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?
20 thoughts on “The Left and the Right Have A common Enemy and Don’t know It”
Unfortunately the left will never see crony capitalism as the enemy and free market capitalism as the friend. They only see they enemy: Big bad capitalism. They want to replace our system with a socialist worker’s paradise (with themselves as the controllers, of course.)
Ironically another name for the socialist worker’s paradise is: Crony capitalism.
Instead of crony capitalism it should be called crony fascism.
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The Left and the Right Have A common Enemy and Don’t know It
I’ll have to take a slightly different view here my friend. I don’t think a significant amount of the left even understands what capitalism even is, let alone support some version of it.
You may recall this video of Peter Schiff interviewing democrats that actually support bans on corporate profits – http://youtu.be/dDiUfS2y2ys
Sure the left loves the social safety net, as do many on the right even if they won’t admit it, but their understanding of basic economics is pathetic. They would clearly fail a quiz asking them to describe capitalism, what a corporation is and what a net profit is.
Seems to me the problem is even worse than you are pointing out.
When you are right, you are right, 5e. They equate capitalism with greed if they think about it at all. A little greed is also known as incentive.
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Our nations free markets started out with a nation that was built on a moral and principled work ethic. Both sides have long succumbed to greed. Until we have an awakening and return to what our nations principles stood for, I have little faith.
When I was last working in the US, some twenty-one years ago, I thought I was living and working in a principled and moral country. It was probably already decaying and I didn’t recognize it.
I think that neither side has a problem with cronyism at all, they just have different cronies they want to take care of.
I agree, Steve. Both sides are controlled by statists.
I was about to type in my own comment when I saw what Steve said. I find that I agree:
Recently, a conservative friend of mine — at least, she thinks of herself as conservative, and she’s certainly not a Leftist — finally had to acknowledge to me (after much cross examination on my part) that she doesn’t want any Nanny State cuts that might affect her and her family. Oh, she wants budget cuts — but cuts that affect others only.
Sad, isn’t it? The majority have their hand out and the government is more than willingto oblige….at a price.
Bill Frezza is right this time, and so are you. I am not sure as to the extent of the crony capitalism stuff, but it is big enough to do whatever it wants. That’s because it has the money.
I don’t see a way to slow the process. Corruption is built into the system.
“I don’t see a way to slow the process.”
I don’t either, Bob.