“Vulture” Capitalism is a Contradiction in Terms

It’s interesting.  I knew that the country had been swinging to the left — not the right — in recent years and have said so repeatedly. The Tea Party seemed, for only a moment, to be an opposite trend. But look at whom the Tea Party is about to end up with as a standard bearer, of all people: Mitt Romney, the architect of the inspiration for nationalized health care (also known as ObamaCare).

The latest evidence of America’s continuing shift to the left comes from the Republican candidates themselves. The supposedly more conservative candidates are condemning rival Mitt Romney for being a “vulture capitalist.” What’s interesting about these attacks are the basis of the distinction. Republicans such as Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry are claming there’s a distinction between “real” capitalism, which they claim to support, and “vulture” capitalism, which they define as the laying off of workers. Some of the more astute interviewers, on Fox News and elsewhere, have said, “So if a business works out it’s real capitalism — and if it doesn’t, then it’s vulture capitalism.” This gets to the heart of this phony distinction. Perry and Gingrich are criticizing Romney for the fact that he laid off workers, at times. Their premise, like their criticism, is identical to Obama’s: The welfare of workers comes before the profit of the company. If there’s a conflict between the well-being of an employee, and the well-being of the business, the employee must always come first.

It’s true that Obama favors an effective takeover of the private economy in order to ensure that this premise is upheld. Gingrich and Perry might not go that far — but why not? Once they have morally denounced the entire basis for a free market, what’s the point of preserving a free market? A free market is supposed to mean exactly that — freedom. Business owners are free to run their companies as they see fit. It’s in their rational interest to treat their employees as well as they can, but it’s also their right and responsibility to do what has to be done to keep a company profitable. Much is made by moralist conservatives and liberals about the “rights” of the laid off who should never have been laid off; but what about the ability of people not laid off to keep their jobs, which might require the layoffs of less needed employees?

Some, including Romney himself, call this desperate political strategy. It’s much worse than that. These conservatives who supposedly favor capitalism are revealing their true core convictions. Evidently they’re not a whole lot different from liberals and socialists who believe, on the most basic of levels, that capitalism (and all freedom by implication) is cruel, unkind and unfair.

At least Obama and the liberals make no secret of their moral opposition to capitalism. They act on this moral opposition in practice. As awful and evil as this is, what are we to make of Obama’s “conservative” opponents who claim to FAVOR capitalism on principle, and then morally denounce it when they don’t like a particular set of results from a particular business?

The implication of Perry’s and Gingrich’s condemnation is clear: Business does not exist to make a profit, but to serve the public. Business is not a money-making enterprise; it’s a social enterprise. Profit is good, but only when it serves the employees and others who don’t take the risks and have all the responsibilities for running a company on their shoulders.

This is precisely the premise of Obamaism, and it’s precisely the premise behind any form of fascism or socialism. Conservative Republicans have, at long last, revealed their true colors.

The most grotesque irony of all? Mitt Romney is the least conservative and least pro-capitalist of all the candidates running — or at least so we thought. He offers no promises to reduce taxes or regulations, and he actually still defends his plan for socialized medicine (mandates and all) imposed on the state of Massachusetts by his own initiative. There are loads of reasons to attack Romney from a conservative or pro-capitalist perspective. Yet none of these conservatives did. That’s because they’re not really pro-capitalist.

This doesn’t mean that they’re not shrewd politicians. Maybe they sense, from traveling around the country and talking to voters, that the country is moving left.

These attacks on Romney do not make him any more defensible a candidate, from a limited government point-of-view, than he was before. These attacks make his attackers look far worse than even the most skeptical of us realized they were. Romney is still just as bad as he ever was, and remains so as he stands poised to take the nomination.

Anything is possible in an election. But it’s unlikely that Romney can defeat Obama. Obama is a known quantity — a bad one, but one that a country moving mostly to the left can tolerate better than it ever would have even five or ten years ago. The grass roots Republicans who Mitt Romney will need to win the election will not be enthusiastic. Remember, Romney could not even beat John McCain for the 2008 nomination; and McCain couldn’t even beat Obama. He’s worse than a retread. But the sorriest fact of all is that his competition is even worse. America could potentially rise again, but it won’t be the politicians who do it. The people will have to do so themselves, under much better leadership than they’re getting.

Capitalism is not made up of vultures who prey on innocent victims. Capitalism — unhampered, as it’s supposed to be — is made up of self-responsible producers and traders. The incentive and motivation under capitalism is excellence, to the best of one’s ability. No system is infallible, but capitalism is by far the best one because it rewards and punishes the right things. It’s politicians — on both the left and right, these days — who are the true vultures.