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Archive for the ‘American and International Economies’ Category

Liberal Democracies In Retreat

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

The following is a rather gloomy, but likely accurate view of the future of the World order for decades to come and the retreat of the United States as a strong world leader.
Foreign Affairs Magazine
November, 2016
Liberalism in Retreat

The Demise of a Dream

By Robin Niblett

The liberal international order has always depended on the idea of progress. Since 1945, Western policymakers have believed that open markets, democracy, and individual human rights would gradually spread across the entire globe. Today, such hopes seem naive.

In Asia, the rise of China threatens to challenge U.S. military and economic hegemony, as Beijing seeks to draw American allies such as the Philippines and Thailand into its political orbit. In the Middle East, the United States and its European allies have failed to guide the region toward a more liberal and peaceful future in the wake of the Arab Spring and have proved powerless to halt the conflict in Syria. Russia’s geopolitical influence has reached heights unseen since the Cold War, as the country attempts to roll back liberal advances on its periphery.

But the more important threats to the order are internal. For over 50 years, the European Union has seemed to represent the advance guard of a new liberalism in which nations pool sovereignty and cooperate ever more closely with one another. But today, as it reels from one crisis to the next, the EU has stopped expanding. After the British vote to leave the bloc last June, it will probably shrink for the first time in its history.

Across the ocean, the U.S. commitment to global leadership, which until now has sustained the order through good times and bad, looks weaker than at any point since World War II. The Republican president-elect Donald Trump ran on an explicitly “America First” platform, pledged to renegotiate U.S. trade deals, praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, and called into question U.S. commitments to NATO. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama’s “rebalance” to Asia has struggled to take off. Beijing has wasted no time in laying out its own vision for a more integrated Eurasia that may exclude the United States and in which China will play the leading role.

Over the past half century, as other political systems have crumbled, the liberal international order has risen to face its challenges. Yet so long as the economies of its leading members remain fragile and their political institutions divided, the order that they have championed is unlikely to regain the political momentum that helped democracy spread across the globe. Instead, it will evolve into a less ambitious project: a liberal international economic order that encompasses states with diverse domestic political systems. In the short term, this will allow democracies and their illiberal counterparts to find ways to coexist. In the longer term, providing it can adapt, liberal democracy is likely to regain its supremacy.

LIBERALISM ON TOP

In the aftermath of World War II, Western policymakers, especially in the United States and the United Kingdom, set out to build a global system that would ensure that they would never repeat the disastrous failures of international cooperation of the interwar period. The architects of the system sought to promote not just economic development and individual fulfillment but also world peace. The best hope for that, they contended, lay in free markets, individual rights, the rule of law, and elected governments, which would be checked by independent judiciaries, free presses, and vibrant civil societies

Over the past half century, as other political systems have crumbled, the liberal international order has risen to face its challenges.

At the heart of the order were the Bretton Woods institutions—the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank—and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which became the World Trade Organization in 1995. Underpinning all these institutions was the belief that open and transparent markets with minimal government intervention—the so-called Washington consensus—would lay the foundation for economic growth. Guided by these principles, U.S. economic, military, and diplomatic support helped Germany and the other nations of Western Europe, as well as Japan, recover from the destruction of World War II.

Western policymakers were confident that transitions to open markets would inevitably lead to the spread of democracy. On many occasions, they were proved right. Liberal democracy has gradually expanded across Europe, Asia, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa, especially since the end of the Cold War. According to the U.S. nonprofit Freedom House, the number of democratic governments increased from 44 in 1997 to 86 in 2015, accounting for about 68 percent of global GDP and 40 percent of the world’s population.

As the order expanded, a new liberal idea gained ground: that governments that mistreat their populations and foment instability in their neighborhoods forfeit their sovereign right to rule. The International Criminal Court, which encroaches on sovereignty in the name of justice, was established in 1998. One year later, British Prime Minister Tony Blair laid out his doctrine of liberal interventionism in Chicago, declaring that, in a world of growing interdependence, “the principle of non-interference must be qualified in some important respects.” In 2005, the UN General Assembly endorsed the “responsibility to protect,” the concept that when a state fails to prevent atrocities, foreign governments can intervene to do so. In an ascendant liberal international order, the fundamental Westphalian principle that sovereign governments have the right to control their internal affairs—the principle that underlies international law and the UN—increasingly depended on governments’ adhering to Western standards of human rights. The liberal order seemed to be setting the rules for the entire international community.

THINGS FALL APART

But over the past decade, buffeted by financial crises, populist insurgencies, and the resurgence of authoritarian powers, the liberal international order has stumbled. According to the political scientist Larry Diamond, since 2006, the world has entered a “democratic recession”: the spread of individual freedom and democracy has come to a halt, if not retreated.

The greatest danger comes from within. The system’s leading powers are facing sustained domestic political and economic uncertainty. More than 25 years of stagnant median wages in the United States and parts of Europe have eroded the credibility of elites and the appeal of globalization. The opening up of economies to ever more trade, investment, and immigration has increased total national wealth, but it has not translated into local gains for large segments of society. The lax financial regulation that preceded the 2008 financial crisis and the bank bailouts that followed it have shattered people’s faith in government, and the Great Recession undermined their support for open capital markets, which seemed to benefit only a narrow global elite.

Trump’s victory, the decision by a majority of British voters to leave the EU, and the rise of populist parties in both the prosperous north and the poorer south of Europe represent visible symptoms of this deep unease with globalization. So, too, does the collapse in popular support in the United States and the EU for expanding international trade, whether through the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the United States or the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership in Europe. In a 2014 Pew Research survey, 87 percent of respondents in developing economies agreed that trade benefits the economy, whereas around half of all respondents in France, Italy, and the United States said they believed that trade destroys jobs and lowers wages.

Across Europe, resistance to deeper political integration has grown. For the past 60 years, the willingness of the EU’s member states to pool their sovereign power in supranational legal structures provided a benchmark for other countries that sought to cooperate more closely in their regions. As the political scientist Simon Serfaty put it in 2003, Europeans had transformed their systems of political governance from city-states to nation-states to member states. Now, this process has ground to a halt—and it may well reverse.

The British vote to leave the EU will likely prove an outlier: the United Kingdom joined the European Economic Community, the EU’s predecessor, only in 1973, 16 years after its founding; the United Kingdom has a long history of Euroskepticism; and it opted out of the single currency and the Schengen area of open borders. Other countries will probably not follow the United Kingdom out of the EU. But few European leaders appear willing to continue relinquishing their countries’ sovereignty. Many European states have rejected EU requests that they accept a quota of refugees. The richer members of the eurozone are refusing to pool their financial resources in a common deposit insurance scheme to ensure the long-term viability of the single currency. Today, many European politicians are demanding more national sovereign control over the application of existing EU laws and the design of new forms of integration.

Few European leaders appear willing to continue relinquishing their countries’ sovereignty.

In this context, the hope that the EU might provide a template for liberal regional integration elsewhere seems increasingly lost. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, South America’s Mercosur, the African Union, and the Gulf Cooperation Council remain mechanisms for only limited political and economic cooperation among governments. China and Russia, meanwhile, have used this period of Western self-doubt to modernize their militaries and assert their regional and geopolitical interests. They have built institutions, including the Eurasian Economic Union and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, that have helped them coordinate and legitimize a parallel political order that challenges Western norms of democratic governance and that rejects any external interference in support of human rights.

AMERICA IN RETREAT

For the past seven decades, the United States has provided the security umbrella under which the liberal international system has flourished. But today, the United States is more inward-looking than at any point since World War II. After the costly wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the chaos that followed the intervention in Libya, Obama has recalibrated the United States’ international role, consistently encouraging allies in Europe and the Middle East to take greater responsibility for their own security. In his presidential campaign, Trump twisted this argument into an explicitly transactional bargain: the United States should become a mercenary superpower, protecting only those countries that pay, so that it can focus on making itself great again at home. In so doing, he ignored the hard-won lesson that investing in the security of U.S. allies is the best way to protect the United States’ own security and economic interests. How exactly Trump will govern, however, remains unclear.

Rightly or wrongly, the United States’ allies, from Europe to Asia, now fear that the superpower may no longer be an engaged and committed partner. These fears come at a dangerous time. A Europe hobbled by institutional and economic weakness is more vulnerable to the diverse forms of pressure that Russia is currently applying, including financial support for European populist parties and threatening military maneuvers on NATO’s eastern borders. Despite Russia’s own economic weakness, Putin’s advocacy of a new European order based on cultural and national sovereignty appeals to Europe’s increasingly vocal nationalist parties, from the UK Independence Party to France’s National Front and Hungary’s Fidesz, whose leader, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, has publicly advocated building an “illiberal state.”

Many of the United States’ other allies and democratic partners around the world are also on the back foot. Japan and South Korea are struggling to manage the twin challenges of aging populations and economies that are overly dependent on exports, and his-torical antagonisms prevent them from presenting a united front to promote liberal democracy in their region. Large emerging-market democracies, such as Brazil, India, Nigeria, and South Africa, have so far failed to overcome entrenched obstacles to sustainable economic growth and social cohesion. And the perception that U.S. global power is waning and that the Washington consensus does not guarantee economic progress has bolstered strongmen in countries as diverse as the Philippines, Thailand, and Turkey, who have undermined the institutional checks and balances that underpin liberal democracy.

POT, KETTLE

Of course, supporters of the liberal international order have long displayed an inconsistent commitment to its principles. The United States and its allies may have generally promoted respect for the rule of law and liberal governance within their borders, but the dominant objective outside them has been to protect Western security and economic interests, even if doing so damaged the credibility of the liberal international system.

The United States has often acted unilaterally or selectively obeyed the rules of the international order it promotes. It invaded Iraq under a contested legal mandate, and the U.S. Congress has refused to ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, among numerous other multilateral conventions and treaties. And in 2011, the British, French, and U.S. governments stretched their mandate—granted by UN Security Council Resolution 1973, which authorized all necessary measures to protect civilians in Libya—when they helped overthrow Libya’s leader, Muammar al-Qaddafi. And various Western governments have condemned Russia and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for indiscriminately shelling civilians in Syria while simultaneously supporting Saudi Arabia’s bloody campaign in Yemen.

The United States’ allies, from Europe to Asia, now fear that the superpower may no longer be an engaged and committed partner.

Small wonder, then, that the West’s opponents have interpreted calls to enlarge the liberal international order as an excuse to expand Western political power. Putin sounded this theme in October, at the annual conference of the Valdai Discussion Club, when he accused the United States of promoting globalization and security “for itself, for the few, but not for all.” It is also unsurprising that the world’s principal multilateral institution, the UN Security Council, remains frozen in the same old standoffs, riven by disagreements between China and Russia, on the one hand, and France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, on the other. As a result, liberal attempts to reform the concept of state sovereignty, such as the introduction of the notion of the responsibility to protect and the establishment of the International Criminal Court, have failed to acquire international legitimacy—take, for instance, the ongoing failure to stem the violence in Syria and the announcements in October by the governments of Burundi, Gambia, and South Africa that they will withdraw from the court. Even the Internet, which promised to foster a more liberal international order by empowering individuals instead of governments, is now increasingly dominated by ideological polarization over national firewalls, surveillance methods, and privacy violations.

KEEPING ORDER

Do these challenges herald the end of the liberal international order? Probably not. Established liberal democracies remain resilient. Whatever domestic challenges they may face, from inequality to unemployment, they approach them from a position of strength compared with emerging-market countries, many of which boast high levels of GDP growth but have yet to make the transition from export- and investment-led growth to consumption- and innovation-driven growth. Western democracies are designed to allow the people to vent their frustrations and refresh their political leadership. Their economies operate in a relatively dynamic, transparent, and open manner, which fosters innovation. These qualities allow their political institutions to recover legitimacy and their economies to regain momentum. On the other hand, centrally controlled or illiberal countries, such as China and Russia, have yet to prove that their political systems will survive the economic transitions they are undertaking.

Still, liberal democracies cannot postpone difficult political decisions any longer. They need to fix themselves first if they are to sustain their liberal international order. They must boost productivity as well as wages, increase work-force participation even as new technologies eliminate old jobs, integrate immigrants while managing aging societies, and, in Europe’s case, evolve from centrally funded welfare states to more locally governed welfare societies, in which regions, cities, and other municipalities control a greater share of tax income and so can tailor the provision of social services to local needs. Liberal governments can rise to these challenges, whether by investing more in education, improving physical and digital infrastructure, or modernizing regulations that stifle entrepreneurship and growth in the service sector. These may seem like modest steps. But the appeal and, indeed, the survival of a liberal inter-national order depend on its ability to deliver returns to the societies within it that are superior to any alternative.

If the liberal world can get itself back on track, and does not itself turn to protectionism, it will likely find that the non-Western rising powers, China chief among them, will want to sustain the existing international economic order of relatively open markets and free flows of investment. After all, only through continued integration into the global supply chain of goods, services, people, and knowledge can emerging markets meet the aspirations of their growing middle classes. As the scholar G. John Ikenberry noted in his 2011 book, Liberal Leviathan, the United States and China—the two powers that will most likely determine the future of world order—may both refuse to compromise on their core principles of domestic governance and national security, but they can best coexist and prosper within a liberal international economic order.

It is in the West’s interests, therefore, that China’s economic development continue smoothly. U.S and European markets for goods, services, and infrastructure should remain open to Chinese foreign direct investment, as long as Chinese companies abide by U.S. and European rules on security and transparency and the protection of intellectual property. European countries should take the same approach with Russia, on the condition that Russian companies abide by EU rules. A mutual commitment to the liberal international economic order would help Western governments and their illiberal counterparts keep open other avenues for cooperation on shared challenges, such as terrorism and climate change, much as China and the United States have done over the past several years.

Western democracies are designed to allow the people to vent their frustrations and refresh their political leadership.

Meanwhile, European governments and businesses should take part in the Chinese-led effort to connect Northeast Asia with Europe across the Eurasian continent, a component of a series of regional infrastructure projects known as the Belt and Road Initiative. In 2016, the volume of global trade stagnated for the first quarter and then fell by 0.8 percent in the second. This reflects an ongoing structural decline in the growth rate of trade, as emerging markets, such as China, make more of their own products and developed countries bring some production back onshore. Against this backdrop, ramping up investment in infrastructure that can connect the thriving coastal areas of Asia to its underdeveloped hinterlands and then to Europe could create new opportunities for economic growth in both the liberal and the illiberal worlds. Rather than challenge such initiatives, the United States should support Western-led regional and multilateral financial institutions, such as the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Asian Development Bank, as they join forces with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the New Development Bank (set up by the BRICS countries—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) to pursue projects that are in every country’s economic interest while adhering to environmentally and financially sustainable principles.

Similar cooperation will be harder to build with Russia. Russia’s system of centralized and opaque political and economic governance makes deeper integration incompatible with the EU’s market and rules-based system, and NATO members have begun a much-needed upgrading of their military readiness in the face of recent Russian provocations. EU and NATO tensions with Russia will likely persist, even if Trump’s election heralds a change in U.S.-Russian relations. Still, the Chinese initiative to build new ways of connecting the Eurasian economy could provide an alternative way for the United States and Europe to engage with Russia.

The countries that built the liberal international order are weaker today than they have been for three generations. They no longer serve as an example to others of the strength of liberal systems of economic and political governance. Autocratic governments may therefore try to establish an alternative political order, one governed by might rather than by international laws and rules.

But liberal policymakers would be wrong to urge their countries to hunker down or resort to containment. An extended standoff between supporters of a liberal international order and those who contest it may accidentally lead to outright conflict. A better approach would be for liberal countries to prepare themselves for a period of awkward coexistence with illiberal ones, cooperating on some occasions and competing on others. The international political world will remain divided between liberals and statists for the foreseeable future, but both sets of countries will depend on a liberal international economic order for their prosperity and internal security. Time will tell whose form of government is more resilient. If history is any guide, liberal democracy remains the best bet.

The Indigo Economy

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

THE FOLLOWING IS AN INTERESTING, PROVOCATIVE CONCEPT CALLED THE “INDIGO” ECONOMY

As Global Instability Spreads, the “Indigo” Economy Rises
By Mikhail Fridman
April 29, 2016

Something strange is happening to our world. The basic principles, rules and values that have long served as the foundation for our lives are falling apart. Fragility and instability are spreading like a virus, infecting countries and continents. Those who only yesterday were on the margins of European politics are bursting onto center stage. Some are left-leaning, like Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain. Some are right-leaning, such as the National Front in France, Fidesz in Hungary or AfD in Germany. But all are populist and anti-establishment. And it is not just Europe that is being shaken up.

The United States of America, which was built on the principles of free markets and openness, is rallying to presidential candidates who are either propagating socialist views or arguing for isolationism. This populist advance reflects an obvious and sad fact: Old and tested truths no longer satisfy modern societies and need to be reviewed and redefined.

The economic outlook is also unstable. Extreme volatility in the markets has become the norm. This instability is usually attributed to two main factors: the sharp decline in the price of natural resources and the slowing of China’s economic growth. These two factors are actually contradictory. Cheaper resources should, in theory, benefit China, the largest importer of natural resources. Western economies, which are the main consumers of Chinese exports, should also be helped by cheap energy, but there is no sign of that either.

Volatility in politics and markets is a sign of a major tectonic shift that is happening before our eyes.

We are entering a disruptive era driven by extraordinary levels of human creativity. A new generation of curious, strong-willed and talented individuals is unhindered by convention or the past. This new “Indigo” generation is now shaping tomorrow’s economy and creating national wealth. I use the term Indigo because it has been used to refer to children with special or unusual abilities. This is an era where abnormally talented individuals and entities are now able to realize new levels of human potential and economic achievement.

How is the Indigo era different?

Over thousands of years, human history has been defined by the struggle for access to natural resources, or to put it simply, for land that contains those resources. Whether it is fertile soil, access to trade routes, gold, minerals, or oil and gas, land has always been a primary source of national wealth. The sanctity of national borders, which is the cornerstone of national identity, is a reflection of that idea. Fear of shortages has created cyclical bubbles in commodity markets and has inspired Hollywood thrillers about the war for oil and gas. It seemed that sooner or later the economy would run out of something essential for its growth. Yet every time these bottlenecks – be they in rubber, Indian spices or conventional oil and gas – were resolved by finding an alternative.

This new Indigo era undermines the hypothesis that depletion of natural resources is imminent. The innovative potential of developed countries has allowed people to find alternatives to any such shortage. This does not mean that the world no longer requires natural resources. But it eliminates the real or imagined shortage of those resources and deprives commodity exporters of what have been super profits. Oil and gas was the last bastion of these bottlenecks and it too has crumbled, thanks to Indigo economies.

The main source of national wealth is not the resource rent but the social infrastructure that allows every person to realize his or her intellectual and creative potential. It is for this reason that Exxon, once the world’s largest company, has been overtaken by Apple and Google. This represents a paradigm shift in which creative, non-linear thinking and random ideas are turned into new scalable services in a short space of time.

Requirements for developing an Indigo economy

World-leading firms such as Apple and Google have introduced revolutionary changes in business through innovation. So let’s call them Indigo companies.

One can see three main interconnected factors that have led to their achievements.

The first requirement is intuitive individual talent and a high level of education. The originator of an idea has to be not only creative but also well-educated and able to form a team of equally educated and gifted people.

Second, to realize an idea, even the brightest innovator needs the cushion of a “cloud,” a sophisticated infrastructure for doing business. This includes a legal system that can protect both physical and intellectual property rights and a competitive environment that allows small companies to turn into giants without fear of being swallowed by larger companies at their initial stages.

The ecosystem of an Indigo economy requires thousands of suppliers and subcontractors that can provide competitive, high-quality services ranging from venture financing to marketing and Web design. This cloud of available services allows users to benefit from all these technologies without the need for deep knowledge or expertise from any of them.

Third, a global digital infrastructure is needed to distribute new products and also to accumulate customer data and new levels of insight. This enables the Indigo generation to understand customer behavior and to create new services even before there is a demonstrated demand.

How easy will it be to replicate this Indigo ecosystem?

The global digital world already exists, and the Internet and cellular networks are reaching the most remote corners of the world.

We know from biology that human intelligence, talent and creativity exist everywhere and are equally distributed among all nations and races. Good education is not available everywhere, but all large developing countries have serious universities. Moreover, people from these countries have a chance to study abroad or take online courses provided by the world’s best universities.

The most problematic area for the functioning of the Indigo economy is the creation of the “cloud” as well as the social and institutional environment that is congenial to innovative companies. The “cloud” cannot be built overnight. It has evolved as a result of a profound social and political development that Western societies have experienced over centuries. A firm legal system, competition rules and a system of checks and balances do not automatically result in the creation of a Silicon Valley. Nonetheless, the West has the best conditions for making breakthroughs in different spheres of human activity, be it biotechnology, robotics, logistics, or transportation. (Full disclosure: I recently invested $200 million in Uber.)

It is also clear that countries lacking Indigo-friendly infrastructures are disadvantaged. The creation of a balanced social system and a competitive, rule-based environment requires some shifts in values and thinking as well as the breaking of stereotypes.

How Indigo will influence the world economy

The past few decades have been characterized by globalization and economic cooperation between the developed world and emerging countries. Emerging nations exported commodities and cheap labor to the developed world and used the proceeds to build roads, airports, cities and logistic centers. This has produced new jobs and attracted foreign investment, which, in turn, boosted the growth of a modern middle class.

Governments typically favored fast physical infrastructure projects at the expense of building institutions, independent legal systems and encouraging competition. These seemed like long and difficult tasks that did not match traditional values and often contradicted the interests of the ruling elite. The most obvious example of this approach was China.

China, where the development of institutions was sacrificed for the sake of building new cities, has already run into difficulties trying to build an Indigo economy. Having realized the scale of problems related to the weakness of its institutions, the government has responded in its usual way: employing its usual tactics of further centralization and repression.

With the possible exception of India, a repeat of China’s economic miracle or another emerging markets boom is unlikely. Economic growth in emerging markets will slow down as a result of shrinking natural resource revenues and a decline in people’s incomes. The chances of these countries pulling themselves out of corruption and protectionism are remote.

This means that the rate of economic growth in emerging markets will increasingly lag behind that of the developed world, further widening the gap in incomes and standards of living. The mutual resentment driven by the inability of emerging markets to catch up with the developed world will increase. Emerging countries are likely to feel increasingly jealous and hostile toward rich countries while rich countries will try to isolate themselves from their poorer and embittered neighbors. This could heighten the tension in international affairs.

A few years ago, globalization contributed to the narrowing of the gap between emerging markets and the Western world. Now it could be used as a channel for selling the products of Indigo economies to the countries that cannot compete in quality or price. Heightened resentment and tension could further empower political populists who exploit the feelings of fear, jealousy and inability to change one’s circumstances to fan hatred toward the more prosperous and successful, and a desire to destroy their riches. These populist politicians are already among us, promising simple solutions to complex problems. It is a dangerous recipe.

But there is also a ray of hope

For two-and-a-half centuries, it has been apparent that successful societies depend on having the rule of law, fair competition, and citizens’ basic rights. The U.S. was formed on this basis. As a student in the Soviet Union, I once explained the benefits of the socialist economy which, in contrast to the chaos of capitalism, could plan precisely how, when and in what quantity any goods had to be produced. The only problem was that these arguments were accompanied by endless lines for fast-disappearing food in shops. As a result, the socialist economic theory did not inspire much confidence in my listeners.

Nonetheless, the short-term economic successes of authoritarian and totalitarian regimes create a longing for a “strong hand,” which can compel people to sacrifice their civil liberties for the benefits of economic security. But even in theory, one cannot build an economy based on the creative energy, free spirit and self-fulfilment of millions of individuals if they are cut off from making the most important decisions about their own society. I hope that the era toward which we are heading will finally end these dangerous misconceptions. The future Indigo economy is an economy of free people. And this means that the world will become more and more free.

Mikhail Fridman is chairman of LetterOne, a privately owned international investment business headquartered in Luxembourg with offices in London (More).

More About The Likely Democrat Candidate For President Of The United States

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

 
Charles Krauthammer: ON THE CLINTONS.

So I destroyed a few emails “What difference does it make??” This is why – –

The Clinton Foundation is “organized crime” at it’s finest, and we are financing it!

Here is a good, concise summary of how the Clinton Foundation
works as a tax free international money laundering scheme. It may eventually
prove to be the largest political criminal enterprise in U.S. history. This
is a textbook case on how you hide foreign money sent to you and re-package
it, to be used for your own purposes. All tax free

Here’s how it works:
1. You create a separate foreign “charity.” In this case one in Canada .

2. Foreign oligarch’s & governments, then donate to this Canadian charity.
In this case, over 1,000 did contributing mega millions. I am sure they did
this out of the goodness of their hearts, and expected nothing in return.
(Imagine Putin’s buddies waking up one morning and just deciding to send
un-told millions to a Canadian charity).

3. The Canadian charity then bundles these separate donations & makes a
massive donation to the Clinton Foundation.

4. The Clinton Foundation, and the cooperating Canadian charity claim
Canadian law prohibits, the identification of individual donors

5. The Clinton Foundation, then “spends” some of this money, for legitimate
good works programs. Un-fortunately, experts believe this is on the order
of 10%. Much of the balance goes to enrich the Clinton’s, pay salaries to
un-told numbers of hangers on, & fund lavish travel, etc. Again virtually
all tax free, which means you & I are subsidizing it.

6. The Clinton Foundation with access to the world’s best accountants,
somehow fails to report much of this on their tax filings. They discover
these “clerical errors”and begin the process of re-filing 5 years of tax
returns.

7. Net result foreign money, much of it from other countries, goes into the
Clinton ‘s pockets tax free & untraceable back to the original donor. This
is the textbook definition of money laundering.

Oh, by the way, the Canadian “charity” includes, as a principal one Frank
Giustra Google him. He is the guy who was central to the formation of
Uranium One Canadian company that somehow acquired massive U.S.uranium interests & then sold them to an organization controlled by Russia This transaction required U.S. State Department approval, and, guess who was Secretary of State, when the approval, was granted? As an aside, imagine how former,Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell feels. That poor schlep, is in jail because he and his wife took $165,000 in gifts, and loans for doing minor favors,for a guy promoting, a vitamin company. Not legal, but not exactly putting U.S. security at risk.

Sarcasm aside, if you are still not persuaded, this was a cleverly
structured way to get unidentified foreign money to the Clinton ‘s, ask
yourself this: Why did these foreign interests, funnel money, through a Canadian charity? Why not donate directly to the Clinton Foundation? Better yet, why not donate money directly to the people, organizations & countries in need?

This is the essence of money laundering and influence peddling Now you know why Hillary’s destruction of 30,000 e-mails was a risk, she was willing to take. Bill and Hillary are devious unprincipled, dishonest, and criminal,
and they are Slick! Warning : They could be back in the White House, in
January 2017. Do not let it happen. Remember, most people are not well informed. We must somehow inform and educate them.

A February Rant

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

February is the shortest month, although a “leap year” with one more day. And I’ve done nothing to discuss the awful situation we are in, at least as I see it. Frankly, it’s too discouraging. But, here goes. How is it, that this once great, wealthy democratic republic can’t come up with even one person of intellect, maturity, and honesty to run for president of the United States? What a group of shameful, avaricious specimens have come forth to lead.

The Democrats: Sanders, an old man preaching socialism or communism or anarchy, I’m not sure which and I suspect neither does he. If he’s elected, the United States will file for bankruptcy within the next five years or sooner. And Hillary Clinton? An old felon, formerly Senator and Secretary of State who has exposed United States government secrets, its intelligence, to hackers all over the globe in order to have information put on her private computer (clearly a felony) so that she could have an easy way to funnel large sums of foreign money into the Clinton Foundation; responsibility for the deaths of six people in Benghazi and lied about these tragic deaths to the victims’ survivors; and much more too long to discuss at this point.

The Republicans ––– initially 16 dimwits and fools and one pediatric neurosurgeon, and now down to four dimwits and one neurosurgeon who should know he’s through, but refuses to accept the reality. And who’s leading this group of dimwits? None other than “The Donald” Trump ––– a fat, bombastic, television star, hotel/gambling mogul and insulting machine, who understands almost nothing about dealing with the crucial issues of the day such as 10-20 million illegal immigrants, our rapid fall into certain insolvency, a psychotic healthcare system known as ObamaCare foisted on us by our present delusional president whose 8 left-leaning years governing the nation he really despises, has been one major reason we have been dumped into our present, almost science fiction dystopian world, and so very, very much more.

But, all is not the fault of politicians. They only help propel our decaying cultural lives ––– the crass, disgraceful music; all manner of drugs; the selling of baby body parts; the degrading films out of Hollywood filled with lurid sex and electrifying violence; the increasing gap between what Peggy Noonan calls the “protected” and the “unprotected;” the overt violence against women and the elderly; the utter decay of our public schools (only +/– 20% of young people know there are three branches of government!); the slow and frightening hell that is our cities at night; the predatory hedge funds that sent millions of people out of their homes to live under the bridges in 2008; and the decay of religion in our lives, the hope that sprung from our faiths seems to have abandoned us; and there is so much more that grabs at our throats, too long to even try to define.

And the world outside ––– the Middle East, Africa, Europe ––– bubbling cauldrons of hate, war, disease and human suffering. And Our failure to lead there.

I see little hope that this nation will turn itself around, be led back to a more sane and congenial state where what is right and moral and good returns to our civil life and allows us once more to lead the world out of this awful morass of the early 21st century. Happy 2016!

ObamaCare and the U. S. Workforce

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

Another Toxic result of ObamaCare.

The Daily Signal
12/8/15

The U.S. Workforce could Shrink By Two Million People Because of ObamaCare

By Melissa Quinn

Over the next decade, 2 million workers could decide to leave the workforce because of Obamacare, according to a new report.

According to the report from the Congressional Budget Office, the workforce is projected to shrink by 2025 by just under 1 percent—the equivalent of 2 million full-time workers—because of the health care law and its incentives for workers.

“Some people would choose to work fewer hours; others would leave the labor force entirely or remain unemployed for longer than they otherwise would,” the CBO said in its report.

Under the law, consumers do not have to rely on employers for insurance and can purchase coverage on the federal and state-run exchanges. Additionally, Obamacare implemented subsidies available for consumers who qualify based on their income, which the CBO said raises the “effective tax rate on earnings” on those who no longer qualify for subsidies as incomes rise. These two factors suggest some workers may opt to retire or work part time rather than full-time.

The nonpartisan agency pointed to increased tax rates, new coverage expansions and penalties on employers and individuals for not providing or having insurance as reasons for the projected decline.

Such provisions, the CBO said in its report, could lead workers to decide to either leave their jobs or reduce their hours.

The agency contended that Obamacare’s effects on the workforce are uncertain, which it attributes to uncertainty in workers’ responses to the incentives created under the law, which includes the ability to gain coverage independent of employers.

The CBO’s findings come just days after the Senate passed a reconciliation package repealing key provisions of the health care law for the first time. The House is expected to approve the legislation. However, President Barack Obama will veto the repeal package once it gets to his desk.

Still, some Republicans pointed to the report as a further example of Obamacare’s negative consequences.

“When the president’s health law hurts the labor force at the same time it increases health care premiums and taxes, it’s clear the law is not working for the American people,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said. “The CBO’s latest report confirms yet another broken promise and negative consequence stemming from Obamacare.”

In a previous report released in February 2014, the CBO estimated that the 2.5 million workers would leave the workforce in 2024 because of Obamacare.

The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation.


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