Representatives Steve King (R-IA), Mike Mulvaney (R-SC) and former Rep. Allen West (R-FL) all tout her. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) pitched her book on the Senate floor. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) claims he’s not named after her; nobody believes him.
But House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), who requires staffers to read Atlas Shrugged, has labored the hardest to legitimize Rand. The wonk-whisperer’s specific brand of Rand devotion suggests that her true lasting power is seen not in the portable axioms about freedom and tyranny parroted by tea partiers but in Ryan’s more nuanced strategy to preserve the conservative elite.
But regulation has played an important part of that system and when the regulatory system was weak or failed, capitalism crashed. For those on top, they simply stayed on top (mostly). But in more recent times, as we have focused more and more on 'deregulation', those on the bottom have been pushed down even farther and those in the middle have been pushed to the bottom. We can see the current system failing right before our very own eyes.
Yet for much of the nation the delusion persists, against all common sense, that deregulated free-market capitalism works, that it equates to true Americanism, and that people have only themselves to blame for their failure to thrive in this expanding world of wealth. The reasons for this delusion are not hard to determine. The media has us brain-washed.
People of the top of the heap feel special. "The rich are not like the rest of us." They believe they are among the anointed of the world. They see themselves as the permanently entitled. It is easy to convince themselves that it was their smart moves or their hard work that brought them their success.
They can look 'down' on the rest of us for not having succeeded. We didn't work hard enough and/or were not smart enough.
They certainly don't want their tax dollars supporting 'those' people who are clearly not their equal. As a 'class', they have turned their backs on pubic spending, including spending for education, healthcare, or infrastructure. United States investment in public infrastructure as a component of GDP dropped by 60 percent from 1968 to 2011.
Do the wealthy actually believe that they and their children are better off in a declining country, a declining society? Can they feel good living in a culture of ignorance? Is there no concern that they themselves may drive/ be driven across a bridge as it collapses?
Conservative writers overwhelm us with their capitalist-loving mantras:
- Income inequality is simply not a significant problem. (The Wall Street Journal)
- Income inequality in a capitalist system is truly beautiful… (The Washington Post’s George Will, quoting John Tamny)
- Capitalism has worked very well (Bill Gates)
- A free market system…ensures a fair, democratic process (Sarah Palin)
- Let the market do its job (Chicago Tribune)
Members of the sinking middle class in our pathologically unequal society may well find it convenient to blame people in lower economic classes, who are unlikely to fight back. Guidance for such condescension comes from libertarian write Charles Murray, who apparently doesn’t understand the family stress caused by the lack of educational and employment opportunities. He accuses the poor of having a “genetic makeup that is significantly different from the configuration of the population above the poverty line.” And, he adds, “Married, educated people who work hard and conscientiously raise their kids shouldn’t hesitate to voice their disapproval of those who defy these norms.”
This inspires people like Paul Ryan and Scott Walker, both of whom compared the safety net to a “hammock,” and John Boehner, who explained the thinking of poor people: “I really don’t have to work…I think I’d rather just sit around.”
The critics of struggling Americans should be reminded that the cost of the entire Safety Net is only about ONE-SIXTH of the $2.2 trillion in tax avoidance that primarily benefits the rich.
A good American capitalist like Republican Senator Lindsey Graham would say, “It’s really American to avoid paying taxes, legally…It’s a game we play.” It’s a game for the people looking down on a troubled nation.
Much of this was in article originally written by Paul Buchheit