Populist Conservatism and Conservation – the Common Ground
Imagine a country which provides mass quantities of welfare to the poor and to the super rich. It would be the worst of both worlds: the red tape, high taxes, and government dependency of socialism combined with the wealth concentration and elitism of Guilded Age capitalism. Sounds like a good backdrop for a dystopian science fiction movie.
Only there’s one problem. If you are in the United States of 2020, all you have to do is look out window. You already live there.
Deficit spending is a price support program for the Old Money Rich, for the descendants of the Robber Barons of yore. Deficit spending props up passive profit rates. If you are rich, you can get richer automatically.
Meanwhile, our tax code pays middle class Americans to stay in debt. Pay off your mortgage and you pay more tax. And the tax code says you should put your savings in multiple retirement, medical and college savings accounts even when you still have debts to pay off. Got to give the Wall St. Wizards their management fees, you know.
The capital markets are regulated in a way such that capital is expensive for small scale conservative enterprises. Venture capital is for high tech ventures with the potential to go big. The cheapest capital of all is retained earnings by existing businesses. Merger mania is encouraged. Multinational corporations get the biggest tax breaks. In many respects current policy is pro monopoly.
And hardly anyone notices. The biggest faction that does notice mixes the message with elaborate conspiracy theories involving Rockefellers, Rothchildes, and other old Robber Baron families. Most people find these theories hard to swallow. And such theorizing can lead to anti Semitism and other ugliness.
This is tragic. This country desperately needs a viable populist conservative movement. If only the rich get to be capitalists, then the capitalists get outvoted. If the working class cannot afford to pay for a doctor, we are going to get socialized medicine. If liberal arts majors have to choose between being a barista or being a bureaucrat, they will become bureaucrats.
Environmentalists as Natural Allies
Not all Greens are socialists. Many are small business owners --practicing capitalists. They share some of the same anti Big Bank mindset as Birchers and Ron Paul fans. Some of them are even experimenting with alternative currencies.
This is natural. Most alternative energy technologies are inherently small scale. This requires smaller business. Ditto for humane/sustainable agriculture. Ditto for making products made to last and repairing them vs. replacing them.
All this requires small scale capitalism, not socialism.
Let’s build a coalition, a movement big enough to crush any conspiracy, real or imagined. It can be done.
Instead of exposing The Conspiracy, be The Conspiracy.