As fun as it’s been to watch the Republican candidates eating their own this past week, it’s been even more fun to see some of them wake up to the horrors of capitalism.
But they can’t indict the system. Then they wouldn’t be Republicans. (Hell, they wouldn’t be Democrats, either.)
So they look for loopholes.
“Is capitalism really about the ability of a handful of rich people to manipulate the lives of thousands of other people and walk off with the money?” Newt Gingrich asked Monday.
Actually, Newt, yes, it is.
The essence of capitalism is the myth that private individuals, acting on their selfish desire to accumulate money and unhampered by government regulations or by unions, will somehow magically serve the greater good.
But Gingrich, all of a sudden, has recognized that a system that blindly rewards selfish and greedy people doesn’t serve the greater good.
His unstated assumption is that we shouldn’t allow this “handful of rich people” to manipulate others and walk off with their money. But once he grants that, he must endorse regulating the so-called free market that he and other Republicans worship and genuflect to every day—at least up to now.
Gingrich added: “I do draw a distinction between looting a company, leaving behind broken families and broken neighborhoods and then leaving a factory that should be there.”
So Gingrich should be for legislation that limits plant closings. But somehow I don’t remember him supporting such legislation when he was Speaker of the House.
Rick Perry piled on, slamming Romney for “getting rich off of failure and sticking it to someone else.”
Republicans and other apologists for capitalism typically praise this process with the hideous euphemism “creative destruction.”
But Gingrich and Perry aren’t doing so any longer. After singing hosannahs to the free market in previous debates, they now are its critics.
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If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story After Iowa, “Game On” or “Game Over”? And Will Ron Paul Bolt?
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