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Tag: Finance

My Interview with British MEP Daniel Hannan on Populism, Brexit and the EU and the Long Financial Crisis Hangover

In connection with the release of Encounter Books’ Vox Populi: The Perils and Promises of Populism, I interviewed one of its exceptional contributors, the always-eloquent and erudite British MEP Daniel Hannan.

During our discussion we touch on among other things:

  • The anti-progressive character of modern populism
  • The failure of the elite political establishment
  • Brexit and the future of the EU
  • The death of classical liberalism in Europe
  • The underappreciated impact on the financial crisis on the Western body politic
  • The imperative to defend free market capitalism

You can listen to our interview in full here, and read a transcript of our discussion here.

The Ironic Tie Between Elizabeth Warren’s Hypocritical Home-Flipping and Mitt Romney

Massachusetts political roots aside, you might think that the comparison of Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former governor and failed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is absurd.

Warren, the progressive populist who in both rhetoric and regulation has sought to shackle “predatory” financial institutions as a means of supposedly protecting “the little guy,” and Romney, the patrician and wealthy denizen of the financial establishment of 47 percent infamy, would appear to be polar opposites.

Elizabeth Warren delivers her famous "You didn't build that" speech. (Image Source: YouTube screengrab)

Elizabeth Warren delivers her famous “You didn’t build that” speech. (Image Source: YouTube)

But alas, as so often is the case in politics, Warren’s public face is contradicted by her private actions – actions that we will soon see are similar in nature to those that made Romney a millionaire.

Warren, like Romney, profited by buying assets at low prices and through either improving said assets or waiting for the market to strengthen, selling them at higher prices.

As Jillian Kay Melchior and Eliana Johnson lay out in a recent National Review exposé, Warren “bought and sold at least five [residential] properties for profit,” generating at least $240,500 before accounting for remodeling costs.

Several of the homes Warren purchased and then flipped had been foreclosed upon.

The focus of the piece is the rank hypocrisy that Warren would execute such profit-seeking transactions, given that she has called the idea of buying and selling properties quickly for profit a “myth” that contributed to our economic woes, and decried the banks that foreclosed on the homes of working class Americans.

Rightfully, the column closes with the following flourish:

In her 2014 autobiography, Warren wrote of the events that precipitated the financial crisis that “everyone seemed to have a story about someone they knew who was getting rich by flipping houses.”

She omitted a crucial one.

But it ought to be pointed out that not only were Warren’s actions counter to her stated principles – they mimicked those of the private equity companies and other financial institutions that she has spent her entire public life railing against.

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