There is a thought-provoking article in Forbes titled We Can’t Save Capitalism Unless We Denounce Its False Prophets. The author, Bill Frezza, makes the point that when it comes to trying to save the “economic soul” of America, and by that he means the free market capitalist system, the Right vs Left dichotomy is not working and is counter productive. He rightly states that there are not two sides to this important issue; but three:
In one corner we have the traditional market capitalists, the bedrock of American exceptionalism and the source of our prosperity. These businesses, both large and small, pursue profits by trying to do a better job than their competitors at pleasing customers. Often referred to by the press as “Main Street,” most market capitalists seek neither special privileges from government nor regulatory shackles for their competitors.
In an adjacent corner, claiming a common heritage, are the crony capitalists. These are generally large companies with substantial lobbying operations. Contrary to popular belief, crony capitalists love regulations—especially when they get to write them. Nothing chokes off up-and-coming competitors better than a thicket of incomprehensible and expensive new rules. Crony capitalist enterprises have a well-oiled revolving door that allows their key people to seamlessly enter “government service” (sometimes taking huge severance bonuses with them), while welcoming former bureaucrats, congressional staffers, and elected officials seeking to cash in on their connections. And while crony capitalists have been with us since the friends of Alexander Hamilton cornered the Revolutionary War bond market, never before has their raiding of the public till so focused the public’s attention.
This brings us to the third member of the triad—the federal Leviathan. Bloated beyond recognition, the beast in Washington has reached the point where it can only be kept alive using borrowed and printed dollars. Contrary to some Republicans’ small-government rhetoric, both parties have contributed to its growth over the last half century. And neither is doing anything substantive to restore fiscal sanity, as they engage in cosmetic battles that do nothing more than tinker around the edges. Even worse, while Congress claims to maintain oversight, it is no match for the crony capitalists and career bureaucrats who run the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve, particularly when they join their corporate brethren to shout “crisis” and demand more of the bailouts that have allowed firms to socialize losses and privatize gains.
The author then goes on to describe how the Leviathan and the crony
capitalist corporatist work hand-in-hand against all of the rest of us, whether we are politically on the left or on the right.
The Leviathan’s business model is simple: 1) Collect tribute in the form of taxes from market capitalists and redistribute it to favored constituents in return for votes; and 2) collect campaign donations from crony capitalists so that incumbent politicians can remain in office and expand their power. In return for said contributions, those politicians regale their crony capitalist supporters with special favors, including subsidies, tax loopholes, and regulations designed to cripple their competitors.
Mr. Frezza is right, isn’t he? He goes on to urge conservatives to denounce cronyism whenever we see evidence of it. I agree! That is fine as far as it goes. But, there is a dilemma that he doesn’t address. We on the right have a common enemy with those on the left: crony capitalists. They are false capitalist, as the author points out. We on the right know that. Those on the left so not know that. They haven’t the foggiest idea what free market capitalism is about. The think all capitalists are crony capitalists. Therefore, they think we support the TBTF banks and the General Electric’s and the Monsanto’s and all other corporatist ( a word that is not in their vocabulary).
The fact of the matter is that the sum of those on the right and the left that hate the crony capitalist are a great majority of Americans. If both sides would recognize that the tag team of the Leviathan and the Crony Capitalist is what is destroying this country, then together we could defeat them at the polls. Sadly, that is unlikely to ever happen. Although the left hates the Crony Capitalist as much as we do, they love the Leviathan and do not realize that their love is in bed with the Crony Capitalist. What a shame!
Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?