Dreaming About Capitalism
Time to wake up, America. The Senate cannot agree on a bill to stimulate the economy and the Democrats won't agree to it until (among other things) the bailed out corporations agree to not use their public money to buy back their own stock, layoff workers, or give their executives huge bonuses.
Eight years ago, Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney said that, as a conservative capitalist, he thought that it would have been better for GM to go bankrupt in 2009 than to have been bailed out by the government. As an honest capitalist, he thought the market should decide winners and losers. The winners -- the better capitalists, would buy the worthwhile leftovers of the losers, then efficiently repurpose them and create new profits. That, he believed, was the laissez-faire benefit of capitalism.
Where are these capitalists now? Why do they think that the government should bail out their companies? Should their companies not go bankrupt? Instead of saving cash, buying business insurance, and building their balance sheets, these corporate leaders paid huge salaries and bonuses to themselves and left their stockholders holding paper profits and all of the risk.
Now, when calamity hits, that risk is being passed on to the taxpayers -- us. Still, even now, the so-called capitalist corporate heads insist on receiving public money without the stipulation that they not convert the bailout money into executive bonuses or pocket the money while laying off workers. We cannot allow them to prevail. You should not get to dictate the terms of your super-welfare.
We are about to increase our national debt by 9-10% or more. Before we write the check (actually, borrow the money), we should insist that this charade of so-called capitalism ends. This is the second time in the last 12 years that we have bailed U.S. corporations out of disastrous trouble. The Corona virus is not their fault. But it is a business risk. The fact that they have not accounted for that risk is unfortunate, but understandable. However, those receiving the money should no longer brag about their belief in unbridled capitalism. They are corporate socialists. We, who write the check, can no longer dream about relying on the market, alone. We are democratic socialists.
It's time to get real. It's quantifiable. Capitalism was the dream. Democratic socialism is the reality.
March 23, 2020