When people say the system is rigged, they are referring to gerrymandering, cronyism, and favors for the few disguised as do-gooder programs.
April 29, 2019
By: Bobby Casey, Managing Director GWP
I’m well past the idea of believing the US system is a “few reforms” away from being adequate.
There’s no simple structure to elections. It differs from state to state and party to party. I mean, the DNC has “super delegates”, whatever that means. I’m no Democrat, but I saw what the DNC did to Bernie, and if that’s happening on their side, it’s happening on all sides.
The current federal budget is $4.7 trillion dollars, yet people have the nerve to call the US an “unfettered capitalist” country. That budget is entirely dedicated toward meddling in the markets.
Not only that, the US is set to borrow another $1 TRILLION to finance its deficit for the second year in a row.
Estimates for the cost of regulation are around $2 trillion annually. Federal tax compliance costs over $37 billion per year in the US.
You can call the US what you want, but capitalist it most certainly is NOT. This is without touching on the cronyism.
Cronyism isn’t a partisan thing. It’s an integrity thing, the likes of which are rarely found in the halls of government.
As you know, I offer insights on how to get residency or citizenship in other countries. A tool often used by government is “residency/citizenship by investment”. Many islands in the Caribbean sell citizenship and residency through investment schemes that are meant to “help” the country.
In fact, St. Kitts and Nevis did this and Antigua and Barbuda is currently doing this to help pay for the aftermath of the hurricanes that hit them. Whether they actually use those funds effectively for that purpose, isn’t the applicants’ problem.
The US has something like that called EB-5. Immigrants can get a US visa in exchange for real estate investments. Investments need to be between $500,000 and $1,000,000. These funds are supposed to spur development in remote rural areas and/or distressed urban ones.
Just southwest of Central Park in Manhattan is a new structure known as Hudson Yards which received $1.2 billion in EB-5 funding.
Here’s how it worked: The money from the EB-5 program must be invested in a “targeted employment area” or TEA. TEA is defined as having unemployment higher than 150% of the national average. Poverty is not what comes to mind when you ask people about the that area, however.
New York found a loophole. The immigration reform legislation that provided this EB-5 measure never specified WHO should define the districts, nor is there any guidance on HOW those districts should be defined. It only asked that the district — however it is defined — meet the unemployment criteria.
Hudson Yards was redistricted as a “high unemployment” area because it includes poorer under-served areas such as Harlem.
I don’t mind private foreign investment on a property development, except that they used government tools to do it. Not only did this particular project use gerrymandering to qualify for the funds, it used up a good amount of the slots for the EB-5 visa.
There’s 10,000 allotted per year. They used 3,200 PLUS their family members. Those are a lot of slots!
New York Senator, Chuck Schumer is a staunch defender of the status quo for the EB-5 visas… I wonder why?
“Schumer has strong and long-standing ties to New York City’s development community. Fragomen, a law firm that has a prominent EB-5 practice, was his fourth-largest donor and has donated $82,200 to his campaign committee.“
Gerrymandering is a common practice by one party or another to stack the deck in legislature. It marginalizes one group of voters, and reduces the odds of the opposing party from gaining any seats.
Such is the case in Michigan. Federal courts have rejected the maps drawn the Republicans in their legislature. They have until August 2019 to redraw a map with the Democratic governor’s approval. If they fail to meet that deadline, the courts will draw their maps for them.
Illinois has a similar problem. The same Democrat has been drawing the district maps for that state since the early 1980s. The only way around that is if the governor overrides it and hires a 3rd party to map it out, or there’s a constitutional amendment in the state.
In Pennsylvania, the courts got involved because legislators were all but hand-picking their voters, to lock in a Republican majority in their legislature. Look at their District 7:
The courts redrew the maps and districts splitting fewer counties, and the outcome favors the Democrats.
This is what people are talking about when they say the system is rigged. This is the underbelly of what it is to be a “republic”. If the crux of a republic is representation, then are the people getting that? Even if you think the government serves some noble cause, it’s rather obvious that those areas were never going to get that funding.
Emma Goldman famously said, “If voting changed anything, it would be illegal.” Perhaps politicians just make sure voting only works for them
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