In his column, The Capitalism Debate, on Romney vs Obama, David Brooks does much of what he accuses Obama of doing. He disingenuously portrays the President (whom he supported for the past four years) as anti-capitalist in his rhetorical stance. The president is not attacking our state religion per se, just the contemporary heresy of crony casino capitalism.
It is very easy to attack this contemporary form of capitalism because most workers have gotten a very raw deal for the past forty years. With productivity doubled, but wages largely unchanged, and unemployment rising, the people who do the value added work are not getting their fair share, while those to finagle the means of production are getting far more than they deserve.
To keep this state of affairs going, we off-shored much of our production and “Wall-Martized” the middle class market. The supply side solution caused a demand side problem. So in order to keep the moolah flowing, we opened up the credit spigots and told everyone to go shopping, until the whole system was over-extended. We thought we could save ourselves from the unintended consequences by spreading the risk around with “financial innovation,” but we didn’t require those who were assuming the risk to put up the capital to cover it, because that would slow down the profit engine.
Then, crash! Now we are throwing those underpaid worker’s good money after bad, to the tune of 13 trillion dollars, to fill the capital holes that were opened by leverage ratios at the banks approaching 60 to one. There is nothing either candidate can do to make those problems go away but, how the bankers can turn on Obama, after all he has done to save their hides, just goes to show you not to put your trust in bankers. We can hire Romney to double down on supply side voodoo, or rehire Obama to deal with the mess the best he is able, but the real problem lies in the zombie neo-liberalism that has guided economic policy for the past generation. Obama shows signs that he gets it. Romney does not.