Hart: The morality of capitalism

Hart: The morality of capitalism

May 30th, 2014 by By Ron Hart in Opinion Columns

"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 Ron@RonaldHart.com.