Lay a little capitalism on me, baby

No matter what your political views, you’re bound to get at least a smile out of the S.C. Policy Council’s new “Unleashing Capitalism” site.

For my part, I was prepared to be bored to death when I followed the link, only to be greeted immediately with this:

“I stopped going bald because of capitalism.”

So I kept watching the automatic slideshow, and while none of the other assertions had quite the comic punch of the first one, the others weren’t bad:

  • I lost 70 pounds with the help of capitalism.
  • I sleep with the windows open thanks to capitalism.
  • Our marriage was saved by capitalism.
  • I don’t hate Mondays thanks to capitalism.
  • I learned algebra because of capitalism.

I am not, as Dave Barry says, making this up.

I didn’t know my friends at the Policy Council (and I do have friends over there) had this much of a sense of humor. But I’ve got to hand it to them; this is a grabber. It’s cute, and enjoyable whether you agree with the Policy Council’s worldview or disagree sharply.

Of course, it’s not all sweetness and light. Far from it.

Be sure you’ve taken your antidepressants before you watch the video on the site, which paints a picture of South Carolina that makes “Corridor of Shame” look like a Chamber of Commerce production. It makes the Airstrip One of 1984 look like Disneyland. It makes South Carolina look even worse than it looks to me as a guy who’s been looking for a job for 8 months.

And of course, guess what the cause of all this misery is? Well, no, there’s not a lot of guessing to be done with an organization that would assert that capitalism, and not public education, is the best provider of algebraic knowledge.

But interestingly, the video doesn’t attack government so much as it attacks “politicians,” with assertions such as:

We gave politicians too much power…

We’ve trusted them to make decisions for us…

It’s time to take power back from politicians.

Of course, this is a direct attack on the greatest form of government ever devised — representative democracy. You know, the system in which we elect representatives to make public policy decisions. The only logical conclusion to derive from this presentation is that we should grab our pitchforks and run riot in the streets, a la France in the 1790s.

Which persuades me once again that, no matter what you may say about it, the Policy Council is certainly not a “conservative” organization.

By the way, lest you get too depressed watching the video — it gets all happy at the end. And here’s a thought to cheer you up even more — I’m guessing those bustling free-enterprise operations they’re showing (in the color, Dorothy-arrives-in-Oz part) actually exist already in this world that is supposedly crushed and oppressed by “politicians.”

One last thought, though, just to cover all my bases: Hey, if you’re going to unleash some capitalism, unleash some on me. The public sector isn’t hiring, because we live in a state run by politicians who would rather have their eyes put out with sharp sticks than raise taxes to maintain even the minimal level of services we have come to expect in South Carolina. In fact, if underfunding gummint will unleash capitalism, we should be experiencing a tsunami of private investment about now. I’ve got my surfboard, and I’m ready…

20 thoughts on “Lay a little capitalism on me, baby

  1. Brad Warthen

    Here’s a quick question for Philip or somebody else who’s way more hip to music than I am: What’s that piece in the background of the video above? Is that Philip Glass?

  2. Jack

    Here I thought our recent troubles were a result of unleashed capitalists burning up our investments and going bankrupt. If only the capitalists had somehow been more unleashed (bank naked maybe?) I guess they would have been a force for good instead. Dratted politicians!

  3. Doug Ross

    “with sharp sticks than raise taxes to maintain even the minimal level of services ”

    I just got my property tax bill. Did you get yours? Mine went up by $500. And I don’t think they plan to improve services.

    Anyone else in Richland County get there’s?

    There is even a note on the tax bill basically blaming the county council for increasing the millage more than expected.

    Taxes keep going up Brad. Just because you can’t get one of the all-pay, no-work jobs doesn’t mean wasteful spending has stopped.

  4. Brad Warthen

    You know, I could relax if I could get the income from a couple of “no-shows” and three or four “no-works.” Tony Soprano can get those; why can’t I? Maybe I need to move to a state with unions or something. Either that, or I should start taking this personally, as a show of disrespect…

  5. Brad Warthen

    By the way, I was just kidding about the unions thing. That’s one area where the Policy Council and I can probably find some agreement. Fat lot of good my standing up for the “right to work” does me, though…

  6. Kathryn Fenner

    We got our tax bill and it was quite reasonable–downright paltry compared to our bill elsewhere. I’m glad to pay my taxes and wish we all paid more–we’d get soooo much more.

    I know many, many public employees, and almost all work their butts off, way, way harder than many I know in comparable private sector jobs….for less pay, and frequent furloughs.

    The first bit could be Philip Glass, although it sounds like just generic stuff, but the “Oz” part certainly isn’t.

  7. Lynn Teague

    Wall St. folks have been quoted as saying that more regulation would just dampen their “animal spirits”, and that there just wouldn’t be any incentive without an “unlimited upside.” Of course an unlimited upside comes with an unlimited downside risk, and we know who they expect to pay the bill on that one. So, I trust everyone in SC has unimpaired animal spirits to facilitate taking back our economy from all those nasty politicians, so we can look forward to covering the downsides, or backsides, of our local capitalists.

  8. Phillip

    hi Brad, to answer your question, the first 2 minutes does sound like a ripoff of Phil Glass (which is not that hard to do…oops don’t tell him I said that) but since it morphs after that into the poppier, upbeat thing, I think it’s probably written specifically for this video, but definitely evoking Glass in the first part. Not a piece I recognize anyway.

  9. Maude Lebowski

    “I’m guessing those bustling free-enterprise operations they’re showing (in the color, Dorothy-arrives-in-Oz part) actually exist already in this world that is supposedly crushed and oppressed by ‘politicians.'”

    I recognized The Art Shack and what I think is Scratch-n-Spin records.

    As far as the promo…meh. The downtrodden and the thriving co-exist here as they do in every other state. I don’t see more or less govmt. regulation having a huge impact on that unless it swings wildly in either direction.

    I do hate the SC-bashing like that in the first half of the promo. It’s old.

  10. Kathryn Fenner


    Who’s there?


    Who’s there?


    Who’s there?

    Philip Glass

    I want a free enterprise world where the folks we bailed out can score federally-paid-for flu vaccines before those who really need it get them–yeah sure–that sounds so fair!

  11. martin

    Doug, I read your link and I don’t know if the government “wasted” that money as much as physicians and other medical providers stole it.
    I hope they get prosecuted and the money recouped. From the article, that has not been pushed much in the recent past.

  12. Kathryn Fenner

    Yes, sort of like former DSS head Moore “wasted” 5 MM. That’s not waste; that’s embezzlement/theft/other crimes.

    I liked the letter writer to The State who praised the care he received at Dorn, and says bring on more socialized medicine!

  13. Doug Ross


    If there is little oversight on how the money is spent, it’s wasted. You would think an entity that lost $46 billion dollars would try hard to prevent it from happening. But it can’t, because there is no penalty for allowing it to happen. Nobody loses his job when the government wastes money, they just go back to the taxpayers to get more.

    This is the crux of the free market versus government run healthcare debate. The insurance companies don’t get ripped off as much because they are driven by protecting profits. This results in bad behavior by some insurers (but nowhere near the $46 billion the government wastes).

    What we need is true free market insurance. That means no barriers to entry into the market (i.e. government rules that prohibit selling insurance across state lines), tort reform to prevent defensive medical practices, and making people personally responsible for paying for their own healthcare.

    Every aspect of our current system is controlled or impacted by the government monkeying with the free market. It’s now wonder costs skyrocket in that environment.
    We have millions of people on Medicare who pay below market rates and use a far higher percentage of the resources. The rest of us end up paying for that “price fixing” by the government.

    You’re all crazy if you think there is a government solution that will make things better. Either willfully ignorant or living in a dream world.

  14. Doug Ross

    Burl – I assume that was some sort of joke? Maybe you missed the news where Enron collapsed and people went to jail?

    Do you have a similar story to tell about the government hacks who run Medicare?

    The free market punishes private industries that cheat the system. It has no recourse against the government which sets the rules, sets the prices, and has the unlimited ability to cover up its incompetence with taxing authority.

  15. Steve Gordy

    Notice how slickly Doug (who often makes well-reasoned arguments) links “tort reform” and “prevent defensive medical practices”? My wife got into a shouting match last year with a local doctor (whose wife is a wheel in SC Policy Council) because she got a second opinion that ran contrary to the high-priced drug therapy he was pushing. As long as “defensive medical practices” help to push up doctors’ income, tort reform is only a part of that equation.

  16. bud

    Really Doug, citing ENRON in defense of capitalism because a few folks went to jail? I think you’re stretching to defend a system that works well in some areas, wheat farming for instance, but if left unregulated can reek havoc on millions.

    Think of capitalism this way: Adam Smith suggested free market capitalism worked because the invisible hand of the market worked to create goods and services at a fair price that would protect consumers from the tendancy of businesses to become greedy. I suggest the invisible hand has Parkinson’s disease and if left untreated will reek havoc on common people. Sure the treatment may have unintended side effects and may not always work. However, if done correctly the treatment should reduce the worst of the symptoms and lead to better outcomes.

    In the case of healthcare the invisible hand has Parkinsons that is completely out of control and virtually any treatment would be better than the shaking mess we have now. Even with the problems with Medicare it works much better than the insurance industry for providing quality care at a reasonable cost.

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