Without a doubt one of the two must underrated sites on the internet is Intellectual Takeout. It’s a place where questions are answered filtering out the bias of the political spectrum. I love this site for the challenges it presents to its readers to think beyond themselves and their world view. A few days ago I stumbled upon a gem. It goes a long way into understanding what is bubbling in the belly of the Conservative political gut. It takes on Capitalism as preached by those in power and Capitalism as understood by the conservative/libertarian voter. They are definitely not the same animal.
The article “Free Market Capitalism vs. Crony Capitalism” explores the difference and may be a look into the problem the Republican Party has in making inroads to Tea Party and Libertarian voters. They instinctively know the difference, while the Republican Party doesn’t seem to be able to acknowledge any difference at all. A quote from the article;
Unlike in a free market capitalist system, under crony capitalism it is often more profitable for businesses to spend resources lobbying legislators for handouts in the form of grants, loans, or tax advantages, and protections against competition in order to increase their profits. In turn, the government’s willingness to hand out special privileges promotes the politically well-connected rather than those who seek to earn the preference of investors and consumers based on merit.
The one failure of the article is that it moves forward citing demands by Occupy Wall Street protests as the only ones who understand the difference and are the only ones challenging this status-quo. That could not be further from the truth. The fact is that these people are Johnny Come Lately’s to the fight.
The Tea Party and Libertarians have been fighting Crony Capitalism for at least 3 years now. Some even longer. It’s not that Tea Party/Libertarian leaning people want others to be taxed at a higher rate or be regulated out of existence. It’s the influence of Crony Capitalism on policy and uses of elected officials to gain advantages single voters have no chance of getting that is the difference. Let us face facts, who is a politician going to be most influenced by:
A K Street lobbying firm who has resources bundling millions of dollars for a politicians election and also has members working inside these election campaigns. Some of these people are previous politicians who know the game, the players, and what it takes to get favorable policy passed.
Joe and Jane Doe who give what little they can afford because they believe in the promises of the politician at the time.
To pretend that there is no difference between the two examples is willful ignorance. This difference is what is holding back usually staunch Republicans and Conservatives from giving enthusiastic support to the party’s nominees. Most self-described Tea Party/Libertarians see this as fundamental to the reason why the government is broken, will not be fixed any time soon, and will continue to only get worse until people willing to make substantive change are able to be elected. Crony Capitalism has long ago been pointed out by these people as not a symptom of what ails our government, but its root cause. The promises of the Republican Party of fixing what is broke rings hollow to more and more people of conservative foundations. They are considered just as guilty of using Crony Capitalism as the Democrats party. Democrats use unions; Republicans use special interest lobbying firms. Both addicted to the money both of these entities provide in keeping them in power. Crony Capitalism is as far from Free Market Capitalism as football is to baseball. The only similarity is that they are both games that happen to share the same word.
The Republican Party has tried to condemn anyone who attacks the inbred form of Crony Capitalism they practice as an attack on Free Market Capitalism. They cannot allow there to be a distinction of the two and for years they were able to do so. Until the age of the internet. That has changed everything.
People now have a wealth of information literally at their fingertips. One of the most valuable things that the internet provides is a quick reference to voting histories, donation histories, promises made, and promises not kept. The line between Crony and Free Market Capitalism is not as easy to blur as it once was and is becoming clearer and clearer each election cycle. The history of promises and who gets the attention of politicians is able to plotted and viewed. People are designed to recognize patterns. It’s ingrained into our sub-conscious. It’s a function that we cannot escape or avoid. And patterns are forming. The pattern of Crony Capitalism is forever trending upward and the pattern for Free Market Capitalism is trending in its opposite direction.
P.S. The other most underrated site on the internet surely is Flopping Aces. I would be a fool to say otherwise for so many reasons.