By Franklin D. López- former United Press International and The Associated Press news-writer.
“A plutocracy (Greek: πλοῦτος, ploutos, ‘wealth’ and κράτος, kratos, ‘power’) or plutarchy is a society that is ruled or controlled by people of great wealth or income. The first known use of the term in English dates from 1631. Unlike systems such as democracy, liberalism, socialism, communism or anarchism, plutocracy is not rooted in an established political philosophy.- Wikipedia.org
Investigative Journalist Greg Palast wrote a fascinating book with the title “The Bst Democracy that Money Can Buy” Amazon.com. In it writes Palast write what many reported and journalist do not dared to write: the truth and realities of our democratic system and institutions. Palast writes “Most journalists nowadays are afraid to expose blatant injustices perpetrated by our government because those news are not what sales to the lethargic majority. Because this disinterest politicians made decisions for us that favors their pockets and their friends without any benefit to the communities and the people who they represent.”
I was going to call this commentary :“The Day they killed the rule of Law Part II” you can read part one at: The Day they Killed the Rule of Law! https://franklindelanolopez.com/2017/05/20/the-day-they-killed-the-rule-of-law/ via @trueblue51. But changed it to “Plutocracy: the Guaranteed road of the death of Justice and the rule of law.” When I was studying law my Plans were to become a Constitutional lawyer. It was my belief at the time that “no One was above the law!” How naive I was. I think that Journalist Greg Palst should write a sequel to his book to be called “The best Justice system , that Money Can Buy!”. Why let’s take a look at two recent experiences and examples:
The Financial crisis of 2008:
The 2008 financial crisis cost the U.S. economy more than $22 trillion, to read the full report click here:a study by the Government Accountability Office published in 2009: https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-13-180
“What GAO Found”
“The 2007-2009 financial crisis has been associated with large economic losses and increased fiscal challenges. Studies estimating the losses of financial crises based on lost output (value of goods and services not produced) suggest losses associated with the recent crisis could range from a few trillion dollars to over $10 trillion. Also associated with the crisis were large declines in employment, household wealth, and other economic indicators. Some studies suggest the crisis could have long-lasting effects: for example, high unemployment, if persistent, could lead to skill erosion and lower future earnings for those affected. Finally, since the crisis began, federal, state, and local governments have faced greater fiscal challenges, in part because of reduced tax revenues from lower economic activity and increased spending to mitigate the impact of the recession.
While the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’s (Dodd- Frank Act) reforms could enhance the stability of the U.S. financial system and provide other benefits, the extent to which such benefits materialize will depend on many factors whose effects are difficult to predict. According to some academics, industry representatives, and others, a number of the act’s provisions could help reduce the probability or severity of a future crisis and thereby avoid or reduce the associated losses. These include subjecting large, complex financial institutions to enhanced prudential supervision, authorizing regulators to liquidate a financial firm whose failure could pose systemic risk, and regulating certain complex financial instruments. In contrast, some experts maintain these measures will not help reduce the probability or severity of a future crisis, while others note that their effectiveness will depend on how they are implemented by regulators, including through their rulemakings, and other factors, such as how financial firms respond to the new requirements. Quantifying the act’s potential benefits is difficult, but several studies have framed potential benefits of certain reforms by estimating output losses that could be avoided if the reforms lowered the probability of a future crisis.”- GAO study
The curious fact of the 2008 financial crisis is that the culprits responsible for the financial meltdown, not one banker of financial CEO was indicted or sent to prison despite the fact that all of them paid themselves salaries and bonuses in the billions of dollars. While the common man was prosecuted to the extend of the law for providing a false representation in a loan application or robbing the bank.
Both Holder and Brewer are partners in the Covington and Burling law firm in Washington and working for many of the firms responsible for the financial collapse!
The Department of Justice under Attorney General, Eric Holder decided to follow the policy recommendations of his assistant Attorney General Lenny Brewer, allowing the U.S. Department of Justice to make deals using extraordinary fines as the main tool of punishment. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced that in 2015 the Justice Department collected $23.1 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year (FY) ending Sept. 30, 2015. Collections in FY 2015 represent more than seven and a half times the approximately $2.93 billion of the Justice Department’s combined appropriations for the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and the main litigating divisions in that same period. For the banking institution the fine was a slap in the hand because they discounted it as a tax credit, and cost of doing business. The common man would be criminally prosecuted and sentenced to a minimum of five years in prison with fine as a frosting to the deal.
But the most recent transaction in which crimes proves “that it does pays” i the case against the multi-national pharmaceutical manufacturers responsible for the opioids
National Public radio announced recently published:
“Four of America’s biggest healthcare companies are close to a $26 billion settlement for their role making and distributing highly addictive opioid medications. At least 100,000 Americans died as a result of the opioids addiction and the cost of medical treatment running in the tens of billions of dollars to state and county government
But critics in Congress say corporate tax breaks could slash the value of the deal by more than $4 billion.
“If they get away with it, that means less money going into the treasury, less money for programs that would help deal with the fallout for the opioid crisis,” said Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA).
Public filings by AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, Johnson & Johnson, and McKesson show they all plan to write off future opioid payouts as operating losses, meaning they would pay far less in corporate income taxes.
These two examples the financial meltdown and the Opioids crisis establishes a clear path that wealthy executives and corporate officers can commit a crime and are above the law at a price that can be deducted as a cost of doing business. These are dangerous policies that subvert the rule of law and the framers of the Constitution. It is a clear path to the establishment of a plutocracy and the end of equal justice under the law as we thought we knew it! In Washington the new rule is: “money talks and bullshit walks.”