I must admit I haven’t followed the news closely the past couple of days. Even then, there is no way to avoid the outcry over Gingrich, Perry and Santorum being smeared as “socialists” simply for questioning Romney on this Bain business. As a small businessman, conservative and avowed capitalist, I certainly AM interested in the debate but quite shocked at the illogical and imbalanced response of Rush.
After analyzing it I’m convinced.
Limbaugh is the liberal here, not Newt. He is arguing from the left of de Tocqueville far worse than Rick, Rick and Newt are on Bain.
Today, Rush Limbaugh admitted he was the equivalent of a Muslim Ayatollah and was issuing a Fatwa against Newt because he was “attacking capitalism.” This alone should tell you how insane the Limbaugh argument is. Effectively, MahaRushie is admitting that he is the arbiter of what is “right and wrong” and that debate is dangerous. Newt has departed from the “faith” and now must be beheaded. Sounds a lot like a liberal approach to disagreement to me.
I thought this whole “dissent is unpatriotic” approach was outlawed with the global warming scandal, but indeed Rush is acting like his brain is fried. Funny how Limbaugh complains for months that conservatives don’t attack Romney since he isn’t “conservative”, he lauds them when they announce that they are going to take the gloves off, and then freaks out when they do.
In a sense, Limbaugh’s theory about liberals can now be applied to him. He often argues that liberalism is a “faith,” and they will throw their cause of woman’s rights, racism and concern for the poor under the bus if it threatens their power. How many times has Rush explained that Jewish Democrats are liberals first because liberalism is their true religion.
It now turns out that Limbaugh’s religion isn’t right and wrong (or Christianity) – it is capitalism! And it MUST NOT BE DEBATED!
On one hand I understand the thin skin of Limbaugh (and certainly Mitt Romney). Free market capitalists (such as myself) have been mercilessly portrayed as “greedy” and “immoral” simply for making a profit. Not only that, we’ve been chastised for the size of that profit. The average person thinks the rich and successful have won the “life lottery” and they ignore the years they lived on pennies, risking their families wellbeing to build a business. You never hear about the entrepreneurs that failed along the way and lost their marriages and credit. RIGHTFULLY, someone needs to explain to the OWS types that since I took the risk, I can damn sure decide what the hell I want to do with my business. If I want to layoff all my workers and move to Mar Vista, that is my right!
My first gut reaction to Newt’s line of questioning on this Bain business a few weeks ago was nauseous to me for this very reason. I felt the same way when Herman Cain said he was “Main Street” and Mitt was “Wall Street,” - like that was a bad thing. I AGREE that once we start attacking the fundamental role of investment banking, we have no chance to truly educate America on the superior benefits of capitalism despite some pretty evil people residing there. Like Obama’s chief financial advisor who stole ran MF Global into the ground. And that undergirds my point. Why are we so worried about warranted criticism of Wall Street firms? Or Romney’s Wall Street firm?
I also understand that Newt did not pick this fight. Romney went after him unfairly. A SuperPAC that Newt hasn’t even talked to bought this documentary to use against Romney and Newt is merely discussing it, albeit hoping it hurts Mitt. All that being said, Newt already sent a (bad) thrill up our leg when he started arguing for immigration because of being “concerned” about 20 or 30 year illegals with families entrenched in their community. I discuss the error of this at length in the PolitiJim Anti-illegal Immigration & Naturalization plan.
But I did something Rush didn’t seem to do. I listened to the argument. So what was the sacred “religious law” that Newt violated? Pick which one you think it is:
- Capitalism is evil.
- Making too much money is evil.
- Deciding to lay off employees is evil.
- Romney is an irresponsible capitalist.
From my Twitter timeline and the posts I’ve seen today I would have been certain Newt was saying ALL of the first three points. Perhaps some Rush listeners ARE mind numbed robots. Problem is, that isn’t what I heard him say. What I heard him say (about Romney) was
“he's gonna have to explain why would Bain have taken $180 million out of a company and then have it go bankrupt, and to what extent did they have some obligation to the workers?
Can I ask you a question? If we are allowed to criticize politicians for doing “good” or “evil” in office, is it unfair to ask the same of capitalists? Is their truly no “right” or “wrong” in capitalism?
Why is it ok to argue how “moral or immoral” someone’s use of power or policy are in politics, but you can’t argue how they used their power or products in capitalism?
Isn’t this what Sarah Palin did in her “crony capitalism” speech? Do we really believe that ALL capitalism is just, fair and good? If you do, you are quite ignorant of history.
Let me ask you this. What are the worst components of our economic and political system? Here is my short list:
- Unions who extort money from capitalists (and now taxpayers).
- Oppressive regulations on business from the environment to consumer “protection.”
- The Federal Reserve banking system and it’s undemocratic inflationary powers.
- Minimum wage and medical “safety nets” through government.
If you are for limited government, you might have a few more, but I would think you would agree with me, that these inhibit growth and are used as leveraging points for statists to gain power over “real” producers of productivity, right?
Guess how these encroachments started? Respective to each point above:
- Business owners ala Upton Sinclair’s THE JUNGLE who cared so little for their employees, they put an economic value on their worth instead of a human one.
- Unscrupulous MBA’s who instructed employees to throw chemicals into the public waterways so they didn’t have to pay for and could pass responsibility to the larger community like Lake Erie and any number of others.
- Totally unregulated banking that allowed people to artificially control 10 times the stock they truly could pay for, resulting in an instable stock market that ruined millions of lives for decades ala 1929.
- The traditional family and American church ceased taking responsibility for our elderly and infirmed opting for convenience and personal irresponsibility following WW2.
This is covered well in THE TRAGEDY OF AMERICAN COMPASSION. Had men PROPERLY stewarded their power in these areas, regulation would never have been necessary. Isn’t this simply a fact of life? There is no need to set a curfew for a child who has shown great maturity in avoiding wild parties, gets straight A’s and is concerned with doing “the right thing.” But we now consider a Balanced Budget Amendment, a Right to Life Amendment and a Federal Marriage Amendment despite never needing any one of these for almost 200 years. Up until recently, we were fairly responsible.
What Rush Limbaugh (and all liberals) are missing is this.
I would submit that if Liberty can not be established without morality, neither can “capitalism.”
You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say capitalism is “great” without admitting that without morality it is dangerous. Worse, you can’t tell average Americans that capitalism needs no oversight and can’t be abused when they have lost billions and trillions to corporations like Enron, Worldcom, Freddie Mac (is a private company by the way) and Madoff. Russia implemented capitalism but without the Judeo/Christian underpinnings it has degraded into such a corrupt system many long for communism again.
Rush (and all of you acting like Newt is the new Obama) are guilty of acting just like the liberals who don’t want to be accountable to ANYONE. And this could be why we suddenly see the same reaction in Rush that we do from our teenager who accuses us of “not trusting them” when we accidently find the joint in their jacket they were “holding for a friend.” Deep down they haven’t dealt with their own guilt in how they have mishandled responsibility. I suspect a large part of this outrage is tied to a fear they will be called to account for HOW they use their money.
I’m not saying Rush is evil. I know he gives great sums to many charitable causes. There certainly is also the fear that if we admit there is a “right” and “wrong” to profit – we are inviting others to judge us. - Or worse, set limits for us. In this Newt, and the “Rick’s” MUST clarify and amplify this. None of their previous positions suggest ANY OF THEM want MORE regulation in business.
But just because you have the right to spend your money and run your business any way you want – it doesn’t mean that ANY way you run it is right. And since Governor Romney is using the BAIN experience to justify his:
- experience in creating jobs,
- success at understanding how to help businesses make a profit,
- management of large organizations,
- ability to turn around the economy…
…wouldn’t it just be SLIGHTLY responsible of us to ask IF he did indeed do this and HOW he did it? Why is that an “attack” on capitalism unless you are afraid of admitting you serve “Mammon” rather than your good conscience – if not God?
Legal Insurrection run by Cornell Law School professor William Jacobson has a brilliant series of insightful articles on this.
The Bain Documentary
I will point out two unsettling issues with the Newt/Bain thing. Newt, for his amazing rhetorical skills, should have reaffirmed the free market system much like all the candidates did on Social Security reform. Bachmann and Perry have been especially good at predicating EVERY description of Social Security reform with the over emphasis that current senior citizens need not worry. It seems we have some Depends-wearing little old capitalists who need reassuring.
Secondly, the "Bain documentary” tries to use common liberal emotional approaches to manipulate sympathy with those put out of work without giving the context of a legal or moral issue from a conservative capitalism viewpoint. Like the Wisconsin public teacher union issue, it is painful to know there are stresses on large classrooms, but it comes into perspective when you realize hundreds of others are put out of work to ensure a fatter benefits for the few. I have only seen clips but clearly they don’t designate that often layoffs are beneficially for the rest of the workers, the companies and the pension funds that rely on them. Or that by continuing to employ them ALL investors and workers would loose their money and jobs.
I will say again. On these two issues Newt, Rick and Rick need to articulate that the socialist system creates MORE “pain” than the capitalistic one.
So, in light of that. Can we agree it is ok to evaluate capitalists by their “works” and “intent?”
I saw some blogger today complaining that conservatives had seen one too many viewings of “Pretty Woman.” For the seven people in America who’ve never seen it, the Richard Gere character buys companies, lays off all the workers, sells their assets and adds another billion to his portfolio. He is TRULY a destroyer of jobs and these people exist. T. Boone Pickens did just that for years. They were called “Corporate Raiders.” Recently, Pickens spent $62 million of his fortune promoting wind energy seemingly because he was a born again environmentalist. Later we found out he was heavily invested in wind turbine equipment and that his companies that would reap billions from energy subsidies the government would put in place. Meanwhile, he still holds huge amounts of “dirty” energy holdings. Is that a “good” capitalist? One that would try and hoodwink the taxpayers to subsidize wind on the pretense of being “clean energy?” Sounds like Solyndra to me.
So if the GOP and conservatives can’t be honest with themselves that “capitalism” requires a morality of CARING ABOUT YOUR EMPLOYEES and being DEDICATED TO THE WELL BEING OF YOUR COUNTRY, how the hell do you sell this to rest of America? Do we really believe that the “right” to do something makes it good? Or a value we want in a leader?
Like a liberal who wants to shut down the discussion of how destructive government entitlements are to the people they are trying to help, conservatives like Limbaugh are in danger of the same thing. They don’t seem to want to discuss how capitalism without a conscience destroys the mangers, pensions and investments of those it is purporting to help.
Who was the better capitalist? George Bailey or Mr. Potter? I submit that like in life, being “rich” doesn’t make you better. Similarly, an entrepreneur who has a goal of creating jobs and better lives for his employees, is a “better” capitalist than one who SIMPLY wants to create wealth for the sake of creating wealth.
I am not saying to PENALIZE the greedy hoarder at all. But don’t expect America to suddenly spend the next 9 months studying Friedman and Hayek to understand this nuance. What Limbaugh is trying to do is to force the idea of Mr. Potter being a better person because he is greedy.
I’m sorry. Greed is a sin for a reason. God blesses people to be rich undeniably. He also condemns those who are “greedy for ill-gotten gain.” I’m not suggesting to outlaw it or regulate it – but as conservatives we must realize that as Tocqueville saw, capitalism will NOT succeed without Judeo/Christian virtue. And Limbaugh makes the same fundamental mistake liberals do in selling their philosophy without an equal measure of personal responsibility for our culture. Not in the form of socialistic communism, but as an individual responsibility to TEACH that capitalism only works with a majority of people who want to do good.
What then of the “good” capitalism of Mr. Romney?
The worst accusations:
- Bain got back $12 Million on an $8 Million investment while US taxpayers had to bail out the pension fund for $44 million.
- Bain recovered it’s capital transferring all risk to new bondholders before bankrupting the company.
- Despite warnings from regulators, investors and unions to set aside more money, Bain took out profits that ultimately contributed to insolvency.
- Bain turned down opportunities to sell out and protect the jobs of the company.
- They often hired inexperienced managers and wouldn’t protect core producers because they were too expensive, ultimately contributing in failure.
Confession: I have seen many of these missteps in companies I’ve worked for or owned too. Hindsight is not just 20/20, it’s electron microscope magnification.
To me the worst accusation isn’t written here. Is that Mitt Romney never actually CREATED a product or service from the ground up, but bought out other peoples hard work. Bain provided money for many companies, but Bain itself never did the hard work of developing a product, market or struggling in the day to day nuance of REAL business. That is NOT a moral judgment. But clearly Mitt Romney only learned one lesson of business:
If you throw money at a business or problem and it doesn’t work out, you yourself don’t have to figure out why it worked – you just move on to the next thing to throw money at.
Again, I don’t say this to demean the role of venture capital. I’ve invested in businesses myself. I’m just pointing out that HIS view of the American economy is NOT where the 70% of jobs are created. It IS in the area where most of the visible “wall street” and business scandals have occurred.
HOW BAIN PLAYS AGAINST OBAMA
I see only two main arguments from pro-Romney advocates:
- He is the only one who can beat Obama because he appeals to moderates,
- He will be seen as a successful businessman who can fix the economy
Most conservative concerns with Romney are:
- If he gets elected, he has no desire, track record or “compass” to reform government. He just said last year that he would KEEP parts of ObamaCare.
- If he gets elected, he will dump conservative causes and do WHATEVER is politically expedient.
So are we better off with someone who replaces Obama but really doesn’t do ANYTHING to fix the fundamental flaws that will keep spending our children’s money? I think that is asking whether you would rather have incurable cancer or be tortured. Of COURSE one is better than the other. If it comes to that, at least we might find a cure for cancer while we battle it. But that is not the REAL question. The proper question is:
Is Romney TRULY more electable than Rick, Rick or Newt? I submit:
- Obama has now shown it’s entire campaign will consist of CLASS WARFARE, RACISIM charges and VOTER FRAUD.
- The Occupy movement has already published that the past demonstrations where only trial runs for a much more violent and intense campaigns in the summer and fall of 2012 ALL BASED AGAINST WALL STREET and government abuse.
- Just as McCain had no significant variation from the promises of Obama, Romney has the LEAST differentiation from what Obama will
lie aboutpromise this time around.
As Legal Insurrection pointed out, you may bristle at this discussion because it seems to argue against capitalism, but in fact Romney will face FAR WORSE against a $1 Billion campaign from people who have proven they will lie without remorse. If you thought that what Romney’s SuperPAC did in driving Newt’s numbers into the storm cellar in Iowa was bad – just wait until a force 10X larger with the complicit help of the main stream media does the same to RomRom.
At the very least this discussion will drain SOME of the venom out of this attack so it is more like “old news” should Romney be nominated. Even then, the majority of the country will not tune into the election until October of 2012 and only if Obama hasn’t created a series of international distractions to keep it off of the front pages. (This is part of the purpose of the Occupy Wall Street manipulation.)
At most this discussion will nominate ANOTHER non-Romulan who is ALREADY HALF INSULATED FROM THIS OBAMA ATTACK having already shown that the GOP is also concerned with Wall Street abuses. And the non-Romney candidate will be much more credible in the eyes of the AVERAGE, non-conservative arguing against the influences of Wall Street in the Obama administration.
In the end Romney provides EXACTLY the lack of clear contrast with Obama’s weak points and you can bet, there will 10 times as many ads of laid off workers from Bain on Obama commercials as there are Budweiser commercials.
Why do we assume protecting Wall Street experience is equivalent to protecting capitalism? It just isn’t the same thing.
One of my companies spent 6 months in negotiation with a Bain-like company. Despite the hard work and risk of my team of 12 early investors, managers and inventors – this venture capital firm wanted the right not just to take over the company if the economy cratered or some other unforeseen market condition out of control appeared, they also had the ability to create the problem by controlling our finances. They were PERFECTLY within their rights to demand this, just as we were in our rights to not accept it (and we didn’t), but many companies like this have literally stolen the technology or companies from lesser sophisticated entrepreneurs. And instead of empowering those entrepreneurs like Edison or Bell to go and invent more, they go on to use the seductive appeal of their instant infusion of cash not to create more goods, services and benefits for mankind – but ONLY more cash for themselves.
I think we deserve a President that EDUCATES not just personal responsibility, but virtues of wealth to help others, rather than just help yourself.
A long hibernating observation from the Sarah Palin documentary THE UNDEAFEATED resurfaced for me. In her Alaskan endeavors, it struck me that Palin was a populist, NOT a classic conservative. She attacked the GREED of “big oil” and was attacked by those in the GOP who are making the same argument against Newt. When I was searching for a reference why this appeal of Newt’s sounded familiar, I was shocked to realize it had many of the same undertones of Palin’s rhetoric. It is WHY she appealed to 80% of Alaskans. She didn’t SHOVE capitalism down their throats. She preached a responsibility and REFORM against capitalism run amuck. And a responsibility of profit.
DONT BE SURPRISED IF PALIN JUMPS in ON NEWT’S SIDE AGAINST RUSH!
Crony Capitalism implies a personal responsibility of the entrepreneur and an attack on Wall Street deals NOT derived from hard risk and risk. This is the essence of the Bain world. This from Palin’s crony capitalism speech:
It’s called corporate crony capitalism. This is not the capitalism of free men and free markets, of innovation and hard work and ethics, of sacrifice and of risk. No, this is the capitalism of connections and government bailouts and handouts, of waste and influence peddling and corporate welfare. This is the crony capitalism that destroyed Europe’s economies. It’s the collusion of big government and big business and big finance to the detriment of all the rest – to the little guys. It’s a slap in the face to our small business owners – the true entrepreneurs, the job creators accounting for 70% of the jobs in America, it’s you who own these small businesses, you’re the economic engine, but you don’t grease the wheels of government power.
Romney SHOULD have to answer for what is his ONLY private sector credential. Newt advising a private company like Freddie Mac that has had a part in financing over 50% of American home loans – not just the bad ones - to quit making bad loans as a private isn’t nearly as damaging to me as a vulture capitalist whose ONLY virtue was making money while sacrificing productive jobs that could have been saved.
And Rush Limbaugh needs to quit being so fearful that someone is going to come and ask him what he’s done with his millions. He’s acting like a liberal who is afraid of serious questions about the MORALITY of money.
Don’t forget that Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin are very responsible for the McCain nomination by sabotaging Huckabee. They kept calling Huckabee a liberal and we ended up with McCain. Before his death, the great conservative Paul Weyrich admitted that other conservatives wrongly undercut the conservative values of Huckabee and regretted endorsing Romney over Huckbee.
It looks like a Limbaugh doesn’t change it’s stripes.
Thank God we can make sure he doesn’t get another moderate the nomination.