After nearly 250 years of glorious, uninterrupted Capitalism (the most undeniably and self-evidently flawless economic system ever!), America suddenly finds itself on the brink of becoming a socialist hellhole like Cuba, North Korea and Venezuela.
And for no reason at all, too! Why are people even supporting Bernie Sanders, anyway? Probably because they’re just idiots who can’t see how Amazing and Wonderful our Capitalist System™️ is. They just need to watch more Youtube clips of Ben Shapiro DESTROYING 19-year-old gender studies majors with Facts & Logic, is all.
There is a meme that is popular on Conservative Twitter: “This is why you got Trump.” It is usually deployed when a politician or media propagandist reveals a little too much raw contempt for Middle America–which is to say, more than the usual amount of sneering condescension. It is directed at clueless elites who still to this day fail to see why the American voters delivered them a massive “F-you!” in November 2016. Instead of soul searching and re-evaluating to see where they went wrong or what problems in the nation they’ve been overlooking (or, more likely, causing), the U.S. political establishment is content to simply blame Trump’s election on “white nationalism,” Racism or, most absurdly, Russia. Usually it’s a combination of the three. The takeaway is that even after mobilizing the full might of the controlled media and the US government’s intelligence apparatus against him, the Establishment was still unable to scare the American people away from Trump. And they still have no idea why Americans despise them and weren’t swayed by their fearmongering.
Instead of asking what they’ve done wrong to invoke the wrath of the silent majority, the elites simply come up with comforting self-assurances to convince themselves it’s Not Our Fault. Their total lack of self-awareness and failure to admit any shortcomings whatsoever is Why We Got Trump.
But now, ironically, the new version of this meme might well be: That’s why you got Bernie. And this time, Conservatives™️ will be on the receiving end.
They have failed to address–or even acknowledge–the major failings of our Capitalist™ economic system, and that’s why we may well get a Socialist President.
Our elites–Democrat and Republican alike–believe that because they are living large, everyone else must be too. The elites like the system in place–it works for them–so it must work for everyone else. Anyone who doesn’t like Capitalism™ is either just a loser or is Doing It Wrong.
But that’s not the answer disaffected Americans want to hear, nor is it the correct answer. Because to the elite, doing it “right” means going into six-figures of debt by age 22 and becoming a wageslave for Corporate America until 65. And somehow, elites born into rich, powerful families fail to see why normal people don’t want that kind of life.
The Democratic Elite takes Bernie seriously–given that they only narrowly fended him off in 2016–and fears him accordingly. Conservatives™️, though, will be just as blindsided by Bernie as the D.C. Elite was by Trump, because they’ve completely failed to identify the legitimate reasons for his rise—they are content simply calling his supporters idiots who haven’t cracked a history book. “Don’t they know socialism doesn’t work?! Haven’t they heard of the Soviet Union?!”
Well, I’ve got bad news for the Conservatives™️: the Bernie Bros have a point. They’re not wrong about our economic system.
You may think calling Bernie a Commie Bastard will suffice in discrediting him, but the guy is saying stuff that resonates with people:
A lot of people out there hear Bernie saying stuff like that and think to themselves, “If that’s socialism, then maybe I’m a socialist, because I agree with him.”
The reality is that American Capitalism™️ now only works for a small number of people at the top. The rest of us are expected to be content with iPhones, Netflix, free online HD porn, and cheap Chinese crap from Amazon delivered in 2 business days. We’re told to quit complaining about the shrinking middle class, the mass importation of foreign labor that depresses wages and costs many their jobs, and the trillions of dollars of student debt we amassed to obtain mostly useless degrees in hopes of getting a job with Corporate America (which we’ll probably hate and dream of quitting).
That’s the raw deal most Americans have gotten from Capitalism™, because Capitalism™ is inherently soulless. The corporations have no allegiance to the nation where they were founded: they will always go where the labor is cheapest. This is why once finally permitted, most major firms moved their manufacturing plants abroad, decimating the American manufacturing sector. Capitalism™ does not care if the American middle class withers and dies because of its cost-cutting efforts. Just enjoy your Netflix shows, you ungrateful peasants!
Once you accept all this and stop believing the Capitalism™ Mythology, it’s actually quite liberating. You no longer have to rationalize and experience cognitive dissonance when confronted with unpleasant facts about the American economy and how it has utterly failed for the past few decades. In this regard, the socialist Bernie Bros have the upper hand on us “conservatives” because they have no borderline-religious devotion to Capitalism™, like we do. They’re free to relentlessly critique our failed economic system because they have simply chosen not to pretend that modern American Capitalism™ is the best we can do.
Until we drop this attachment to Capitalism™, we will never be able to reclaim conservatism from the shills and sellouts who have turned it into little more than a democratic stamp of approval for the unchecked rule of multinational megacorporations. Conservatism will never win out over socialism if we continue defending a system that is rotten to the core. Because the socialists are on the “right side of history” about one thing: the system has failed and it does need to be completely demolished. Where the socialists go wrong is in their belief that Capitalism™ should be replaced by socialism.
Are we really going to allow America to be turned into a socialist country because we were too blinded by our dogmatic attachment to a failed economic system? Most Americans recognize the whole system needs to be rebuilt, but only the socialists are offering them an alternative to this corrupt scam that is the US economy. The socialists are going to win by default because we’re the idiots defending a rigged game (which isn’t even rigged in our favor!)
Conservatives should also be seeking a complete restructuring of the failed American economy, it’s just that most aren’t yet aware they should be. But an honest appraisal of the state of American Capitalism™ makes it clear that there is virtually nothing conservative about the way the system works today.
For example, there is nothing conservative about “vulture capitalism” as practiced by Wall Street Billionaire (and GOP megadonor) Paul Singer. In fact, there’s nothing conservative about Wall Street in general: they create nothing, they don’t improve our lives, and when they wreck the whole economy with financial alchemy (like “collateralized debt obligations”), they know they’ll get bailed out by taxpayer money. There is nothing conservative about shuttering American factories and moving them to Asia for the cheap labor. There is nothing conservative at all about running annual $500 billion trade deficits with China. There is nothing conservative about trillion-dollar Silicon Valley monopolies killing free speech as we know it.
There is nothing “America First” about any of that. In fact, modern American Capitalism™ is as America Last as you can possibly get (behind of course being convinced to fight Israel’s wars in the Middle East).
I feel like Conservatives™ have been brainwashed into becoming shills for the multinational megacorporations who view all of us (including you, Conservatives™) as nothing more than mindless consumers who have no other use but to be constantly milked for our hard-earned money.
Guys, why are you cheering when big corporations report a blowout quarter? Why are you so obsessed with the GDP number? You do not benefit from that. The days of the stock market and the quarterly GDP print actually translating into positive effects on average Americans’ lives are long gone. Median family income in the US has been flat since the early 1970s:
Conservatives™ are some of the biggest cucks out there right now, cheering as the rich get richer while they, the Conservative Intellectuals™, barely get the table scraps.
Stop shilling for Big Business. Big Business does not give a shit about you. In fact, Big Business utterly despises you. They sponsor the Pride Parades. They are obsessed with “Promoting Diversity”. At literally every opportunity, the big corporations will bend over backwards to virtue signal for the approval of the pussyhats, the bluehaired feminazis and the trannies. Gillette ran an ad that stated point-blank, men are everything that’s wrong with society. Goldman Sachs now refuses to handle the IPO of any company that is run by white guys. And here these Conservatives™ are cheering anytime the Dow goes up 200 points.
Give it up. Big Business is not on our side. They think you Conservatives™ are total suckers. Stop defending these guys:
The socialists are going to win–whether it’s this election or the next one. It’s a matter of when, not if. Do you really want to go down with the Capitalism™ ship? Do you really want to go down protecting the quarterly profits of leftwing megacorporations that despise you and your way of life?
There is nothing conservative at all about shilling for big business. Andrew Jackson would think you are a huge bitch for defending these soulless multinationals. The multinationals themselves are laughing at you for defending them as they pillage the middle class and plaster the rainbow flag all over town.
The Bernie Bros are pissed off about all the corporate malfeasance (besides the rainbow stuff), and we should not be afraid to agree with them there. Agreeing with them that the system has failed doesn’t make you a socialist–wanting socialism makes you a socialist.
I’m not saying I hate capitalism. That’s why I distinguish between “capitalism” (the idea) and “Capitalism™” (the twisted reality). I love the idea of capitalism. I love the idea of being able to keep your money and earn as much as you deserve by way of your talents and innovations. I love the idea of only the free market setting prices, allocating resources and deciding winners and losers.
But we don’t have capitalism. We don’t have a free market.
Or, at least, we don’t anymore. We did at one point in our nation’s history, but those days are long gone now.
The natural tendency of capitalism is toward monopoly and corruption. Eventually the corporations become so big that they buy out the government and write the rules to ensure their own continued dominance.
How else do you explain the fact that 91 companies in the Fortune 500–including Amazon, Netflix, Starbucks, Chevron, General Motors and IBM–paid $0 in taxes last year? This is no accident. It’s a rigged game: the corporations and the government are now one and the same.
Meanwhile, it is not easy to open up a small business in America.
I had a friend a while back whose family owned a small sporting goods store in rural Illinois, and her dad used to quip that given the amount in federal, state, local, payroll and property taxes he paid–along with OSHA and other compliance costs–he was the minority owner of his store. Imagine living in a supposedly capitalist country and giving up over 50% of your profits to the government–while multinational megacorporations pay $0 in taxes.
Socialism is not the answer. I feel like I have to keep saying this because so many conservatives have been trained to believe that any criticism of the American economic system–however valid–equals FULL BLOWN COMMUNISM INCLUDING GULAGS. But I promise you I am just as far from a socialist as you are. I’ve never believed in its viability as an economic system. It has never worked anywhere it has been tried. Turns out the people who work hard don’t like being forced to subsidize those who don’t (or, worse, won’t). And yes, the “free market” is a better allocator of resources than a centralized megastate–at least marginally. (Anyone who has ever worked for a large company knows how much money is wasted and how many unqualified job applicants get hired.)
But you don’t have to be a Full Blown Commie to realize that our system of deformed Mutant Capitalism is not working.
It’s time to let go of the idea that present-day America is an accurate representation of “capitalism.” You are already working hard to support people who refuse to work. Contrary to the Democrats’ oft-repeated claims that America is a merciless, Darwinian libertarian state with zero safety net for the poor, America actually has the second-largest welfare state on the planet, behind only France.
America is not a capitalist paradise full of financially independent freemen. In fact it resembles a socialist country more than anything else, in that there’s a large class of cash-strapped, hand-to-mouth-living wageslaves beneath a small, rich oligarchy that plays by its own set of rules.
Right now, the top 1% owns nearly as much wealth as the entire middle class. If that’s not the definition of an oligarchy, then I don’t know what is.
78% of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck:
Financial independence and self-employment in America are at 80-year lows. If America is truly a capitalist country, then explain this:
The number of self employed Americans is as low as it has perhaps ever been. Official figures put it at 8.4 million Americans. For perspective, the number in 1990 was 8.7 million Americans, but the total population back then was 250 million vs. 320 million today. Obamacare has made it far more difficult (read: expensive) for entrepreneurs to both get health insurance and cover their employees, but the trend of fewer and fewer Americans being self-employed began long before Obamacare was passed in 2010.
“But Google and Facebook were startups!” Never mind that they were both secretly created by the CIA (and are probably still run by the CIA today), that’s not gonna cut it. Two companies do not prove that entrepreneurship is thriving in America.
(Also, Facebook and Google aren’t hiring Middle Americans whose towns were decimated when the factories moved out. They’re using the H1B program to import foreign labor from East Asia and India. That’s who the tech sector is creating jobs for. Even though they tell you to just learn to code if the factory shuts down, they’ll never hire your white privilege-having ass anyway.)
Face it: the government does not want you starting your own business and becoming financially independent. They want you dependent on Corporate America. Most Americans’ jobs exist to make someone else richer. Students go through 16 years of schooling including college and don’t learn a single thing about starting their own business or becoming financially independent, and this is because the American education system is meant to turn you into a wageslave, not an entrepreneur. I’m not sure about you but that doesn’t sound like capitalism to me.
80+% of the country in our supposedly capitalist system works for somebody else. Most of us exist to make someone else richer. Some company president or small board of directors at the top.
And don’t say “the shareholders” as if that’s just regular Americans like you and me. The shareholders are just another group of rich elites.
Do you know who “the shareholders” are? It ain’t mom and pop. Today only 33% of the stock market is owned by households:
That’s down from over 90% in the late 1940s. Most regular Americans aren’t in the stock market, so they don’t really benefit when it goes up.
That chart above is even misleading. If you think it’s bad that households have gone from owning over 90% of the stock market to just 33%, wait till you see exactly which households make up that 33%:
The bottom 60% of Americans own a grand total of 1.8% of the stock market. Tack on the next 20% of Americans (meaning the bottom 80%) and that figure is just 6.8% of the stock market. In fact that top 1% owns 40% of the market, and the top 5% owns over 70%.
When the market goes up, most Americans do not benefit from that. At least not directly. I know a lot of people think the wealth “trickles down” but in reality, the wealthy are just watching their portfolios expand. They’re not liquidating their portfolios and Starting Businesses So They Can Hire You. If anything they’re just buying real estate and art and other assets.
And as for the Big Corporations, they use their profits mostly to buy back stock, not hire. In 2018, corporations bought-back over $1 trillion of stock. That does not benefit the average American.
It’s hard to argue that American Capitalism is anything more than an ideal, a dream, for more than a small sliver of the population.
The game is now rigged. You are now living in a post-capitalist America.
The reason, however, is not because we’re secretly a socialist country (although this country is a lot more socialist than most people think). Rather, it’s because capitalism has a shelf-life. Capitalist systems inevitably tend toward monopoly and cartel control of the various sectors, and then the government itself, creating what I call “The Beast.”
Firms in competition are like animals in nature: the strongest will rise to the top and dominate the rest. Almost every sector of the economy today is dominated by just a few massive multinational firms, because that’s what happens in capitalist systems. Firms do not remain in competition forever: eventually, one firm wins. The loser either gets bought-out or goes under. Over time this process of competition results in firms growing smaller in number but ever-larger in size, until you are at the point we’re at today, where the economy (and the government) are dominated by a small number of massive firms.
To illustrate this, just look at the consolidation of the banking sector between 1990 and 2009:
There were 38 major banks in 1990, and that number shrank to 4 in 2009. That’s how capitalism works. Firms don’t want to compete, they want to dominate. Competition is hard. It’s much easier to buy-up and thereby eliminate the competition—in addition to paying off the government, too.
The entire rationale of why capitalism works in theory is that competition is good, but anyone can see that that’s not how capitalism actually plays out in reality.
Capitalism is just like socialism in that it sounds good in theory, but it doesn’t work in practice. The difference is that with capitalism, there is a period of time where it actually works as intended. But capitalism will always devolve into oligarchy, in which the corporations steadily amass power and eventually take over the government.
The funniest part is that when capitalism turns into Capitalism™, it actually ends up looking a lot like socialism–socialism in practice, not socialism in theory. Think about it: in virtually all socialist countries, you’ve got a group of wealthy elites at the top who play by a different set of rules, and then you have the common people, who are all equal in their poverty and misery. Present-day America resembles that an awful lot.
So, ironically, when the Bernie Bros win and implement socialism, the system won’t actually change in the way they expect. It’ll be like the system we already have, only much worse. Even if they do successfully “eat the rich” (and it appears they just might given how the rich elite has mobilized against Bernie Sanders) the socialists will just become the new oppressive, wealthy ruling class. Look to the Russian example for a hint as to how socialism will play out: they took down the big, bad Tsar, only to end up with a guy like Stalin, who was unquestionably worse than the Tsar in every possible way. Tsarist Russia may have been bad for most people living under it, but Communist Russia was even worse.
Again: just because true capitalism is dead in America does not make socialism good by default. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m trying to show you why Bernie Sanders is so popular and why so many people think socialism is the answer. The right can’t keep on deluding itself that Capitalism Is F*cking Awesome and perfect in every way.
Capitalism has a shelf life. Ours is definitely past the expiration date.
My opposition to socialism stems from the fact that it has failed everywhere it has been tried, and that although Marx made no explicit mention of socialist governments needing to be murderously totalitarian, every socialist regime established in the world since 1917 has been just that.
So don’t be under any illusions that I’m saying Actually, Socialism Is Good.
I’m just asking, are we sure our “Capitalist” system is so great these days?
At least in a socialist country, the oppressive ruling regime has the national interest in mind.
Ours, conversely, does not. What else could explain them enacting global “free trade” policies that ship all the manufacturing jobs overseas?
What else could explain them flooding the country with poor immigrants to do our jobs for less?
The ruling class is bleeding America dry.
The Soviet Communists were guilty of many horrific crimes, but selling their country out to foreign interests for higher quarterly profits was not one of them.
Again, I am emphatically NOT saying we should give socialism a try. But you don’t have to be a socialist to recognize that American Capitalism has failed.
In fact, it should be the so-called “conservatives”–who claim to value strong families, hard work, social tranquility, and the dignity of man–sounding the alarm at how badly our economy has been perverted.
We have been here before as a country. Following the Civil War, a rapidly industrializing America saw an explosion of commerce and development that resulted in a handful of savvy businessmen and captains of industry (e.g. John Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, John Pierpont Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt) not only becoming obscenely rich, but amassing a tremendous amount of influence over the U.S. government.
This period of time is synonymous with the term “monopoly.”
The so-called “Gilded Age” was the first time American capitalism reached its expiration date. And it was known at the time, too. Look at any of the old political cartoons from the era; most depict a nation that had fallen completely into the hands of a wealthy few, at the expense of everyone else:
America in 2020 is not a perfect analogue to the America of the late 19th century, but it’s pretty close. In the Gilded Age, the Industrial Revolution paved the way for the creation of not only whole new industries–railroads, oil, steel, etc.–but completely reshaped the economy. Vast sums of wealth were suddenly there for the taking, and when the dust settled, most of the money–and the power it could buy–wound up in the hands of a small number of men. At the same time, America was absorbing massive waves of immigration from southern and eastern Europe, and these new arrivals immediately entered into competition in the labor market with working-class Americans (there yet wasn’t much of a middle class at the time given that prior to the Industrial Revolution basically everyone was a farmer).
In the 21st century, there are more factors at play, but the main one that has reshaped the economy and funneled hundreds of billions of dollars into the hands of a few men has been the Internet. Gates, Bezos and Zuckerberg are the Robber Barons of our time. Add in a new wave of wage-depressing mass foreign immigration (this time from Central America), plus a global free trade regime which has allowed multinational corporations to outsource their production to Asia, and you’ve got a hollowed out economy that’s deprived the working class of its lifeblood–working, i.e. manufacturing. Formerly working class Americans have been shoved into soul-crushing service sector jobs as our economy is increasingly “brain-driven” (as opposed to brawn).
And this is not a knock on the working class at all. A healthy and balanced economy has demand for both brains and brawn, white collar and blue collar, but ours increasingly only values the former. There needs to be balance; there needs be a role for everyone, not just the college grads who “know computers” and the finance whizkids who push complex financial instruments like options and mortgage-backed securities (which do not improve anyone’s lives and have already wrecked the economy once this century).
In fact, the ditch-diggers and the factory workers are far more valuable contributors to society than the tenured Harvard PhDs and the Wharton MBAs on Wall Street.
The elite have completely detached and left the masses in the dust. We are back to early-20th century levels of income inequality:
And that chart stops around 2010. It’s even worse today.
We need a dramatic restructuring of the American economic system or else socialism is inevitable. If things keep getting worse for the majority of Americans, the socialists will get more and more radical, and more and more popular. Down the road, someone so radical will rise up that he or she (or, in all likelihood, xer) will make Bernie Sanders look like Ronald Reagan.
We got things back on track in the past by breaking up the monopolies (Theodore Roosevelt was known as the Great Trust-Buster) and enacting pro-worker policies with the New Deal. After World War II, America entered into the greatest, longest, and most widely-enjoyed economic boom in our nation’s history. This is why we look back on the 1950s so fondly: it was a time of broad-based prosperity, when you could afford a decent home in a safe neighborhood in which to raise a family. The middle class was thriving because manufacturing was booming, unlike today:
We have to get things back on track. Just because the socialists are wrong about what they believe the solution is does not mean they’re wrong about the problem.
Socialism isn’t the answer, but there most definitely is a problem.
As I said earlier in this post, capitalism has a shelf-life. Eventually, most industries will be dominated by monopolies or oligopolies, and then the corporations will fuse into an unholy union with the government.
Capitalism is great in its early and middle stages, but once it reaches its later stages, it becomes monstrous. We’re in the late stage now, and drastic action is required so that it actually works for all Americans.
Trump needs to continue being tough on trade and focused on bringing manufacturing back to America. No longer should the multinationals be allowed to exploit cheap foreign labor at the expense of the American worker.
We need to halt immigration–both legal and illegal–for a long period of time to allow wages to grow.
We need to Make Trustbusting Great Again, starting with Silicon Valley, followed by Wall Street.
Something must be done about the out-of-control price of a college education. College endowments in America are now worth an aggregate $479 billion, and it’s mostly because they run a massive, nationwide scam aimed at 18-year-old kids. Seize the endowments, return the money to the bamboozled students, and bring college tuition costs back down to earth. And while we’re at it, stop letting the Chinese overrun our universities. America first. American universities should exist to educate and train Americans, not foreigners. Every foreigner at an American university equals an American deprived of a college education. That’s a travesty.
We need to enact policies that are pro-small business, not pro-big business. We need to encourage entrepreneurship and self-sufficiency. In fact, this should be the highest priority of all: financial independence is freedom, but we’re a nation of wageslaves.
This is not an exhaustive to-do list–for instance, I’ve said nothing about the Fed and its mass-manipulation of the economy. But it’s a good start.
If we do not turn our economic system around, not only will we be unable to stop the rise of socialism, we’ll deserve it.