In the effort to stop wholesale free fall into a socialist state, conservative groups are unwittingly ascribing to an equally dangerous fascist economic society. 'Fascist' is a loaded word. Populists have wrongly associated the word with Nazi thuggery and forced conformity, especially on social issues. But the term is actually a reference to an economic policy.
Case In Point
For centuries, our land has had a capitalist free market healthcare system. It has resulted in the highest levels of innovation, invention, and medical discovery. The world comes to US hospitals when they can afford the very best care. Govt. regulations and tort lawsuits have become a creeping cancer to affordability. Costs have climbed at an alarming rate in the 70s and succeeding decades.
Over the 2nd half of the 20th century, consumers chose a kind of voluntary socialist plan known as health insurance. Essentially, it is the sharing of medical bills by every member of the group. But administrative costs eat up over 30% of the premiums, so that in the end, policyholders were paying a very inflated price for the same care. As the U.S. reached majority coverage, the providers had to offer to file insurance for the patient, in order to stay competitive. Hospitals started buying out independent doctor's clinics and leveraging their size advantage to absorb the administrative costs.
In 1994, America rejected the socialist medicine plan of HillaryCare. Under that plan, hospitals & doctors would have become enslaved servants of the govt.. The federal govt. would have raised taxes sufficient to pay everyone's medical expenses which the death panels and rationing bureaucrats had grudgingly approved, assuming the patient wasn't dead yet.
In 2010, congress approved the fascist medicine plan of ObamaCare. Under this plan certain favored insurance companies would receive a windfall of 'customers' which the federal govt. is forcing to buy a deluxe high-risk coverage plan. Obama favors a socialist plan, but he sees fascist designs as an acceptable step away from capitalism
Too Big To Fail
“They privatize the profits and socialize the losses, so whichever way the wheel spins, they win."
Republicans And The Keynesian Tar Baby
Republicans, starting with Ronald Reagan's bailout of the banking industry in 1986; have resorted to the policy of 'Too Big To Fail'. George Keisor used government programs to take over Bank Of Oklahoma. It only sells when there is a perceived economic disaster. It's Keynesian economics on steroids. Under the economic philosophy of John Maynard Keynes, western nations used the government's ability to borrow or print money and use it in an effort to "prime the pump" , hoping to stimulate a weak economy.
Stimulism And Other Forms Of Keynesian Economics
In 2001, GW Bush and the Republican congress passed a stimulus plan whereby taxpayers were each sent $300 as an attempt to further stimulate the economy. This was before the September national crisis from the terrorist attacks in New York City & Washington, DC. In 2008, Bush again pushed through another stimulus. This time taxpayers each got $600. The plan was carried out prior to the September market crash. This was not 'top down' fascism, because the capital went through the channel of consumers rather than corporate bailouts. Later in 2008, Bush approved a massive corporate TARP bailout using govt. secured loans to select major corporations deemed 'too big to fail'. Small business creates half the jobs in the USA., but 'mom & pops' businesses were not given the same bailouts that well-connected big business interests received.
In 2009, the new president then tried to bail out mortgage corporations by bailing out the bad mortgages for people who should never have been given financing for houses they cannot really afford.
Tea Party Revolt
Tall Building Business Interests
Today, the local or state Chambers are largely co opted by big business interests. They no longer advocate for pure free enterprise. They want government to collect tourism taxes to fund tourist information centers and pay for big arenas or other toys to attract corporate interests, and generally build a society where the various levels of government pay for things which big business would otherwise have to pay for. they want schools to train potential employees in advance of going to work. The plans always justify their expenses by claiming that there will be jobs created by the plan. In reality, the taxpayers are paying the wages instead of the corporations who are benefitting from the increased commerce. It amounts to a cloaked socialism dressed up as a stimulated free enterprise. That's what fascism is.
They want to quit paying employee benefits like health insurance and retirement pensions; so it only makes sense for big business to encourage governments to take over the fringe benefits. Not every local Chamber Of Commerce is turning to a fascist model. But the least corrupted chamber organizations are likely to be in small towns.
A New Political Dynamic
In Oklahoma, for the past few years, pretty much every new tall building going up is the result of a big business being given a government-sanctioned special status. Whether it's a mega hospital complex getting the windfall of ObamaCare, or a casino complex build by an ethnic group who has an exclusive legal right to conduct a business which other classes cannot legally compete with.
Respected Oklahoma blogger, Michael Bates, describes, in his 2011 post; how George Kaiser has benefitted from govt. sweetheart deals given to the few very well connected. Bates quotes from Bill Allison...
"..In 1984, Bank of Oklahoma bought Fidelity Bank N.A., an Oklahoma City-based bank whose books were loaded with bad loans. Kaiser, who was a shareholder and served on Bank of Oklahoma's board of directors at the time, favored the deal, which didn't work out so well. Fidelity's bad loans were a drag on Bank of Oklahoma, which, after declaring a quarterly loss of $51 million in 1986, turned to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for a bailout. The FDIC deemed it essential to the state's economy, and rather than shut it down bailed it out the bank for $130 million. Five years later, after returning the bank to profitability, the FDIC sold it to Kaiser--for $61 million."
There are groups of "the little guy" on both the left and the right. Socialist groups like "Occupy Wall Street" are decrying the same fascism which Tea Party groups condemn. On the left, they rally to the cause of Bernie Sanders presidential campaign and make it a movement. In 2012, a similar movement on the right rallied to Ron Paul's Libertarian message. The Sanders and Paul movements ascribe to opposite solutions. Either pure socialism or pure free market capitalism. Tea Party and Libertarian groups are becoming increasingly focused on identifying neo-fascist economic policy. In some respects, they are finding political support from socialists who also decry the corporatism of today.
We saw a hint of this convergence in the last days of the 2015 Oklahoma legislature, when about 25 House Republicans formed an unofficial Conservative Caucus opposition to a hike in the tobacco tax. Ironically, the Democrat caucus voted with them in a majority coalition. The 'Tall Building Republicans' panicked and sent in Governor Mary Fallin to lobby for the tax increase on the House Floor. She disgraced and humiliated her office by openly begging Democrats to vote for a tax increase, yet the Democrats stood resolute; albeit for their own motivations. It's not at all a pure illustration, yet it shows the possibility that an anti-corporatism alliance can happen.
Opinion of the Editor
We recently moved our blog. Our archives are still partially stored at our old site.
David Van Risseghem is the Director of Sooner Politics.org. The resource is committed to informing & mobilizing conservative Oklahomans for civic reform. This endeavor seeks to utilize the efforts of all cooperative facets of the Conservative movement...