Capitalism, Socialism and the Future: Talking with Charles Payne of Fox Business Network
Last week, I spoke one-on-one with Charles Payne, the Fox Business Network (FBN) host and Fox News Channel analyst and frequent substitute host, who is an expert on all things financial and political. Payne will be hosting of a live town hall event on capitalism and socialism on FBN Thursday May 16, at 2 PM EDT, part of the channel’s series of reports on the subject that are airing this week.
Charles Payne 2018
Photo courtesy Fox Business Network Media Relations
Charles Payne is a thoughtful, articulate, and engaging personality whose personal story adds layers of insight to his analysis. Payne was born in 1960 and initially lived in several foreign countries and in different parts of the U.S., a requirement of his father’s work for the military. In 1972, when his parents’ marriage broke up, Payne’s mother took Charles and his two brothers from a comfortable life in the suburbs to live in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood. He spent his teenage years navigating Harlem’s mean streets “during its worst periods of crime and blight.”
At age 17, Payne enlisted in the United States Air Force. During his service, he attended Minot State College and Central Texas College, and earned a B.A. He followed his dream to Wall Street in 1985 as an analyst at E.F. Hutton. In 1991, Payne founded Wall Street Strategies, an independent stock market research firm, where he currently is chief executive officer and the principal analyst.
Along the way, Payne honed his communications skills and in October 2007 he joined the Fox Business Network when it launched. He hosts a daily financial program for FBN and frequently appears as a guest host and contributor on FBN’s sister outlet, the Fox News Channel. His FBN program, Making Money with Charles Payne, routinely beats the competition on CNBC in its 2 P.M. E.T. time slot.
I began our conversation by asking him about the suddenly hot 2020 election campaign issue of capitalism vs. socialism, the subject of the upcoming town hall that he will host on Thursday during his regular time slot on FBN.
Peter Barry Chowka: What do you hope to achieve in FBN’s reports on socialism vs. capitalism this week and in the town hall event that you’re hosting?
Charles Payne: I’m hoping to be able to create some clarity for our viewers, as to what exactly they’re being asked to embrace. I’ve long felt that there is a brewing battle between capitalism and socialism in this country. It’s been coming on for the last two election cycles. Some people point to income inequality, others point to the social justice movement. I think it’s ironic that as the stock market moves higher and higher, and breaks record after record, it makes this an even more dire situation for those who aren’t in this. It makes it feel like the system is unfair to them.
Right now, we’re getting a lot of things in broad strokes. People have heard of the Green New Deal. Meanwhile, many of the proponents of the Green New Deal aren’t even sure what’s in it. People have heard about socialism but very few people have heard what socialism really entails. For some, it sounds wonderful. Once they have a better sense of it, maybe it won’t sound so good. By the same token, when I talk with some of my fellow capitalists, I leave scratching my head, frustrated because it feels like they’re completely tone deaf to a large swath of our population. They don't understand how AOC [Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY] got elected! I do (laughs). I know people who voted for her. I thought she was going to win the election when I saw her videos.
Because the stakes are so high, it will be great for people to know exactly where they are being pulled to politically because there are powerful forces that have the voter in a tug of war right now.
Peter: This push towards socialism among the Democrats has definitely been brewing. A year ago, I investigated and wrote about the Occupy ICE movement. That was happening at the same time as the socialist Ocasio-Cortez came out of nowhere to win her primary – and she soon became the most influential Democrat politician in the country and a media and social media star. Last July, I reported that the Democratic Socialists of America were behind Occupy ICE – and local Democrat politicians in key cities were supporting the socialists’ demands to abolish ICE. Then in the fall, we witnessed many prominent national Democrats adopt the “abolish ICE” mantra. And now, the Democrat candidates who are running for president in 2020 have all moved farther to the left – full-blown socialists in many cases – than we’ve ever seen before.
Charles: The success Bernie Sanders had in the  election. The success AOC has had in unseating the number three Democrat [in the House]. The way that played out is a prime example of a lesson to be learned. A very powerful man in the Democrat Party [Democratic House Caucus Chair Joe Crowley, who AOC ousted in the June 2018 primary] didn't even bother to go and ask for the votes of his constituents when his opponent was going door to door.
The energy is on the other [Left] side. I think it’s because there’s a feeling that one group is entitled – feels entitled and acts entitled – while the other group feels like they’ve been shut out and overlooked. Even the election of President Trump underscores that this was brewing. You had a lot of dissatisfied voters, many of whom hadn’t voted in a long time, who voted for Donald Trump. Union workers voted for him – because the things that were promised to them for decades, the economic opportunities, just never materialized.
Screen shot courtesy of Charles Paynes’s Twitter
Peter: In the FBN town tall event on socialism vs. capitalism on Thursday, what do you expect the strongest or most salable arguments of the socialists will be for transforming our country?
Charles:: The strongest one will be that the richest nation in the world has too few people with too much money. And that the notion of real shared prosperity doesn’t exist. That you have a system based around serving and protecting corporations which exist to provide money only to shareholders and the CEO of the company. I’ve been talking about these things for a long time [including] these crazy stock buybacks by companies that are not doing well. For example, in the past two years, GameStock bought back almost $2 billion of its own stock starting at $58 a share. The stock’s around $8 a share now. During that same period, they closed hundreds of stores and fired thousands of people. That’s a small example. I called out IBM for a decade for that kind of behavior.
So, in Joe Biden’s first official campaign speech, he brought up the subject of buybacks. That was brilliant on his part. Once people understand what’s happening – that you’re going to prop up your stock, give it to your executives while you’re firing rank and file people – it’s going to be a problem [for Republicans].
So that’s the best argument they have, for opposing this version of capitalism that’s being practiced in our country.
Peter: In a speech you gave, you talked about your definition of successful leadership. You said, "You cannot lead everyone with the same approach. People have to buy into your leadership with shared goals and objectives.” Do you think it’s possible for Americans to agree now or in the future on shared goals and objectives – considering the polarization and the division that are defining us?
Charles: I think for the most part the nation does already agree. But people disagree when you label it. A prime example of that is this: My house is a place where people come on big fight nights. So, I get a lot of buddies in from Harlem, from the Bronx, from all over the Tri-State area. People I’ve known for 30 or 35 years or even longer. We have these great conversations. If you didn’t know better, you would think everyone in the room was a Republican (laughs). They don’t like the idea of paying higher taxes. They don’t like the idea of someone getting paid welfare and not working. They don’t like the idea of wasted government spending. They’re pro-religion, pro-family, pro-life. It’s absolutely remarkable. But as soon as you put a label on each one of these things and say, “Well, that's a Republican idea,” then they back away from it. That’s why I say you have to be able to articulate your message and understand who your crowd is, learning to articulate to a wider audience.
Peter: Your town hall event on Thursday, true to the old motto of Fox News as “fair and balanced,” will include both sides of the debate on capitalism vs. socialism?
Payne: Yes. I'm very excited about it. We’ve sent invitations to different political groups, different economic groups, schools. I’m going to present both sides. I’ve studied this. I have my own opinions. By the same token, though, I’m very frustrated – extremely frustrated – at the nonsense that I’m seeing. I’m frustrated when I see pro-capitalist business groups say they don’t like the new NAFTA because it means more cars are going to be built in America. And this whole notion that they don’t like President Trump’s trade war – and they try to say that it’s going to make products more expensive? That’s specious! The real problem, Peter, is that businesses would have to suffer for a quarter or two. It seems like they’re rooting for China over President Trump and millions of Americans who have lost their jobs to unfair trade policies.
Charles Payne on the set of Making Money With Charles Payne
Screen shot courtesy of Fox Business Network Media Relations
Peter: I don’t know if you want to prognosticate. Do you foresee that President Trump will be able to win re-election next year?
Charles: I do, for two reasons. The economic momentum is just remarkable. If it stays this way, no matter how people feel about a mean tweet or something like that, I think when they get in that voting booth they’re going to say, “I don't want to mess this up.” And also, I just don’t see anyone in the Democratic field who I think could take him down. I know Joe Biden is being played up as a so-called blue-collar president, but I think from a point of passion and a point of a game plan, his biggest challenges would be Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. They have something that’s completely different, that they’ve put years and years of work into, and they believe it passionately. It’s centered around one area that really does resonate, particularly with Millennials, and that’s the issue of fairness.
Peter: And they can communicate their message easily and with simplicity. Not only that: I just got the transcript of Vice President Biden’s appearance on Meet the Press on May 6, 2012 when he unilaterally went out in front on the issue of same sex marriage, ahead of President Obama and other major Democrats, and blew the whole thing wide open. Reading the transcript, he’s barely coherent at times – inarticulate, mumbling, fumbling. Can he even go the distance? Not only does he not have a compelling meme like these other candidates, he just seems way past it now.
Charles: He said the other day that he spoke with Margaret Thatcher [1925-2013]. I believe that Warren and/or Sanders, perhaps paired with a Kamala Harris, present the greatest threat to Trump’s re-election.
But as of right now, unless we get a big time recession between now and November of next year, I think President Trump wins.
My conversation with Charles Payne included other topics and I expect to publish another part of my interview with him here in the near future.
May 2, 2019 New York NY. Source: BusinessWire. FOX Business Network (FBN) will present a special town hall event to discuss the economic impact of capitalist and socialist policies at 2PM/ET on Thursday, May 16th.
Moderated by Making Money host Charles Payne in front of a live studio audience, the special will focus on voters’ opinions surrounding the ongoing debate between the two models of governing leading up to the 2020 election. Throughout the program, Payne will feature interviews with political and economic experts including philosopher Dr. Cornel West, billionaire John Paul DeJoria, among others. Additionally, Payne will be joined by a panel of experts for analysis of this hot button political issue, including FBN’s Neil Cavuto, Kennedy, Stuart Varney, and Lou Dobbs.
The event is part of a special week-long series beginning Monday, May 13th in which FBN will dedicate various segments to the debate surrounding capitalism and socialism across network programming. Additionally, FBN correspondent Jackie DeAngelis will be presenting a five-part segment series throughout the week covering the latest developments on how the two contrasting ideologies are at the forefront of the political economy.
Here is a preview broadcast Monday on Fox Business Network:
Peter Barry Chowka writes about politics, media, popular culture, and health care for American Thinker and other publications. Peter's new website is http://peter.media. Follow him on Twitter at @pchowka.