Corporatism vs. Socialism vs. Free Markets

As President Bush announces a revised bailout for automakers, David Boaz examines the policies of Bush and proposals of Obama and concludes neither is a “socialist”, but neither does either believe in free markets; they are “Corporatists”:

In fact, right now they both seem to be pursuing policies that are neither socialist nor laissez-faire but rather corporatist.  …

In a few short months, the Bush administration has turned the focus of our economy to corporatism. Every day brings another story about businessmen seeking their profits in Washington, not the marketplace:

  • Life insurance companies are seeking to buy savings and loan institutions in order to qualify for a piece of the $700 billion bailout fund.
  • Realtors and homebuilders are asking for mortgage subsidies, tax credits and interest-rate “buydowns” to stimulate demand for their product.
  • Recently “the health insurance industry said” — a pretty corporatist phrase right there — that it would support regulations requiring insurers to accept all customers, regardless of illness or disability, as long as Congress would require every American to buy insurance.
  • After Congress turned down a bailout for the car companies, the firms are asking the Bush administration to fund them on its own authority.

Meanwhile, Obama advisers are saying that if the federal government invests billions of dollars in businesses, it should get some influence on company policies regarding foreclosures, lending, executive compensation, environmental effects and product lines. …

That’s corporatism for you: Big, established corporations get taxpayers’ money as long as any dissenting scientific or political opinions are suppressed.

Socialism is dead even in Moscow and Beijing.

The real choice Americans face is whether we want a free market or a corporate state.

Meanwhile, while several folks have commented on Bush’s remarks that he “abandoned free market principles to save the free-market system” (which is often a rationalization for big government – whether it be socialism, corporatism, or fascism), I am equally troubled by the next sentence, which represent the typical media analysis of what happened over the past eight years: “Bush’s comments reflect an extraordinary departure from his longtime advocacy for an unfettered free market”

I must have missed his “advocacy for an unfettered free market” amidst the farm subsidies, tariffs, support of earmarks, Medicare expansion, multiple “economic stimulus” packages, Sarbanes Oxley, and bailout after bailout.