Last night when CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked who, besides Bernie Sanders, was not a capitalist, every hand, including Hillary Clinton’s, should have gone up. None of the Democratic candidates have careers that would put them into the capitalist box.
Webster’s Dictionary defines a capitalist as “an owner of wealth used in business.” A capitalist system or capitalism is where factors of production and distribution are privately held. While the candidates may have their retirement and other savings in stocks, bonds, or a mutual fund, nothing in their bios indicate that they are a Rupert Murdoch or Warren Buffett.
Mr. Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, has been a politician most of his adult life, having served as a mayor, congressman, and now a senator.
Martin O’Malley, former governor of Maryland, has also made politics his lifelong career, at least to this point, having served as mayor of Baltimore prior to winning the rights to reside in the Governor’s Mansion.
Lincoln Chafee is also in the near lifelong politician box and can also add author to his resume.
Jim Webb is also an author, known for writing about his Vietnam experience while serving as a U.S. Marine and extending his public service into a stint as secretary of defense and as a U.S. senator from Vermont.
Then there is Hillary Clinton. While she and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, have accumulated some serious cheese since leaving the White House in 2001, Mrs. Clinton isn’t exactly the poster child for the robber barons. Her and her husband made their money the old fashioned way: speeches, books, and raising money for their foundation.
I guess they were afraid to have their progressive labels bundled with the word “communist” or “socialist.” If they truly knew their positions on the economic philosophy totem pole, they would have realized that they are lumped in with the rest of us pee-ons. The vast majority of citizens don’t own the factors of production and distribution so we can’t even call ourselves capitalists. A significant number of Americans probably don’t know what the word means other than in the battle between good and evil, one does not want to be aligned with the communist hordes lurking in the likes of China, Cuba, or Russia.
But the candidates decided to play it safe. Why let Anderson Cooper score big with the question.