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The Conservative movement?

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I think that's naive. Here are the ten biggest revenue earners in the world:

1 Wal-Mart Retailing $413.8[2] 2009 $210,973 2,100,000 NYSE: WMT United States Bentonville, Arkansas, United States Mike Duke, $12.44M

2 Exxon Mobil Oil and gas $310.5[3] 2009 $452,505 90,800 NYSE: XOM United States Irving, Texas, United States Rex W. Tillerson, $4.12M

3 Royal Dutch Shell Oil and gas $278.1[4] 2009 $220,110 112,000 LSE: RDSA NetherlandsThe Hague, Netherlands and United KingdomLondon, United Kingdom Peter Voser

4 BP plc Oil and gas $246.1[5] 2009 $191,844 97,600 LSE: BP United Kingdom London, England, United Kingdom Tony Hayward, $4.73M

5 Saudi Aramco Oil and gas $216.0[6] 2007 $781,000(estimated)[7] 51,356 government-owned Saudi Arabia Dhahran, Saudi Arabia Khalid A. Al-Falih

6 Toyota Motor Corporation Automotive $205.0[8] March 31, 2010 $172,166 316,121 TYO: 7203 Japan Toyota, Aichi, Japan Fujio Cho

7 Samsung Group Conglomerate $178.3 [9] 2007 $110,100 277,000[10] KRX: 005930, KRX: 005935 South Korea Samsung Town, Seoul, South Korea Lee Soo-bin

8 Chevron Corp. Oil and gas $171.6[11] 2009 $177,265 61,533 NYSE: CVX United States San Ramon, California, United States David J. O'Reilly, $7.82M

9 Sinopec Oil and gas $165.4[12] 2007 $135,317 400,513 SSE: 600028, SEHK: 0386 People's Republic of China Beijing, China Jiming Wang

10 ING Group Financial services $164.39 [13] 2009 $84,358 115,000 Euronext: INGA Netherlands Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands Jan Hommen, $1.87M

Walmart was big before the bailout, as was ING.

And 6 of the 10 businesses are in oil and gas.

Walmart wasn't bailed out and it employs a heck of a lot more people than the automotive industry. It's also #1 in revenue in the world.

Are you suggesting that Walmart became huge because of big government interventionism?

Reduce big government and you will reduce corporate power. We create huge corporations by government decision. We encourage them to take huge risks, by guaranteeing to bail them out. Meanwhile, small business only gets a small nod. Just look at what we've done in the last few years regarding the "bail out."

Reduce big government and you will reduce corporation influence. Of course, there are laws on the books against monopolies....

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The banks and financial institutions got in trouble in the first place by being allowed to play fast and loose due to lack of enforced regulations. That is understandable since capitalism is driven by greed and when the greed is uncontroled then inevitable trouble results.

Greed is controlled by the knowledge that stupid behavior will result in pecuniary loss.

By the way--you really don't think government's leaning on the banks to issue mortgages to people with shoddy credit had anything to do with the housing bubble? Really?

The people whom the government represents would have been hurt by a complete economic collape from all the banks failing. Thus it was in the capacity of acting as the people's representative that they intervened.

Ahh, the old "look how much worse it would have been if I did nothing!!!" hocus-pocus.

Would the "too-big-to-fail entities" drag down some other institutions that weren't directly involved? Maybe, but it's funny--I thought we had an FDIC for that. Moreover, the entities that were bailed out still had assets with long-term value that could and would have been distributed via the bankruptcy system (the bailouts were primarily for short-term cash flow).

And really, think about it. Your ideological predecessors rightly came out with antitrust legislation, on the premise that no one institution should be able to control an entire industry. If the health of the financial sector really relies on one or two key players, then you know what? Maybe it's time to go all Teddy Roosevelt on them. Maybe we should be thinking about ways to invoke antitrust legislation in order to insulate the population from the results of a failure, instead of passing a slough of new laws that are rooted in revenge and envy.

The system is broken. You can prop it up over the short term by mortgaging future tax earnings (assuming we will still have a viable tax base one or two generations down the road, and that they won't all revolt at 75% marginal rates); but all you've really done is prolong the inevitable crash. And, by inducing ever-growing numbers of people to rely on that broken system, you only ensure that the impending crash will hurt even more people.

I fail to see why conservatives would have "hit the big corporations where it hurts", when historically they have served as their staunch advocates. Has something changed or was this just a mistaken premise that they would act against corporate interest.

Moksha, it is you who are defending the bailouts in this thread. Not me, and not most of the other conservatives here.

And you must know that your own state's conservatives just booted a sitting US Senator because he came out in favor of the bailouts.

True conservatives like producers, and despise mooches. When a business starts acting like a union, we're going to throw that business to the wolves. I'm sorry that doesn't seem to compute with you.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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Reduce big government and you will reduce corporate power. We create huge corporations by government decision. We encourage them to take huge risks, by guaranteeing to bail them out. Meanwhile, small business only gets a small nod. Just look at what we've done in the last few years regarding the "bail out."

Reduce big government and you will reduce corporation influence. Of course, there are laws on the books against monopolies....

There's nothing illegal about being a monopoly. What is illegal is leveraging your monopoly to engage in anti-competitive practices.

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And you must know that your own state's conservatives just booted a sitting US Senator because he came out in favor of the bailouts.

They have the freedom to do that because they have taken the position to offer only oppositional talking points and thus they sit back and throw spit wads even at their own. Bennett was a conservative who acted responsibly, which violated those talking points. Even for this new crop of rabid conservatives, when Big Business comes a knockin' they will be the ones with the "Whatever You Want" welcome mats.

True conservatives like producers, and despise mooches. When a business starts acting like a union, we're going to throw that business to the wolves. I'm sorry that doesn't seem to compute with you.

I do like your thrown to the wolves imagery. Capitalism does indeed represent a wolf eat wolf world. Conservatives hitch their star to the alpha wolf and would never deny that wolf the first chance to gorge at the kill, whether it be at the market or the government treasury.

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They have the freedom to do that because they have taken the position to offer only oppositional talking points and thus they sit back and throw spit wads even at their own. Bennett was a conservative who acted responsibly, which violated those talking points.

If you equate Keynesianism as responsibility, the rest of your statement is more or less true.

If you think that the economy is a huge, complicated thing and that we (and government) run an acute risk of doing more harm than good if we tinker with it too much--you're probably a conservative, and it's the Keynesians who come across as irresponsible.

And I'd point out that what the party in power has done isn't even true Keynesianism, for two reasons. First, Keynes said that governments should reduce spending in good years, to pay off the debts incurred in the bad years (when has that ever happened)? Second, Keynes taught that government spending needs to be immediate. Last I heard, we were still trying to find a use for TARP monies that were appropriated two years ago.

At the highest level, this stimulus business has less to do with economic recovery than it does with finding excuses for public-sector growth, bureaucratic empire-building, and vote-buying. Bennett tried to surf this wave of corruption, and Utah conservatives called him on it.

Even for this new crop of rabid conservatives, when Big Business comes a knockin' they will be the ones with the "Whatever You Want" welcome mats.

Hey, yeah! When Big Business came a-knockin' the first time claiming their very survival was at stake, we told 'em to take a hike. Clearly, it was because we're a bunch of corporate shills.

I do like your thrown to the wolves imagery. Capitalism does indeed represent a wolf eat wolf world. Conservatives hitch their star to the alpha wolf and would never deny that wolf the first chance to gorge at the kill, whether it be at the market or the government treasury.

Whereas in your world, a wolf that manages to find food is kicked and driven into a cage while government distributes the spoils to a nearby pack of weasels.

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Would the "too-big-to-fail entities" drag down some other institutions that weren't directly involved? Maybe, but it's funny--I thought we had an FDIC for that. Moreover, the entities that were bailed out still had assets with long-term value that could and would have been distributed via the bankruptcy system (the bailouts were primarily for short-term cash flow).

And really, think about it. Your ideological predecessors rightly came out with antitrust legislation, on the premise that no one institution should be able to control an entire industry. If the health of the financial sector really relies on one or two key players, then you know what? Maybe it's time to go all Teddy Roosevelt on them. Maybe we should be thinking about ways to invoke antitrust legislation in order to insulate the population from the results of a failure, instead of passing a slough of new laws that are rooted in revenge and envy.

You are a legend, JAG, and you've mentioned something that I can't believe I completely missed all this time: Anti-trust legislation. If these companies are so large that allowing them to fail would cause a domino effect, then they clearly -do- have too much power. I can't believe this hasn't been talked about at all.

How could something so blindly obvious have avoided media attention?

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Reduce big government and you will reduce corporation influence....

Tear down the fences and the cattle will never roam the range. Of course you might argue that cattle by their very nature will seek to roam the range, so such a maxim is but empty words.

Reduce controls on corporations and corporate influence will be reduced. Sounds like the cattle maxim.

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*shakes fist* Never call a centrist a 'moderate'. Moderate implies wishy-washy and I don't think I've ever been wishy-washy in politics! ;)

Moderates are those who cooperate with members of the other party to get their agenda accomplished. In so doing, they sometimes oppose the idealogues in their own party. Hardly "wishy washy."

A centrist is one who believes that there must be opposition in all things, although that's simplistic. I lean libertarian in social authoritarian values while economically, I'm pretty much dead-center.

OK, let me try to define in very over-simple terms Conservatism and Liberalism in the American context. Conservatives want to spend lots of money on the military, nothing on social welfare, and in the last 25 years, they've been loathe to raise taxes. Old line conservatives like Barry Goldwater probably would have raised taxes only to balance the budget. Liberals want to spend nothing on the military, lavish European-style social welfare benefits on our less advantaged, and, until the last few years, they haven't been overly concerned with deficits. Now the two parties lean ever-so-moderately in those two directions, and thus are centrist.

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With all the talk of conservatism and liberalism, I wonder...what was Theodore Roosevelt? I think if anything he was a nationalist, which has a nasty connotation with corporations and the elite today. When Roosevelt looked at a policy he asked who it helped and who it hurt. He wanted the greatest good for the greatest number of people. If alive today he would not support a lavish welfare system nor would he support predatory capitalism. He would not think that letting jobs flow to sweatshops overseas was justified yet he still supported government policies that encouraged marriage and family and supported national health care.

It would be nice to have someone who looked at every policy in the USA and asked, "Will this help the little guy?" I do not think many in either party think that way today.

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Voyager, you cynic! Of course our politicians care about the small people. :-)

In truth, as fun as it is to hate, villify, and question the intelligence of our elected leaders, most of them want to do right by their people, and "the people," most of the time. Sometimes, in making their compromises and deals, the get a bit bewitched by the whole process of getting and staying elected, and forget why they wanted the job in the first place.

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I have thought long and hard about corporate blessings and curses. The concept of corporate is forever etched into the stone commandments of the corporate mentality and law which I see as what is called the “bottom line”. In essence there is no right and wrong, good and evil, moral and immoral; there is just the bottom line. The only success and the ultimate failure is that bottom line. If the bottom line is defined with red ink the corporation fails. If the bottom line is void of red ink the corporation succeeds.

Since the days of Cain and Able, plunder is justified by the profit and is also the engine of war. Nothing expresses this in modern society more than corporations and what has become defined as corporate greed. It is the ultimate excuse for “pruning the dead wood” – just get rid of it because it threatens the bottom line. It costs more than it produces.

I would accept such a concept but I know and have observed that it is not true. Many “things” in the corporate environment cost a great deal and produce nothing at all to the final profit. Lavish offices do not make executives more productive – rather it creates elitisms and stifles creativity and production among the “lower class” employees. Lean technologies are considered the “most” productive methods of manufacturing and yet most corporate (all US corporations I know of) high level management excludes their contributions from lean considerations. Studies in the USA indicate that 50% of the geniuses in America are not discovered until individual reaches university levels in education but 50% of the population do not continuum their education at the colligate level – So we throughout the baby with the bath water and most genius is never tapped – never even given the light of day to produce anything near what is capable.

In the vernacular of the book, “The Richest Man in Babylon” we are eating our own children. I am convinced that society will not advance but will be stifled forever in the stupidity of the corporate business model. Taxing corporations is insane (and corrupt) and akin to inflicting oneself via bloodletting to cure a disease that is not afflicting the patient but has a similar symptom.

To be honest I have become convinced that corporations are an invention of Satan and that when the Messiah comes – corporations and those that trust such institutions shall have end and to be honest I have no idea how the L-rd will manage to do such a thing and accomplish it in righteousness. If I had any idea – I would waste my life doing it now – all by myself if necessary.

The Traveler

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My problem with the corporate 'person' is that they are a construct that has all the rights and privileges as I do, yet they can live forever, and can never really be punished for criminal behavior. I also agree with Traveler's observations about the "bottom line" and exemptions for the elite.

Personally, I wouldn't be opposed to eliminating corporations- they've proven time and again that they are not good citizens. They, unlike us, can shift profits from their right hand to their left to avoid taxation (eg: GE ;) ).... there are many other examples of actions which would be criminal and immoral for a flesh-and-blood citizen to perform.

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Conservatives tend to love corporations and have a strong dislike for the Federal government. Corporations have shown time after time they will harm the common people for profit if not closely watched and monitored. How can one put faith in a corporation that is closed off from the public, hidden from all eyes and ears? Government has transparency. You can see the acts and results of the government. We are not stuck with the President for more than eight years. We can vote out politicians. Not so with corporations. People who bash the Federal government really work against the self interests of the American people.

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Whereas government never hurt anyone.

Ever.

Capitalism does not equal Liberty. Liberty=Capitalism is false. Democracy=Capitalism is false. With a Democracy we can chose what kind and how much of capitalism we want. Just today some Republican is being interviewed locally by the Chamber of Commerce (of course). He's running for some seat in Washington. What does the local paper say he wants? Same old stuff - low taxes, small government, few regulations of businesses, against health care reform. I know who these people worship, and it's not Christ or even Allah or Zeus. It's the almighty dollar. They act like Darwinists, survival of the fittest (wealthiest.)

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It's not an issue of what's "better" per se; it's an issue of which has the capacity to work greater evil and which one--once allowed to get out of hand--is more difficult to rein in.

Capitalism gets out of hand, you run to the government and they fix it.

Government gets out of hand . . . do you really want me to post the photos to this thread?

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It's not an issue of what's "better" per se; it's an issue of which has the capacity to work greater evil and which one--once allowed to get out of hand--is more difficult to rein in.

Capitalism gets out of hand, you run to the government and they fix it.

Can you see the inherent dilemma of wanting to weaken the government to the degree that it cannot reign in out of hand capitalism?

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Can you see the inherent dilemma of wanting to weaken the government to the degree that it cannot reign in out of hand capitalism?

Funny. All the laws on the books--including Sarbanes-Oxley--weren't able to "rein in" capitalism sufficiently to prevent the present distress.

Do you really think an under-funded SEC that continues to remain beholden to annual Congressional budgets (which in turn are beholden to Congresscritters, which are beholden to corporate donors) will be able to adequately regulate tens of thousands of securities?

You can play legislative cat-and-mouse ad infinitum, and prop up lots of bureaucratic petty-tyrants in the process. But I have an easier way of "reigning in" capitalism:

Make it so that people and companies who act stupidly, know that they will lose their money. Period.

You do that by a) refusing to bail out wrongdoers, and b) a healthy civil court system. A few additional regulations requiring transparency are helpful; but beyond that--they're largely unenforceable until things have already gone south (at which point the civil courts kick in anyways), almost impossible to comply with, and only provide job security for some of our President's ex-students.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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Either way - Capitalism versus Regulation - in a democratic country, the power ultimately rests with the people.

Believe it or not, the best economies are those who can achieve a balance between the free market and regulatory oversight. You can take modern China as an example of this thought. Better yet, you can use Cebu, Philippines' MEPZ program from a microeconomic view.

In my opinion, the US has had this balance. It's teetering right now but, it's still pretty good in comparison to most countries.

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Either way - Capitalism versus Regulation - in a democratic country, the power ultimately rests with the people.

Believe it or not, the best economies are those who can achieve a balance between the free market and regulatory oversight. You can take modern China as an example of this thought. Better yet, you can use Cebu, Philippines' MEPZ program from a microeconomic view.

In my opinion, the US has had this balance. It's teetering right now but, it's still pretty good in comparison to most countries.

It's a difficult balance to right. A democratic country requires that its populace be informed and passionate; When we vote based upon 10 second sound snippets instead of facts, we rob our future.

Corporate interests have proven time and time again that they can't be trusted with too much unregulated power. Governments have proven time and time again that they can't be trusted with too much unregulated power.

Take power away from the government and you naturally give power to those groups of people who push for an agenda: The larger the group, the more power they will have. This includes corporations, special interests, etc. This can create the 'Tyranny of the majority' that the founding fathers warned against. Take too much power away from the individual, even individuals who band together for a common goal, and you have a Tyranny of an altogether more traditional type.

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In related news: The DOJ has brokered a settlement allowing Goldman to walk away with only $550 million in civil liability for fraudulent mortgage practices.

Just for the record, doing an end-run around the courts like this--and pre-empting/watering down the claims of thousands, if not millions, of consumers in the process--was not, as far as I know, a conservative idea.

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Same old stuff - low taxes, small government, few regulations of businesses, against health care reform. I know who these people worship, and it's not Christ or even Allah or Zeus. It's the almighty dollar. They act like Darwinists, survival of the fittest (wealthiest.)

You don't own a business do you? And likely never will.....small government with less wasteful spending is GOOD. Lower taxes because of less WASTEFUL governmental spending is GOOD. Becoming wealthy from HARDWORK is GOOD.

The mantra from the left is "tax cuts for the middle class"....hmmm...if tax cuts are good for the middle class why not all the classes? Particularly the class that employ most of the nations workers.

Edited by bytor2112

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In related news: The DOJ has brokered a settlement allowing Goldman to walk away with only $550 million in civil liability for fraudulent mortgage practices.

Just for the record, doing an end-run around the courts like this--and pre-empting/watering down the claims of thousands, if not millions, of consumers in the process--was not, as far as I know, a conservative idea.

Clearly $550 million dollars is enough for nearly bringing the western world to its knees economically. Why, $550 million dollars is almost a third of the losses of their worst single month ever. A whole month!

Yes. Some people might say that their ninja loan scheme hurt lots of people in the short run and left them homeless with the ruthless uncaring of a 1930s era Banker-baron. Yes. Some people might say that the company bounced back from a $1.3 billion one month loss just a couple of years ago to have its most profitable year ever, and that $550 million is a drop in the bucket compared to how much their policies cost the world.

I disagree. I think this was a clearly great idea. $550 million sounds like a lot of money to me. Why, plunging the world in to economic chaos for a few years is small change compared to this being more than Goldman Sachs earns in a week. Clearly, it's a high enough punishment. They've learned their lesson. Clearly.

PS: As an aside, despite the fact that I hate bitterly this sort of sidestep of the separation of powers, this is not a Liberal idea. Nor is it a Conservative.

It's a Capitol Hill idea: Don't bite the hand that feeds you.

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