Derek Hunter, “How could this happen?” they always ask when things go sideways. Regulators, government officials, somehow “missed” what is easy to see in hindsight. Of course, it never has anything to do with missing something – people will always miss what they aren’t looking for – and everything to do with incompetence and corruption. In the case of the federal government and Silicon Valley Bank (and, honestly, damn near everything else), it’s also perfectly legal corruption committed in plain sight.
People do wonder how it was that the Treasury Secretary missed the current issues in the banking industry. It is, after all, Janet Yellen’s job to monitor banks to prevent them from getting anywhere close to collapse individually, let alone as an industry. How did she miss it?
The answer is simple: she didn’t care.
On January 4, 2021, CNN reported about then nominee Yellen, “Janet Yellen, President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for Treasury secretary, made more than $7 million in recent years by giving speeches to Wall Street banks, major corporations and industry groups.”
Ask yourself this question: Why would anyone pay a former head of the Federal Reserve to give a speech, let alone multiple speeches? And pay them a lot? Banks aren’t known for their sentimentality, paying people for their past actions, and Yellen is quite possibly the least charismatic and most uninteresting speaker in the history of verbal communication. So, unless your company is suffering from a massive bout of collective insomnia, why would anyone pay a former official a fortune for literally something that requires less caloric burn than sleeping?
It’s a bribe. But it’s not a bribe in the way you think about it, where someone is given money for a specific action, this is a pre-bribe, a speculative bribe. Think of it as seeding the ground just in case this person goes back into a position useful to you.
While $7 million is a lot of money to us normal people, it’s nothing to Wall Street banks. They’ve likely made or lost that amount in the time it took you to read this sentence. So paying people for as close to nothing as you can get is a smart investment if you believe they could end up in a position to help you in the future. Getting your phone calls returned really does matter.
Why do you think so many foreign governments and companies gave a degenerate loser junkie like Hunter Biden so much money? Sure, while Joe Biden was Vice President, those payments were to initiate them to the Biden family while they were in power, but the cash continued to flow because there was a likelihood that Joe would run for president in 2020 and they wanted to stay ahead of the curve.
All the money given to Hunter was legal, the reasons for it are what is in question. He was likely paid more than anyone ever from industries even he admits he had no knowledge of. But what is a fortune to us – millions of dollars – is nothing to these companies or governments. When Joe won in 2020, they hit the lottery. Whatever cash the Bidens got from China is nothing to China, but now they have an “in,” they have access or leverage. See how it works?
Jennifer Granholm, Secretary of Energy, was the Governor of Michigan years ago. She was young when she was term-limited out of the job. She did such a horrible job that none of the universities in Michigan wanted to hire her, she had to go to California to get a high-paying, easy job. She was “distinguished adjunct professor of law and public policy at UC Berkeley.” All those words say “high pay, very little responsibility.”
While there, she was mentioned several times as a possible Energy Secretary during the Obama administration. Why? No real reason. Governors of Michigan have no special insights into energy, nor do they really know much about the auto industry, honestly. But progressives know how to parlay positions into profits, so miraculously, Granholm was appointed to the board of an electric car company (along with other no-show gigs). With that, came millions in stock options.
She wasn’t worth a whole lot when she left Michigan, but somehow managed to amass a net worth of $8 million since then. Not because she invented something or started a company, but because there was a better than average chance she would end up in a future Democrat administration and a couple million is a small amount to spend to be assured your phone calls are answered by a Cabinet Secretary.
People are always shocked when they hear a company spent tens of millions on lobbying. The amounts blow people’s minds; it seems stupid. But wouldn’t you spend $10 million to get a government contract for $10 billion or more? Everyone would. They do.
They also throw money around on spec – the idea that people they shovel cash to, or their family members, will someday end up in a position to help them. It’s a small price to pay, but the people who literally write the rules are the ones who benefit the most from them, so do you really expect them to call it out for what it is? Of course not. But never lose sight of what it truly is: perfectly legal corruption.