For generations, Americans, who rejected liberalism, were trained to screech and run out of the room whenever the topic of inequality was raised. After all, anything other than a natural distribution of wealth was socialism and if nothing else, conservative means not being a socialist. It’s fundamentally the problem with all reactionary ideology and why Buckley Conservatism has degraded into a shabby libertarianism, lacking anything resembling a coherent worldview.
The issue of inequality is a perfect example. That French economist wrote a big book on the topic and the response from the Right was to dismiss it without having read it. The libertarian wing thumbed through some reviews so they could pretend to have read it, before dismissing it in a shower of platitudes. They have to pretend inequality is not a real issue because to do otherwise means confronting the contradictions in their ideological safe space.
The fact is, having a small number of people or corporations controlling the nation’s wealth ends in tyranny. This is the lesson of history. If one man owns everything then you have Africa. If a cabal of men control everything through a bureaucracy you have China. The West figured out that a broad distribution of ownership cultivates human capital and maximizes individual liberty. It’s not perfect, but there is a reason we never speak of the African Renaissance.
Part of why both parties are being swamped by what they like to call the fringe is stories like this one.
The rising cash holdings of U.S. corporations are increasingly in the hands of a few U.S. companies, with just five tech firms having grabbed a third of it. And nearly three-quarters of cash held by non-financial U.S. companies is stashed overseas, outside the long arm of Uncle Sam.
Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), Alphabet (GOOGL), Cisco Systems (CSCO)and Oracle (ORCL) are sitting on $504 billion, or 30%, of the $1.7 trillion in cash and cash equivalents held by U.S. non-financial companies in 2015, according to an analysis released Friday by ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service. That’s even more cash concentration than in previous years, as these five companies held 27% of cash in 2014 and 25% in 2013. Apple alone is holding more cash and investments than eight of the 10 entire industry sectors.
Corporate America’s rising pile of cash is becoming increasingly important to investors as profit growth and the stock market stalls. The amount of cash held by U.S. companies rose 1.8% in 2015. Unfortunately for U.S. investors, 72% of total cash held by all non-financial U.S. companies is stockpiled outside the U.S., up from 64% in 2014 and 58% in 2013, as companies try to avoid paying U.S. tax rates.
There was a time when Democrats would make an issue of this based on old school appeals to class. “Look at these fat cats robbing the working man!” The Right was not mute on this stuff either. Wholesale tax avoidance was not always a conservative principle. Conservatives would also note that these firms are run by progressive, nation wrecking wackos. But, that was when conservatives still thought countries were real things.
The reason Faceberg gets to summon media whores like Glenn Beck to his lair and demand they stop talking about his censoring of opinion is because he has 40 billion dollars. He is also allowed to have free access to the internet by the state. The reason for the gross corruption of the popular media is that those concentrated billions can be funneled into operations that buy news reporters and outlets, in addition to politicians.
It’s something I’ve been repeating for a while now, but I enjoy repeating it. Buckley Conservatism was always about anti-communism first and foremost. The whole point of their ideology was to shape the defense of the West against Soviet communism. Reagan is a perfect example. He was willing to concede domestic policy to the Democrats in order to have a free hand on foreign policy. The result was a continuation of the welfare state in exchange for a military buildup.
The problem for the Buckley types is the Cold War ended. Generations of conservative “intellectuals” have been trained to cede cultural issues to the Left. Their default response on domestic issues is to surrender so they can get back to talking foreign policy. It’s made them incapable of fighting a culture war. Those principled conservatives are too busy planning the sack of Carthage to be bothered by the Left’s assault on decency.
It’s why they are being swamped by what we’re calling the alt-right. Talking about special treatment of carried interest to a guy who is watching his town be overrun by foreigners is insulting. That’s why Trump was able to shove everyone aside and win the nomination. Watching those debates, I was reminded of the movie Pleasantville. In this case, Trump was the only guy in color and the rest were in black and white.
Conservatism used to focus itself on maintaining and defending the culture and traditions of the country. Allowing a handful of financial buccaneers, who got rich plundering the economy while riding a sea of credit money created by the state, is the antithesis of conservatism. It conserves nothing. Dealing with these extremes is something the Right cannot cede to the Left or you end up like Venezuela.