Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

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JD
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Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by JD » 17 Aug 2018, 10:36

So Elizabeth Warren, who is totally a capitalist who believes in markets, has introduced the "Accountable Capitalism Act". The main points are:
  • Any American corporation with more than $1 billion in annual revenue must obtain a federal charter from a newly formed Office of United States Corporations at the Department of Commerce
  • A United States corporation must ensure that no fewer than 40% of its directors are selected by the corporation's employees
  • Restricts the sales of company shares by the directors and officers of United States corporations
  • Prohibits United States corporations from making any political expenditures without the approval of 75% of its directors and shareholders
  • Permits the federal government to revoke the charter of a United States corporation if the company has engaged in repeated and egregious illegal conduct
As I've said before, calling yourself a capitalist and then saying "but only if capitalism does exactly what I want" is a little like saying "I think truffle-hunting dogs are a great way to find truffles; that's why I plan to keep them in my living room so I can get truffles from the comfort of my recliner instead of having to trudge through the forest after them." Point #4, about political expenditures (which I have not actually seen defined), seems like a pretty naked way to ensure that large corporations never make any political statements at all, particularly combined with point #2.
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JasonL
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by JasonL » 17 Aug 2018, 11:09

She's fking awful. As if the tax code and existing regulatory bodies don't create enough levers for politicians to extract favors and concessions. The very idea that "new regulatory body with kingmaker powers" in any way relates to "accountability" is a joke. I'm sure those guys will be totally accountable.

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by Aresen » 17 Aug 2018, 11:15

Agree it is awful. But it sounds 'democratic'.

Also, I think many Trump supporters would agree with this.
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JD
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by JD » 17 Aug 2018, 11:18

To be honest, what makes me cringe most about the ACA is the utterly predictable reaction from lefties about how brilliant and wonderful Elizabeth Warren is, how this is an idea whose time has come, how she's saving capitalism from itself, etc.
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by nicole » 17 Aug 2018, 11:31

Ugh we can't call this the ACA, we already have an ACA!
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by thoreau » 17 Aug 2018, 11:47

If Elizabeth Warren didn't exist, moderate Democrats would have to invent her. "Come on, donors, is THIS the person you want as Majority Whip? No? Then donate to my PAC, not hers!"
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by Shem » 17 Aug 2018, 11:59

JD wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 10:36
As I've said before, calling yourself a capitalist and then saying "but only if capitalism does exactly what I want" is a little like saying "I think truffle-hunting dogs are a great way to find truffles; that's why I plan to keep them in my living room so I can get truffles from the comfort of my recliner instead of having to trudge through the forest after them."
So, are we back around to "Germany and the Nordics aren't actually capitalist"? Because other than the stuff about political donations, (which they don't need because they already have much more restrictive measures across the board) all of this stuff is decades-old policy there.
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by Jasper » 17 Aug 2018, 12:03

Now do the same for unions.

lol
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by thoreau » 17 Aug 2018, 12:04

Shem wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 11:59
JD wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 10:36
As I've said before, calling yourself a capitalist and then saying "but only if capitalism does exactly what I want" is a little like saying "I think truffle-hunting dogs are a great way to find truffles; that's why I plan to keep them in my living room so I can get truffles from the comfort of my recliner instead of having to trudge through the forest after them."
So, are we back around to "Germany and the Nordics aren't actually capitalist"? Because other than the stuff about political donations, (which they don't need because they already have much more restrictive measures across the board) all of this stuff is decades-old policy there.
The Nordic countries are capitalist when somebody says we need to be socialist like they are. They are socialist when somebody says we should embrace their brand of capitalism.
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by Shem » 17 Aug 2018, 12:09

Jasper wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 12:03
Now do the same for unions.

lol
In what sense?
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by Jasper » 17 Aug 2018, 12:30

Shem wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 12:09
Jasper wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 12:03
Now do the same for unions.

lol
In what sense?
Require 75% approval of members in order to make political expenditures.
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Shem
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by Shem » 17 Aug 2018, 12:43

Jasper wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 12:30
Shem wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 12:09
Jasper wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 12:03
Now do the same for unions.

lol
In what sense?
Require 75% approval of members in order to make political expenditures.
That would actually be a relaxation of current regulations. They can't use dues money (the majority of their funding) for any partisan political activity, even if every single member agrees. The money they do use comes from additional, completely optional donations to their PACs.
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by lunchstealer » 17 Aug 2018, 13:04

Jasper wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 12:03
Now do the same for unions.

lol
You mean have 40% of the directors for unions be elected by the employers? That would lulzatopia.
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Shem
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by Shem » 17 Aug 2018, 13:43

lunchstealer wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 13:04
Jasper wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 12:03
Now do the same for unions.

lol
You mean have 40% of the directors for unions be elected by the employers? That would lulzatopia.
Actually, if you dislike unions, a codetermination measure like this is probably one of the best ways to eliminate unions as we know them. Folding them into the governance structure like that would essentially eliminate the adversarial relationship that creates most of the stuff anti-union people dislike about unions.
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by Mo » 17 Aug 2018, 15:38

I think if you changed the political donations thing to a simple majority, it would be a defensible move. You would need to include a way for them not having to approve every individual donation, like being able to designate an agent, and possibly requiring that to have a supermajority.
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by Jennifer » 17 Aug 2018, 17:04

JD wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 10:36
Permits the federal government to revoke the charter of a United States corporation if the company has engaged in repeated and egregious illegal conduct
I -- don't actually see why this would be a problem.
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by JD » 17 Aug 2018, 17:30

Jennifer wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 17:04
JD wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 10:36
Permits the federal government to revoke the charter of a United States corporation if the company has engaged in repeated and egregious illegal conduct
I -- don't actually see why this would be a problem.
That seems like it would kind of go without saying, but I guess it ties in with some people's desire to be able to give the "death penalty" to corporations.
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by Jennifer » 17 Aug 2018, 17:36

JD wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 17:30
Jennifer wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 17:04
JD wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 10:36
Permits the federal government to revoke the charter of a United States corporation if the company has engaged in repeated and egregious illegal conduct
I -- don't actually see why this would be a problem.
That seems like it would kind of go without saying, but I guess it ties in with some people's desire to be able to give the "death penalty" to corporations.
If a company does indeed engage in "repeated and egregious illegal conduct," why not give it a "death penalty"?
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by Jennifer » 17 Aug 2018, 17:55

If, for example, the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania were a for-profit corporation -- say, running a chain of "youth centers" or whatever -- but with the exact same "Despite our mission statement, we actually operate as a happy hunting ground for pedophile rapists, and the whole organization bends over backwards to protect said rapists and make sure they always have a fresh supply of potential victims" behaviors -- yeah, "merely" arresting and imprisoning the individual rapists and rapist-enablers wouldn't be enough, IMO: that entire company is rotten and needs to be taken down. Only question is, what to do about said company's assets and how much, if any, should be returned to the company's shareholders and other investors.

And when the full truth comes out regarding what's going on in ICE's kiddie concentration camps -- most of which are owned and operated by for-profit companies -- yeah, I strongly suspect those companies in question will be deserving of a corporate death penalty too. Why would it be bad to do away with our current status quo regarding such companies? "No matter how repeatedly and egregiously they break the law, no matter how many people they hurt in doing so, The Company must survive!" Why?
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by Mo » 17 Aug 2018, 18:09

JD wrote:
Jennifer wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 17:04
JD wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 10:36
Permits the federal government to revoke the charter of a United States corporation if the company has engaged in repeated and egregious illegal conduct
I -- don't actually see why this would be a problem.
That seems like it would kind of go without saying, but I guess it ties in with some people's desire to be able to give the "death penalty" to corporations.
The thing is we don’t really have good remedies for serious crimes committed by companies. Officers and shareholders are pretty well protected and even the individual actors seem to not have anything happen to them due to cover of policy.

How many criminal/fraudulent acts has Wells Fargo been busted for in the past 2 or so years? There have been some middling fines, but no jail time for fraud that would put an individual in jail for a decade plus. Aside from the account stuff, the forced borrowers to buy redundant car insurance to the tube of tens of millions in revenue and thousands of repos. Also, they secretly changed the loan terms of borrowers in bankruptcy, falsified records to charge customers for its own delays in mortgages and stole from bond holders to pay legal fees. And the statutory fines are such that it’s worth the gamble of getting away with it.
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's

Post by Shem » 17 Aug 2018, 18:15

Mo wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 18:09
And the statutory fines are such that it’s worth the gamble of getting away with it.
Especially when you consider that the nature of the law is such that they can run out the appeals process and let inflation take the edge off the fines, a la Exxon.
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by Eric the .5b » 17 Aug 2018, 18:43

Jennifer wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 17:55
If, for example, the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania were a for-profit corporation
WTF?

Why even go there? "I like this proposal about punishing for-profit corporations, which I will support by invoking a tainted group that...isn't even a for-profit corporation?"

Why not just go to, "If, for example, the neo-Nazi movement was a for-profit coporation..."?
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by Number 6 » 17 Aug 2018, 18:47

I think she was trying to make a point about completely corrupted organizations. It's certainly not an exact metaphor, but I understood her point. It's also notable that the Catholic Church, like Wells Fargo, can be credited with some good works as well as terrible activities. I'm not sure the for-profit part is relevant to the point she was making.
Of course, I could be missing something.
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by Aresen » 17 Aug 2018, 19:43

Number 6 wrote:
17 Aug 2018, 18:47
I think she was trying to make a point about completely corrupted organizations. It's certainly not an exact metaphor, but I understood her point. It's also notable that the Catholic Church, like Wells Fargo, can be credited with some good works as well as terrible activities. I'm not sure the for-profit part is relevant to the point she was making.
Of course, I could be missing something.
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by Painboy » 17 Aug 2018, 19:52

The thing is with companies 99% of the employees may have had nothing to do with any crimes. So to shitcan it for the actions of a few would be a pretty ugly thing since you could be putting thousands out of work and even possibly hammering towns with a large company presence. Think Flint but in the span of a few months.

Also this would produce even more lobbying and bribery in congress. Not to mention companies have already tried stoking things like anti-trust actions against their competitors under dubious reasons. I could only see that getting worse.

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