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Michael Moore is DEAD WRONG

October 2, 2009

Leftist Capitalism

IBD: 2 Oct. 2009

Hypocrisy: Apart from a healthy appetite, what do the 1.3-billion-strong Red Chinese have in common with filmmaker Michael Moore? Living a Marxist creed while practicing capitalism.

The paradox of New York City, home to Wall Street, arranging for the Empire State Building to shimmer in the red and yellow of the communist Chinese flag to celebrate 60 years of tyranny is bad enough.

What about a documentary filmmaker who has lined his pockets with millions by tearing down a corporate CEO, celebrating Fidel Castro’s Cuba and now directly savaging America’s free-market system in his latest flick, “Capitalism: A Love Story”?

Mainland China may have long since toned down its state-sanctioned cult of personality surrounding the greatest murderer in world history, Mao Zedong. But as far as political freedoms go, it remains very much a communist country.

Its adoption of capitalist economics, however, has turned it into an economic powerhouse, though you’ll never hear its safely entrenched dictators admit as much.

By the same token, you’ll never see Michael Moore doff his ever-present baseball cap to the economic freedom that brought him a fortune. “Capitalism did nothing for me,” he claimed as he entered the movie house in Washington, D.C., where his film premiered Tuesday night.

Moore was asked about amassing “a fortune of over $50 million,” thanks to filmgoers shelling out cash to capitalist theater chains and capitalist DVD stores in capitalist countries.

He complained of having to “pretty much beg, borrow and steal,” that “the system is not set up to help somebody from the working class make a movie like this and get the truth out there,” and that Disney “tried to kill” his highest-grossing movie, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” for which he reportedly got $21 million.

Moore’s health care documentary, “Sicko” — for which he took half the profit, according to Vanity Fair — ends with Americans arriving in communist Cuba, where they finally get the care they desperately need.

If you think that story rings true, just give it a try sometime.

Moore first came to notice in 1989 for “Roger and Me,” in which he lambasted General Motors CEO Roger Smith. Fortune magazine estimates his films have grossed more than $300 million.

A common thread runs through such self-serving hypocrisy. For Beijing to admit that freedom is the key to China’s success would threaten its rulers’ permanent power.

For Michael Moore to admit he’s the beneficiary of capitalism would expose his slickly produced propaganda as just hot air.

Why Michael Moore Is Dead Wrong

By WALTER E. WILLIAMS IBD: 29 Sept. 09

Michael Moore’s new film, “Capitalism: A Love Story,” was released this month. I’ve neither seen nor read reviews of the film, except for a short piece in the London Telegraph titled “Michael Moore film calls capitalism evil.”

Aware of Michael Moore’s previous films, I know that it will be at best a misleading story about capitalism. So let’s do some defensive mental preparation, not about the film but about what is and what is not capitalism.

Capitalism is an economic system characterized by private ownership and control over the means of production. The distribution of goods and services and their prices are mainly determined by competition in a free market. Under such a system the primary job of government is to protect private property, enforce contracts and ensure rule of law.

State Ownership

There has never been a pure free-market capitalistic system just as there has never been a pure communist or socialist system, where there is government ownership of the means of production and each individual has equal access to society’s resources.

However, we can rank economies as to whether they are closer to capitalism or closer to communism or socialism. If one ranked countries according to whether they were closer to the capitalistic end of the spectrum or the socialistic or communistic end, then ranked countries according to per capita GDP and finally rank countries according to Freedom House’s “Map of Freedom in the World,” he would find a pattern that is by no means a coincidence.

The people in those countries closer to the capitalist end of the economic spectrum have far greater income and enjoy greater human rights protections than those toward the socialist and communist end.

According to the London Telegraph article, Moore’s film features priests who say capitalism is anti-Christian by failing to protect the poor. This is pure nonsense and revealed as such by asking, “If you’re an unborn spirit, condemned by God to a life of poverty but allowed to choose the country in which to be poor, would you choose a country near the communist end of the economic spectrum or the capitalist end?”

If you chose the United States, you’d find that according to the government surveys, the typical “poor” American has cable or satellite TV, two color TVs, and a DVD player or VCR. He has air conditioning, a car, a microwave, a refrigerator, a stove, and a clothes washer and dryer, and whether he has health insurance or not, he is able to obtain medical care when needed.

Try to find that in Cuba, Russia, China or North Korea. If we buy into the nonsense of Moore’s priests, the world’s poor people are incredibly stupid. Whether fleeing legally or illegally, their destination country is likely to be closer to capitalism than their departure country.

Most of our country’s serious problems can be laid at the feet of Congress and the White House and not at capitalism.

Our Undoing

Take the financial crisis. One-third of the $15 trillion of mortgages in existence in 2008 are owned or securitized by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, the Federal Housing and the Veterans Administration. Banks didn’t mind making risky loans and Wall Street buyers didn’t mind buying these repackaged loans because they assumed that they would be guaranteed by the federal government: read bailout by taxpayers.

Under a capitalist system, financial institutions would not have been intimidated or encouraged into making risky loans and neither would they have been bailed out if they did so.

Social Security, Medicare and its coverage of prescription drugs have an unfunded liability that exceeds $100 trillion. When those roosters come home to roost, they will make the financial meltdown we’ve been though look like child’s play.

Not withstanding all of the demagoguery, it is capitalism, not socialism, that made us a great country, and it’s socialism that will be our undoing.

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