Election 2020

Sanders, Warren Compare Capitalists to Vampires, but Socialism Is What Really Sucks

There's a risk that if Warren and Sanders do get their way, the sucking sound will be of talent and capital fleeing America for other jurisdictions where they will be treated better.

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At the Democratic presidential debates this week and as the campaign heats up in the months ahead, listen for the word "suck."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) has been using it frequently in connection with health care. In the first round of debates she said, "the insurance companies last year alone sucked $23 billion in profits out of the health care system."

She also uses the term for those in the financial sector more broadly, beyond health insurance. Recently, Warren issued a plan to "rein in the financial industry so it stops sucking money out of the rest of the economy."

"The private equity firms are like vampires—bleeding the company dry and walking away enriched even as the company succumbs," Warren said.

This image of businessmen as bloodsuckers has a long and ugly history. Karl Marx used it: "Capital is dead labor, that vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks."

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) has his own v-word derogatory nickname for capitalists. Earlier this month he tweeted, "We must ban private equity funds and Wall Street vulture funds from owning hospitals."

In 2017, Sanders posted on Facebook, "Wall Street vulture funds should not be allowed to make huge profits off the misery of the Puerto Rican people while they are dealing with a humanitarian crisis."

Vampire or vulture, the language from the presidential candidates gets picked up by people and then directed at particular investors. Earlier this month in Boston, Puerto Ricans rallied in the streets, according to a report by WBUR's Simon Rios. They were singling out Seth Klarman and his Boston-based hedge fund Baupost. "You can hear them starting to chant in the background….The protesters are referring to these investors as vulture capitalists, making profit off of the bankrupt Puerto Rican economy," Rios narrated for listeners of WBUR, a National Public Radio affiliate based at Boston University.

What's the problem with this sort of language?

For starters, it's more than a bit hypocritical. Sanders and Warren are both campaigning for huge tax increases on the private sector to fund bigger government. If anyone's acting like a bloodsucking vampire or vulture, it's them.

It's also hypocritical in the sense that one line of Democratic attack against President Trump has been faulting him for coarsening the public discourse and for dehumanizing, insulting, and scapegoating vulnerable minority populations. Some people assert that it's different to target a rich insurance company executive or hedge fund manager than it is to target a poor Mexican or Muslim immigrant. There may be some differences, but there are also some similarities. Those similarities aren't particularly attractive. If the Democrats are going to be slinging around this sort of language, it erodes some of their standing to be critical of Trump's rhetoric.

The language is potentially dangerous. Demonizing the investors or insurance company executives or depicting them as less than human could lead to violence against them. Similar language was deployed by communists and fascists in the 20th century, with deadly results.

It's also logically flawed. Warren's dichotomy between "the financial industry" and "the rest of the economy" is a false one. People in "the rest of the economy" have retirement money invested in the financial industry. Union pension funds and university endowments reap a share of those insurance company and hedge funds profits. Ordinary Americans benefit all the time from mortgages, credit cards, and auto loans that the financial industry makes possible. That Puerto Rican debt funded real projects on that island.

Warren complains that the financial industry is too large a share of the economy. Paring it back in the way Sanders and Warren propose, though, would require shifting some of its present functions, such as health insurance and even some banking functions, to government. The result could be a government that is too large a share of the economy. Such a set-up historically has been detrimental both to liberty and to economic growth. There's a risk that if Warren and Sanders do get their way, the sucking sound will be of talent and capital fleeing America for other jurisdictions where they will be treated better.

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36 responses to “Sanders, Warren Compare Capitalists to Vampires, but Socialism Is What Really Sucks

  1. There’s a risk that if Warren and Sanders do get their way, the sucking sound will be of talent and capital fleeing America for other jurisdictions where they will be treated better.

    They’ll build a big beautiful Berlin Wall to keep them all in. Complete with minefields.

  2. Has anyone ever made a movie about Comrade Dracula? Transylvania was a in the Commie a long long time.

    1. bloc

    2. Rocky Horror Picture Show?

    3. I believe the communists kick him out at the beginning of ‘Love at First Bite’. Starring George Hamilton. Hilarious movie.

  3. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7298307/Hateful-final-Instagram-posts-Gilroy-Garlic-shooter.html

    Gilroy Garlic festival shooter, 19, who quoted white supremacist book on Instagram moments before opening fire on terrified crowds with a legally bought AK-47, killing three including a six-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl.

    1. So what? Would you feel better if he had quoted something else?

    2. What was the book he quoted? By modern media standards, he might have been quoting something from a Philip Defranco video.

    3. Before the shooting, the teenager, who called himself Iranian-Italian on social media, posted on Instagram on a now-deleted account from the festival.

      Be who you are, love who you want.

    4. ‘Read Might Is Right by Ragnar Redbeard. Why overcrowd towns and pave more open space to make room for hordes of mestizos and Silicon Valley white t****?’ one of the posts read. Mestizos is a racist slur towards mixed race people.

      Wait, what did he say? This is another case where the media censored something to protect me and as a result I have now idea what the fuck he said.

      1. White trash? That would be my guess, except that somewhere else I saw it printed with the final letter shown as “s”: white t***s. I have no idea what that could be: white tarts? Doesn’t really fit with “Silicon Valley”. And defining the word “mestizos” as “a racist slur towards mixed race people” doesn’t tell you what mix of races it refers to, namely a mixture of white and American Indian, which is what the majority of Hispanic/Latino people are. Is it a slur? It depends on the context, I guess. He used it as one.

        1. White Trumps.

  4. The capitalist vampires are all democrat donors.

    At a cocktail party, these vampires would be toasted as “the pillars of the community”.

    1. With winking reassurances that “never mind our campaign rhetoric, we just needy to rally our voter base. Now about that check…”

      1. How *does* Lizzie make her money?

  5. So, not only do they want to steal a large portion of peoples income, nut, saving and their business also. Do they want to use eminent domain to wipe out the insurance industry? Seems like huge legal problems with that. And do they want to pay off all the share holders and find new jobs for all the people in said industry? And outlawing those fund would be whole other ball of wax. Me thinks they know not what they want to do or the can of legal worms they would open.

    1. They know what they want to do. Nationalize it all, and screw the owners and their pretty lawsuits. Socialism Uber alles!

  6. “The language is potentially dangerous. Demonizing the investors or insurance company executives or depicting them as less than human could lead to violence against them.”

    So is demonizing capitalists, the NRA, people in the South and Mid-west, the religious, White people, White men, etc. The Democrats have gotten real good at demonizing.

    1. It’s not the Democrats’ fault there are so many intolerant and divisive people whom they are compelled to denounce.

  7. Listening to those idiots is like inhabiting a curious parallel universe where Venezuela never existed.

  8. Socialists are not vampires. Vampires have more class. They are tapeworms in their relatively benevolent form. Ebola in the most malevolent varieties.

    1. Vampires in many cases are symbiotes.
      Though the do seen to discard the host when a juicier one comes along.

  9. There’s a risk that if Warren and Sanders do get their way, the sucking sound will be of talent and capital fleeing America for other jurisdictions where they will be treated better.

    Well, there’s always Hong Kong. Er, oh yeah. Never mind. Well, uh, Singapore?

  10. If she’s telling the truth — and we all know she would never lie — then only heaven knows how much more money government sucks out of the economy.

  11. Capitalism/free enterprise has made Americans rich. The fact that it made some people very very rich does not mean anyone is being “exploited” or that capitalists are vampires. It is a silly metaphor. Is someone making people camp out before a new iphone or laptop is released? Is someone forcing you to stand in line for Avengers Endgame? For $12 (or less for matinee) you can see a movie that took hundreds of millions to make. That is being exploited? Everyday progressives depend on Google, their phone, and their laptop that collectively cost billions to develop. Do they imagine that the gov could do it cheaper? hahahaha. The gov is the DMV and potholes that never get fixed.

    1. Amd can you imagine how awful and limited porn would be without capitalism?

  12. These two commie twits are some pieces of work I tell ya.

    Aren’t they millionaires? FFS Warren profited off foreclosed homes.

    They remind me of that other disingenuous hack. Who can forget Obama babbling on about how at some people people have made enough money only to get himself a fricken $65 million book deal and sign another deal with Netflix.

    How much is about Barry? Pray do tell.

  13. Forgive me if I got this wrong, but I thought private equity firms put money INTO startups, not take it out. The idea is that they fund promising companies to get them off the ground in exchange for a share of the profits.

    If anyone is a vampire, it’s politicians—especially ones like Bernie who never held a non-elected role in his entire life! (Even Obama apparently worked at an ice cream counter as a teen, FFS!)

    1. “If anyone is a vampire, it’s politicians—especially ones like Bernie who never held a non-elected role in his entire life! (Even Obama apparently worked at an ice cream counter as a teen, FFS!)”

      Buttigieg claims to be a capitalist, but seems to have held a job as a ‘consultant’ for at least several minutes in 2007. Other than that, he’s slopped at the public trough.
      And this is worth considering:
      “Pete Buttigieg’s father was a Marxist professor who lauded the Communist Manifesto”
      […]
      “…“Equity, environmental consciousness, and racial justice are surely some of the ingredients of a healthy Marxism. Indeed, Marxism’s greatest appeal — undiminished by the collapse of Communist edifices — is the imbalances produced by other sociopolitical governing structures,” Buttigieg wrote…”
      https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/pete-buttigiegs-father-was-a-marxist-professor-who-lauded-the-communist-manifesto
      He wrote that in 2007; when did Stalin unleash the purge of the Jewish doctors? When did Chernobyl become the logo of commies? How many millions had been murdered as a direct result of scumbag commies by then?
      By that time it took a certain special level of willful ignorance to lie about what commies had ‘accomplished’, and his dad seemed perfectly capable of such stupidity.
      So while it is certainly unfair to blame the sins of the father on the son, why hasn’t someone asked this supposed ‘capitalist’ for his views on the indoctrination he lived through?

  14. Sorry to have to point this out, but socialism murdered 100 million+ people during the last century. Capitalism lifted about a billion people out of poverty. Only an utter moron or a homicidal maniac would actually prefer socialism.

  15. A filthy, worthless commie jew calling other people vampires and vultures?
    Too funny.

    1. You’re anti Semitic? Shocker.

  16. Ira Stoll doesn’t suck. He’s one of the few left here who don’t suck completely

  17. Who’s greedier — the evil billionaires who want to sell you stuff you want to buy at a price you’re willing to pay, or the do-gooder socialists who want to take other people’s money?

    1. Can I phone a friend on that one?

  18. One difference between Dems and vampires – Dems are quite vague about the costs of their various initiatives. In contrast, if Sesame Street and Balkan vampire lore taught me anything, it’s that vampires can count.

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