Capitalism Doesn’t Work???

Exerpts from Obama’s economic speech in Osawatomie, Kansas~

My grandparents served during World War II — he as a soldier in Patton’s Army, she as a worker on a bomber assembly line. Together, they shared the optimism of a nation that triumphed over a Depression and fascism. They believed in an America where hard work paid off, responsibility was rewarded, and anyone could make it if they tried — no matter who you were, where you came from, or how you started out.

These values gave rise to the largest middle class and the strongest economy the world has ever known. It was here, in America, that the most productive workers and innovative companies turned out the best products on Earth, and every American shared in that pride and success — from those in executive suites to middle management to those on the factory floor. If you gave it your all, you’d take enough home to raise your family, send your kids to school, have your health care covered, and put a little away for retirement.

Today, we are still home to the world’s most productive workers and innovative companies. But for most Americans, the basic bargain that made this country great has eroded. Long before the recession hit, hard work stopped paying off for too many people. Fewer and fewer of the folks who contributed to the success of our economy actually benefitted from that success. Those at the very top grew wealthier from their incomes and investments than ever before. But everyone else struggled with costs that were growing and paychecks that weren’t – and too many families found themselves racking up more and more debt just to keep up.

For many years, credit cards and home equity loans papered over the harsh realities of this new economy. But in 2008, the house of cards collapsed. We all know the story by now: Mortgages sold to people who couldn’t afford them, or sometimes even understand them. Banks and investors allowed to keep packaging the risk and selling it off. Huge bets – and huge bonuses – made with other people’s money on the line. Regulators who were supposed to warn us about the dangers of all this, but looked the other way or didn’t have the authority to look at all.

It was wrong. It combined the breathtaking greed of a few with irresponsibility across the system. And it plunged our economy and the world into a crisis from which we are still fighting to recover. It claimed the jobs, homes, and the basic security of millions – innocent, hard-working Americans who had met their responsibilities, but were still left holding the bag.

Ever since, there has been a raging debate over the best way to restore growth and prosperity; balance and fairness. Throughout the country, it has sparked protests and political movements – from the Tea Party to the people who have been occupying the streets of New York and other cities. It’s left Washington in a near-constant state of gridlock. And it’s been the topic of heated and sometimes colorful discussion among the men and women who are running for president.

But this isn’t just another political debate. This is the defining issue of our time. This is a make or break moment for the middle class, and all those who are fighting to get into the middle class. At stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, and secure their retirement.

Now, in the midst of this debate, there are some who seem to be suffering from a kind of collective amnesia. After all that’s happened, after the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, they want to return to the same practices that got us into this mess. In fact, they want to go back to the same policies that have stacked the deck against middle-class Americans for too many years. Their philosophy is simple: we are better off when everyone is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules.

Well, I’m here to say they are wrong. I’m here to reaffirm my deep conviction that we are greater together than we are on our own. I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, and when everyone plays by the same rules. Those aren’t Democratic or Republican values; 1% values or 99% values. They’re American values, and we have to reclaim them.

In 1910, Teddy Roosevelt came here, to Osawatomie, and laid out his vision for what he called a New Nationalism. “Our country,” he said, “…means nothing unless it means the triumph of a real democracy…of an economic system under which each man shall be guaranteed the opportunity to show the best that there is in him.”

For this, Roosevelt was called a radical, a socialist, even a communist. But today, we are a richer nation and a stronger democracy because of what he fought for in his last campaign: an eight hour work day and a minimum wage for women; insurance for the unemployed, the elderly, and those with disabilities; political reform and a progressive income tax.

Read the rest of the speech beginning here

Well, Europe is one fine example of one socialist nation after another failing. Capitalism works just fine as long as the government gets its mitts out of it. Its one thing to regulate businesses to prevent abuses but its quite another to over-regulate them through legislation that causes businesses to fail or leave the country. And just where would the stock market manipulating politicians be without capitalism?

33 responses

  1. Now, just as there was in Teddy Roosevelt’s time, there’s been a certain crowd in Washington for the last few decades who respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. “The market will take care of everything,” they tell us. If only we cut more regulations and cut more taxes – especially for the wealthy – our economy will grow stronger. Sure, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everyone else. And even if prosperity doesn’t trickle down, they argue, that’s the price of liberty.

    It’s a simple theory – one that speaks to our rugged individualism and healthy skepticism of too much government. It fits well on a bumper sticker. Here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It’s never worked. It didn’t work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It’s not what led to the incredible post-war boom of the 50s and 60s. And it didn’t work when we tried it during the last decade.

    Wow. Can we have the failed capitalism of the 50’s and 60’s please ’cause its waaay better than the socialism going on in our nation now…

    Yes, Barack, we do need to let the market take care of itself. We do need to let businesses fail and not bail them out. We do need to cut taxes and cut regulations. We need to offer companies sweet deals to come back to the U.S.A. again! That’s just too simple, isn’t it?

    I used to work in a hardware store. I remember whenever we had big storewide sales going on that we were busy, busy, busy! And rolling in the dough, too! When there were no storewide sales going on we were slow and our only business was from contractors and those with emergency plumbing problems. Prosperity comes from helping one another and keeping costs down. More would be collected on taxes if more people were working. More people would be working if more businesses were in our own country with those coveted jobs.


    1. What Obama, and those like him, are doing is demonizing the capitalist system so as to glorify socialism/Marxism. Sadly, some young Americans are falling for it because they aren’t all that saavy on economics and/or world history. Chances are, they’d rather take their University professor’s word for it than do their own research. Then there are those who really could give a flying fig.


      1. Sherry I do agree with nearly everything you have said . It is a bit nieve however to simply say we should “let businesses die” . In many cases , yes that is correct . In some cases however , the government has had their boot on the vert throat of that business and exposes the company to genuinely unfair intrusions in the market (dumping , currency manipulation , failure to enforce legitimate patent rights etc ) The industry even with those governmant induced handicaps moves along . In the case of the last slowdown GOVERNMENT actions and in-actions from both sides of the isle culminated in a borrowing crisis that put many companies on the brink or over the brink . That is not at all “allowing to fail” it is causing a failure . The manufacturing sector , like the oil and mining sectors have long been in the socialists cross-hairs . By turning on those companies , the un-witting Conservative has haplessly taken part in ensuring the outcome that the world socialistia intended . They are laughing up their sleeves as they hear Conservatives and NEOCONS taking that stance . Think about it .


        1. Gary, I totally agree. What you said I said in part at the end of the post above. My comment that you are commenting on says within it that we need to get rid of all these burdensome taxes and regulations on businesses.

          Thanks for your informative comment and needful warning to Conservatives (though I’ve not yet known any conservatives turning on the manufacturing sector…).


  2. But we need to meet the moment. We need to up our game. And we need to remember that we can only do that together.

    It starts by making education a national mission – government and businesses; parents and citizens. In this economy, a higher education is the surest route to the middle class. The unemployment rate for Americans with a college degree or more is about half the national average. Their income is twice as high as those who don’t have a high school diploma. We shouldn’t be laying off good teachers right now – we should be hiring them. We shouldn’t be expecting less of our schools – we should be demanding more. We shouldn’t be making it harder to afford college – we should be a country where everyone has the chance to go.

    Okay, stop right here! Where is the money for higher education coming from if mommy and/or daddy aren’t working or cannot pay the bills? Yes, education is needed but we need to step one step back and get the means, aka jobs, for those college funds first. Not only do we have to get good paying jobs for mom and dad to pay for Junior’s education but we also want to make sure there’s a job for Junior upon his graduation. So, let’s entice businesses to set up shop in America. Let’s give states incentives to do that and lets get rid of ridiculous regulations while keeping those that prevent abuses in the workplace and in the market.


    1. But in the long term, we have to rethink our tax system more fundamentally. We have to ask ourselves: Do we want to make the investments we need in things like education, and research, and high-tech manufacturing? Or do we want to keep in place the tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans in our country? Because we can’t afford to do both. That’s not politics. That’s just math.

      Oh, for crying out loud. Reform the tax system and make the investments needed. But, for pete’s sake, don’t vilify or gyp the wealthy business owner if he can bring jobs to the unemployed and help our economy! Why would any business owner want to stay in the states if he’s going to be the evil bad guy?


  3. This country shouldn’t be known for bad debt and phony profits. We should be known for creating and selling products all over the world that are stamped with three proud words: Made in America.

    Bravo, Mr. Obama, bravo. Now let’s keep it in the way of capitalism, not socialism, ‘k? And tell the government to butt out.


  4. Some terrific comments from the comment line:

    shipwreck1912 wrote:
    12/9/2011 6:27 AM CST
    Well Mr. President if you want to be like Teddy Roosevelt break up monopolies……..Let’s start with Public Education and continue on to the Post Office and most other departments of government. Oh, but I don’t think you are likely do that………way too many union votes……….so I guess the concept of working together to make the tough sacrifices does not apply to you.

    IvoryTowerDweller wrote:
    12/7/2011 10:48 PM CST
    “Do we want to make the investments we need in things like education, and research, and high-tech manufacturing? Or do we want to keep in place the tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans in our country? Because we can’t afford to do both. That’s not politics. That’s just math.”

    No. Not Math. But it is a great example of poor argumentation- specifically a logical fallacy- a false dichotomy. Somewhere he missed the class on valid argumentation. I’ll start using this quote in class. Along with LBJ’s political ad “Daisy.” One of my other favorite examples of poor argumentation…

    ZZMike wrote:
    12/7/2011 3:01 PM CST
    Sorry, Shawn52. The majority of the peoplle reject this President’s socialist dream. They reject his iron-fisted way of ramming new rules and regulations – especially the health-care system that will result in less care at higher prices (if you think health care is expensive now, just wait till it’s free).

    We reject his attempt at class warfare – telling us we;re divided into middle class and the evil “millionaires and billionaires” – of which he is one, and who pay 60% to 70% of all the income taxes.

    All I need by way of example is to look at the way the Democrats are campaigning: nothing but negative ads attacking Republicans.

    We all know perfectly well why that is. It is because they have not one single solitary thing they’ve done that’s been good for the country. Not one success. Nothing.


  5. Obama vs Capitalism

    In Teddy Roosevelt’s era, President Barack Obama explained to the nation this week, “some people thought massive inequality and exploitation was just the price of progress. … But Roosevelt also knew that the free market has never been a free license to take whatever you want from whoever you can.”

    And he’s right. Even today there are people who believe they should have free license to take whatever they want from whomever they can. They’re called Democrats.

    Yet the president, uniter of a fractured nation, the mighty slayer of infinite straw men, claims that some Americans “rightly” suppose that the economy is rigged against their best interests in a nation awash in breathtaking greed, massive inequality and exploitation. Or I should say, he’s trying to convince us that it’s the case.

    Obama, after all, is such a towering economic mind that in Osawatomie, he once again blamed ATMs (and the Internets) for job losses. This is a man we can trust. “Less productivity! More jobs!”


  6. The United States of Unfair-ica

    The President told the people of Osawatomie Teddy “…believed then what we know is true today, that the free market is the greatest force for economic progress in human history. It’s led to a prosperity and a standard of living unmatched by the rest of the world.”

    Then the other shoe dropped. “But Roosevelt also knew that the free market has never been a free license to take whatever you can from whomever you can.”

    On what planet is that a pillar of the free market? That answer is none, but you can’t make a case against the free market without creating a straw man or two. Imagine if a factory somewhere had to physically produce all this president’s straw men. We’d be back to full employment in no time. But I digress.


  7. Is This What Democrats Want for Our Future?

    Elsewhere in the speech, the President noted that the upcoming election will be, in part, about “whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, and secure a retirement.” Yet the very fact that any of us can even hope for these things demonstrates the functionality of American-styled capitalism over the past many decades.


  8. Gridlock to the Rescue-Thomas Sowell

    The media and the intelligentsia seem obsessed with the idea that government intervention is necessary to get the economy out of the doldrums. This is certainly the prevailing dogma but it is contradicted by history. Yet who reads history any more?

    If you look back through history and compare what happens when the federal government intervenes during a downturn in the economy with what happens when the government leaves the market free to work its own way back, doing nothing has by far the better track record.

    First of all, this country existed for a century and a half without the federal government intervening to save the economy. No downturn in all that time was as severe or as long-lasting as the downturn that persisted throughout the decade of the 1930s, when both the Hoover administration and the Roosevelt administration intervened on an unprecedented scale.

    There was no Federal Reserve System to help — if that is the word — during downturns before 1914. One of the few things on which liberal economists like John Kenneth Galbraith and conservative economists like Milton Friedman agreed was that the Federal Reserve made the Great Depression of the 1930s worse.


  9. Poverty Doesn’t Make Thieves-Liberalism Does

    The liberalism of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson and President Obama hasn’t turned thieves into sudden lovers of big-band swing. It’s turned more and more Americans into thieves. Don’t blame poverty. Blame morality. And blame a government and a society that have abandoned the notion of responsibility for juvenile delinquency.


  10. Peter Schiff Weighs In on Obama’s Remark

    For most of his time as a national political figure, Barack Obama has been careful to cloak his core socialist leanings behind a veil of pro-capitalist rhetoric. This makes strategic sense, as Americans still largely identify as pro-capitalist. However, based on his recent speech in Osawatomie, Kansas, the President appears to have reassessed the political landscape in advance of the 2012 elections. Based on the growth of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the recent defeat of Republicans in special elections, he has perhaps sensed a surge of left-leaning sentiment; and, as a result, he finally dropped the pretense.


    1. According to our President’s new view of history, capitalism is a theory that has “never worked.”


      1. But Obama’s knowledge of history is limited to what is written on his teleprompter.


        1. There’s a ton of Schiff gems in this editorial he wrote-

          But according to Obama’s revisionist version of American history, we tried capitalism only briefly during our history. First, during the Robber Barron period of the late 19th Century, the result of which was child labor and unprecedented lower-class poverty. These ravages were supposedly only corrected by the progressive policies of Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. We tried capitalism again in the 1920s, according to Obama, and the result was the Great Depression. This time, it allegedly took FDR’s New Deal to finally slay that capitalist monster. Then, the account only gets more farcical. Apparently, we tried capitalism again under George W. Bush, and the result was the housing bubble, financial crisis, and ensuing Great Recession. Obama now argues that government is needed once again to save the day.

          This view is complete fiction and proves that Obama is not qualified to teach elementary school civics, let alone serve as President of the United States.


          1. By mixing capitalism with socialism, we undermined economic growth, and reversed much of the progress years of laissez-faire had bestowed on average Americans. The back of the middle class is being broken by the weight of government and the enormous burden taxes and regulation place on the economy


  11. “The supply-side claim is not a claim. It is empirically true and historically convincing that with lower rates of taxation on labor and capital, the factors of production, you’ll get a bigger economy.”

    — U.S. Rep. Jack Kemp


  12. “That some should be rich, shows that others may become rich, and, hence, is just encouragement to industry and enterprise.”

    — President Abraham Lincoln – 1864


    1. Comment from the YT site~

      FDR, in his own words, explaining most of his Statist philosophy, in just one speech! .- ProLibertyOrg


  13. On Your Own Economics? Bring It On!

    Of course, there have been endless not-so-subtle clues as to Obama’s impeccable collectivist credentials since then, but, on the whole, he tends to choose his words carefully so as not to awaken the sleeping frogs. One must always be mindful not to let the water get too hot.


    1. “You’re-on-your-own economics” is a cute catchphrase – the kind of dismissive ridicule the left loves to employ – but the truth is that being “on your own” is a good thing. When the government leaves people alone, it makes it easier for them to innovate and create wealth. And when wealth is created, it accrues to everyone’s benefit, whether it is reinvested, spent on goods and services, or saved (which adds to capital formation and, in turn, spurs economic growth and job creation).


  14. The Meaning Of left and Right

    In fact, it is not giving up the socialist idea that haunts today’s progressives so much as it is conceding the argument to their lifelong opponents. It is the thought of becoming one of them that is repellent, not just a chastened missionary of the radical cause but a counter-revolutionary of the Right. This is the term of surrender that sticks in their throats, the nightmare vision that troubles their sleep and keeps their broken faith intact. To abandon a lifetime’s loyalties, to become a conservative; where is the romance in that? What would remain of their progressive hopes, their desire for justice, their sense of themselves as a chosen vanguard, if they were to take this unthinkable step?


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