Friday, November 13, 2015

Populism - Down with Big Banks, Big Business, and Big Government

As a people, we Americans are mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it anymore – the expansion of big banks, big business, or big government. We’re going to lower taxes and regulations and let the people free to pursue their own interests.

In political circles, we call this populism. This emotion is responsible for the rise of non-politician candidates – Trump and Carson – and the fall of insider traditional candidates.

As John Steinbeck said in America and Americans in 1966,

“an obvious concentration of power or an official with a power causes in America first a restiveness, then suspicion, and finally – if the official remains in office too long – a downright general animosity…Such is the ruggedness of the path to election – the violence, the charges, the japes and hurtful tricks – that it takes a special kind of person to run for public office, a person with armored skin and a practical knowledge of gutter fighting.”

Fast forward to 2015 and the prelude to the 2016 elections, and you will find the same anger, a distrust for traditional politicians and loss of faith in capitalism.

The common triggering event for this set of emotions is the financial crisis. The crisis has lingered since 2008. It has created systemic anxiety because of the low 1.5% growth of the American economy , stagnant middle class wages, failures and low start-up rates of small businesses, and decline in entrepreneurship and innovation.\
A market research firm YouGov finds consumers think 65% of big businesses have dodged taxes, bought favors, or polluted; 55% think the rich get richer and the poor get poorer; only 14% think the next generation will be richer, safer, and healthier than the last, yet 49% still believe free enterprise is better at lifting people out of poverty than government.

At the fourth GOP debate, candidate were relentless in their attacks on Wall Street, big banks, the Federal Reserve, crony capitalism, the Pacific Trade pact, and ObamaCare.

Of the latter, Carly Florina commented the health law had prolonged the “cozy little game between regulators and health insurance companies,” another swipe at bigness.

The only federal entity that was spared was the military, which all but Ron Paul said must be rebuilt .

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, populism and capitalism combine to produce the worst and most unfair economic system – except for all the others that have been tried and failed.

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