Having purchased, rented, or placed a down payment on all the political influence up for sale in America, leftist troublemaker George Soros now plans to ramp up his war on markets worldwide by creating an "Institute for New Economic Thinking" (INET).
"The system we have now has actually broken down, only we haven't quite recognized it and so you need to create a new one and this is the time to do it," Soros told the Financial Times last month.
In an interview with Der Spiegel last year Soros said European-style socialism "is exactly what we need now. I am against market fundamentalism. I think this propaganda that government involvement is always bad has been very successful -- but also very harmful to our society."
As preparation for INET, which already has a functioning website, Soros gathered economists to plot his renewed drive for world statism. One of those economists is Joseph Stiglitz, a member of the . Stiglitz sits on SI's Commission on Global Financial Issues, which was created "to address from a social democratic perspective the ongoing global financial crisis." Of course to socialists a capitalist economy is by definition always in crisis, but that's a discussion for another day.
INET's website quotes socialist Stiglitz saying, "The financial crisis has caused a moment of deep reflection in the economics profession, for it has put many long-standing ideas to the test. If science is defined by its ability to forecast the future, the failure of much of the economics profession to see the crisis coming should be a cause of great concern."
INET is scheduled to be launched at England's Cambridge University in April. The owner of America's Democratic Party, who spent over $20 million to prevent President Bush's reelection in 2004, plans to shell out $50 million for INET over a decade and hopes matching funds will push the total endowment to $200 million.
Liberal writer Ezra Klein notes, "That's a lot of money. It's so much money, in fact, that it's hard to imagine how an economics think tank will use it."
Why Soros feels he's not having enough impact on the world is unclear.
Soros helped finance the Czech Republic's 1989 "Velvet Revolution" that brought Vaclav Havel to power. He acknowledged having orchestrated coups in Croatia, Georgia, Slovakia, and Yugoslavia. He brought the financial systems of the United Kingdom and Malaysia to their knees.
In the U.S., his preferred candidate now lives in the White House, the radical party he adores controls Congress, and interest groups and the bulk of the progressive political infrastructure kneel at his feet.
Through his charity, the Open Society Institute, Soros funds groups such as ACORN that are among the most influential in America.
Since 1999, OSI has given grants to John Podesta's Center for American Progress ($1.8 million), Center on Budget and Policy Priorities ($3.7 million), Economic Policy Institute ($3 million), Institute for America's Future ($965,000), and the Center for Policy Alternatives ($1.4 million). In the same period OSI has given Tides Foundation and Tides Center, which distribute often-anonymous grants to radical and anti-American groups, a staggering $20.8 million.
Soros has visited the White House at least four times this year and has influence with other frequent White House visitors.
For example, Center for American Progress president Podesta, who was Bill Clinton's White House chief of staff and who helped run the Obama transition team, is on Soros's payroll. Podesta has visited the White House an astonishing 17 times this year.
And Andy Stern, president of the radical Service Employees International Union, which is an institutional member of Soros's Democracy Alliance, has visited the White House an even more impressive 20 times.
Surprisingly, Alexandra Visher of the Democracy Alliance, a donors' consortium aimed at turning America into socialist Europe, informed me in an email Monday that INET "is not a Democracy Alliance recommended project, nor is it being considered as a recommended project."
Although markets have helped make him a billionaire almost a dozen times over, Soros blames markets -- and not the suffocating regulations and high taxes his funding of left-wing groups promotes -- for the current economic meltdown. "The entire edifice of global financial markets has been erected on the false premise that markets can be left to their own devices, we must find a new paradigm and rebuild from the ground up. I decided to sponsor INET to facilitate the process."
's Michael Hirsh channels Soros in describing the purpose of INET. The new institute, Hirsh writes, will "make research grants, convene symposiums, and establish a journal, all in an effort to take back the economics profession from the champions of free-market zealotry who have dominated it for decades, and to correct the failures of decades of market deregulation."
Only in the twisted fantasies of the septuagenarian billionaire philanthropist whose demeanor is that of an aging James Bond villain on sedatives could such phantom armies of marauding free market fundamentalists wreak havoc on America. Perhaps these were the same laissez-faire legionnaires who brought us Sarbanes-Oxley, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, various government bailouts of private industry, farm subsidies, ethanol mandates, smart growth, and the Community Reinvestment Act in recent decades.
One thing's for certain: Soros's answers to the nation's problems almost invariably involve more regulation and more government intervention in the marketplace. If a policy increases the power of the state and diminishes the power of the individual, Soros is for it.