The moral face of capitalism

Continued freedom and opportunity necessary to preserve America

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Conservatives are only starting to feel their way around the wilderness.

Even in a horrible economy, and facing an administration beleaguered by scandals on the Mexican border, in Libya and in crony “green energy” failures that cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, the conservative message was rejected at the polls in November.

This newspaper predicted in October that the election would be “a battle of reason vs. emotion. Freedom vs. dependence. Hope vs. fear and envy. Belief in the individual vs. reliance on the collective.”

It was. And in each case, the conservative case wasn’t made convincingly enough.

This, despite the fact that a large plurality of Americans describe themselves as conservative.

Conservatives have a lot of soul-searching to do in the next few years.

Certainly the media helped swing the election – primarily by downplaying the Obama administration’s multiple scandals and repeated lying over the Fast and Furious gun-running operation on the border, and the breakdown in security at our embassy in Benghazi that led to four deaths and many lies.

Conservatives need to think about how to break through the “mainstream” media bias. It won’t stop of its own volition. Consider: Barbara Walters, in a sitdown interview with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – who presided over the Benghazi Bungle – had no questions about the fatal errors and tall tales that followed. Instead, she practically prodded Clinton to run for president in 2016.

When was the last time someone from the “mainstream” media begged and pleaded with a scandalized Republican to run for president? Not gonna happen.

But conservatives can’t control the major networks. What they can do is hone their own message.

Others have noted that GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney was trying to win voters over with facts and figures, while President Obama appealed to their emotions.

Republicans also need to do a better job of reaching out to minorities – who would do well to consider the conservative message of liberty, responsibility, limited government and more.

But perhaps the biggest item on conservatives’ plate is the need to make a moral case for capitalism.

As much as Republicans, it was capitalism that took a beating Nov. 6. And the Republicans and the capitalists may have no one else to blame but themselves.

Republicans were caught absolutely flat-footed by the health-care issue, to their undying shame. They could’ve made it an issue themselves after turning back “Hillarycare” in the 1990s – but they ignored the issue. They could’ve put forth market-based solutions to getting more people health care coverage – but they did not.

Meanwhile, the capitalists continued to go about their merry way – some of them even getting bailed out by taxpayers after the 2008 crash.

So, by 2012, a lot of Americans looked around and saw that there were a lot of fat cats even in a down economy, and that some of them got even fatter by laying off low-income workers.

Instead of making the moral case for capitalism, the capitalists made capitalism look bad.

We can no longer take it for granted that the benefits of capitalism speak for themselves. They ought to, of course: It’s rich with irony that the Occupy Wall Street protesters who so despise capitalism have to juggle their smart phones while drinking their latte from Starbucks. Whatever.

As an almost knee-jerk reaction to the excesses of capitalism and the gap between rich and poor, America seems to have pivoted recklessly toward socialism. Free stuff is always nice, and the siren song of “spreading the wealth around” is a seductive one.

But socialism is inherently immoral. It involves taking the fruit of someone’s labor and giving it to someone else – largely without regard to how industrious or responsible or even grateful the recipient is. Elections and revolutions may give a government that power, but not the right.

On the other hand, there is a powerful moral case to be made for capitalism and free markets.

“Limited government and individual liberty aren’t merely policy alternatives. They’re moral imperatives,” writes Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute. “Only the moral case for freedom and opportunity ... will have a chance to save the American experiment that we say we want.”

Brooks says three things are necessary for that argument to be made: 1) “the right of every American to earn his or her success”; 2) a fair society “in which hard work, creativity, and honest competition result in financial reward”; and 3) a system that lifts people up from poverty.

Given that it’s clearly free enterprise and free trade that have done that around the world, that case needs to be made. Over and over and over.

And capitalists are the only ones who can make the case.

The first step: Make capitalism as moral as possible.

That step has yet to be taken.

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specsta
6592
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specsta 01/13/13 - 02:59 am
3
7
What???

This has to be the most confusing editorial I have ever tried to read...

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/13/13 - 03:01 am
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1
Find Your Morality in the Right Places

Using facts and figures are what it’s all about. If the math doesn’t work, the country doesn’t work. Reaching out to minorities is a platitude that means dilute conservative policies. What do you think we should do, increase the social programs that appeal to low income blacks or lessen deterrents to illegal immigration to gain the Hispanic vote? About health care, conservatives are very ready to put forth market based solutions, but that’s not what Obama care is about. It’s about giving free health care to tens of millions.

Lastly, when I hear a platitude such as your “Make capitalism as moral as possible,” I grab my wallet. Capitalism is not a system of ethics. It is simply an economic system of supply and demand with the work effort being rewarded…facts and figures as you earlier mentioned.

Which brings up two of your other points: “a fair society “in which hard work, creativity, and honest competition result in financial reward”; and 3) a system that lifts people up from poverty.”

Nothing is guaranteed to anyone. Luck plays a role often. There are people a system will not lift up because they can’t meet the simple equation of work effort equals reward.

Frankly, when I hear some spouting off this drivel that capitalism has to be kinder, I know it’s coming from those who don’t have the work drive or from those who have lost in the business world and want to blame…well, the world.

carcraft
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carcraft 01/13/13 - 07:22 am
8
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Capitalism in America has

Capitalism in America has created more wealth and a higher standard of living than any other system in the world but it is now over! The gib me crowd has won and Obama is their savior!

Rhetor
1020
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Rhetor 01/13/13 - 07:23 am
1
6
Well, yes, but...

This editorial derives from the premise, fundamental to the conservatives' deep and typically overblown suspicions, that free markets are in danger from the current administration. They are not. That there is some need for government regulation of the markets can be traced, as Milton Friedman remarked, all the way back to the Magna Carta. This is in no way inconsistent with free enterprise. Contrary to this editorial, ambitious people in our country establish and operate successful enterprises, big and small every day. Certainly, however, if I believed half of the largely fabricated distorted, or twisted nonsense pumped out by the conservative talk shows, I would be worried too.

Bizkit
32895
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Bizkit 01/13/13 - 12:13 pm
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It is human nature. Yes there

It is human nature. Yes there are rich folks who abuse the system but the same can be said for those receiving welfare. There are a lot of "bad" christians too. But you don't demonize the rich, poor, or chrisitans because of the actions of a few. Yeah there is bad-a rich history of greed and abuse-But overall free market-captialism generates innovation and superior ideas, and products (its like natural selection) and there seems to be a linear correlation between the two and freedoms (note as China has adopted state capitalism freedoms are starting to appear in China). It is has to be caged greed-that is the purpose of govt to reign in everything.It really takes advantage of man's nature of greed and reigns it in as a force for good. Looks at the wealth (absolute not relative) we have spent lending a helping hand across this planet-no one else could afford it.

carcraft
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carcraft 01/13/13 - 09:24 am
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Rhetor because of government

Rhetor because of government regulations and restrictions businesses are forced to reduce the number of employees. Because of government regulations based on faulty science coal fired electric plants are being closed. Because of government regulations companies ran be people with religious convections either have to violate their beliefs or close . People who have no clue about our tax structure think. Companies don't pay enough and want them taxed more do not understand those costs are passed on to the consumer, the business tax is only a consumer tax! Good luck but the gummed class now firmly has it's hand in the treasury. How long can we sustain trillion plus yearly deficits?

carcraft
27005
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carcraft 01/13/13 - 09:28 am
6
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Ask the owners of Hobby Lobby

Ask the owners of Hobby Lobby how distorted the reports are!

ymnbde
10016
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ymnbde 01/13/13 - 09:29 am
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capitalism, like Christianity

promotes good for everyone. When capitalism is over-regulated, or incompetently regulated, as currently, it doesn't work so well, but IT STILL WORKS! It works better than any other system known to man, ever.
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried” – G. K. Chesterton, but even though, it has created an unsurpassed quality of life, and liberty, and protected pursuit of happiness.
The mixture of the two created the most prosperous nation for the most people ever in world history.
I just paid the equivalent of a nice new car payment, no money down financed for 5 years, to the government, extra in taxes. This is money that would have gone to the United Way, or other charities that help the poor and downtrodden. It would have gone in tips to the single mother working a second job. The inefficient, greedy 1% took it, the government, and now it won't help any.

TrukinRanger
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TrukinRanger 01/13/13 - 09:29 am
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Ok-... blah blah blah.. skip
Unpublished

Ok-... blah blah blah.. skip to the end and post a comment. The conservatives did get their message out via THEIR television network Faux News. Conservatives also got their message out to the population- it was "you must convert to our way of thinking even though it is wrong". The conservatives/ GOPhers / Teapublicans STILL don't understand what went wrong. THEY did. Get out of your box, turn off faux news and get off your soap box. Quit focusing on the minor things, and look at the big picture. Mistakes happen will ALL administrations (If you'd like me to start naming these I'd have to email you - W will take a whole series alone) and no one side will ever be happy.

Techfan
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Techfan 01/13/13 - 09:50 am
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7
You can't have a capitalistic

You can't have a capitalistic system based on a consumer economy when the vast majority of the wealth is concentrated at the top and there are no comsumers. You may have a system where the average income is $100,000. 9 people may have have $10,000, and one $910,000, but it still averages $100,000. That's what we've become. From 1992-2007 the top 400 income earners in the U.S. saw their income increase 392% and their average tax rate reduced by 37%. The bottom 80% of the people in this country only own 7% of the wealth. We about where we were in 1928 in wealth inequality. 50 percent of workers aged 25 and below, and 78 percent of teenagers earned less than $10 per hour. A consumer economy can't exist if most of the people can't consume. A nice little chart to show what you'd have to earn just to afford a 2 bedroom apartment:
http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/oor/2012-OOR-State-Summary-Table.pdf

ymnbde
10016
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ymnbde 01/13/13 - 09:58 am
6
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techfan, your mistake

lies in perspective, letting jealousy rule your philosophy. Don't compare the poorest to the wealthiest. Compare what the poor get to the minimum needed to have liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We have no poor in this country. Poor is a word used by government hacks in place of mentally ill and drug abusers, and lazy.
Our "poor" people consume quite well. Thank capitalism, and people with the skills to make life better for all people, including poor, for that.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 01/13/13 - 10:13 am
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ymbbde

Are you trying to tell us that "poor" people in other counties are not rioting because of the shortage of Air Jordons ($250 a pop) available?

seenitB4
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seenitB4 01/13/13 - 10:30 am
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Lordy lordy

I vote Rep. more often than not...BUT I'm not blinded by the light....if we don't get rid of the nut cases in the party..yaknow the ones saying a womans body can shut down rape...we will continue to lose national elections...I have said on here before the female vote is running away ...they are ...

justthefacts
22685
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justthefacts 01/13/13 - 10:36 am
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1
Female Vote

And Obama is rewarding them too. Just look at all the cabinet nominations he is nominating them for. Oh wait, there are none. Silly women.

carcraft
27005
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carcraft 01/13/13 - 11:15 am
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Techfan- When have wealth not

Techfan- When have wealth not been concentrated in the hands of few? The differance in America is that capitalism allows those at the top to keep changing! 100 years ago where was Buffet, Gates, Hewlett and Packard, Winfree, or hundreds of other top money earners. When you restrict economic freedom you entrench the already wealthy by making it more difficult for those with innovation to prosper!

freeradical
1102
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freeradical 01/13/13 - 11:25 am
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Look at the % of prison

Look at the % of prison inmates whose families were

provided with , shelter , food , unlimited emergency room visits ,

cell phones , by working taxpayers .

Then look at the % of prison inmates who came from families who

took nothing for free from another taxpayer .

You figure it out .

Just remember you don't need a PHD to do so.

Bizkit
32895
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Bizkit 01/13/13 - 12:15 pm
2
0
It's evolution. How few have

It's evolution. How few have IQs over 130. The same can be said for a humans potential to accrue wealth. We have an economic IQ too. Wealth isn't correlated absolutely with intellect but IQ is a good marker for both. There is no way for the average citizen to earn 100K a year-well unless we increase STEM efforts and create a population to fill those jobs. Hey that is part of the reason for the disparity two spouses in STEM fields earning over 100K a year bam you make 250K together-your supposedly "rich" . Sheesh. How naive.

seenitB4
90715
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seenitB4 01/13/13 - 12:11 pm
3
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Colin Powell

I hope some saw him tv today...he is making a lot of sense....he knows why we are losing national elections...you can put your head in the sand if ya wanta...but it won't help you in the elections....

carcraft
27005
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carcraft 01/13/13 - 12:16 pm
3
0
Freeradical-also look at how

Freeradical-also look at how many of those people came from single parent families!

dichotomy
34360
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dichotomy 01/13/13 - 12:22 pm
4
0
'Capitalism is not a system

'Capitalism is not a system of ethics"

Exactly. There will always be people who do unethical things and it is not restricted to capitalists. I venture to say that if you added up all of the welfare, Social Security disablitly, and unemployment fraud actively going on today that it would make the money taken by unethical capitalists look about as serious as shoplifting.

Bizkit
32895
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Bizkit 01/13/13 - 12:22 pm
4
0
As far as a I know there is

As far as a I know there is no law against making money, if you make a lot of money-that is still no crime. I don't know of any handicaps to a person have the "opportunity" to make their fortune (now ability and capacity are another issue). There are homeless people who were once wealthy and wealthy people who were once homeless. The face of wealth isn't a conspiracy for a few but a potential opportunity for everyone. We all have a personal responsiblity. You can't choose was social structure you are born into but you sure can change the status you die in.

carcraft
27005
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carcraft 01/13/13 - 12:54 pm
4
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Bizkit -I agree, but Obama

Bizkit -I agree, but Obama doesn't think it has any thing to do with hard work or effort, hence his "you didn't build that "to Obama it is all luck!

grouse
1635
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grouse 01/13/13 - 12:59 pm
0
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This editorial is the perfect
Unpublished

This editorial is the perfect example of why the Republicans keep losing. The logic is flawed and reality runs counter to the magical thinking...

RMSHEFF
16638
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RMSHEFF 01/13/13 - 01:36 pm
2
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Capitalism / free markets

Free market capitalism has not been practiced In America in 50 + years, however it does work whenever and wherever it is tried. The federal government injects itself in free markets with good intensions however the law of unintended consequences always kicks in resulting in the necessity for more intervention until there is no longer a free market. We now have "crony capitalism" run by the federal government which rewards the well connected with our tax dollars.

Darby
26888
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Darby 01/13/13 - 03:21 pm
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Socialism is unfair and totally...

....inefficient. Every solution leads to another "government fix" and even more taxpayer dollars filtered through a frankensteinesque, socially cancerous system that remains in control solely due to its ability to redistribute income to people who are the least creative, all the while, accumulating more and more power to the government.

Capitalism is unfair, but extremely efficient. It can be argued that its efficiency is a result of its unfairness. Maybe so, but the bottom line is that neither system will ever evolve to give us that land of milk and honey that idealists dream of.

I'll never be "filthy rich" and I don't really care, but I much prefer the freedom of a system that rewards me for what my labor produces rather that one that doles out what the powers-that-be feel is the "piece of the pie" I need to meet some benchmark established by a government bureaucracy. Knowing that the "pie" is finite and always shrinking. Knowing that my lot in life will never improve. Knowing that I, my children and my grandchildren will be forever addicted to, and trapped in the welfare system.

In the final analysis, both systems are unfair and will always be unfair. However, capitalism does have the potential to improve our lives and people can learn to treat each other with respect. Some don't even need to be taught. It's in our DNA. One thing for certain, if you really want maximum unfairness and failure, then, by all means continue to filter our nation's wealth through the government.

And no, we don't need to fear "sweat shops" or slave labor. The days of the Iron Age, and the Industrial Revolution are long past. We can continue to chase the illusive dream of Socialist Utopia, but all we ever get is greater and greater socialist dystopia.

Jon Lester
2363
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Jon Lester 01/13/13 - 03:27 pm
0
2
Take a look at Jack Lew's resume

and tell me again that this administration hasn't been good to Wall Street.

And no, that's not in praise of anyone.

Darby
26888
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Darby 01/13/13 - 03:36 pm
5
0
seenitB4 - Still trying to figure out your comment.....

Why the reference to Colin Powell? - His party DID WIN the election. Surely you aren't suggesting he's a Republican?? He's no more Republican than Susan Collins, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Arlen Specter, Olympia Snow, Joseph Cao, or Lisa Murkowski.

KSL
134306
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KSL 01/13/13 - 03:44 pm
5
1
Didn't Powell vote for Obama,

Didn't Powell vote for Obama, or at least endorse him?

soapy_725
43757
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soapy_725 01/13/13 - 03:48 pm
2
0
Capitalism works so well that the Soviet Union used it
Unpublished

every five years. Read your world history. Remember the Five Year Plans. They prevented the utter starvation of the citizens and collapse of Communism. Capitalism for Five Years and then back to Collectivism. And we funded the plans. LOL LOL Read your history. What world government kept the Soviet union alive? What world government keeps the repressive totalitarian N. Korean Government alive? What world government created the phenomena we call Modern China? China, fiscally capitalistic and growing (fascist). China, socially repressive and collective (Communist). China, religiously, state if god. (godless)

Obama has us on the right course. The course he has charted since he was embarrassed to be with his grandmother, but had no problem with her money. Obama is the poster boy for the old southern stereotype of a mixed race child. Not knowing which race to embrace and which to hate.

soapy_725
43757
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soapy_725 01/13/13 - 03:56 pm
2
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Wall street does not depend on the White House.
Unpublished

Wall Street depends on the needs of those who control world currency. The stock market is a giant bubble the is supported by FAITH. Nothing is concrete. It is all perception. The IT bubble had no assets. Only a created worth. Net assets divided by outstanding stocks used to be a way to determine value. But after all, those stocks are enumerated in US Dollars. Which decrease in value each and every time the presses roll. The printing presses controlled by the Federal Reserve. Gold is enumerated in US Dollars.

Put your faith in things eternal, hold to God's unchanging hand. The super rich think that can control the future of the world no mater what happens by controlling the GLOBAL stability of currency. It is after all the BANKERS who control the world. Ask them? Do they LOVE MONEY?

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