Mr. Moore, please consider Economics 101 - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Mr. Moore, please consider Economics 101

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Posted: Sunday, September 13, 2009 5:37 pm | Updated: 12:35 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Austin Hill: Michael Moore is releasing a new movie, and I’m sooo excited about it. More about me in a moment. First, the man who brought us “Bowling for Columbine” and “Fahrenheit 9/11” is about to release a new film entitled “Capitalism: A Love Story.” Just as “Bowling” embodied Moore’s left-leaning view that gun rights are bad,  so also does “Love Story” advance another idea that is popular among American liberals: Capitalism is evil.

Michael Moore is releasing a new movie, and I’m sooo excited about it.

More about me in a moment. First, the man who brought us “Bowling for Columbine” and “Fahrenheit 9/11” is about to release a new film entitled “Capitalism: A Love Story.”

Just as “Bowling” embodied Moore’s left-leaning view that gun rights are bad, and “Fahrenheit” embodied (among other things) the left-leaning belief that Iraqis enjoyed living under the murderous dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and President George W. Bush made their lives worse, so also does “Love Story” advance another idea that is popular among American liberals: Capitalism is evil.

“Trailers” and “promos” available at the film’s official Web site depict Moore doing his usual schtick — showing up unexpectedly at select locations with a video crew, recording ambush interviews, cleverly editing video to depict targeted individuals as “stupid,” and so forth.

The Web site also explains Moore’s conclusion: Capitalism is “evil,” America needs something different, and that “something” is “democracy.” Apparently, Moore is unacquainted with the concept of “democratic capitalism,” and believes that capitalism and democracy somehow can’t coexist.

But let’s look at an editorial piece that Moore wrote back in June, when General Motors met its long anticipated (and inevitable) fate of bankruptcy. Some of the stunning statements he made at that time can give us a clue about his grasp of basic economics.

Midway through the op-ed piece, Moore states:

“So here we are at the deathbed of General Motors. The company’s body not yet cold, and I find myself filled with — dare I say it — joy. It is not the joy of revenge against a corporation that ruined my hometown and brought misery, divorce, alcoholism, homelessness, physical and mental debilitation, and drug addiction to the people I grew up with. Nor do I, obviously, claim any joy in knowing that 21,000 more GM workers will be told that they, too, are without a job.”

Whoah, hold on! Do you realize how loaded this little paragraph is? General Motors “ruined” his hometown (he’s from Flint, Michigan). How did General Motors do that? And how did a car-manufacturing company become so powerful that it “caused” all those social ills?

Moore explains GM “caused” all this ugly stuff because it closed a manufacturing plant and eliminated jobs. And isn’t this ironic? The man who is embarking on a journey to “trash” capitalism apparently doesn’t grasp a basic concept of capitalism: Every participant in the economy, both individuals and organizations, has their own respective “self-interests” at stake, and we are all free to make our own choices as we seek to get the best product or service at the lowest possible price.

GM may have closed a plant because Michigan’s taxation rates had become burdensome, or because salary demands from the auto manufacturer’s union were beyond what the market could bear.

But for Moore, it doesn’t matter what GM’s reasons were for making a change. The outcome of those decisions in Moore’s mind was “bad,” so, therefore General Motors is “bad,” and capitalism is “evil.”

It’s very childlike thinking, but it’s quite common: “I don’t like your economic choices, so, therefore, both you and capitalism are terrible.” It sounds like some people’s attitudes at the Arizona Capitol these days. Never mind the economic reality of “no money” — if the wrong program gets cut, well, that’s just terrible, too.

But imagine if we scrutinized Michael Moore with Michael Moore criteria. Does Moore secure the best possible film crew workers for the best possible price? Is Moore responsible for alcoholism and divorce when it occurs among the people who work for him?

So why am I excited about “Capitalism: A Love Story”? After the world has a few months to view and discuss it, my second book will be released next spring, entitled “The Virtues of Capitalism: Making a Moral Case for Free Markets.”

As if my subject matter isn’t already sufficiently interesting, Moore’s movie will, I’m sure, drive more interest in my book and help generate more sales.

Thanks, Michael. Welcome to “democratic capitalism.”

Austin Hill of Gilbert comments on political and social issues every Sunday. He hosts talk radio around the country, and frequently is a guest host for Arizona’s Newstalk KTAR (92.3 FM). He is the author of “White House: Confidential — The Little Book of Weird Presidential History” and is a national columnist at Townhall.com. Contact him at info@Austinhill.net.

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