Whedon is something of a conservative hero because he created Firefly, which many conservatives view as a libertarian statement against big government. But make no mistake, Whedon is NOT a conservative, as his latest comments prove once again. Whedon is an atheist feminist who has spoken out against capitalism, and he endorses Democrats, like John Kerry in 2004.
His latest comments came at Comic-Con 2012, where he was asked to explain his economic philosophy in 30 seconds. He said that America is “turning into Tsarist Russia” and that “we’re creating a country of serfs.” He blamed this on capitalism and said that “we are watching capitalism destroy itself right now” because of the gap between the ultra rich and everyone else, which he traced to Ronald Reagan. Then he lamented that socialism is a dirty word in America.
This is wrong on many levels. First, he’s completely wrong to blame capitalism for our recent economic problems or for the growing income gap. The middle class is getting squeezed because government regulations have destroyed middle class jobs and because taxes have eaten middle class incomes so the government could keep spending on the poor and the ultra-rich.
Moreover, the ultra-rich aren’t rich because of capitalism. Some are, but the vast majority of people in the upper 1% are there because they have found ways to milk the government for money and to use the government to shut down their competitors. Wall Street banks are the perfect example of this. They have used their connections at the Treasury to get government guarantees to protect them from risks they take, to unload unprofitable assets, and to keep smaller competitors out of the market. They got billions in bailouts. They used their influence to change regulations to allow them to do things like draw cheap money from the Fed, impose fees on unsuspecting consumers, restrict the power of bankruptcy to their unique benefit, benefit from the sale of government debt, control prices, and engage in trading practices that simply have no justification in economics, like microtrades. They routinely do things that the unconnected go to jail for.
And banks aren’t alone. It is no accident that billionaires like Warren Buffet rarely engage in businesses that aren’t heavily regulated: energy, insurance, railroads, etc. It’s no accident that GE gets environmental regulations imposed on others and then gets those waved for itself or that Pelosi’s healthcare friends get waivers for ObamaCare. It’s no accident that so many of the loans made to energy companies went straight to political donors. The reality is that our economic problems for the past decade have been the result of our government, no matter who is in charge, becoming the tool of the well-connected to extract money from taxpayers and stifle competition. That’s not capitalism, it’s crony corporate socialism.
Secondly, Whedon is wrong in his description of socialism. Here is what he said:
“We have people trying to create structures and preserve the structures that will help the middle and working class, and people calling them socialists. . . . It’s some people with some sense of dignity and people who have gone off the reservation.”Uh, no. American socialists don’t care about the middle or working classes. American socialism is a collection of non-economic grievances founded on spite and envy, and its goals are highly destructive to the middle class. The only economic policy American socialism still advocates is high taxes across the board on all workers, with the money to be used on subsidies to big business and unions, plus increased welfare payments to the very poor. That’s it. Look at the stimulus for proof. The idea behind the stimulus was that giving billions of dollars in middle class tax dollars to big business and unions and boosting benefits for the unemployed would somehow make America better. Obviously, that failed.
Whedon is right about something, however, and it should concern us: income disparity. When you look at history, the countries that fell apart were those where the middle class collapsed, leaving most of the population very poor and part of the population fabulously wealthy. America is trending that way right now, and that's dangerous.
But the key to solving this is not class warfare, it is to stop trying to strangle the middle class. The American middle class is suffering because almost all of our policies involve taxing the middle class to pay for subsidies to the wealthy or the very poor or to fund social experimentation. At the same time, we have actively sabotaged the kinds of jobs that are needed for people to move up the income scale and we keep flooding the country with cheap labor.
Conservatives need to realize this. Right now they reflexively defend the ultra-rich but dismiss any concerns about the middle class as “class warfare.” That's bad. America needs a strong middle class if it is to remain the country we all know and love. And we can’t do that if we make it impossible for people to start businesses or if we keep taxing people's success.
To that end, Republicans should:
● Pass a flat tax with no deductions.Moreover, let's not forget the other ways we are becoming serfs. Day by day, the government is taking individual rights and freedoms supposedly for our own good. Banning 16 oz. containers, forcing you to buy healthcare, trying to control the internet, massive amounts of wiretapping, taking of private property, etc. These things need to stop. American needs to become the land of the free once more.
● Stop standing in the way of natural gas production, which could bring billions of dollars a year to middle America.
● Reform schools so everyone is ready to participate in the modern world.
● Stop the cronyism. End subsidies and eliminate pointless regulations meant only to keep competitors out of the market.
● Strengthen laws meant to make markets more competitive, e.g. anti-trust.
● Clean up the stock markets so that all rules apply equally.
● Break up the biggest banks so the taxpayers stop backing risk and only insure genuine savings.
● Fix the bankruptcy laws to allow a genuine clean start again.
● Reform healthcare to bring free market competition, as we’ve discussed many times.
● Reform the legal system to reduce verdict sizes and discourage frivolous suits.
● Reform government to stop it from taking ever more of our rights.