More Republicans Prefer The Visible Hand Of Fascism To Free Markets

It’s downright dangerous for Republicans to give Trump a mandate to  manipulate companies. At best, it’s corporate cronyism run amuck. At worst, it’s the seeds of actual Fascism.

I long for the days when Republicans were for free trade, less government, and letting the market determine winners and losers. You know, like a year ago. Now all that has changed with the rise of Trumpism.

Ben Shapiro noted this in a tweet citing two sources showing GOP voters reacting with elation over Trump’s Carrier deal.

Now, as President Obama says when he’s about to obfuscate, let me be clear: One deal made by a sitting governor who happens to be vice president-elect, and cemented by quasi promises from the president-elect (who has no authority to make them yet), does not a policy make. Therefore I refuse to jump to conclusions about anything Trump will do as policy–other than to say he’ll do whatever he thinks will work and encourage more people to love him.

However, the reaction by Republicans, who should show some level of concern for this blatant line-crossing of the chief executive to be into corporate cronyism, is quite shocking.

More Republicans are okay with the president and vice president playing tonsil hockey with private businesses than Democrats or independents.

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Something is wrong with calling the GOP “conservative” when more Democrats recognize the undesirability of the executive branch singling out companies to negotiate deals on behalf of workers. (Of course, many Democrats love unions and have no problem with public sector unions calling the shots, or having Congress pass onerous laws that predetermine outcome-based winners and losers based on social goals, but that’s a different horse to slaughter.)

Corporate cronyism (I won’t call it “crony capitalism,” because it’s not capitalism at all) is bad policy, unless you think it’s okay for companies to worm their way into the White House to make the best deal for the CEO or shareholders, directly negotiated with the CEO of America, Inc., while workers, consumers, and other stakeholders lose market power. Ask any Comcast customer how they like the cable franchise system. Or ask Aereo how they like losing in the Supreme Court against Big TV.

Whipped into a frenzy of MAGA, support for such lofty and ethereal notions such as a free market economy and government-interference-free capitalism has flagged among Americans–especially self-identified Republicans and conservatives.

In the weekly Economist/YouGov tracking poll, 57 percent of Republicans agreed with the statement “The free market has been sorting [the economy] out and America’s been losing.” And 55 percent who agreed identified as “conservative.” Those numbers were higher than Democrats and independents (33 and 38 percent respectively) and liberals and moderates (31 and 38).

That’s just crazy. Even given the bias for/against Trump, conservatives should realize that it’s the restraint of a free market that is causing America to lose, not the other way around.

It’s downright dangerous for Republicans and conservatives to give Trump a mandate to bribe, browbeat, threaten and otherwise manipulate companies into doing his bidding. At best, it’s corporate cronyism run amuck. At worst, it’s the seeds of actual Fascism, where corporate resources are folded into a government political plan for production.

And don’t think Trump isn’t listening to the hoots and cheers of approval. Just look at his latest tweets:

When Trump tweeted that he would cancel the order with Boeing for the new Air Force One 747, Boeing’s stock took a tumble.

His explanation: “The plane is totally out of control,” adding, “We want Boeing to make a lot of money but not that much money.” In what universe does the POTUS and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces get to decide how much money Boeing gets to make? I understand that wartime contracts for goods production specified the profit margin on government procurement, but this isn’t a war economy. Boeing can bid like any other company.

Corporate America is watching and listening very closely.

“Some of us may share our turn in the bull’s-eye,” Caterpillar Inc.Chief Executive Doug Oberhelman told reporters on a conference call Tuesday.

Nice. American public company CEO’s are now lining up to play footsie with the president-elect before Jan. 20–and after.

Senior advisers to Mr. Trump have signaled that he plans to continue intervening in issues that pertain to specific businesses as he sees fit once he is sworn in on Jan. 20.

If you thought Solyndra, Solar City (and other Elon Musk businesses like SpaceX and Tesla), and President Obama’s favorite green charity cases were egregious examples of government picking winners and losers, strap in for the ride, because with Trump you ain’t seen nothing yet.

About the author

Steve Berman

The old Steve cared about money, prestige, and power. Then Christ found me. All at once things changed. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

I spent 30 years in business. Now I write and edit. But mostly I love. I have a wife and 2 kids and a dog and we live in a little house in central Georgia.

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