In this Washington Post interview, Lally Weymouth asks the newly-elected Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, his views on a variety of subjects. Of particular interest to Crony Chronicles was his response to the following question:
That is part of diversifying the economy?
Andrew Evans from the Free Beacon has recently posted this article, concerning the latest case of corporate welfare that involves the Ex-Im bank. The Export-Import Bank has recently extended a $32 million financing support, to the sale of helicopters made by an Italian company whose boss has been arrested earlier this year on charges of bribery.
Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank president Fred Hochberg announced on Twitter Tuesday that the Ex-Im board approved $32 million in financing to support the export of three AgustaWestland helicopters to Brazil. Ex-Im spokesman Phil Cogan said this financing will take the form of a loan guarantee backing another lender.
AgustaWestland, based in England, is a subsidiary of the Italian aeronautics manufacturer Finmeccanica, in which the Italian government holds a 30 percent stake.
The CEOs of Finmeccanica and AgustaWestland were arrested in February on bribery charges related to the sale of several helicopters to the Indian government. They were both subsequently fired.
Diane Bartz from Yahoo News has recently reported about the new regulatory goals that Microsoft is trying to promote. Microsoft filed a motion in a U.S. court asking the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection to enforce and apply trade restrictions on importing phones manufactured by Google Inc. subsidiaries overseas; inhibiting broader possibilities to American consumers.
The U.S. International Trade Commission, which hears a long list of high-tech patent complaints, said in May 2012 that Google’s Motorola Mobility infringed a Microsoft patent for generating and synchronizing calendar items. It barred any infringing Motorola Mobility device from being imported into the United States.
“U.S. Customs appropriately rejected Microsoft’s effort to broaden its patent claims to block Americans from using a wide range of legitimate calendar functions, like scheduling meetings, on their mobile phones,” said Matt Kallman, a Google spokesman.
Matthew Boyle from Breitbart.com has recently written the following article, highlighting how lobbying has reach a international – and questionable - scale in Washington D.C.
Public records show that Chinese company Huawei, a company accused of passing “intimate” information to the Chinese government, employed 18 lobbyists on Capitol Hill in 2012, including former Democratic Congressman Don Bonker of Washington.
Former CIA and NSA director and retired four-star General Michael Hayden told the Australian Financial Review (AFR) that telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies has passed information to the Chinese government.
Iain Murray and Alex McHugh from CEI have recently written the following piece, concerning the new proposed trade agreements between the United States and the European Union, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). This new TTIP is far from being a trade agreement that promotes free trade and competition.
EU negotiators have come to the table with directives in hand that include a blatantly protectionist “cultural exception” for the audiovisual industries, especially film.
The EU is removing import quotas on certain types of sugar. From Reuters:
Europe’s soft drinks and ice creams will take on a transatlantic flavour as syrups made from wheat and corn seize market share from sugar, after reforms sweep the European Union’s quota-ridden system into a more competitive arena.
Quotas for sugar and cereal based sweeteners are to end in 2017 after European Union negotiators agreed on sweeping changes to the bloc’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) last month, which involved liberalising sugar production and cutting subsidies to the largest farms.
A Reuters article describes how the French government was looking to restrict Amazon from providing their customers with free delivery or other discounts, because they wish to protect the existing market.
Guillaume Husson, spokesman for the SLF book retailers’ union, said Amazon’s practice of bundling a 5 percent discount with free delivery amounted to selling books at a loss, which was impossible for traditional book sellers of any size.
“Today, the competition is unfair… No other book retailer, whether a small or large book or even a chain, can allow itself to lose that much money,” he said, referring to Amazon’s alleged losses on free delivery.
Diana Furchtgott-Roth, from Real Clear Markets, has written the following article stressing how Italy has substantial problems in their economy. The EU forces Italy to buy subsidized alternative energy at almost five time the cost of other sources, increasing the Italian deficit and on top of that their politicians have the highest salaries in Europe.
Italian electricity companies have to buy all wind power generated at $392 per megawatt hour. They must buy solar power at $520 per megawatt hour. In comparison, electricity generated by natural gas costs $95 per megawatt hour. How ironic that the European Central Bank is trying to get Italy to reduce its deficit, yet the EU insists that Italy buy alternative electricity at four or five times the cost of natural gas. Austerity obviously doesn’t apply to electricity production.
Italy’s politicians have the highest salaries in Europe, $250,000 a year, plus $20,000 annually in travel expenses. When they retire, their pensions range from $47,000 to $200,000 a year.
Jared Pincin and Brian Brenberg write a column in USA Today about cronyism in the US foreign aid program:
Cronies never miss an opportunity to feast on taxpayer dollars — even if it means taking from those who are most vulnerable.
The United States is the largest donor of international humanitarian aid, contributing roughly $8 billion in emergency food aid over the past five years. But a significant portion of that food aid is “tied,” which means the food must be sourced from U.S. suppliers and transported on U.S. ships, even if cheaper alternatives exist. The benefits of tying go to politically-connected companies in the U.S. at the expense of aid recipients. It’s a prime example of cronyism at work.
An article in Quartz highlights just how prevalent cronyism is in China; nearly all large businesses there receive support from the government:
Now a new study has found that most large Chinese companies—not just the state-owned ones—are receiving handsome government subsidies. Beijing research house Fathom China examined 50 large Chinese private sector companies and discovered that 45 of them were in receipt of some form of state subsidies, even though they lacked a major government shareholder.