Did the two-minute Clint Eastwood Chrysler ad come off as an Obama 2012 campaign ad to anyone else?
People are out of work and they’re hurting. And they’re all wondering what they’re going to do to make a comeback. And we’re all scared, because this isn’t a game. ...We all rallied around what was right, and acted as one. ... All that matters now is what’s ahead. How do we come from behind? How do we come together? ... Yeah, it’s halftime America. And, our second half is about to begin.
Isn't this the exact same pitch Obama made at the State of the Union two weeks ago? Times were tough when I came into office. But we acted like a team and bailed each other out. Now we need to come together as a team again and give me a second term.
Just to recap, Chrysler was first bailed out by Jimmy Carter in 1979. Maybe if the market had been allowed to break the company up into smaller parts then, it would not have needed Obama to spend another $13 billion bailing it out in 2009.
There is a word for Obama's relationship with Chrysler, General Motors, Bank of America, Citibank, General Electric, and every other big business that workd with the Obama administration: corporatism. And as 2006 Nobel laureate and Professor of Economics at Columbia University Edmund Phelps and Columbia University’s Center for Capitalism and Society Saifedean Ammous explain, corporatism is not capitalism:
In various ways, corporatism chokes off the dynamism that makes for engaging work, faster economic growth, and greater opportunity and inclusiveness. It maintains lethargic, wasteful, unproductive, and well-connected firms at the expense of dynamic newcomers and outsiders, and favors declared goals such as industrialization, economic development, and national greatness over individuals’ economic freedom and responsibility. Today, airlines, auto manufacturers, agricultural companies, media, investment banks, hedge funds, and much more has at some point been deemed too important to weather the free market on its own, receiving a helping hand from government in the name of the “public good.”
The costs of corporatism are visible all around us: dysfunctional corporations that survive despite their gross inability to serve their customers; sclerotic economies with slow output growth, a dearth of engaging work, scant opportunities for young people; governments bankrupted by their efforts to palliate these problems; and increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of those connected enough to be on the right side of the corporatist deal.
This shift of power from owners and innovators to state officials is the antithesis of capitalism. Yet this system’s apologists and beneficiaries have the temerity to blame all these failures on “reckless capitalism” and “lack of regulation,” which they argue necessitates more oversight and regulation, which in reality means more corporatism and state favoritism.