published Friday, May 30th, 2014

Hart: The morality of capitalism

By Ron Hart

"The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money" -- Margaret Thatcher

Inside Barack Obama's "income inequality" and attack-the-rich rhetoric, used mainly to sway envy-driven, simple minds, is a dangerous subtext: that capitalism and entrepreneurs are bad. If this continues, and without the brightest business minds in America, our country is doomed.

Obama presupposes the evils of capitalism and capitalists to sell his statist/socialist agenda. But the facts are clear: Free-market capitalism is a far more virtuous and moral system than government.

Capitalism did not require $17 trillion in national debt, borrowed from future generations, to advance destructive political agendas and buy votes. If we want to talk about what is "moral" and "just," what our government has done to us with the deficit alone would make the case.

But wait -- there's more.

To see the abundance our historic free-enterprise system has bestowed on us, compare the U.S. to the rest of the world. Travel to any Third World country with a strong central government and a stranglehold on business and witness the poverty, crime and misery spawned in places like Venezuela, North Korea and Cuba.

Businesses hire people, help provide health care and other benefits, pay taxes, advertise, support local charities and build the character of a community. Like most, my Little League team was sponsored by business. The field had signs from Tennessee Farm Bureau Insurance and Union Carbide, examples of those "evil villains" with their 4 percent profit margins that Obama vilifies.

The evil oil companies bring the fuel out of the ground and to gas stations where they make 7 cents a gallon. Government takes about 50 cents a gallon for doing nothing -- not counting the cost of regulations. Then our government taxes the oil companies' 7 cents profit at 35 percent. And government calls oil companies "greedy"?

As to the morality of capitalism, I offer the recent example what Don Sterling, owner of the NBA Clippers, learned -- not just that duplicitous mistresses are not trusted confidantes (who knew?), but that there are financial consequences to one's actions. His sponsors reacted quickly, pulling sponsorships, and sent him a clear financial message. The lesson here is capitalism's ability to enforce good behavior -- quickly.

How, then, is government more moral than business? Government takes by force money from people who are productive, and redistributes to its allies. Government adds no value and produces no product.

Capitalism rewards risk-taking, imagination, hard work, intellect and honesty; government does not. Under this president, government only rewards loyalty to him. As long as you do not throw Obama under the bus, you have a government job.

Politicians speciously claim the moral high ground over American businesses, but we cannot cede that false argument. Businesses are more accountable and moral. They have to be, or they fail. In government, if you fail in your mission, you get more funding.

Companies continue to leave the United States. Pfizer is the latest trying to relocate to another country. With an unfriendly business environment, the highest corporate tax rate in the world, and Obamacare regulations looming, the U.S.' biggest export will be visionary entrepreneurs who will start and grow new businesses elsewhere. Maybe Obama will vilify and harass them when they all move to Mexico, perhaps calling them the "Juan-percenters." That will get his Democratic base energized.

Ron Hart, a libertarian syndicated op-ed humorist, award-winning author and TV/radio commentator can be reached at

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LibDem said...

The paragraphs on 10 million dollar executive salaries, home foreclosures, and poisoned water in West Virginia and North Carolina had to be dropped due to space limitations.

May 30, 2014 at 7:12 a.m.
librul said...

.... along with dozens and dozens of other paragraphs telling us that greed is good, oligarchs really do care about the poor, corporate "persons" are equivalent to (even superior to) human beings, financial transactions constitute speech, protecting the environment that gives us life at the expense of profits is a sin, etc, etc.

Yes, libertarians and the capitalist horde are our betters, they are "more moral" and "accountable", they took risks to get their treasure, they fight to keep the onerous government from forcing them to exhibit any shred of compassion or fairness to those they trample - you know, the ones who do the real work they are too "visionary" to do. Yes, a government of "the people" is their enemy. A "Bill of Rights" is their worst nightmare. A cooperative, egalitarian society which would refuse to place them on a pedestal and grant them special social, political and moral status for hoarding the fruits of the commons would be hell on Earth far worse than the one THEY seek to impose on the masses.

They will fail. They will be defeated. They will die. Their greed will kill them.

May 30, 2014 at 8:09 a.m.
timbo said...

Liberals...I couldn't say this better:

"Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude."

"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."

"A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it."

"Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom."

Alexis de Tocqueville (1830)

Our system is not perfect but it is the best. It might need to be tweeked but not thrown away.

By the way, neither one of you would know the "Bill of Rights" if it bit you. Everything you espouse is against individual rights.

librul said, "A cooperative, egalitarian society which would refuse to place them on a pedestal and grant them special social, political and moral status for hoarding the fruits of the commons would be hell on Earth far worse than the one THEY seek to impose on the masses." are so far gone. What you just said is the antithesis of the Bill of Rights. It exactly what Tocqueville and the framers were afraid of happening.

May 30, 2014 at 9:57 a.m.
LibDem said...

timbo has arrived with French reinforcements.

May 30, 2014 at 11:24 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

"The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money" -- Margaret Thatcher

The trouble with capitalism is that eventually you run out of a planet to rape and resources to plunder.

The greed loving, climate-change denying righties and libertarians have just about milked the old Iron Lady's famous words (that weren't really accurate in the first place) for all they're worth.

You never have to run out of "other people's money" if greed is removed from the equation. Capitalism has greed and overpowering self-interest built into it. The fact is, we are perilously close to falling over the precipice of self-extinction, thanks to a capitalist system that has practically tapped the well of our natural resources to their limits. And the vast majority of mindless worshipers of such a system are not willing to pull their heads out their butts long enough to see that our resources are indeed limited and the toxins and by-products from our overuse of them are killing us.

May 30, 2014 at 1:42 p.m.
librul said...

The trouble with Capitalism ...

"Amidst mounting social misery, staggering wealth is being concentrated in an infinitesimal segment of the world’s population. A study released by Oxfam, the international confederation of anti-poverty organizations, revealed that the richest 85 people in the world possess greater wealth than the poorest half of the world’s population, that is, 3.5 billion human beings. This means that, taken as an average, each of these 85 richest individuals possesses as much wealth as that of approximately 41,176,000 people. Is any further commentary necessary on the irrationality and perversity of modern capitalism?"

Answer: NO!

May 30, 2014 at 5:16 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

The trouble with capitalism is eventually one a few have all the money and the rest eat cake.

May 31, 2014 at 8:41 p.m.
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