Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pres. Obama wants to put free enterprise on trial.  And in the last few days, we’ve seen some desperate Republicans join forces with him.This is such a mistake for our party and – and for our nation.  The country already has a leader who divides us with the bitter politics of envy.  We have to offer an alternative vision.  I stand ready to lead us down a different path where we’re lifted up by our desire to succeed – not dragged down by a resentment of success. - Mitt Romney in South Carolina
Ok, I don't have a problem with Romney saying what he needs to say politically, but the "politics of envy" and "resentment of success"? So now we are envious of rich people?!  That's endearing.  There's nothing that says I feel your pain like telling me I'm jealous of you. I just don't think he gets it.  You want us to LIKE YOU, you dummy. Nothin' says lovin' like envy and resentment in the oven.

This brings up a larger point that needs to be addressed:  Questioning ideas and systems and their efficacy doesn't necessarily make you anti-anything.  Questioning the particulars of how we practice capitalism in this country and the effect it is having upon society at large doesn't mean that all of a sudden I am a socialist or that I want someone not to succeed because I'm envious of his/her wealth!  And by the way, can we stop turning things that we disagree with into bad words?  The president's been called a muslim, like that's a BAD thing; like being a muslim is akin to being a satanist or something.  Now it's SOCIALISM (said in my most boogie man trying to scare little children voice).   It's like if you have anything to say about free market capitalism or income inequality, or the laws and regulations that have made legal the raping and pillaging of the economy i.e. 2007, then you must be a card carrying socialist that takes a Karl Marx lunch box to school every day filled with Stalin and Lenin action figures.  That we can't even have a public discussion about whether or not Bain capital and venture capitalists in general have been healthy for our society without deciding that one side is against the free world and are just hippies/welfare queens wanting to live off of the government teat is disheartening, to say the least.  Just plain stupid if you want to be harsh.

Venture capitalism is not intrinsically a bad thing....mostly. The 'mostly' is, as with most any other business pursuit, all about what a particular VC does, how it goes about conducting business.  Investing money in a business to make a profit is the essence of how free market capitalism functions.  For example, it's how the skin care line Carol's Daughter made it big.  While living in Brooklyn, not 1 mile away from my house, this woman made and sold skin care products out of her house that appealed to black woman.  When I came across these products, I IMMEDIATELY wanted to invest.  Now I had maybe…uh…$100 that I could put toward my investment.  But because I was in an investment club that invested $25 per person, per month, into the stock market, I was excited! I knew all about black women cause I was one, I had skin and I had hair. The stuff smelled GOOD.  "This woman should make a mint," I thought.  I bought it for my family as Christmas gifts…how could this not be a successful company?? Well, Jada Pinkett-Smith must have stole the idea from my mind because she invested in it, it came to the attention of Macy's and Oprah and now Carol's a multi millionaire.

What Bain capitol does is take struggling companies, "fix" them up by trimming them down, i.e. firing people, working on their management structure, and hopefully bring them back to profitability.  Without this valuable service we wouldn't have Staples, where I get all my printer cartridges.  However, Bain Capitol is about making money for INVESTORS, such as pension funds.  It is NOT conceived of as a job creator, though jobs may be created in the long run if a company continues to do well.  Now I do not pretend to know everything about venture capitalism, but to have questions about how it works and whether it might be completely good for our society is not a bad thing, it's called being an active citizen!  Should government policy be made based on what is good for private investors or workers or owners? What about those people who are not in any of those categories? What should we do about them? Must I be a boogie man because I dare ask such questions of our political leaders?  In a free society don't I have a right to question whether bankers, investment groups, and other financial service operators may be doing things that may not support what I think is a healthy market and a fair society?

Ahh well, I guess I'll dust off my trusty communist manifesto, put a hammer and cycle on my forehead, all the while I sell my CDs and collect my recording royalty checks and as I contact iTunes to see how many people are paying to download my latest single….Oh what a communist I am...

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