How long can reasonable people suffer the preposterous assumption of Mitt Romney and other GOP Presidential hopefuls for the remaining time leading up to the November elections that “free enterprise” is under assault from the Obama administration and the Occupy Wall Street movement? I have long believed that there is no hypocrisy that is too great for some politicians to engage in and this charge by Romney and other Republicans is the most current example of this.
The Occupy Wall Street movement and a few ethical economists are primarily responsible for pointing out the problems that exist in our culture where the disparity in income is excessive between a small segment of society and most everyone else. This disparity is as severe as it ever has been and is made worse by jobless rates that remain very high. There are those in the wealthy class that Romney comes from who have tried to accuse anyone who doesn’t disparage the Occupy movement as anti-capitalist hacks.
Gingrich referred to Occupiers as dead beats who simply “need to get a job after they take a bath.” Interesting though now, Gingrich, and Rick Perry, seem to be borrowing the narrative from the OWS movement. GOP rivals are charging Romney “of being a fat-cat venture capitalist during his days running the private equity firm Bain Capital, laying off workers as he restructured companies and filled his own pockets” according to a report from AP’s Tom Raum. The irony and hypocrisy is so thick you can cut it with a knife.
The Republican straw man attack about Obama attacking free-enterprise is purely a facade that has evolved from an equally absurd notion that Obama is an Islamic socialist - an oxymoron if ever there was one. The smear campaign in place against the President revolves purely around the strategy of GOP operatives whose objective since Obama entered the Oval office in January 2009 was aptly summed up in Senator Mitch McConnell words affirming that “The single most important thing we [Republicans] want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
The Occupy movement, not Obama, is the primary source that has popularized the failures of the free-market that allowed unregulated financial markets to engage in lending practices that went sour and slowly unravelled into the worst economic recession since the Great one back in 1929. This quickly put some of the wealthy one-percenters on the defensive and retaliate with the lame exclamation that there was a “class war” being waged and that Obama was behind this.
But free enterprise per se isn’t under attack by the Occupiers or Obama. What is under attack is the faceless inhumanity of some very wealthy people and their institutions that exploited their positions of wealth and power to gain more themselves while millions of working low and middle income families lost their jobs and health care coverage along with their homes and savings set aside for their children’s college tuition and their own retirement.
This is where Romney is feeling the heat and thus making the charges that “the Obama people [are coming] after free enterprise”. Romney’s role in Bain Capital, a company founded in 1984 by partners Mitt Romney, T. Coleman Andrews III, and Eric Kriss has spurred charges of greed. Though there has been very little transparency about how things came together at Bain, it is clear that Romney succeeded in making lots of money for himself and his investors. But this has come at a high price for many people who lost their jobs and eventually their livelihoods as companies were bought, sold an consolidated to get the best bang for the investor’s buck.
The claim too that while at Bain, Romney created 100,000 jobs has been significantly debunked. As a result, Romney is a caricature of that which best represents the face of greed in this “class warfare” that one-percenters are trying to demonize. It becomes understandable then, in light of this, why he would want to portray Obama and anyone else who challenges his record at Bain as people who “would come after free enterprise”; a typical red herring move to shift the onus away from himself and towards something that is connected to something Americans view as admirable.
The free-enterprise system consists of millions of small businesses that have suffered tremendously at the failure of the markets that came crashing down in 2008 when it was discovered that lenders were creating toxic mortgages with people who had little collateral and in some cases, little to no income. Then the problem was amplified when these predatory lenders bundled these toxic assets and sold them to unsuspecting investors while also buying what are called credit default swaps, gimmick policies devised to insure that the bundlers would make millions when these loans went bad. Gordon Gecko would be so proud.
These small, free-enterprise companies have watched their businesses slowly loose profits and for some, close up shop completely. I work part-time for one of these small businesses; a food catering service. It’s essentially a “mom and pop” operation that struggles each week to make payroll. Some days we don’t work at all when demand for their product just doesn’t materialize.
This struggle is not the result of competition alone or the fact that their product isn’t good. They make some of the best desserts and meats I have ever tasted. They take great pride in how they present themselves and their food. They play by the rules and to my knowledge they always have. But what’s hurting them now is not a President or government that over regulates them. It is a weak economy that has killed demand for their services. A weak economy that resulted from people like Romney who took as much as they could from as many as they could without any regard to how this would impact the overall economy.
So the next time you hear one of these wealthy elitist or their wannabe supporters in government lash out at people who simply want a level playing field and are inquiring why the wealth of this nation has shifted so dramatically to a very small percentage of people, take a closer look at them and see if you can’t detect a spot of hypocrisy and self-serving smugness; doing what they need to do to ensure their advantages remain while the middle class in this country continue to take a beating.
Romney’s is the language of a man who has never wanted for anything, never worried about where his next paycheck would come from, never worried about going bankrupt if he got sick.
It is the language of an entitled empowerment utterly alien to the experience of most Americans. SOURCE