Friday, August 29, 2014
Lee just sent me a Wall Street Journal article and the letter that was published after it. The subject was "crony capitalism."
That phrase zoomed over my head, didn't make an impression. Just like, for years I have accepted the phrase "artery-clogging cholesterol." The latter phrase, as the readers of this blog know by now, is not only inaccurate but has led many to avoid healthy foods and to embrace manufactured/processed foods simply because they say "low-fat" or "diet," neither of which is necessarily true.
Lee's friend properly points out that the more accurate term should attach "crony" to socialism or fascism, the far left or the far right. Both -isms suppressing personal freedom; the one by dispensing unearned favors, the other through oppression. Capitalism at its theoretical core dispenses nothing other than a potential return on individual talent and effort.
Two US Representatives faced primary challenges in Kansas. Both were elected two years ago opposing the pork-barrel politics that have plagued the nation and been recently accepted by both parties. Specifically, and of interest to Kansans, wind energy and ethanol. They both voted to defeat the latest Ag bill which did not sit well with the farm lobby and have opposed subsidies in general, the only way that wind and solar energy can make any sense.
Take the Farm Bill as an example of how our political system has been engineered to trade votes for money, regardless of principles. How do you get a politician from Detroit to vote for farm subsidies (and farm policies that actually make sense)? Food Stamps! Well, they aren't called food stamps any more, I guess you get a credit card that you use to buy beer and magazines just like your Visa, but it is issued by ... wait for it ... the US Department of Agriculture.
Forty-seven million Americans are collecting food stamps. That is more than the population of Iraq and Afghanistan...combined. Almost double the population of Canada.
The voters of Kansas supported their incumbents against the challengers who proposed going back to the public trough. One by 10 points, the one in Wichita by 25 points. The Fourth District, basically Wichita, is a surprise to me as it is such a union stronghold with the aircraft industry.
Whatever happens to those who want to lower big government's footprint in the details of business, we need to be careful that we don't allow the misuse of words to color our thinking. For example, the vocabulary surrounding "regulation." Capitalism requires regulation to keep the unscrupulous at bay. Those Representatives from Kansas also oppose "unnecessary" regulation, and there is plenty of social engineering and wild ideas that make their way into regulations. The current administration has turned the bureaucrats loose, and that is not a good idea for anyone.
While we are at it, let's think about the name some apply to the Russian system. Capitalism? Not even close.