America won the Cold War against the Soviet Union. However, its economy is beginning to show features of the cronyism that has run rampant in state-run economies which have emerged since then, according to Government Accountability Institute President Peter Schweizer.
Schweizer, a leading expert on the Cold War and crony capitalism in American politics, said while America won the Cold War, America’s system of capitalism in the process got infected with a sort of tapeworm because we have “moved in the direction to become more like Russia rather than them becoming more like us.”
On Breitbart News Saturday with co-hosts Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon and Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow, Schweizer said that after the Soviet Union came apart, the strongest network for building businesses consisted of former KGB agents because they had “all the relationships, contacts, information.”
That is why, he said, people like Putin and his colleagues were able to leverage their networks to sell off state assets to the oligarchs.
“Crony capitalism and the rise of Putin’s Russia are deeply connected,” Schweizer said. “[Connected businesses] got a firehouse sale where they were able to get their assets for pennies on the dollar.”
He then talked about the Putin Consulting firm, which was founded by Vladimir Putin’s cousin, as exemplifying everything that is wrong with Russia’s economy. The firm doesn’t even make an attempt to hide its cronyist function.
“Our goal is to facilitate entrance into the Russian market, to minimize the transaction and administrative barriers, and to ensure complex business security,” Roman Putin said in a statement announcing his firm.
Schweizer said the cronyism is not as bad in the United States, “but we are heading in the same direction,” and that is evidenced by the recent green-energy boondoggles like Solyndra in which Obama administration officials are “picking winners and losers the same way” that Russia did in the 1990s.
“It’ s corrupt, and it’s corrosive,” he said. “And eventually you get this massive inequality.”