Down With Capitalism!

Left-wing author and media darling Barbara Ehrenreich’s August 29 article, entitled “Smashing Capitalism,” proves yet again what’s been obvious for quite some time. Her view of economics is crazy. Ehrenreich is the author of numerous books, her most famous being “Nickel and Dimed,” and her most recent “Dancing in the Streets”

Ehrenreich claims the poor are single-handedly “smashing the global financial system.” She even describes their actions as a “revolution.”

Here is an excerpt to help explain:

“First they [the poor] stopped paying their mortgages, a move in which they were joined by many financially stretched middle class folks, though the poor definitely led the way. All right, these were trick mortgages, many of them designed to be unaffordable within two years of signing the contract. There were ‘NINJA’ loans, for example, awarded to people with ‘no income, no job or assets.’”

Of course it’s the companies’ fault; how dare they offer a product that makes buying a home affordable. Ehrenreich continues, saying:

“Then, in a diabolically clever move, the poor - a category which now roughly coincides with the working class — stopped shopping. Both Wal-Mart and Home Depot announced disappointing second quarter performances, plunging the market into another Arctic-style meltdown.”

So is it Arctic, or melting? Maybe that’s her nod to global warming. I’m not quite sure when this meltdown occurred, maybe I missed it, but with the Dow Jones up 145 points yesterday it looks as though the markets are doing just fine.

Ehrenreich falls just short of claiming that all this was all an orchestrated move by the working class, saying:

I wish I could report that the current attack on capitalism represents a deliberate strategy on the part of the poor, that there have been secret meetings in break rooms and parking lots around the country, where cell leaders issued instructions like, ‘You, Vinny — don’t make any mortgage payment this month. And Caroline, forget that back-to-school shopping, OK?’ But all the evidence suggests that the current crisis is something the high-rollers brought down on themselves.”

But the real tragedy here is that it’s not just whackos like The Nation and Huffington Post that print Ehrenreich’s theories. According to a Nexis, CNN has had her as a guest or quoted her seven times in the past 11 months. Whether she’s on to complain about high CEO pay, why college should be available to everyone, or plugging a new book, it’s always comical to watch.

Ehrenreich’s articles are also frequently printed in major newspapers, such as the Chicago Sun-Times, and she is actually a contributor to the New York Times.

The fact that Ehrenreich is cited as an expert is somewhat disturbing, especially after her latest piece, which she ends with this gem:

Personally, I prefer my revolutions to be a little more pro-active. There should be marches and rallies, banners and sit-ins, possibly a nice color theme like red or orange. Certainly, there should be a vision of what you intend to replace the bad old system with — European-style social democracy, Latin American-style socialism, or how about just American capitalism with some regulation thrown in?”

Even with all this pro-revolution rhetoric she does concede that “Global capitalism will survive the current credit crisis; already, the government has rushed in to soothe the feverish markets.” Yes Barbara, capitalism will survive.

- Stuart James is a Research Analyst at the Business and Media Institute