Sunday, January 15, 2012
Finding Blame for the Bad Economy
Capitalism is falling on hard times, given the sinking U.S. economy. Much of the public blames those they call greedy capitalists, who range from the criminals like Bernie Madoff to the likes of legally operating but immoral “vulture capitalists,” as the Governor of my state likes to call Mitt Romney.
Only public ignorance about capitalism can account for the growing hostility to Bain Capital and Mitt Romney. Most Americans, if they think about Adam Smith at all, probably think he is the 49er’s quarterback. Ask you friends if they know the difference between venture capital and venture equity firms. Perry and Gingrich don’t.
Public schools don’t teach much about capitalism. Teachers are government workers, after all, and many have no private-sector experience. No wonder they are liberal and Democrat. Even colleges only teach economics to a small segment of the student body, and a significant number of the professors are socialists.
Mitt’s major problem is not so much that Obama doesn’t understand capitalism, because he was raised by socialists and surrounded in adult life by liberals. Mitt’s larger problem is all those millions of Obama devotees who don’t understand capitalism either. They want government to use taxpayer money to bail out the likes of General Motors and Chrysler and to start up failed alternative energy companies like Solyndra and Range Fuels. Obama supporters think he is using government to save the country from the destruction by George Bush and are loath to blame government promotion of risky housing loans as the trigger for the economic downturn. Obama supporters rail at the seeming unfairness of capitalism where some people are rich, whom they envy and despise as a result. They want everybody to be equal, even though history and contemporary socialist governments show that socialism means everybody is equally poor — except for the ruling elites who conned their voters into thinking capitalism is bad.
When it comes to politics, mis-placed blame is the name of the game. Politicians don’t win votes by accepting responsibility. They get votes by blaming their opponent.