Last Thursday I posted a blog on "Are the Rich Worth a Damn?" I don’t know how many of you followed up on the link. If you did. I hope you read the comments after the article. They were excellent, and a heartening look at the ability of readers to think intelligently and in detail about Conard’s idea. Here are some of my favorites:
How can business flourish lacking a middle class with purchasing power used to mystify me too, until I remembered that it's a global economy now. Henry Ford was smart enough to realize that if he paid his own workers adequately, they could afford to buy his cars. But now with a rising middle class in the hugely populous Asian countries, the American middle class is expendable. Titans can make huge profits without our 99%.
Mr. Conrad's…derision of the rest of us…shows his tunnel vision.….An example that argues against his viewpoint is actually the computer industry he falsely uses to prove his point. Where would the computer industry be without the scientists who studied silicon, without any expectation of renumeration and merely to satisfy their intellectual curiousity? A second good example was the extraordinary productivity of the old Bell labs (and some current think tanks) where scientists were hired simply to pursue ideas wherever they lead without the pressure of producing a product. Those scientists are not required to compete. Sorry, his argument is based on a false assumption that competition is everything and flawed from the start.
The reporter did not go far enough to explore the ramifications of Conard's argument... which is that people's lives are better just because they can buy a Big Mac, and it doesn't matter if they can afford to raise a child, get him/her educated, and get him/her a doctor if they get sick. Conard and Romney's argument seems to be "Let them eat Big Macs and then they will be happy." But there is no concern from this guy for the heartbreak of struggling to raise a child when you have to work two jobs to support them and you can't afford to keep them away from gangs by getting them into sports or other activities that will keep them out of trouble.
Conard concedes that the banks made some mistakes, but the important thing now, he says, is to provide them even stronger government support. He advocates creating a new government program that guarantees to bail out the banks if they ever face another run." Of everything Conard says, this shows his thinking most clearly. Government interference in the market is bad, unless it is bailing out the banks.