reaffirming. It's essential theologically to the felix culpa of Original Sin and to the mortal sin of wrongly exercising the ''right to choose" and politically to the freedom to make disastrous decisions, as with the Affordable Care Act and the Accountable Capitalism Act.

BTW, what's with this Democrat fixation on the destructive legislative use of the acronym ACA?

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Pukka Luftmensch
on August 24, 2018 at 09:52:13 am

Yes, given the nature of the legislation, one wonders why they were not prefixed with Congressional - thus Congressional Affordable Care Act and Congressional Accountable Capitalism Act - OR two doses of CACA for you peasants!

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Guttenburgs Press and Brewery
on August 24, 2018 at 11:47:57 am

I can't help wondering how may of her staff are burdened with her idiocies, how does it wear, or do they by now manage to make her seem to be normal?, though their nerves may be rattled can they carry on?

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johnt
on August 24, 2018 at 16:57:03 pm

Well, as I said, she is a Shaman and no doubt has certain spells and incantations that soothe their frazzled nerves.

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gabe
on August 25, 2018 at 13:16:05 pm

Elizabeth Warren can’t possibly help to make capitalism accountable until she first understands capitalism. One of the most fundamental tenets of capitalism, if not THE most fundamental tenet, is that the people risking their own funds in a commercial enterprise get to make the decisions. If the shareholders putting the money up to fund a risky endeavor must take the losses from that endeavor’s failure, just as they are entitled to the gains if the endeavor succeeds, then they, and they alone, must have the power to make the decisions on how it is to be managed. When you take away a capitalist’s power to control how the enterprise which he owns is to be run, as Elizabeth Warren wants to do, it is no longer capitalism. It is fascism. Calling it “accountable capitalism”, a much more pleasant euphemism, doesn’t alter reality.

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Daniel Artz
on August 25, 2018 at 14:33:06 pm

In my initial comment I described Warren, her ACA bill and this sympathetic commentary as a "morally dispiriting mess." And that's because all three (Warren, her bill and the L&L commentary on them) fail to grasp what by now should be beyond rational debate, Wilhelm Ropke' s truism, "Since liberty (is) indivisible we (cannot) have political and spiritual liberty without also choosing liberty in the economic field and rejecting the necessarily unfree collectivist order."

Despite 100 years of bearing painful witness to the disastrous failures, one after the other, of statist economies with their devastating impacts on liberty and religious faith and their predictable consequences of massive death and horrendous human suffering, the Democrat Party and its apologists STILL view economics as divisible from liberty and as but a government-controlled means to a social justice end and incessantly offer up variations on their dirigiste economic schemes, with Warren the most philosophically and economically empty-headed poltroon of the political lot .

BTW: Samuel Gregg's recent commentary on L&L, " Was Wilhelm Röpke the First Fusionist?" si excellent but would appear to have gotten little attention.

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Pukka Luftmensch
on August 25, 2018 at 17:05:14 pm

Indulge me a brief flight of paranoia, if you would.

It would seem that the despicable and economically illiterate Dems, Warren chief amongst them, are not without other weapons in this fight for "accountable" capitalism. Consider the notion of ownership by shareholders AND recall that some years back, during the Great LightBringing Era birthed by Obama, serious consideration was given to government *management* (read: takeover) of 401K accounts. It gained but little traction; however, as we have observed over the past century , what the Socialist Dems propose NEVER goes away but rather is reborn innumerable times until at long last it becomes part of our law (or more precisely, a new RULE issued by an Executive Agency).

As almost all, if not all, 401K accounts are comprised of a solid mix of corporate equities, the effects upon "ownership" would bear little difference than that under present consideration by the Indian Shaman. And best of all, the Statists in DC could, and most assuredly would present this new beneficent intervention as a simple means of protecting the citizens retirement savings and of once again protecting both economic liberty and the citizens savings from the greed of those Wall Street tycoons (who incidentally a) would welcome it, at least those capable of working the system and b) continue to make political contributions to thier new *partners* in retirement planning.

Yep, and I will sell you back that bridge in Brooklyn you convinced me to buy some years ago.

OK - flight of fancy is over.

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gabe
on August 25, 2018 at 19:11:16 pm

Good memory and accurate assessment that, while the dominant Democrat theme of dirigisme was born in mere fantasy during the Great Depression, it never died or faded away but, Kafka-like, eventually morphed into myriad monstrous insects that multiply and destroy, like the giant irradiated ants in the movie "Them." And, as that film's myrmecological philosopher might have prophesied, "When Man entered the (Democrats' New Deal) he opened the door to a new world. What we may eventually find in that new world, nobody can predict".

One needs no reminder of the bad memory of Warren's emergence as one of "Them." She crawled fully irradiated out of the atomic wreckage of the Democrat-induced real estate crash and joined Dodd and Frank in the "charade of parading myrmidons" during which those who were most politically responsible for the financial collapse sat in legal judgment and conspired with their favored crony-capitalist banks to enact Dodd-Frank and build the CFPB so as to punish the nation for the sin of electing a Republican president, destroy small-to-middling banks (the crony-capitalists' competition) and protect and enlarge the favored financial behemoths.

According to the Wiki page of the CFPB:
"In July 2010, Congress passed the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, during the 111th United States Congress in response to the Late-2000s recession and financial crisis.[4] The agency was originally proposed in 2007 by Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren.[13]
On September 17, 2010, President Obama announced the appointment of Sen. Warren as Assistant to the President and Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to set up the new agency."

Pocahontas with a history one ought not forget is a very dangerous politician who lovers of liberty ought never trust.

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Pukka Luftmensch
on August 26, 2018 at 11:47:01 am

Conservatives see political liberty and freedom of faith as inextricably bound up with protection of private property and economic liberty. Democrats are the opposite; Democrats view property rights as emanating from the state and thus as subject to degrees of, up to and including, complete state control. Democrats view economics as divisible from personal and religious liberty and as but a managerial tool of government control. The Democrat Party is statist and elitist at the top. The elitist Elizabeth Warren is the economic high priest of the Democrat Party.

Perhaps the Massachusetts electorate will soon "rid us rid us of this meddlesome priest." But failing that felicitous event, understanding the devil in her details, knowing what she's really up to and the practical consequences of her economic conspiracies are the nation's best defense. National Review recently wrote a very thoughtful analysis of her Accountable Capitalism Act.

Read it and weep; the threat is not going away. Corporate accountability as a political strategy is already a powerful force at the state level where Democrat Party control of massively wealthy, powerful public pension funds is routinely used to extort corporate concessions that accord both with the Democrat Party's goals of social justice and its political strategy of identity politics. Warren's added idea would be a disastrous, major breakthrough of this strategy at the federal level (a threat existentially akin to the Wehrmacht's 1944-45 breakout in the Battle of the Bulge.)
Political extortion through "corporate accountability" has been used by civil rights activists since the 1970's and for decades was used to raise cash and control corporate policy by Jesse Jackson and by environmental groups, so it has a long Democrat Party pedigree. And it's already embedded in the massive federal bureaucracy (aka Deep State) with the collective bargaining rights of federal employees. (See today's Washington Times re judicial injunction of Trump's E.O. to control that abuse.)

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/aug/26/judge-ketanji-brown-jackson-rules-donald-trump-exc/?utm_source=Boomtrain&utm_medium=manual&utm_campaign=20180326&utm_term=newsalert&utm_content=newsalert&bt_ee=Q3KsGZunvLhuGC2bzZWoUlg7JywW7oIgyvMb4BYJy6TglUawKSb3PUY/LHca4OcZ&bt_ts=1535286564785

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/08/elizabeth-warren-accountable-capitalism-act-terrible-idea/

''

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Pukka Luftmensch
on August 26, 2018 at 13:31:07 pm

What Ms. Warren advocates is fascist corporatism under a different label.

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Milt Morris
on August 26, 2018 at 13:39:01 pm

What Ms. Warren doesn't understand (or does she understand?) is that you have to steal people's money under authority of government in order to give it to others (which most people recognize as a corrupt voting buying scheme).

"The government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government." ~ James Madison, American statesman, Founding Father, & 4th President of the United States

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Milt Morris
on August 26, 2018 at 15:03:05 pm

"Shaman," yes, indeed, Elizabeth Warren is the high priest of Democrat Party dirigisme.

"Will no (electorate) rid (us) of this meddlesome priest?"

National Review this week published an excellent review of the shaman's insidious corporate accountability incantation.https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/08/elizabeth-warren-accountable-capitalism-act-terrible-idea/

Warren's launching of a NEW political offensive (her Accountable Capitalism Act) into corporate accountability is of an ideological piece with her successful campaiign to support Dodd Frank and to create the CPFB and must be taken very seriously as an attempt both to restore the somewhat-tarnished credibility of Dodd Frank and the CPFB and to extend the political reach of corporate accountabilty as a principal Democrat Party political strategy.

The Democrat Party is well-entrenched on that territory, having witnessed the decades-long success of "corporate shake-downs for cash and concessions" undertaken by Jesse Jackson in the field of faux civil rights activism and EnviroWhacko's in their extrortionist faux environmentalism campaigns. Similarly, public employees' pension funds, all controlled by the Democrat Party, have for years weaponized their enormous financial weight to distort and reshape private corporate policy so that it conforms with the politics of the Democrat Party's social justice agenda. And, of course, federal public employees's unions are funded with tax dollars to lobby their federal employer for special privileges and benefits for already well-paid federal employees, which is a variation on the Democrat Party theme of "corporate accountability," i.e., obtaining undue political inflence under the guise of allowing employees a voice in management and requiring employers to empower and fund that voice.

And once the camel's nose is in the tent its body soon follows and there's hell to pay in removing the beast. See the Washington Times today wherein a federal judge has enjoined Trump's Executive Order aimed at reducing the adverse effects of the Democrats' federal employees' "corporate accountabilty" scam.
https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/aug/26/judge-ketanji-brown-jackson-rules-donald-trump-exc/?utm_source=Boomtrain&utm_medium=manual&utm_campaign=20180326&utm_term=newsalert&utm_content=newsalert&bt_ee=Q3KsGZunvLhuGC2bzZWoUlg7JywW7oIgyvMb4BYJy6TglUawKSb3PUY/LHca4OcZ&bt_ts=1535286564785

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Image of Pukka Luftmensch
Pukka Luftmensch
on August 26, 2018 at 15:13:21 pm

Gabe, on two separate occasions today I wrote an extensive reply to your comment, neither of which was printed. I may be blocked by L&L or their web site may be malfunctioning, both are problems I have experienced previously. Whether this "abuse" is the consequence of L&L's crappy technology, crappy managerial policy or both, I'm done with this site.

Seems the web is now run by folks who think and behave like Google.

So long; It's been nice to know ya."

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Image of Pukka Luftmensch
Pukka Luftmensch
on August 26, 2018 at 16:03:48 pm

Pukka:

1) Don't do it! I (and others, I am certain) garner much from your informed commentary.
2) I also have had numerous problems with this site and have expressed my frustration to Richard Reinsch. As always, Richard has been helpful. Try it!
3) I noticed that if I include more than ONE LINK in my comments that the comment is held for moderation - which may take several days over the weekend.
4) At other times, I am bewildered as to WHY I am unable to post. I have evn gone so far as to have the Geek Squad check out all of my computer settings.
5) And while I am at it - WHAT GIVES WITH THIS VERSION OF SPELLCHECKER? After so many false corrections by "spell-CHUCKER", I feel that I have lost my ability to accurately spell simple words.

BTW: I had a response to your commentary on MacAleers book review.

Hope to see ya soon.

gabe

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Image of gabe
gabe
on August 26, 2018 at 19:04:23 pm

Crikey, you're smarter than Froggy in the black-magical mystery tour of L&L's web mechanics. Turns out L&L eventually posted BOTH of my comments, which covered the same matters. ( I wrote the 2d one a couple of hours after writing and unsuccessfully posting the first comment, repeating from memory part of the first post that L&L failed to post, only to encounter the same failure on the 2d attempt.) The 2d post was at circa 6 PM tonight, 7-8 hours after the whole ordeal started.

Inexcusable! They need to get their act together. If I had run my law firm the way they run this site I would have retired 20 years earlier without clients. Caused me to waste lots of extra time since my word processing skill is antediluvian (never took typing in high school, skipping it for a world history course.)

As for Reinsch fixing matters, HaHa. He blocked two of my critical comments on his handling of one of his podcasts.

Anyway, thanks for your encouragement. I'll stay the course since the site does post good stuff.

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Image of Pukka Luftmensch
Pukka Luftmensch
on August 26, 2018 at 20:25:48 pm

Ketangi this, knucklehead!

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Image of gargamel rules smurfs
gargamel rules smurfs
on August 26, 2018 at 23:43:02 pm

Mr. Artz,

The relationships of beneficial ownership with the control exercised by management in larger enterprises has resulted in the evolution of **managerial capitalism.** You are quite correct to observe that "investor-shareholders" have paid for the position of their relation to management, however intermediated that relationship may be (and it IS most often extremely passive) by voluntary choice. Proposals for "Social Responsibilities" (this one is not unique) call for all kinds of changes in relationships, impairing those chosen by investors, which, by impositions of obligations, may be understood as analogous to a "taking" of relational rights in and to other forms of "property."

There have been all sorts of recurrent proposals and theories to "restore" or re-establish some "improved'[?] degree of control to beneficial ownership, or to mitigate effects that have evolved from the separation of control from ownership - most often through constraints on "management." Then, quite apart, are proposals such as this which seek, not to constrain or motivate management for the benefit of beneficial owners, but rather to determine the "responsibilities" of managements for other (external) objectives.

Without trying to be too pedantic, we are probably observing political efforts (especially by the managers of the Federal Administrative State) to subordinate (large scale) commercial management, similar to the efforts for political subordination of financial capitalism, which form is now being phased-over by managerial capitalism. We are likely at the beginning of more frequent such proposals - as the political motivations spread. En Garde !

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Image of R Richard Schweitzer
R Richard Schweitzer
on August 27, 2018 at 08:07:09 am

"Read it and weep; the threat is not going away."

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Image of Pukka Luftmensch
Pukka Luftmensch

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