Welcome to the Democrats' Julia Crow Era
When I watch the Democratic attacks on Bain Capital, I wonder: just how do Democrats think the economy is supposed to work?
Take the Kansas City steel plant that Bain took private in 1993 and reassembled as GST Steel. Here we had a faltering unionized steel plant. Nothing remarkable about that, of course. Unionized steel plants had been going out of business for two decades previously, because they were just too expensive and antiquated to be profitable. I remember experiencing that visiting Cleveland, Ohio, in the 1970s. The grand old basic steel plants in the Cuyahoga valley south of town were already wastelands, shuttered and abandoned, and their "good union jobs" gone for good.
Bain struggled with GST Steel for nearly a decade and then shuttered the plant in 2001. Now, in 2012, the Democrats run an ad featuring a former employee calling Bain a "vampire." I assume he meant that Bain sucked the blood out of the company and then spat it out. That's after Bain had transfused $100 million into the company over ten years.
If Bain's actions are reprehensible, then what about the government's bank bailouts, in which the taxpayers stood bail on the banking system, or the auto bailouts when a Democratic administration showered benefits on Democratic constituencies with taxpayer money?
Just what is the principled Democratic way of dealing with industries in decline? What do Democrats think is the fair and efficient way to deal with failing corporations? What about Hewlett-Packard that just announced a layoff of 30,000 this week?
The world is waiting with bated breath for the answer, because, as we know, liberals and Democrats are the educated, the evolved, the intelligent people.
At the dawn of the postwar era the liberal prophet of cartel capitalism, John Kenneth Galbraith, barely worried in American Capitalism that there was "a chance that power developed and even encouraged to neutralize other power, will start on a career of its own." Fortunately, he assured us, these powers--big business, big unions, big government--had "so far comported themselves with some restraint." That was in 1952.
Since then there has been no sign that liberals have departed an inch from this top-down crony-capitalist model. In fact the Obama administration has seemed determined, while still splattered with the debris of the cratered auto industry and the housing bubble, to test their Big Unit capitalism to destruction with ObamaCare, green energy, and very fast trains.
Meanwhile, the private capital industry has developed to help entrepreneurstart-ups and to discipline corporations that have taken their eye off the ball. The only thing liberals can think to do is milk the private capitalists for campaign contributions.
There was another time in America when a whole sector of the nation chose to marinate in the past, standing against the future, and that was the Jim Crow era in the South. Defeated in the Civil War, their profitable system of plantation slavery demolished, Southerners could still use political muscle to maintain a bitter and twisted domination over the newly-freed slaves and keep the freedmen from challenging the white political and economic ascendancy. It was liberals that called the nation to abolish that racist abomination.
Today's liberals are in the same position as the Southrons of 1900. Their vision of good jobs, strong unions, defined benefits, and lifetime employment is gone with the wind, never to return. Instead we have the economy of "creative destruction" prophesied by that other mid-century prophet, Joseph Schumpeter.
Nothing, we know, is forever in the economy -- or ever was. Railroads, the wonder of 1850, were replaced by oil and steel, the wonders of 1900, and they were replaced by autos and electricity in the 1920s, electronics in the 1950s, computers in the 1980s, and the information revolution of the 1990s.
You can see the new economy in the flap over Jack Welch and women in business. Never mind "diversity, mentorships and affinity groups... 'Over deliver,' Mr. Welch advised. 'Performance is it!'" Predictably the feminazis exploded, so the Wall Street Journal's John Bussey went to 18 woman CEOs of Fortune 500 companies to ask their opinion. They agreed with Welch. "Be open to opportunity and take risks. In fact, take the worst, the messiest, the most challenging assignment you can find, and then take control," said one woman. "I have stepped up to many 'ugly' assignments that others didn't want," said another.
But the liberals are stuck in the past, marinating in their acidic Julia Crow politics. They still have to power to defame and deny, but lack the goodwill do lend a hand and help. And as for "the worst, the messiest, the most challenging assignment?" Today's trustafarian liberals don't believe in getting their hands dirty any more than the scion of yesterday's cotton plantation.
America deserves better from its educated elite.
Christopher Chantrill is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his usgovernmentspending.com and also usgovernmentdebt.us. At americanmanifesto.org he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism.