The battles being waged by the Republican candidates in South Carolina are truly instructive to those of us watching. While they pose and posture, the real fight is about exposure. Gingrich is laying bare, for all to see, the grotesque innards of a part of Capitalism. It is the part of Capitalism that brings into question the very moral fiber on which this country has grown. We are told that it is business, the survival of the fittest and destruction of the weakest. We are told that only business professionals understand the need to make tough decisions with coolness and objectivity. The world of business is the only experience that can make one worthy of and capable of success as President of the United States. We are told of the undeniable logic of the transition from CEO of Bain Capital to President of the United States. We are watching as the Republican Party “establishment ” cringes while such “truths” are being questioned.
It is not however, that the rough and tumble ruthlessness of the business world is being exposed that they are concerned. They wear that like a badge of honor, a sign of their personal toughness. They are concerned that while they rant and rave about the unacceptable costs and societal merit of the safety net providing some level of physical and financial security to the wage earning class, their own safety net will be exposed. They don’t want us talking about corporations because we will recognized that it is rare that these entities ever find themselves as devoid of protection as the people who work for them.
A safety net for business, what am I talking about? There are three basic components that are protected to the death by this very same Republican Party establishment. They might seem familiar and obvious. First is the ongoing and mutually satisfying relationship between the bank and the business. The bank is there to make sure the business never wants for the money that keeps it going. Second, is the ability of a business to declare Chapter 11, and be protected from the bank or any other business from closing it down and demanding payment due. Finally, there is the tax code that provides many benefits and protections to corporations. In the business world there are many protections that give a business multiple chances to avoid total failure and exposure to the elements. Those, that despite all of these protections, still become so weak as to be become fodder for the likes of Bain Capital, in the eyes of business deserve what they get.
In the real world, the one most of us live in, such assistance from the bank, the laws or the tax code are hard to come by. If you declare personal bankrupts you pay the consequences for many years. Most of us pay a higher percentage of our income in taxes than do corporations. Finally, while we may have the ability to use our homes to establish equity lines of credit from the bank, they ,as we have seen too often, have the right to foreclose on that home. In the eyes of the Republican establishment, business is sacred and its safety net is untouchable. They are afraid that continued conversations about Bain Capital will lay bare the truth of their philosophy. They believe it is more important to protect the safety net of business than to protect the safety net of the wage earning public.