Obama's Social Justice Capitalism
Unlike the mercy-killing "vulture" capital firms, venture capital firms invest in start-up companies. Take a quick look at a venture capital firm like Atlas Venture Capital and you will see a list of firms that are not exactly household names. The sole criterion venture capital firms use to select start-ups for initial financial backing is whether, in their view, the firms can eventually succeed in the free market, prosper, and grow. Moreover, venture capital firms use their own money and line of credit to get the companies started.
The Obama team, by contrast, uses taxpayer money to inject capital into select firms to help them compete in the supply-demand market. Their criteria for selection, moreover, are centered not on whether there is a good chance that the firm can prosper and grow on its own, but whether the firm is engaged in fields that further Obama's vision of environmental justice. The companies of the green economy, so the story goes, will create jobs which will open the door for minority training and employment. This dovetails nicely with Obama's stated goals of social and economic justice.
Much has been made of the firms that get government capital having made contributions to the Obama campaign. That misses the point. Obama is motivated not just by kickbacks. His actions are consistent with his rhetoric. He states that the overarching principle directing his personal and political life is his sense of social justice. There is every reason to believe him. His actions and demeanor are consistent with a man who believes that his goal is of such high purpose that it justifies all manner of subterfuge and end-runs around Congress and the Constitution.
One cannot peer into the soul of one's fellow man, but certainly Obama's demeanor, rhetoric, and actions are consistent with an understanding of Obama as a man who is convinced that he has a superior vision for America. Obama seems every bit the moralist. He works for his just society with what appears to be moral conviction. During his years as a community organizer in Chicago, he saw the great inequities in American society -- inequities which, along with bigotry, he attributed to the American capitalist system. The people on the bottom rung, and especially their children, don't have a chance. Couple that moral conviction with the ruthlessness of Chicago politics, and you have a potent force. Add a suave, urbane, and articulate persona, and Obama is a formidable package.
Certainly the Obama administration will stoop to anything to get votes for the next election. The latest outrageous example is using the U.S. Export-Import bank (taxpayer-funded) to channel funds to attract business to the swing states of North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio, and Virginia.
So, yes, from crony capitalism to vote-buying capitalism, the Obama administration will use any siphoning of taxpayer funds to pump capital where it sees political advantage. But to leave it at that -- self-interest -- is to miss the narcissistic sense of moral superiority. Moreover, it is a narcissistic sense of moral superiority that is coupled with a disdain for the actual grunt work of implementing his moral vision. It is an aloof sense of moral superiority in which he provides the rhetoric and his minions do the work.
Obama may think he is on the right side of morality, but he is on the wrong side of reality. For Obama the cure is more government, more regulation, more intervention, and less individual freedom. The invisible hand of laissez-faire capitalism is just that for Obama -- invisible. Capitalism needs the Obama hand of social, economic, and environmental justice. But what do we see? Less opportunity -- not only on the economic front, but also on the educational front -- and increased class and racial hostility. During the Obama ("Spendulus Maximus") administration, the economic freedom rank for America has dropped from 9th to 10th. Our educational rank has also dropped.
It is important to close the opportunity gap between the haves and have-nots, and especially the latter's children. But taking money out of the competitive capitalist enterprise system and pouring it into firms to assuage carbon guilt has been a disaster ("Solyndra Just Tip of the Iceberg"). Misallocation of capital cannot help any policy of economic/job growth, much less social justice.
It is time for Congress to call a halt to the Obama's venture into social justice capitalism. And it is certainly time for voters to put an end to Obama hamstringing and sapping the good ship Enterprise by regulations and misallocation of capital under the guise of social justice capitalism. We need a new skipper.