On the contrary. Larry Summers is scared that Trump will destroy capitalism itself. That much-ballyhooed Carrier deal brokered by the president-elect, which will save about 700 Indiana factory jobs from being outsourced to Mexico, is a slap in the face to the economy as rich people have known it, loved it, and profited by it.
Without a hint of irony, Summers writes in a Washington Post op-ed:
I have always thought of American capitalism as dominantly rule and law based. Courts enforce contracts and property rights in ways that are largely independent of just who it is who is before them. Taxes are calculable on the basis of an arithmetic algorithm. Companies and governments buy from the cheapest bidder. Regulation follows previously promulgated rules. In the economic arena, the state’s monopoly on the use of force is used to enforce contract and property rights and to enforce previously promulgated laws.Never mind that the laws of capitalism were written for the sole benefit of corporations and CEOs and trust fund kids. Never mind that no-bid contracts have been an operating principle of unaccountable government spending for decades, if not centuries. Never mind that the repeal of the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act, which Summers helped orchestrate during the Clinton administration, was in essence itself a repudiation of the controlled capitalism which Summers now purports to adore. Summers also worked with Citigroup's Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and Fed chair Alan Greenspan to deregulate the derivatives market. Later, he successfully thwarted an adequate stimulus package during his stint in the Obama administration.
Summers has never in his life fought for American workers or against the offshoring of jobs by multinational corporations searching for ever cheaper and exploitable human labor. It's no surprise, therefore, that the Carrier deal would give him agita. It would give him agita even if it were not steeped in crony capitalist motivations.
Summers' beef is that Trump aims to turn the "lawful" plunder and privatization model right on its ear and make us into a full-fledged Banana Republic, just like in (gasp!) Putin's Russia.
And since the Democrats are still blaming everyone but Hillary Clinton for Donald Trump's victory, Summers also takes the obligatory dig at Bernie Sanders, whom Summers claims "misses the point" by complaining that not all the Carrier jobs were saved from Mexico outsourcing.
And now comes the coup de grâce. Summers blames Democracy itself:
Some of the worst abuses of power are not those that leaders inflict on their people. They are the acts that the people demand from their leaders. I fear in a way that is more fundamental than a bad tax policy or tariff we have started down the road of changing the operating assumptions of our capitalism. I hope I am wrong, but I expect that as a consequence we are going to be not only poorer but less free.Translation: with Trump around, the rich may end up being unable to loot from the poor as legally and responsibly as they always have in the past. And it's all the fault of those poor people, who turn out to be not only stupid, but abusive and power-mad. Didn't they ever learn that consumerism is their only responsibility? Didn't they ever learn that "democracy" and voting rights are only the bait and switch tactics designed to disguise the awful truth that Capitalism rules?
The New York Times' Paul Krugman, who has been on his own interminable roll of blaming everything from white racists and the FBI and Wikileaks to Putin and "fake news" sites for Hillary's defeat, thinks his colleague Larry is really on to something. Krugman is so upset about the positive media coverage of the Carrier deal that he even seems to have forgotten that Barack Obama is not only still the president, but that Obama has assured the nation that if Trump succeeds, America succeeds.
It says that large parts of the news media, whose credulous Trump coverage and sniping at HRC helped bring us to where we are, will be even worse, even more poodle-like, now that this guy is in office.The most pressing concern he has is for the freedoms of the law-abiding robber barons. It seems as though the petty sniping by Wall Street Democrats at the HRC sniper-haters will go on for the foreseeable future. Party elites and pundits are throwing the same kind of temper tantrum that they accuse Trump of indulging in.
Meanwhile, as Larry Summers says, the precedent — although tiny — is not good: it’s not just crony capitalism, it’s government as protection racket, where companies shape their strategies to appease politicians who will reward or punish based on how it affects their PR efforts and/or personal fortunes. That is, we’re looking at what may well be the beginning of a descent into banana republic governance.This is, as Larry says, bad both for the economic (sic) and for freedom.
My published response to Krugman:
So, Larry Summers is more worried about Trump ruining capitalism than he is about unfettered capitalism destroying the lives and livelihoods of working people.
Trump is performing the con abnormally. Therefore, grouses Summers (one of the three guys who "saved the world" by destroying it through deregulation), we have a fatal inversion. Instead of politicians passing laws to appease the corporations, we now have corporations appeasing a grossly incompetent anti-politician interested only in his own fortunes.
Speaking of buyers' remorse, there's a neologism that should join "post-truth" in that annual list of verbal novelties put out by Lake Superior University. And that is "Trumpgrets."
The Precursors and Enablers of Donald J. Trump
Trump is only a symptom - really, the excrescence - of the neoliberalism and resulting record wealth inequality which has been spawning right-wing populism all over the world.
Summers is worried that Trumpian crony capitalism is bad for the economy. But whose economy? It seems to me that he is really talking about the plutonomy: ownership of a financialized system which mainly benefits the 62 billionaires owning as much wealth as the bottom half of the global population. Trump wants to be a member of that Club.
The working class - white, brown and black - doesn't factor in to the equation, other than elite worry-warts blaming them for not voting for the right candidate.
The bright spot is that even before he's sworn in (assuming he doesn't forget to show up to deliver a bizarre stream-of-consciousness inaugural riff) Trump voters are already expressing buyers' remorse. Apparently, some thought that their giant middle finger to the establishment was only symbolic.
Raw Story has the scoop on the whole gamut of raw emotions emanating from desperate people who couldn't care less if the plutocrats robbing them blind do it based on an Ivy League education and corner office, or if they do it out of unabashed ignorance and greed while wearing a red baseball cap.
But be warned: you have to be willing to laugh at and feel superior to all the remorseful Trump voters out there. In other words, you have to be a clueless liberal for whom the word "solidarity" is still missing from your intolerant vocabulary.