What's Michael Moore Talking About?

Government power is the problem, not capitalism.


Michael Moore is confused.

His new movie, Capitalism: A Love Story, begins by suggesting that all was well until Ronald Reagan became president and cut the top 90 percent income tax rate. Everything was downhill from there.

But by the end of the movie, he says the problems really began in 1945, when Franklin Roosevelt died without enacting his proposed Second Bill of Rights, which would have "guaranteed' everything from a "remunerative job" and a "decent home" to "adequate medical care," a "good education," and "adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident and unemployment."

Adding to the confusion, he lavishes praise on Barack Obama and his "spread the wealth around" rhetoric. But Moore also demonizes as symbols of capitalism Clinton Treasury secretaries Robert Rubin (formerly of Goldman Sachs) and Lawrence Summers, and former New York Fed President Timothy Geithner without mentioning that Rubin has been Obama's adviser and that Summers and Geithner are, respectively, his chief economic guru and treasury secretary. Nor does he acknowledge that Obama continued the bailout policies of George W. Bush.

Moore declares capitalism evil, but he's never clear about what "capitalism" means. Considering how much time he spends documenting the cozy relationship between business and government, I thought he might mean "state capitalism."

But then he uses the term "free market" as a synonym for what he doesn't like.

What does the free market have to do with businesses manipulating government and strong-arming Congress for bailouts? Moore properly condemns both.

What does he want instead of "capitalism"? He's coy about that. Claiming that the public became increasingly curious about socialism once Obama was accused of favoring it, he goes to the only self-described socialist in Congress, Sen. Bernie Sanders, to ask for a definition. Socialism, Sanders tells Moore, means "the government represents the middle class and working class, not the wealth."

Huh? That's socialism? It's not government ownership of the means of production and the abolition of private property and free exchange? Sanders reads Marx and Lenin very broadly. By his definition, I'm a socialist. I want government to represent the middle and working classes. Of course, Congress does that best by leaving them free, economically and otherwise.

Moore visits the National Archives to see if the Constitution establishes capitalism as the country's economic system. Seeing the words "people," "union," and "welfare" in the document, he says, "Sounds like that other ism."

That's just silly. The Constitution limits government's power to interfere with the people and their property. The Constitution is on the side of the free market.

Toward the end of the movie, Moore says capitalism is irredeemably evil and "has to be replaced." With what? I assumed he'd say socialism, but instead his answer is "democracy."

This apparently means expanding "hundreds of worker-owned businesses" in the United States.

But since workers are already free to start businesses, what's his point? A more astute observer would show how government intervention—licenses, taxes, regulations—inhibits such businesses.

Thankfully, I will soon have my own show on Fox Business Network to make such points. I'll invite Moore to come on as a guest.

For two hours, Moore rails against reckless banks and government bailouts, but never once mentions the government-business partnership that created the conditions for the turmoil. The fact that America no longer has a genuinely free market is the unnoticed 10,000-pound elephant in Moore's room.

Watching Capitalism, you'd never know that the federal government colluded for decades with the financial, real estate, and construction industries to divert resources into housing in the name of promoting home ownership—even for people who couldn't afford it. You'd never know that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were, and are, privileged government-sponsored enterprises that encouraged shaky loans.

At least Moore has an inkling of what's wrong: cozy ties between Wall Street and government. Moore thinks the answer is better regulators or nationalization of banks. But his own evidence suggests that the real answer is a separation of state and economy—stripping away Wall Street's privileges.

 In other words: Limit government's power. Let the free market work.

John Stossel joins Fox News on Oct. 19. He's the author of Give Me a Break and of Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity.


NEXT: Attn, NYC Reasonoids: An Event Worth Checking Out on Friday, Oct. 23

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  1. Michael Moore clearly is confused. The point is made by that student last week who easily bent Moore’s pliable understanding to admit the obvious.

    I most enjoyed Moore’s recent statement that ‘capitalism has never done anything for him’. What a great line. I’ll be sure to use it when I become a multimillionaire thanks to people selecting my movie out of the market of motion pictures.

  2. The interview I saw this morning had Moore condemning corporatism but calling it capitalism. I guess his “argument” only makes sense if you refuse to admit the difference between the two.

    1. From here:

      What does Ralph Nader’s denunciation of “corporate socialism” concede except that the corporations owe their current privileges, not to laissez faire, but to government intervention? Which leads us to now ask: What exactly is the “capitalism” of these anti-capitalists? Is it “Little England”-ism or mercantilist imperialism? Free trade or protectionism? Laissez faire or interventionism — A or non-A? Just as theocracy cannot denote both the union and the separation of Church and State, so capitalism cannot be both the union and the separation of Firm and State.

      1. AMEN!

  3. John Stossel on Michael Moore

    That is obscene! I’ll bet it’ already in the intertubez.

    1. Rule 34 strikes again.

    2. I agree, but Michael Moore on John Stossel would be much, much worse.

      1. death would ensue

  4. Am I the only one who can’t help reading John Stossel’s articles in his voice? Every damn time.

    1. Me, too. 🙂

    2. Actually I read everyone’s articles and posts in John Stossel’s voice, you know, except for the liberals. I read their stuff with the voice of Stimpy.

    3. Try reading his book…200 hundred pages of Stossel’s voice in your head.

      1. During particularly good passages, you can practically feel his mustache tickling your ear as though he were whispering to you.

    4. Yes! His voice! I can’t read one blasted sentence without hearing his voice. Every sentence sounds like a question, I can’t shake it. I think he might be one of the only commentators I read that this happens to. Could be worse… he could sound like Michael Moore.

      1. Yes, I hear the voice too, but it’s not surprising because I have one of his books on audio — read by him!
        I disagree that he’s the only one, though: When I read Coulter, Steyn, George Will, even Rush transcripts… I hear their voices too. Yes, I hear voices.

  5. And he was the worst Bond ever.

    1. Which Bond did he play, Israel?

  6. Stossel deserves a medal for watching that piece of tripe in its entirety.

    Moore’s expanding “hundreds of worker-owned businesses” is just thinly veiled code for “collectives.”

    1. But did Stossel pay to see the movie? I would never do that with a Michael Moore movie and even more so with this one.

      Newsflash: charging people to see your movie is capitalism you stupid fat fuck.

      1. I certainly hope Stossel didn’t fork over $8 just to find out Moore’s an idiot.

        1. Nah. I’m pretty sure that Stossel already knew that.

  7. Unfortunately, NutraSweet, in the minds of the vast majority of morons, capitalism = corporations = corporatism, and anti-capitalists are very happy that that connection exists. They aren’t going to do jack shit to fix the misconception, and instead utilize it.

    1. Yeay, yeah. But I still get all Frowny Bear about it.

      1. As long as you don’t get Pudsey Bear.

        1. Frowny Bear + Pudsey Bear = most awkward oral sex evar.

          1. When you pull his string: “It hurts when I pee…”

            1. You can say that again.

          2. When you pull his string: “It hurts when I pee…”

  8. Michael Moore with his $50 million is a retarded dipshit that makes his money off of even more retarded dipshits.

    He is a very good test care for judging if a Leftist has the potential to develop a brain. If they like Michael Moore, then they are retarded fetuses.

    1. I like Michael Moore, and I’m not even a leftist. He’s funny.

  9. As someone that has enjoyed much of Stossel’s past work, it pains me to say that this article kind of sucks.

    1. Old news, too. This is all so last week.

    2. It may state the obvious to you, but this is exactly the sort of article that I can send to my lefty friends. I think it’s a perfectly fine article.

      1. And they remain your friends? I keep pretty quiet about this stuff…almost all of my friends are leftists, so it’s pretty hard to discuss this stuff when you’re outnumbered like eight to one by liberals. I’ve lost quite a few friends and acquaintances due to political disagreements.

        1. Dude. You need to come out of the closet.

          Go watch Milk, then apply the lesson to libertarianism.

          1. Agreed. Don’t let the intolerant fuckers suppress your beliefs.

          2. I concur. Wear it proudly on your sleeve. Challenge them and force them to defend themselves. If their defenses don’t work, tell them why they don’t work.

            Then punch them square in the nose.

        2. i can relate, although i’ve gone on enough frustration induced rants that they no longer mention politics.

  10. Moore’s expanding “hundreds of worker-owned businesses” is just thinly veiled code for “collectives.”

    But it worked so well in Yugoslavia…

  11. Dear John Stossel,
    you do know that Ronald Reagan’s financial policies (a.k.a. put everything on “American Express”) turned the US from the world’s largest creditor to the world’s largest debtor?

    If that’s not destroying the US, then I don’t really know what is.

    What say you, fiscally conservative Libertarians?

    Are you ready to defecate on Reagan’s grave or are you just Reagan-loving Republicans in disguise?

    1. Sure, I’ll poop on the Gipper. No great love here. He’s one of the main reasons I became libertarian.

    2. Are you kidding? I’d kill to go down an order of magnitude to Reagan-level deficits. I never heard the phrase “trillion dollars” back in the 80s, after all.

      1. And I’m not really a Reagan fan, though he at least sounded good on certain issues. He was always about winning the Cold War, first and foremost, which is why all that libertarian-sounding stuff went to the wayside.

        Deficit spending in and of itself isn’t the problem. It’s spending more than your revenues can provide over many years (or even decades) that approaches suicidal. Of course, I’d rather force balanced budgets than leave the decision up to the government, but no one really wants that in DC. Left-leaning commenters here used to go on and on and on and on about how the Democrats were the party of balanced budgets and fiscal responsibility. That was a lie when spoken and it’s ridiculous now that they are in power.

        1. How much is President Obama going to reduce the deficit this year? Or next year?

      2. Umm.. yes but a trillion dollars went a whole lot farther in the 80’s

        1. I think you misunderstand the phrase “order of magnitude.” $1000 in 1985 is equivalent to $2000 today.

          1. Nah pmains,

            like all the cool kids, Pro Libertate counts in base 2.

    3. The Congress shall have Power…To borrow money on the credit of the United States. — Article 1, Section 8, US Constitution.

      Apply as necessary.

    4. He did some really good things with his tax cuts, he just forgot the “decrease the spending” part. Inflation fell 14% over the course of his term, and unemployment fell 8% by putting people’s money back into their own hands.

      1. And he forgot to abolish the awful AMT…

        1. Regan was flawed, but the closest thing to a real Conservative in decades. It’s just ridiculous to think that a president can get into office and make every sweeping change you desire. The whole system is set up to prevent that.

      2. I think he mouthed some libertarian sentiment to defuse Ed Clark’s campaign.

    5. That is not fair, Mr. Dave K: Libertarians != libertarians != conservatives != Reaganites.

    6. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but from the way Stossel worded it, it sounds like he was directly attacking Reagan’s tax cuts.

      1. Not surprising. I’ve heard quite a few people claim, even before Michael Moore’s movie came out, that before Reagan’s tax cuts people’s incomes were more equal, they had job and pension security, etc, etc.

        1. This is only true if you apply backwards (aka leftist) logic: under Reagan, more people were able to get richer, whereas before Reagan there was a big mass of poorer people.

          So yeah, there was more ‘income equality’, but if you want that, go socialist.

          A rising tide lifts all boats.

    7. Of course inflation and unemployment both fropped greatly during the 80’s, it wasn’t his economic ideas that sucked – it was his idea that we needed to build space missles that sucked.

    8. I’m ready to defecate on your grave, you Soviet Union loving lefty troll.

    9. So Dave K., who’s advocating policies to change that and just what are those policies? ‘Cause, I don’t see anyone in government who has realistic plan to reduce the amount of new debt the country takes on year to year, much less make a dent in the sea of red ink.

    10. Dave K., go pick up a history book and learn how to read.

      Did Reagan’s party control the House and Senate?

      People this dumb should be kicked off the fucking planet.

  12. Moore’s expanding “hundreds of worker-owned businesses” is just thinly veiled code for “collectives.”

    Government-backed collectivisation of private businesses, you might add, since, as that student was trying to tease out of him (at least on my read), he seems to think that workers should be given some kind of “vote” on what happens in “their” businesses.

    Whose businesses might these be? Would these salt-o’-the-earth proles have invested the time and effort it takes to start “their” businesses? If not, would they be “given” shares (from the other side of the point of a gun, as it were)?


  13. What MOore is talking about is businesses that are worker owned and government controlled. I leave it to you to figure out how it means anything to own something if you can’t control it. And I also leave it to you to consider how well such a system has worked out in the past.

    1. What I’m wondering is if Moore runs his own business that way. Lead by example!

      1. He is a total asshole who fired several employees for trying to unionize.

        1. Gee, Squealer doesn’t practice what he preaches? My, how surprising! Next you’ll be telling me he doesn’t redistribute his wealth to his workers.

          Well, lefties, what about it? If Moore’s way is so much better, why isn’t he doing it?

        2. I didn’t hear this story and it doesn’t seem to come up via google. Do you have a link?

  14. Here you go:

    Yeah! Fuck off, Dave K. Go do some laundry by stomping on Borax-soaked clothes in your bathtub.

  15. What drives me nuts is that a lot of people (like Moore) think that a free market is somehow an ideology or a system that can be chosen or specified by a constitution. It is not. It is just people doing what people do: voluntary engaging in exchange. A free market is not a system like socialism, it is just free individuals doing what they chose to do. A free market always exists to some extent in spite of even the most repressive system (see flea markets in N. Korea). It’s a damn shame that capitalism has come to mean corporatism to so many people.

    1. It might be a shame that people have fallen for the inaccurate conflation or corporatism & capitalism, but on the other side it was a concerted effort to muddy the waters all in an attempt to gain more power over the individual citizen.

  16. When I lived in Pennsylvania most of the people on my block worked for the local steel mill.

    Understand that the mill had been shut down several years, but those were still “their” jobs. One day the government was going to come along and reopen the plant, and happy days would run again.

    I checked out the steel company, then bankrupt, and found out what the stock cost. But when I pointed out that the union could purchase the company and start it back up for less than they were paying in unemployment benefits, I got a blank stare.

    Unions don’t want the responsibility of owning companies any more than most employees do. I run a business part-time. It ain’t for the faint of heart.

      1. Just a shot in the dark, but I’m going to guess the Steelworkers Union.

    1. When beer production was deregulated in Canada Molson could move beer across provincial boundaries. As a result they closed their Saskatchewan brewery in Saskatoon. The union purchased it and founded Western Beer which competes beside Molson products.

  17. My point was that the article begins by stating that Michael Moore is confused because he believes that Reagan was the beginning of the decline of the US.

    And anyone who’s even remotely fiscally conservative knows that he’s actually correct.

    Reagan is the biggest reason the US is in decline now.

    Only Clinton managed to set the US back on the correct path, but then came W a.k.a Reagan II.

    1. In bizzaro world maybe. Clearly ending staglfation and setting the country up for the biggest boom since the 20s sowed the seeds of our doom. There is more to a country than its budget deficit numbers.

    2. Dave,

      You gonna respond to me 12:49 post or cant you deal with facts?

    3. Reagan had a Democratic Congress. Clinton had a Republican one. It’s congress that puts together the budget.

    4. Except Clinton really only rode the internet boom and took credit for the surplus.

      Plus, he threw over a million non-violent drug offenders in prison at a cost of approximately $35,000 to $50,000 per year per inmate.

      And, like every president before him, printed counterfeit money via the Fed to fund his interventionist campaigns in South America.

      So if we’re gonna talk fiscal responsibility let’s get Reagan and Clinton out of the conversation.

      1. And he changed welfare as we know it by taking credit for the actions of a Republican Congress.

      2. Nonexistent surplus at that. We havent had a surplus since the early 50s.

        1. Even if you count the surplus as ever being real, I recall at the end of the 90’s, before the election of Bush, we had the largest bankruptcies on record at the time because of creative accounting & outright lies about profitability. Additionally, the internet bubble burst right around that time.

          Now – I don’t think the President has a lot of proactive power in the economy – IE, I don’t believe they can push it forward, but I do believe they can screw it up.

          Having said both of those things – I have to ask the Clinton defenders one question: Why does President Clinton get credit for 8 years of growth, we we know it was built all on lie & a bubble?

          All I’m saying is that *if* you are willing to give Clinton credit for the 1990’s economy, then he must take the blame for the recession that resulted.

          Assuming of course logical consistency still means something 🙂

    5. Wrong on both counts.

      Moore specifically points to the cutting of the 90% tax rate as the beginning of the decline, suggesting that cutting the 90% tax rate was a bad idea. Truth is, the US ecomonic decline truly began around 1973, which is when Bretton-Woods collapsed, the US went off the gold standard and the first oil shock hit the US.

      Clinton was a figurehead. The reason the US economy temporarily got back on track was because the internet / dot com revolution took hold. It had nothing to do with Clinton. And please, spare us this “Reagan II” bullshit. Reagan was far from perfect, but neither Bush I or Bush II came anywhere close to Reagan.

    6. I think it’s fairly obvious Dave K doesn’t understand economics

      1. Be kind to him, he’s just ignorant. Many of us grew up with our childish lefty beliefs, and thus ‘knew’ from a young age to hate Reagan. You have to be willing to question yourself, read, and learn in order to find out what a positive influence he and his philosophy were on this country and the world.

        Even with his flaws.

        Best President of the 20th Century.

        1. What about Cool Cal Coolidge?

          Lady: “Mr. President, I bet my friend that I could get you to say more than two words.”
          President Coolidge: “You Lose.”

        2. Fuck being kind to the ignorant.

          I say rape their souls and use their skulls as ash-trays.

  18. When Stossel gets the chance to interview Moore, he should start by discussing the US auto industry. He should start by asking Moore if he still believes that GM was wrong to shut down auto plants in Flint Michigan. He should ask Moore what his “worker collectives” ought to do when they start losing money and market share.

    1. The answer is that they get support from everyone else and just keep making cars no matter how bad they are or no matter how poorly they sell. Seriously, what could go wrong with such a system?

      1. Well that probably would be Moore’s answer – public subsidies.

        That’s why he should be asked. So the blatant absurdity of workers producing goods that consumers don’t actually want, so that workers can keep having jobs, can be exposed.

        1. It already was in 1989 when the wall fell. But, some people just refuse to notice it. So I am not sure exposing it again would make much difference.

          Go back and read the threads on the stimulus. Otherwise intelligent people were claiming that the government can “create jobs” regardless of whether those jobs are productive or not.

          1. Of course the government can create jobs.

            What the government can’t do is create wealth.

  19. Moore ADMITS in this video that we do not have free markets in this country: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwQ41Yo60og

  20. I’m more than remotely conservative on the government spending front, and I don’t know what the heck you or Michael Moore are talking about.

    First of all, presidents don’t really exert the kind of control over the economy that the media likes to suggest (preferring a story with a face to it than reality). So blaming or crediting presidents is an exercise in futility.

    Second, while Reagan was a big government Republican in practice, he did do some good in getting money back into the hands of the taxpayers and in settling down the interest rate and inflation problem. While the deficit spending that occurred during his years in office was bad, the resulting growth in the economy really offset all of that. Note that it wasn’t really him “running” the economy; it was just the government letting the economy do its thing and letting investors and companies keep more of their earnings.

    Any good that happened during the Clinton years (and the surplus was only true if you agree that taking substantial numbers off the table is a good accounting practice) was due to one thing: gridlock. Government was frozen in many respects from 1994 – 2001. And we prospered. Interesting correlation, isn’t it? And, of course, the advent of computerized inventory management, widespread use of PCs, the growth of the Internet, and other trends had even more to do with our boom.

    Bush and Obama both suck in the economic sense more than any recent president, which is why we’re in trouble now. We should’ve just faced a deep recession with some substantial corrections in the financial services sector. Thanks to government meddling, we may have an axe hanging over our heads in one form or another for quite some time.

    1. Bravo! Though I’d still add Clinton’s economic success ended with CEO’s in jail and a busted internet bubble with people losing 1/2 their 401K in very quick fashion.

    2. While it’s easy to blame a president or a party on a budget deficit, it’s much harder to see how we got into such a huge mess with the trade deficit.

      Milton Friedman reflexively defended trade deficits in opposition to protectionists who predicted economic ruin without export subsidies/etc. But Friedman may have missed the most significant factor in the trade deficit: The Federal Reserve. When developing countries started to build up trade surpluses, they simply plowed those dollars back into Treasuries. Without the Federal Reserve, the dollars would have been more scarce, and thus their buying power would have been higher. Theoretically, the trade deficit would correct itself.

      Did Reagan and Clinton do anything differently vis-a-vis the Federal Reserve and its relationship to the trade deficit? Hard to say. They both had big bailouts, but LTCM was on a whole other level from the S&L bailout.

      So far I can only point to two actors who screwed over the American economy. The first is Nixon, who closed the gold window, and the other is Greenspan, who opened wide the dollar window. Greenspan actually believed he knew what he was doing, and brought down the economy with his hubris. Bernacke is hoping to double down on failure in the same way Obama is doubling down on GWB policies.

      1. Basic National Income Accounting: there is a direct right side left side of the ledger tie between a national savings deficit and the current account deficit. If, as a country, you consume more than you produce, it has to come from somewhere (overseas).

        Throughout the 80s and for part of the 90s, and certainly now, most of the negative national savings comes from government overspending.

        You are correct that the situation cannot right itself because both us and (first the Japanese) the Chinese agree to exchange IOUs for their stuff, keeping our currency from realizing its true worth(lessness).

  21. An attack on Michael Moore? How bold. You are nothing more then another FOX wingnut yammering puppet.
    STFU John Stossel.

    1. Thank you for your intelligent and thoughtful comentary. Now if you can please shut the fuck up, the adults would like to talk.

    2. I take it, then, that you can refute the points Stossel makes.

      Well, get cracking.

      1. No no. I’ve always been a Stossel Fan. I defended him steadfastly when he was at ABC.

        But you see, if he attacked MM on ABC it would be significant. However, attacking MM from FOX just makes him the obedient manservant of his new masters. Everyone on FOX attacks MM, and most of the FOX lineup deeply deserves the “wing-nut” label.

        Stossel must distinguish himself from those pinheads or else join their ranks. Thus far he’s shown himself willing to join the chorus.

        1. Addressing Moore’s arguments is not attacking him, dipshit.

        2. I’m sorry but your argument isn’t making any sense to me. Are you really saying that Stossel can only criticize Moore if he does it in a liberal venue? Why?

          1. Because FOX is loaded up with fucktards,(Beck, O’Rielly, Hannity) and if he doesn’t distinguish himself from them, he’s just another one.

            1. Warren,

              I don’t agree. If he just starts marching along with the RNC, okay. But if he remains primarily libertarian, he’s still okay by me. No reason to think he’ll change. Heck, even the Times has some token members of their “disloyal opposition.”

              1. Yeah, he’s still OK by you. He’s still right. But he’s giving libertarianism a bad name by the company he keeps.

                Libertarians are NOT NOT NOT fucking douchefaced conservatives, like people keep saying they are. Stossel is now contributing to that unforgivable misconception.

                1. ‘Douchefaced Conservatives’?

                  Glenn Beck singlehandedly brought down Van Jones, and helped bring down ACORN. What have you accomplished?

                2. One gets the impression that you more concerned with not being a conservative than in advancing libertarianism. That’s seeting your self up to fail.

                3. You’re thinking like a liberal/conservative. If you can’t read what someone says and form you’re own opinion then you’re not cut out to be a libertarian. Go back to the dem/GOP dialectic.

                  Also one might wonder how you managed to like Stossel when he was swimming in the Liberal Sea on ABC.. why wasn’t his message ruined then ‘by the company he keeps’?

                4. your an idiot…..read John Stossel’s The Double Standard About Bias in Journalisml.

                  i think that will quiet the voices in your head

            2. If a point of view is valid, it’s valid, even if the guy saying it is a fucktard.

            3. Your lamestream media is loaded up with leftards (Dowd, Krugman, Olbermann) and if you can’t distinguish these people from their intellectual superiors on FOX (Beck, O’Reilly, Hannity), you must be retarded too.

    3. “An attack on Michael Moore? How bold.”

      Granted, attacking Moore is like shooting fish in a barrel because he’s such an idiot. But there’s a certain segment of society who is falling for his bullshit so someone needs to refute it.

      1. I saw that on Myth Busters. Shooting fish in a barrel isn’t that easy.

        This is more like easy as refuting refuting Al Gore or Jimmy Carter.

        1. Not when the fish barely fits in the barrel. 😉

    4. An attack on John Stossel? How bold. You are nothing more than another CNN leftard sock puppet troll.

      STFU, Warren.

      1. T, you tard’. Warren is among the oldest members of HnR. I disagree with him on this issue but to call him a lefty troll is retarded.

  22. Yes Pro,

    We would have been better off having a deep recession in 2001 and taking our medicine. Instead, Greenspan, following Paul Krguman’s advice (not literally but Krugman argued in 02 that we needed a housing bubble to replace the tech bubble) ran up a real estate bubble to keep the economy out of recession. Greenspan needs to be shot. Fucking old goat.

  23. “Capitalism has never done anything for me.”

    Yeah, when bad people do bad things for filthy lucre, that’s capitalism. When good people make money from tellin’ it like it is, that’s populism. Demagoguery is an economic system, right?

    1. What has capitalism ever done for me?

      1. Or, “What have the capitalists done for us?”

        1. If these kids don’t stop whining I am bringing back the Romans.

          1. Fascist …

      2. The aqueduct?

  24. I’m no fan of the Fed helping to fan the flames, but the 90s boom was much more than the dot com bubble (which wasn’t all bubble, either). We have the potential to be an even greater economic juggernaut than we are now (and yes, we still are the economic superpower. . .at least for the time being), if only our stupid government would stop intervening so much in the economy itself, radically reduce regulation, and stop trying to run certain businesses and industries.

    1. Then Bush II was your president. Or did his Congress not deregulate quite enough for the magic to start?

      1. Bush’s Congress didn’t massively deregulate. I’m not sure where this misconception comes from, other than general left-wing moonbat conspiracy theory.

      2. No one’s told you to STFU yet?

      3. That’s certainly the talking point, Tony. Unhappily for you, it bears no relation to reality. Bush increased regulation dramatically and enacted a host of ridiculous programs that will haunt us fiscally for decades.

        1. He knows that perfectly well. I don’t know why he thinks this BS will fly. Sometimes I think he must get confused and think he’s posting on a GOP site where people are ignorant enough they might be bamboozled.

      4. Holy fuck, if you weren’t so stupid you might actually be able to make a slight and coherent point now and then. Most of the current crisis is due to the housing bubble where the government fucked with the market through too much regulation.

        However, there are some aspects where loosening of certain key rules had an impact (though a partial one). See here for an example:

        Regardless, at base this crisis was caused by the government encouraging and demanding loans to people who couldn’t afford them (and it wasn’t just ‘poor’ people).

  25. Oh, crap, and stop spending all of our money! How could I leave that one out?

  26. Looking forward to the new show, John. It’ll certainly be a breath of fresh air … especially considering all the hot air blowing on TV these days.

  27. Caption:

    “…and once the fist is all the way in, you start extending fingers. Raul Castro called it ‘The MM’.”

  28. I just want to say that I really appreciate Stossel’s tone here. He makes strong points without becoming shrill, he treats his subject, Moore, like someone who maybe misunderstands, rather than someone who is evil. I could really stand to hear more of that tone in all of these debates, from all sides.

  29. Thankfully, I will soon have my own show on Fox Business Network to make such points. I’ll invite Moore to come on as a guest.

    Good luck getting the nation’s village idiot to accept.

    1. Are you kidding? MM would jump at the chance to promote his movie and views, no matter what! I find it interesting that he hates the thing that has made him what he is….Hmmmmm……

  30. The most annoying aspect of Moore’s rants is the idea that if we simply paid more taxes that we would have less economic problems. The video posted yesterday with the floppy haired libertarian college kid questioning MM allowed the fat idiot to make his incredibly asinine argument by using France as an example.

    He said that “sure they pay more in taxes, but they get more from their government! Free Healthcare! Free college! Free Vacations!” and no one called him out on it, which depresses me about the current state of Universities. No one could see through what a stupid argument this is?

    No one mentioned that France and for that matter most of Europe is falling apart financially due to insolvent public pension obligations, consistent double digit unemployment rates, trade distorting agricultural subsidies for farms, and an inability to finance the nations Armed Forces with a minimum 2% of GDP?

    And this is ignoring the fact that the US and France aren’t comparable from a nation to nation standpoint. Moore’s point from both the movie and the video yesterday are so easily destroyed by anyone with a minimum of understanding of how capitalism works that I am just saddened that he gets such a wide audience anyways.

    Please please PLEASE get MM on your show Mr. Stossel. PLEASE.

    1. “He said that “sure they pay more in taxes, but they get more from their government! Free Healthcare! Free college! Free Vacations!” and no one called him out on it, which depresses me about the current state of Universities”


      That statement is inherently contradictiry on it’s face.

      If you pay taxes for something, it’s not “free”.

  31. Damn that capitalism! What kind of country let’s a fat, not too smart college drop-out develop 3 obvious, low-brow movies such as “Sicko”, “Bowling for Columbine” and Fahrenheit 9/11 for a combined $19M and gross over $300M?
    I am certain that Mr. Moore is making every effort to “spread the wealth around” with the poor unfortunate folks he is such a champion for!

  32. Point out free a market institution which is not “working” and behind the scenes and under the covers are the tendrils of taxation, regulation, fees, fines, restrictive legislation and just plain government interference. It is no coincidence that as government attempts to do more to help it does more to hinder matters.

  33. Michael Moore and others like him (see Brad Pitt who said “I was in a socialist country and is not so bad, they’re fine”) look like innocent amateurs when it comes to statements regarding the socialism system. He should ask about socialism someone who actually lived there, like myself who lived 40 years under a communist regime before coming to this country (thanks God). Is not what they think it is. It is beyond any immagination and probably that’s why most Americans cannot understand or believe is so bad. Michael Moore should provide a disclaimer that what he shows is what he believs, and not what the reality is, which obvious to me he has no slightest idea about). To me, he only tries to to get drank with cool water and nothing else.

    1. I knew a Romanian woman who said much the same thing. She was (is, I suppose) an artist and an academic, and she’s quite conservative, politically (very anti-government control). I used to know an art professor at Ohio State and attended quite a few art events with other art professors and students, and they were left of Mao, for the most part. Very odd to see that such politics aren’t actually necessary for the field.

    2. You guys really need to stop confusing socialism with authoritarian communism.

      1. Ain’t confusing shit, Tony. I didn’t say she was a Swede.

      2. It’s not all that different in the end.

      3. Perhaps they’re confused by that pesky Union of Socialist Republics and that bearded prick in Cuba insisting on “socialismo para siempre!!”

        If those folks are confused, can you really blame us?

      4. Because Tony likes it when he takes it in every hole from the government.

        A lot of people aren’t like you, freak.

        I should just sit back and like it? Why don’t you do that when someone pummels your face in.

        1. What’s with wingnuts and your being totally consumed with an obsession with sodomy.

      5. Because there are so many worker-owned collectives in Western Europe.

        1. Tony, the shill for corporatism, bagged and tagged by Hazel:D

    3. Thank you Mikep….I really think alot of people who think socialism is “fine” or communism is the way to go need to pay a little more attention to history, do some more research, and listen to people who have actually fled from their socialist or communist countries to the USA. Maybe then they can have an idea.

      And the funny thing about these marxist celebs is they made it through capitalism. I would like to see them get to where they are and sustain it under Mao, Castro, or Stalin.

  34. what does the free market have to do with businesses manipulating government…

    But isn’t it odd how much it happens? Has there ever been a free market free of such manipulation? Maybe the really free free market exists only in libertarians’ vivid imaginations. Michael Moore’s real sin is not being a true believer, at least not your kind of true believer.

  35. Expand the power of government, make government the arbiter of who can do what with whom, and, naturally, everyone will go to the government to receive largess. Distributed solely based on political motives.

    I’d love to downsize the government and see something approaching a free market. Bet it’d do loads better than what we have today. Our free-er market over the past decades has been why we’ve done so much better than Europe, Russia, China, Japan, etc. As we get bogged down in government control of industries and intervention in the economy, our economic strength has weakened. But I’m sure that’s just a false correlation.

  36. Michael Moore is a dope.

    On the other hand, he indirectly has a point, the connection between wealth and political power is about as old as humanity itself, and the implications of this are no less real in our day.

  37. MM is the Rush Limbaugh of the left; he makes the entire side toxic.
    But this thread points out the absurdity of thinking we have a debate between “Capitalism” and “Socialism”.
    What we have mostly is Corporatism, with small slivers of capitalism peeking through now and then.
    Goldman Sachs and Halliburton resemble Soviet tractor factories more than they resemble a Galtian free enterprise.

  38. to do with businesses manipulating government and strong-arming Congress for bailouts?

    Since when was having sex with a willing and receptive parter ‘rape’?

  39. the connection between wealth and political power is about as old as humanity itself, and the implications of this are no less real in our day.

    When legislators control buying and selling, the first thing to be bought and sold are legislators.

    1. I prefer “When buying and selling is controlled by legislation”… has a better ring to it.

  40. Those “capitalists” or individuals who seek or sought bailout are not capitalists at all. A true capitalist takes full credit for their accomplishments and full blame for their failures and does not seek undeserved gain which is a decidedly non-capitalist concept. A good capitalist deals with others openly and fairly offering value in return for value. A “bad capitalist” or “socialist” wants anything and everything they can get for no value in exchange. Whether a corporation’s or entrepreneur’s books are in the black or in the red, for them to seek to gain value with no value in return betrays capitalism in favor of its enemies – the brutish, the irrational, the incompetent, the human leech.

  41. Let us also not forget that “democracy”, instead of tyranny by one or a few over the many often leads to tyranny by the many over the few. Just look at the gay marriage issue for an example of the many savagely and unrightfully denying liberty of the few. “Democracy” is also “not the way”. “Majority rules” is far too often wielded with an iron fist rather than with the empathy, compassion, and sense of charity it ought to.

  42. What Are You Talking About?

    Everybody knows Michael Moore is a provocateur (which often undermines his arguments) and that what he is after this time is the cult of greed we have in this country which is the core cause of the financial meltdown we went through.
    I doubt very much you would want to live in a new Gilded Age the unfettered capitalism you advocate would lead to. (You wouldn’t survive for more than couple of weeks.)
    Rather than debating Moore on your future show, you should debate the Wall Street execs who are ripping millions for themselves thanks to a corrupt Congress.

    1. I doubt very much you would want to live in a new Gilded Age the unfettered capitalism you advocate would lead to.

      The Gilded Age, right next to the current Corporatist model we currently have, is a prime example of the type of business getting in bed with politics that Libertarians seek to end.

      Just as there exists separation of religion and state in this country, so do Libertarians also seek separation of economy and state. This means that government reduces its regulatory role to merely ensuring that the constitutional rights of individuals are not violated and that big business is stripped of its ability to influence Congress to further the ends of big business.

      Libertarianism does not mean Anarchism…

    2. And you think giving government more power will benefit you instead of the rich who own government.

      And yes, I would very like to live in a free market, and I work in a field that is a net recipient of resource shifting.

      If you want less wage diversity you would want a free market too.

  43. Why are there so many Republican Reagan-fellators at Reason?

    Libertarians are fiscally conservative and socially liberal and Reagan was neither.

    Go back to freerepublic.com.

    1. It’s not wise to show your ignorance among people who are not ignorant. If you want to have some insight on Reagan instead of what you’ve been fed on the daily show or NPR you might want to read his interview here

  44. Unchecked capitalism Stossel wants produces financial crisis, uninsured sick people, polluted enviroments, dangerous food, toxic toys, legalized thefts in Wall Streets, underpaid workers, destruction of retirement funds, devastated community, and corrupt politics.

    1. Really? How would you know, since we don’t have free markets?

      And yet we have all those things with ‘managed’ markets.. hmm.

      It’s big government ‘managed’ capitalism that we have and gave us all those wonderful products of government.

      Why not lets try free markets?

  45. No, John. Socialism is NOT “government ownership of the means of production and the abolition of private property.” That’s communism.

    Communism is not socialism and neither of them is marxism. Apparently you don’t know the differences, John, which is why you are going to Fox. It’s where you belong.

    1. I hope your being sarcastic, but just incase:

      from dictionary.com:


      1)An economic system in which the production and distribution of goods are controlled substantially by the government rather than by private enterprise, and in which cooperation rather than competition guides economic activity. There are many varieties of socialism. Some socialists tolerate capitalism, as long as the government maintains the dominant influence over the economy; others insist on an abolition of private enterprise.All communists are socialists, but not all socialists are communists.

      3)(in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles


      (often initial capital letter) a system of social organization in which all economic and social activity is controlled by a totalitarian state dominated by a single and self-perpetuating political party.

      looks like john is right to me. Come on man even in the dictionary communism and socialism are synonomous with each other.

  46. That’s a really pathetic criticism but more importantly the criticism is wrong. Marx described all sorts of iterations of collectivism, various forms of socialism and collectivism.

    So yes, it’s correct to call them all Marixst. If you think that John doesn’t know that, or that undermines his thesis, then you should go back to the collectivist shills at ABC.

  47. Thank you Michael Moore! He finally made his most important film, the one that explains that he has no idea what he’s talking about!

  48. Confusing socialists with communists is in vogue nowadays. You know the socialists went to war with communists in the Russian Revolution?

  49. I have not viewed Michael Morse’s new film, Capitalism: A Love Story, in its entirety, but I have viewed its trailers. I have read the reviews, I have seen Larry King’s interview on CNN, and have read other online interviews. I am familiar with Michael Moore’s previous work. His trailers now nor in the past have ever motivated me to purchase a ticket or a CD.

    Completely in the style of Michael Moore, the movie seems to be too much spectacle for my taste, and it certainly would not add anything to my understanding of the problem that I have with capitalism. I agree with his message, but there is nothing new regarding capitalism in the film that has not been already incessantly hashed over in print or the electronic media. And as Luke Buckmaster describes the film in Capitalism: A Love Story film review: Moore American antiestablishmentarism it is loud, ballsy, instantly palatable and designed for the masses. Again, it does make me wonder whether or not Mr. Moore is in fact at heart a capitalist, since these films are clearly made for profit.

    Read more ? http://horatio1937.blogspot.com/

  50. I like Michael Moore, and I’m not even a leftist. He’s funny.

  51. I have not viewed Michael Morse’s new film, Capitalism: A Love Story, in its entirety, but I have viewed its trailers. I have read the reviews, I have seen Larry King’s interview on CNN, and have read other online interviews. I am familiar with Michael Moore’s previous work. His trailers now nor in the past have ever motivated me to purchase a ticket or a CD.

  52. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane.

  53. Thank you Michael Moore! He finally made his most important film, the one that explains that he has no idea what he’s talking about!

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