Why The Left Is Dangerous To The Free Market
Does being a businessman mean one will be a better President than one who was not? Not necessarily. Ronald Reagan, arguably one of the best presidents of the 20th century did not have any business experience. Prior to going into politics, Reagan worked in the entertainment industry. Jimmy Carter, arguably one of the worst Presidents of the 20th century, was a successful peanut farmer, taking over for his father after his death in 1953.
That being said, a good portion of the left in this country:
A. Have no clue how business works. They’re largely people that work in government, media, universities, and for partisan non-profit organizations.
B. Are hostile to the free market wanting the government, particularly the federal government to exercise more and more control over private business every day.
The disconnect between those who have started businesses, and/or have been part of the business world and those who are clueless how these things work is no more evident than in this blog post by Oliver Willis of Media Matters. Since President Obama cannot defend his lousy record, his campaign has decided they will focus on Mitt Romney, in a lame attempt to turn him into some kind of Gordon Gekko caricature – the corporate raider that takes over businesses in order to squeeze as much cash out of it as possible before leaving a dust cloud in his wake.
Some Democrats, including Cory Booker, Steve Rattner and former PA Governor Ed Rendell, have expressed concern with the Obama campaign tactics, arguing that while Romney’s time at Bain Capital is fair game, presenting him as the caricature I described is not good.
Willis, who will defend Obama over almost anything (the only time he has criticized Obama is when the President wasn’t emulating the leftism of some of the most extreme House members, but that’s about it. On anything else, Oliver gives the President a pass. Ask him about the President using Super PAC money despite calling them a “threat to our democracy.”) naturally came to the defense of Obama and here is what he had to say (for those of you who weren’t around when blogging was the only form of social media, this kind of point by point rebuttal and commentary is referred to as a “fisking.” Google it.):
In order to get the party out of the post-Carter wilderness, a decision was made in the ’80s and ’90s to hand the economic reigns of the party to the economically conservative wing. Buoyed by the bull market and generally good economic conditions during the Clinton presidency, the idea took hold that if you combined more traditional Democratic positions with a hands-off approach to the market you had something.
The problem is, this mentality helped get the ball rolling on the lax oversight and deregulation that became accelerated in the Bush years.
Well, it was not just out of the Carter “wilderness” as it were. It was also trying to do something after suffering one of the worst lopsided losses in Presidential history in 1984 and then another huge defeat in 1988 with garden variety liberal candidates.
Of course, Oliver is being dishonest when he said there was a “hands off approach” and is just flat out not telling the truth when he says deregulation was “accelerated” in the Bush years. The left loves to say “deregulation” caused the dot com bubble or the housing bubble, but they can’t ever really say exactly what the issue was. Oliver will throw out “credit default swaps” on Twitter, but even the most astute market analysts cannot say for sure how much the role of CDS’s played. Much was largely market factors and the housing crisis was in part, the fault of the government for two reasons:
1. The government put a lot of pressure on lending institutions to relax credit standards and provide loans to people that otherwise would not be able to get them.
2. Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, while not the entire cause of the housing crisis, did play a large role. Why? Because their risk was minimized by the guarantee from the federal government to back them on mortgages they re-sold on the secondary market.
Everyone loves to blame deregulation, but are quick to ignore what happens when the government sticks their snout in the issue.
Except it doesn’t work. The invisible hand will not magically regulate the market. Left to its own designs, big business will collude and extract profits at the expense of social good.
There’s so much stupid here, it hurts. Once again, Oliver floats the straw man argument there is no regulation. He also accuses businesses of “colluding.” Of course, he provides zero evidence to support this. And what in the world does “extracting profits at the expense of the social good” mean anyway? That’s left wing gobbledygook. It sounds great but it means nothing.
People do not start businesses to do “social good.” A business creates a product or provides a service in order to provide people with something that helps them in some way. In return, they seek to make money and profit from their hard work. Sure, as a business grows (and profits), they will often do things that benefit society but doing “social good” is not the reason why they are in business.
It isn’t (in all cases at least) a matter of evil triumphant, but rather that for big business the incentive from (sic) doing harm is better than doing good.
Big business has an incentive to do harm? And forget about his absurd qualifier. This statement reeks of the kind of piffle one hears from leftist/Occupy Wall Street types. Perhaps Oliver can go down the list of the top 100 businesses on Fortune and tell us which of these businesses have the incentive to “do harm.” Again, like a good lefty that has never run a business nor been any part of a business that seeks to make a profit, Oliver puts business into two false categories. Apple does not make iPhones and Macbook Pro’s to “do good.” They make products people want and then sell them for big profits. Do I care? Heck no. (Stockholders are shouting “HECK YES!”) They make great products. I will continue to buy them and I could care less how much Apple makes in profit.
They have so internalized the GOP message that Democrats are bad for business (I’d gladly compare the Dow during Clinton/Obama to the Bush presidency) that they bend over backwards in two directions for big business.
So the guy who just said business has more incentive to do harm than to do good is now bragging about how well the DJIA has done under President Obama and its performance under Bill Clinton. Typical.
We’ve seen that this week with Ed Rendell and to a lesser extent Cory Booker whining about attacks on Bain, stupidly equating them to race-baiting Jeremiah Wright ads.
Of course the Jeremiah Wright ads are “race baiting.” It has nothing to do with Obama’s 20 year association with a Pastor who has said the kind of vile and ugly things a guy like Oliver would not tolerate from say, Jerry Falwell. But because Wright is black, Oliver can claim it’s all about race.
Or are they going to champion entrepreneurship while also emphasizing the social obligations of business, and at the same time being an aggressive watchdog of big business.
First of all, one cannot champion entrepreneurship while at the same time attacking business. Some of the biggest companies in the country today started with entrepreneurs. Michael Dell built computers and sold them out of his college dorm room. Apple started in Steve Jobs garage. Microsoft started in a small office in New Mexico. Johnson & Johnson started out making surgical dressings in 1885. Google is another company that started out in a California garage.
This is where the big disconnect forms. “Big business” doesn’t just pop up out of the ground like mushrooms. A good many of them started out thanks to the boldness of the very entrepreneurs Oliver claims to support, who believed they had a solution to somebody’s problem.
And again, what is this blather about “social obligations?” These are little catchphrases that really don’t mean anything. Oliver couldn’t begin to explain what he means by this. But it sounds good. That’s it. It’s devoid of any real meaning.
To insist that there should be rules of the road that are enforced is not even close to “an attack” on capitalism, or socialism. Big business is great and it provides jobs and is often a driver of our economic growth and stability, but that doesn’t mean you should genuflect in the direction of their corporate headquarters, either.
First I will address the latter half of this paragraph. It’s hilarious. Oliver just told us that big business as more incentive to “do harm” than to “do good.” Now he’s saying “big business is great.” This is the exact same “both sides of the mouth” talk the President engages in. On one hand he talks about how much he respects business and entrepreneurs but to a different audience he’s blaming them for the economy, calling them greedy and claiming they stand in the way of people getting a “fair shot.” The Obama camp has been flummoxed as to why big donors aren’t lining up to write checks the way they did in 2008. Well why would they? Would you write a check to somebody that demonizes you all the time for the case of political expediency?
The first part of what Oliver wrote is a completely false argument. It could only be true if
A. There were no “rules of the road” and
B. The rules in place were not being enforced.
Is there any evidence that Mitt Romney did anything illegal during his time at Bain? Of course not. Yet President Obama has an ad out calling Mitt Romney a vampire and a callous plutocrat that purposely destroyed a steel company just to enrich himself.
That is an attack on capitalism. The number of success stories from Bain far outweigh the negative stories. The Oliver Willis’s of the world would have us believe that businesses should not go out of business or go bankrupt and if they do, it’s only because “corporate raiders” like Mitt Romney are there to make sure it happens.
The problem for Oliver and by extension President Obama is, this is how the system works. It’s not always a good thing, but sometimes, businesses go bankrupt and jobs are lost.
Just ask Solyndra.