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Longboat Key Wednesday, May. 30, 2012 5 years ago

Our View: Don't fall for steelworker's sob


You have to be dreading the next five months. We are.

We’re dreading the incessant, negative political attack ads, the malicious lies and distortions.

Republicans and Democrats alike will engage in this. This practice is as old as the republic.
It’s still annoying.

The ads that are the most galling at the moment are the Barack Obama steelworker ads, portraying Mitt Romney, his Bain Capital and capitalism as “vampire(s),” “job destroyers” and the destroyers of “thousands of people’s lives.”

Romney, Bain and capitalism are horrible evildoers, Obama and his message spinners proclaim, because, in the course of buying, selling and operating businesses, Romney and his company shut down money-losing steel mills and eliminated jobs.

The fact Obama and his hack jobbers are demonizing Romney and Bain for these outcomes is a deliberate distortion of an economic and business reality that has existed since trade began before Christ. It’s as simple as this:

Market forces never tolerate the misallocation and inefficient use of resources. Market forces always destroy the least efficient. That is, with one exception — when politicians intervene and prop up the losers (i.e. GM, Chrysler, the U.S. sugar industry, Solyndra and on and on).

Did Romney and Bain destroy those steel workers’ lives? No. The steel workers themselves and the inept owners and managers who preceded Bain are the real culprits. They failed to innovate with ever-changing market forces. They failed to or were unable to stay competitive.

If Obama and his handlers were honest with American voters, they would acknowledge what Obama should have learned at Harvard — that is, the term the famous 1940s Harvard economist, Joseph Schumpeter, coined: “creative destruction.” Wrote Schumpeter in 1942:

“The history of the productive apparatus of a typical farm, from the beginnings of the ratioalization of crop rotation, plowing and fattening to the mechanized thing of today — linking up with elevators and railroads — is a history of revolutions. So is the history of productive apparatus of the iron and steel industry …

“The opening up of new markets, foreign or domestic, and the organizational development from the craft shop and factory to such concerns as U.S. Steel illustrate the same process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one. This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism. It is what capitalism consists in and what every capitalist concern has got to live in.”

Everyone who has ever worked in a private business knows this. If you want to stay employed, you must remain efficient and indispensable; your firm’s management must be forward thinking and invest to innovate and remain efficient and competitive.

When the Obama ads present the forlorn, laid-off steelworker, the man who looks worn and tired, Obama’s distorters want you to feel sorry for this symbol of a life destroyed by capitalism. They want you to see him as a victim.

But if you understand the reality of market forces, you might look at this symbolic character another way: Of course, he’s out of work. He and his employers didn’t do what they should have done.

When Romney and Bain came in and risked their and their shareholders’ capital, they didn’t come in with the intent to destroy lives. You can bet they came in with the intent to do what you as a shareholder would expect: Make your investment grow.

Wish, we will, for political ads that tell the truth. This one doesn’t.

It’s almost June 1. Longboat Key’s annual Fourth of July Freedom Fest is essentially a month away and fast approaching.

It needs new leaders.

For about the past decade, Lisa Walsh, executive editor of the Longboat Observer and founder of Freedom Fest, and yours truly have served as co-chairs of this cute, fun, festive event. This year, unfortunately, we can’t; business obligations beckon.

But we can’t let Freedom Fest disappear and die. It’s the one event of the year where Longboat Key’s children and grandchildren of Longboat residents gather in one place and have a blast — all in two fast-paced hours.

Take a look at these photos. Do they look like fun, or what?

We will never forget the little 4-year-old boy pedaling his festooned bike next to his big brother at the start of the parade. With breathless excitement, he exclaimed: “This is the most exciting day of my whole life!”
And all it was was a 10-minute walking parade on Bay Isles Road — complete with bicycles, wagons, dogs, grandmas, moms, dads and kids decked out in their finest red, white and blue; kids releasing colorful butterflies into the air; Robbie Ball and his team at Blue Dolphin and members of the chamber of commerce serving waffles and drinks; and a few old-fashioned kids’ games, like the egg-spoon relay race. Talk about Americana.

If you are willing to organize the details, gather a few supplies, make a few phone calls, marshal some volunteers and coordinate these details with the chamber of commerce’s Tom Aposporos and Dawn Mims, we’d love to hear from you. Call me at 284-4848 or email me at [email protected]. We’d love to keep the Freedom Fest going. — Matt Walsh


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