Great strategists advise, ‘know your enemy’ or your competition or whatever it may be that challenges the accomplishment of your goals. That demands an understanding of the goals of the forces that challenge you.
James Carville was right “it’s the economy stupid”, but it goes deeper than the generally ascribed context. More accurately, it would be; “It’s control of the economy stupid!” That is a somewhat deeper representation of the idea. The economy is the Holy Grail, everything else is: prelude, distraction or a means to an end.
It’s about Capitalism as an economic system. You cannot engage the rhetoric and strategic imperatives of the elite left and be left with any other strategic perception, that is the case on the right as well. The left is clear, Capitalism must go. There are differences in analysis, perception, strategy and tactics, there is little argument surrounding the ultimate goal. There can be no question as to the sincerity and passion surrounding the goal of economic transformation; true believers abound as do crass opportunists, as is the case in any movement. The movement on the left is massive with tens of thousands of appendages and significant control of major institutions.
All of the major players on the left are cross pollinated, participate in multiple organizations in a variety of roles, create new organizations at the drop of a hat, form temporary goal orientated coalitions and have wealthy benefactors. It creates an inexorable momentum steadily moving toward economic transformation and greater structural wealth redistribution. Two ways to redistribute wealth: structurally by way of government policy or, as a function of an expanding economy. It’s hard to control an expanding economy that creates wealth. If you believe control is the key, the expansion must be slowed to allow for ……. greater control. Capitalism cannot be viewed as the predominant beneficent economic system.
It’s not about immediate total control, even the left knows this is fantasy; it’s about getting to the tipping point. The tipping point is, now, not that hard to see. Government control of 51% of the economy is just over the next horizon.
If you oppose Capitalism and maintain a commitment to its elimination it must be discredited. For the economic ideas on the left to be correct, Capitalism must fail. You must facilitate the failure, despite the pain of the transition, the means are unimportant, only the result is important; not my words these are the words from leftist elites.
One argument on the left is that Capitalism does not have to fail utterly, Corporatism is good enough. Why strangle the Golden Goose when you can slip a rope around its neck? Corporatism was a Fascist idea applied by Mussolini and later adopted by Hitler, “play ball and you can stay in the game, if not consider yourself Socialized as a state run industry; we’ll get to the justifications later on.” GE plays ball, the health care industry during the health care debate played ball, GM and Chrysler played ball, to name a few; It’s just a question of tactics, goals are essentially the same. It’s control of the economy stupid!
In that context it is easy to understand the rational for the auto bail out, bank bailout, the insurance bail out, cash for clunkers, energy regulations that escalate as prices do, encouraging them higher. GE’s tax return, consistently striking out against success is easy to understand as is the vast waste of ‘green’ money. See, Capitalism doesn’t work!
The left must create the parameters whereby Corporatism starts to make sense from the corporation’s point of view. You do that with taxes, regulations, inspections, mountains of paperwork, incomprehensible regulatory language, threats and regressive trade policy. It all comes with bromides of one fashion or another; ‘fairness’, or ‘it’s the children’, when control and punishment are the true goals. How expensive does the government have to become to make it look like a good idea to “play ball”? Senior members of Congress (Ms. Waters) threaten in open committee to ‘socialize’ a wide swath of industry”. She does so with passion, she means it!
If you want Capitalism to fail or transmogrify into Corporatism there has to be a new normal that makes Capitalism look weak and inadequate to the challenges. Long recessions do that, a vast majority of Americans currently think we’re still in a recession. If economics is, in large measure, a function of perception and confidence, the new normal is well on its way to fruition. 7% unemployment would, most times, be cause for concern, now it would be a cause for joy as we ‘move in the right direction’. The new normal! Here is the new normal from Rep Chaka Fattah (D-PA); We’re headed in the right direction. Unemployment continues to drop (arguable) and for those people who are unemployed, they’re not going to be voting for the party who wants to cut their benefits”. In other words; ‘for us Democrats, your dependency, which we helped create, is political capital.’ The Conservative idea that you’d rather have a good job and prospects for economic growth is the policy that “got us into this mess in the first place”!
If you’ve detected a lack of urgency on the Left for serious addressment of economic conditions as they stand now it’s because as Capitalism is subjected to an ongoing flogging the possibility that it will be perceived to have failed will increase. This condition creates ever more opportunity to more quickly reach the tipping point; to expedite the long awaited final decline of Capitalism.
Normal folks don’t think this way, but the folks who are driving the agenda on the left do.
You must control spending. The left by way of the President and Congressional allies have, in light of: massive debt and deficits, entitlements nearing bankruptcy, inflation, tight credit, student loan takeover, ownership stakes in cars, finance, home loans and insurance also established new bankruptcy precedents by fiat not to forget ‘Dodd Frank’ and ’ Sarbanes Oxley’. Presidential tax policy proposals that would, at best, take care of three quarters of one percent of the annual deficit. These factors associated with an abject refusal to cut or restructure spending. The idea that new spending should be paid for from another program is a radical idea.
Capitalism itself tends to contribute to its own potential failure; ‘big capitalism tends to be guilty of overarching greed, the occasional inability to do the right thing, failures of courage in support of Capitalism, the consistent tendency to cave in to the pressures of the moment and the absence of ‘big’ capitalism to ‘call out’ their brethren when it should do so.
However, there is also ‘small’ capitalism; small business, individuals seeking the benefits of economic success and, more often than not; doing the right thing for their employees and their communities. That particular baby will go out with the bathwater as well, should Capitalism fail in reality or perception.