We've been hearing the term "vulture capitalism" tossed around a lot in the last few days with regard to the past business dealings of Mitt Romney with Bain Capital. And much of the criticism has surprisingly been coming from those on the right who we had hoped would help further the cause of free market capitalism.
Vultures are unsightly scavenger birds but they form a vital role in the eco-system just as "vulture capitalists" form a vital role in the free market economic system. Both consume the dead or dying for personal gain.
Most carnivores have no interest in feasting on smelly rotten carcasses that they find laying around. Not only do they find it repulsive but the possibility of becoming deathly ill makes it not worth the risk of doing so. Vultures and other scavengers have adapted to this risk though, and during the process of the scavenger being rewarded for that risk, the eco-system as a whole is in turn rewarded by having vital resources returned to the system where the process is then repeated. Having the land piled up to the treetops with dead bodies or lakes containing nothing but carcasses would do those living within the eco-system no good at all.
Similarly, so-called "vulture capitalists" provide a vital cleansing role (when done within the laws) in a free market economy. When they spot a dead or dying business they evaluate the risk, swoop-in and do what scavengers do -- reward their risk by filling their bellies with profit. The entire business might not be defunct at the time and if it's not, the "vultures", being experts at what they do, may only consume the dead parts leaving enough valuable resources behind to permit the remaining to survive and prosper for future profits. It's not real popular or glamorous and it's a business that most capitalists don't have the stomach for but it does provide a vital role in the economic food-chain none the less.
Big government "vultures" are a different species entirely. As we've seen recently, they tend to team-up with "parasites" and sicken free market capitalism by manipulating the rules to work in the favor of themselves, their friends and those that vote them into power. This creates distortions in the economic food-chain that would not naturally exist in the superior free market. Unfortunately, these distortions drastically reduce the standard of living for most everyone else in the economic food-chain.
A good example of this is what has happened with the recent green energy boondoggles of the Obama Administration. The government vultures and parasites, taking more and more money from the taxpayers, funneled large sums of that money to provide life support for companies that had no chance of survival in the first place. This provided a feast for the crony parasites during the process and for the crony vultures at the end of the process.
Another example is the distortion of the natural business dying process as was seen in the cases of General Motors and Chrysler. Instead of letting the "vulture capitalists" come in and do their job, in the case of GM, the dying patient was placed on tax payer paid life-support without requiring any of the "lifestyle" changes necessary to ensure future survival. And with Chrysler, the entire "food chain" was turned upside-down when the bond holders at the top of the food chain were allowed to be devoured by the crony vultures and parasites, while most of the dying parts were allowed to survive for purely political reasons.
The ravenous government vultures and parasites have just started to go to work on our health care system and I don't need to tell you that if they're allowed to continue, things will not end well for us.
This brings me back to Mitt Romney. He recently said this to make a comparison to his so-called "vulture capitalism":
In the general election I'll be pointing out that the president took the reins at General Motors and Chrysler - closed factories, closed dealerships laid off thousands and thousands of workers - he did it to try to save the business.
I just can't help but wonder if Romney is a little confused as to which species of "vulture" he actually is?
If these government vultures and parasites aren't taken seriously and stopped, I fear most of us will be forced to become coprovores in the near future.
Scott blogs at www.politiseeds.com