Some Americans have expressed sympathy with the Occupy Wall Street protesters because they oppose bank bailouts and the incestuous relationship between Washington and Wall Street.
“Americans are understandably upset by what they see as ‘crony capitalism,’” said the Ayn Rand Center’s Don Watkins. “But the real motive of the protesters is not to end ‘crony capitalism’–it’s to attack real capitalism and end whatever is left of it in America.
“For years, Washington has favored certain bankers by intervening in the market. But that has nothing to do with genuine capitalism. Capitalism means that the government does one thing–protects us from force and fraud–leaving us free to conduct our economic affairs as we see fit. A capitalist government doesn’t intervene to pick winners and losers, or to save companies from their mistakes.
“But the Wall Street protests aren’t calling for an end to government intervention in markets–they want to increase it. Most of them, for example, want to increase wealth redistribution in the name of fighting income inequality.
“Contrary to their rhetoric, they do not oppose the banks on the grounds that Wall Street is in bed with Washington. Notice, for instance, the plans to protest outside the home of investor John Paulson, who cannot be accused of getting government favors, and the lack of complaints about taxpayer money being poured into GM, Chrysler, and Solyndra. They chose to protest Wall Street because, whatever its flaws, it symbolizes genuine capitalism.
“What the protesters object to is not government stacking the deck to determine winners and losers. They just want the government to pick different winners and losers. They want to take the ‘capitalism’ out of ‘crony capitalism’–not the other way around.”
Photo: Paul Stein