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David A. Schwinghammer

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Dog Eat Dog
4/15/2012 8:40:11 AM    [ Flag as Inappropriate ]

Is capitalism the best economic system we can

Somewhere along the line, the Republican party latched onto Adam Smith’s theory of laissez faire, but as with much of what they do, they only took snippets from his theory and failed to read all of THE WEALTH OF NATIONS. Smith was suspicious of business and especially of monopolies, fearing they would collude to raise prices. Monopolies thwart competition, thus defeating Smith’s general principal that competition leads to lower prices. So then, is modern capitalism the best possible economic system as many conservative ideologues claim? I’d have to say “no” for the following reasons:

1. GNP. We’re like lemmings. Every year we must run faster and faster until eventually we can’t keep up with ourselves and the Gross National Product goes down. Then all the Chicken Littles start running around in circles yelling, “The sky is falling,” Wall Street crashes and our IRAs and 401Ks plummet. During the last week the stock market was down because China’s GNP was 8.1 instead of the predicted 8.9. Really? If the United States’ GNP was 8.1 we’d be dancing in the street.

2. Recessions. We experience these on the average every seven years or so. Until recently, they didn’t last too long and were followed by a boom. If you’re like me, you’re a bit suspicious. Big business has a number of excuses. They claim they can’t hire their laid off workers because they’re no longer qualified for their previous positions. They also maintain that those workers they’ve retained are much more productive then they were, compensating for their former peers. You would be too if you were worried about being thrown out in the street.

3. Trickle down. We’re supposed to believe that if we give corporations a break in their taxes (some suggest they should pay nothing), they will hire more workers. This is nonsense. Ask any businessman and he will tell you that it’s his goal to robotize his work force or eliminate them entirely. His job is to reduce overhead, any way he can. Modern corporations are also lowering their overheads by outsourcing their jobs. In other words, they’re broken the trickle down contract with their workers.

4. The Chamber of Commerce seems to have become a front group for the Republican Party. They went so far as to donate money to far right Tea Party members. By doing so they support such ideas as “Right to Work,” The Marriage Act, Voter I.D., Stand Your Ground Paranoia, Pro-life (despite the fact that Pro-lifers aren’t pro-life); they oppose teachers unions, Planned Parenthood, Public radio and TV, the minimum wage and ignore police commissioners’ demands for reasonable gun legislation. The NAACP did a study on Tea Party leaders and found that five had ties to White Supremacy. They claim they don’t have any leaders, but if that’s the case, what’s the deal with Dick Armey, Michelle Bachmann and others? Dick Armey claimed that the Jamestown settlers almost starved because they were socialists. When I heard that, I almost fell out of my chair laughing. They almost starved because they antagonized the Indians who would have helped them and taught them to farm. Far from being socialists, they were looking for gold. In other words, they were capitalists.

5. Executive pay. John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie may have been cut throat robber barons, but they at least had a conscience. Rockefeller famously gave away dimes when a dime was worth a dime and his son formed the Rockefeller Foundation which does what corporations should. Carnegie contributed money for libraries throughout the United States. These days a board of directors and a chairman run our corporations. The chairman is a hired gun and if he doesn’t make a profit for the stock holders, he’s out in the street. As insurance he gets an exorbitant salary, bonuses, and in some cases, a golden parachute. “Conscience” is a dirty word and clients are “muppets”.

6. Deregulation leads to Bernie Madoff scandals, super computers, junk bonds, and bucket shops. Madoff was Chairman of the Board of directors of the National Association of Securities Dealers, a self regulatory commission. Deregulation also contributed to the BP oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico as BP and its partners took short cuts when it came to safety measures. Despite this huge disaster, capitalists continue to lobby for more unregulated oil wells in the Gulf and in pristine wilderness areas in Alaska.

7. Tax dodges. “60 Minutes” ran a piece on one of the partners in the BP oil disaster who kept a home office in Zug, Switzerland, as a tax dodge. The only person there was a secretary and she hadn’t seen any executives since she’d been hired. General Electric paid zero taxes in 2010 despite 14.2 billion in profits.

8. Lobbyists. Corporations pay persuasive types and former congressmen to cajole, bully, and sometimes bribe present congressmen. Human rationalization being what it is, these people justify their actions by conning themselves into thinking it’s for the good of the country. Thanks to lobbyists, there are approximately 280 million guns in this country, resulting in 30,000 deaths a year, 300,000 in the last ten. Thanks to lobbyists we pay the oil companies subsidies to charge us four dollars a gallon for gasoline. The Jack Abramoff scandal is illustrative of how malicious these people are. Abramoff was paid by Indian tribes to promote their casino interests. Along with his buddy Ralph Reid (former leader of the Christian Coaliton), Abramoff stole millions. Abramoff went to jail; Reid somehow dodged the bullet, although there is some evidence he laundered the money with Grover Norquist’s conservative front group. Norquist has recently been in the news for his efforts to intimidate GOP congressmen to sign no new taxes or revenue pledges. He is also a lobbyist.

We don’t tolerate sociopathic behavior from our friends, why should we overlook it when it comes to business leaders? We should also be leery of politicians pretending to do their jobs when they’re just promoting an agenda. See Daryl Issa who runs the House Oversight Committee. He’s the one who forgot to include women on the panel to study women’s contraception insurance. Issa also has an awfully shady background; he was under suspicion for grand theft auto, not once, but twice.

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More Blogs by David A. Schwinghammer
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• We Need the United Nations - Wednesday, July 18, 2012
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• Independent Voters Need to Pick a Side - Monday, June 11, 2012
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• So Far Right They're Almost Left - Sunday, April 22, 2012
•  Dog Eat Dog - Sunday, April 15, 2012  
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• Gas Prices - Tuesday, March 13, 2012
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• Bon Iver Front Man Makes Important Statement - Thursday, February 16, 2012
• Contraception Blowback - Friday, February 10, 2012
• 800 vetoes! - Saturday, February 04, 2012
• Issa Hounding Holder over GOP program - Thursday, February 02, 2012
• Rick Santelli's Rant - Wednesday, January 18, 2012
• Corporate Raider President? - Thursday, December 01, 2011
• Is This the Best They Can Do? - Thursday, November 17, 2011
• Tea Party a non-violent Movement? - Sunday, October 30, 2011
• Wall Street Protests - Wednesday, October 05, 2011
• Three new stooges - Thursday, August 25, 2011
• Hypocrite enters the race - Friday, August 19, 2011
• Business Leaders Need to Speak Out - Saturday, July 30, 2011
• Rupert Murdoch and GOP Credibility - Monday, July 25, 2011
• Playing on the railroad tracks - Sunday, July 17, 2011
• Scapegoating - Sunday, June 19, 2011
• The Biggest Swindle in US history - Friday, June 03, 2011
• We're Still Here! - Saturday, May 21, 2011
• Improve education by improving teacher morale - Wednesday, May 04, 2011
• Tea Partiers Don't Know What They're Talking About - Thursday, April 28, 2011
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Eighteen Wheels and Jesus by Jerry Hulse

Attention!!! This book now available on Amazon and Others!!!!!! The back cover has a special picture and tribute to Chaplain Kris Tackit of Association of Christian Trucker..  
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