Nicholas Kristof: Crony Capitalism Comes Home

Calling for an end to crony capitalism in the United States, Nicholas Kristof at the New York Times writes:

Capitalism is so successful an economic system partly because of an internal discipline that allows for loss and even bankruptcy. It’s the possibility of failure that creates the opportunity for triumph. Yet many of America’s major banks are too big to fail, so they can privatize profits while socializing risk.

The upshot is that financial institutions boost leverage in search of supersize profits and bonuses. Banks pretend that risk is eliminated because it’s securitized. Rating agencies accept money to issue an imprimatur that turns out to be meaningless. The system teeters, and then the taxpayer rushes in to bail bankers out. Where’s the accountability?

It’s not just rabble-rousers at Occupy Wall Street who are seeking to put America’s capitalists on a more capitalist footing.

Do we really want a return to the age of the robber barons?

Or have we already returned?

Socialism for billionaires — is that the America we choose?

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