U.S. Economic/Financial News
Cheney & Co. Push for Elimination of FDR Regulations
Vice President Dick Cheney keynoted a March 12 semi-secret dinner session of the U.S. Treasury's "Capital Markets Competitiveness Conference," which included senior Republican and Democratic lawmakers, and was also addressed by billionaire investor Warren Buffet, the New York Times reported March 14.
A second session March 13 was held at Georgetown University and keynoted by Treasury Secretary Paulson. Paulson's talk was public, but the subsequent panels on implementation were closed. Participants included SEC Chairman Chris Cox, Alan Greenspan, Bob Rubin, Paul Volcker, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as well as companies JP Morgan Chase, General Electric, Charles Schwab, Arthur Levitt, and the New York Stock Exchange.
In addition, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had scheduled an event on March 14 to feature the report of its "Commission on the Regulation of U.S. Capital Markets in the 21st Century," co-chaired by A.B. Culvahouse and Clinton's Secretary of Commerce William Daley, now vice president of JPMorgan Chase. Their report notes that the U.S. regulatory structure dates from the "1930s, a period that was closer in time to the Civil War than it is to today," an indirect but clear attack on FDR measures.
The USCC report calls for Sarbanes-Oxley enforcement to be given over to Cox's SEC, so that the latter can put an end to its enforcement. Corporations are to be given special legal privileges against criminal charges and stockholder suits. Accounting firms are to be exempt from big damage awards, and selectively made over from partnerships into public corporations. Corporations should stop issuing quarterly earnings guidances.
The Chamber also recommends Pinochet's Chilean Social Security plan for the U.S.: "Increase retirement savings plans by connecting all employers of 21 or more employees without any retirement plan, to a financial institution that will offer a retirement plan to those employees," in return for compulsory contributions deducted from their wages!
These deregulators cite the United States' diminishing so-called "competitiveness" with deregulated London in attracting hedge funds and other financial parasites, but their real motivation relates to their desire to eliminate FDR's legacy entirely, before the coming financial blowout.
Halliburton Already Has 13 Subsidiaries in the Caymans
In addition to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chair Henry Waxman's (D-Calif.) call for hearings on Halliburton's surprise move to Dubai, both Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) have issued statements: While Lautenberg is concerned about the possibility that Halliburton may want to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran, Clinton zeroes in on the likelihood that Dick Cheney's company is trying to avoid both taxes and the possible oversight exposure. "We have a lot of evidence of misuse of government contracts and how they have cheated the American soldier and cheated the American taxpayer. They have taken the money and not provided the services, so, does this mean that we won't be able to pursue these investigations?"
Perhaps someone should remind them of the 2004 U.S. Government Accountability Office report on international taxation, which found that Halliburton owns 17 subsidiaries in tax haven countries, including 13 in the Cayman Islands, which has no corporate income tax. CitizenWorks.org reports that, under Cheney's watch, the number of Halliburton subsidiaries in tax haven locations soared from 9 to 44.