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‘Get Rich Cheating’

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Posted on Jun 2, 2009
Harper Paperbacks

Jeff Kreisler

(Page 3)

Regulations, Schmegulations
Remember when you were little and your friends came over to play and they’d get mad because you made up the rules as you went along because you were playing in your yard with your toys? Well, having influence over a regulatory regime is just like that. Only without Mom bugging you to play nice.

What’s the number one thing you want to have your regulatory regime do? Deregulate. Especially electricity. Deregulation led to Enron’s profits (and the California energy crisis, boo-hoo) and in Illinois it will probably generate a huge windfall for companies like Ameren and Exelon. MBNA and other credit card companies are huge campaign contributors. In the past thirty years or so, they’ve eliminated personal bankruptcy and had most of their questionable practices— like hidden fees, deceptive advertising, arbitrary high penalties, and usurious rates—legalized through deregulation.


book cover


Get Rich Cheating


By Jeff Kreisler


Harper Paperbacks, 336 pages


Buy the book

You can use influence over regulators in other ways:
•Ken Lay basically got to appoint all the members of Bush’s Energy Task Force, and, gosh darn, didn’t Enron make a boatload for a little while?
•The Big Five accounting firms—with their $39 million-ish of political donations between 1989 and 2001—successfully prevented Arthur Levitt of the SEC from changing the accounting-auditing rules, which cheated them billions.
•Why not just pass regulations that require you to get $1 million every five minutes? Why not?

The rule-making possibilities are endless: Red rover, red rover, send cheating right over. Simon says . . . cheat! No givebacks, no cooties—if I can’t have shotgun then I call “cheating”!

* * *


1. Eric Lipton, “Insider’s Projects Drained Missile-Defense Millions,” The New York Times, October 11, 2008.

2. Charlie Cray, “No Bid and No Problem,” http://www.tompaine .com/articles/no_bid_and_no_problem.php. There was more planning for the rebuilding contracts than for the rebuilding itself. Nice!

3. Jane Corbin, “BBC uncovers lost Iraq billions,”

4. James Glanz, “Iraq Spending Ignored Rules, Pentagon Says,” The New York Times,May 23, 2008.

5. Ted Stevens got the most ($94.1 million) because Alaska has so many needy caribou.

6. Ron Nixon, “Not All Earmarks Are Paid in Full, and a Senator Wants to Know Why,” The New York Times, May 20, 2008.

7. “Pork barrel spending” is using a pig to lure monkeys out of a barrel in order to fill that barrel with ill-gotten booty. Less fun, but more rich.

8. Karl Rove, “How to Win in a Knife Fight,” Newsweek, April 7, 2008.

9. Jeffrey Toobin, “Fraud Alert,” The New Yorker, January 14, 2008.

“Get Rich Cheating” Excerpt 2 will be available next week.

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godistwaddle's avatar

By godistwaddle, June 8, 2009 at 7:55 am Link to this comment

At least cheating doesn’t directly murder and exploit littler, browner people.

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, June 7, 2009 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

The United States has a CAPITALIST Economy, of which:

The American Aristocracy has “Moneyed Capital”,

The Professional Middle Class Singularity of Toadies have “Cultural Capital”, and

The 70% Majority Common Population as a class and culture have no capital remuneration from the capitalist system, and MUST DEMAND to have “Workforce Capital” in the economy of the United States.

In a capitalist system, if we are going to continue having a capitalist system in the United States, all classes and cultures must share in the benefit of capital.  Otherwise, capitalism in the United States is nothing more than a scheme of idealism by the American Aristocracy and the Professional Middle Class to perpetuate advantage for their combined 30% minority at the expense of the 70% majority common population as a class and culture, who receive only wages while both the American Aristocracy and the Professional Middle Class receive capital.

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By samosamo, June 6, 2009 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment

Why are comments to this post not appearing, just as I will assume this comment will not appear?

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By samosamo, June 5, 2009 at 8:25 am Link to this comment

What the hell happened to this article? I commented to it last night and today I have 2 email notices of other comments but there are NONE!

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By nimblehuman, June 5, 2009 at 7:39 am Link to this comment

This is exactly what infuriates me about Republicans, who ooze self-righteousness in public while busily fleecing the country.

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By PRGP, June 5, 2009 at 6:39 am Link to this comment

The book would seem to be very revealing and sadly funny if it didn’t expose the very lowest of lifeforms on the planet.  Lifeforms that should be exterminated.

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By samosamo, June 4, 2009 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment

No doubt that this will become the only text book kids will need to garner an ‘elitist’ income but they will still have to know how to read and comprehend.

Besides, those kids want have to be bothered by going to all those other classes to learn all that dumb stuff that is dull and boring.

The comment is brought to you by ‘satire’.

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By John Acton, June 3, 2009 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment

“Moving Water Industries Corp. recently won a $32 million New Orleans drainage contract from the Army Corps of Engineers. The company’s bid matched up nicely with the specifications of the Army’s request for bids, which just happened to have been taken verbatim, typos and all, from the catalog of . . . ding! . . . Moving Water Industries Corp. Hey, it’s not their fault the Army can’t afford to hire competent employees.”

Perhaps the fact that MWI was the only company in the World have built the specific type and size of pump that the USACE needed for its unprecedented engineering feat to prepare New Orland for another Katrina in 2006; or perhaps the fact that MWI has a US patent on these unique type of pumps; or perhaps the fact that the USACE used MWI rental pumps to dewater New Orleans in half the time they originally projected; or perhaps that MWI was the only pump company willing to build these custom designed, engineered, and built pumps in USACE specific demand for delivery in less than 6 months may have influenced the Corps decision.  BTW, the engineers working for the COrps are extremely competent - it is the politicians that cause diasters such as Katerina in New Oleans.  Please note there has no repeat of the disasterous flooding of New Orleans since the 2005 Hurricaine season.

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By Wayward Indc, June 3, 2009 at 7:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wow - this article is so accurate, but it barely scratches the
keyboard. Most folks have no clue of the massive lottery style earnings/theft of the Contractors. Small 8a’s with a nice bit of nepotism and you’re a millionaire! KACHING!
  It’s nothing to do at all to do with the work, it’s a sole-sorce treadmill of hiring and firing people for tax purposes and making good friends of the check writers. Think of any agency and rest assured it’s partly held-captive.

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