I willingly gave Steve Jobs my money, and I got a MacBook Pro. The Federal Government took your money whether you wanted it to our not, and you got Cash for Clunkers and 9% unemployment. Case closed.

A friend of mine asked why conservatives were making fun of the Occupy Wall Street protesters and their iPhones, Starbucks runs, Hot Topic regalia, and high tech cameras used for broadcasting “the revolution.” The Hot Topic clothing speaks for itself…but his general inquiry was: “Aren’t they only railing against corporate greed?” My response: If so, three cheers for Corporate Greed!

With that said, the question must be asked: What the hell is corporate greed? If it exists, is it any worse than Public Sector Greed? If we’re going down that route, then corporations are the lesser of two “evils” every time. Businesses must respond to changing situations (e.g., the death of a brilliant CEO), or die off themselves. Anyone who has been around long enough can recall the glory days of their favorite big business (e.g., IBM, Ford, JC Penny) that are now designated as such because it couldn’t adapt to a cut-throat world.

Take a bet with your best friend. What’s more likely to happen: that Apple will be at the top of the tech world 20 years from now, or that the public policy disaster you hate most will still be lingering around under a different name meant to make it seem new? When a company fails to provide goods and services people like for costs they can afford, it figures out how to rectify the situation or it goes under. When the federal government employs a program that fails (often for decades), those in charge usually blame a lack of funding as the primary source of poor performance. The federal government has an insatiable appetite—it’s eaten up 14 trillion of our dollars—and still it demands more. And if you don’t feel like feeding it, too bad! You have to pay.

At least with Apple or Microsoft or any number of other companies we’re willingly handing over our cash. For the sake of argument lets say that Steve Jobs was a greedy guy. Let’s agree with the liberal premise that the majority of businessmen are in it for some weird Machiavellian desire to exploit the masses. Even if that was the case, at least guys like Steve Jobs have raised the standard of living for hundreds of millions (perhaps billions?) of people! As ReasonTV notes, “Sultans and students now have iPhone 4’s.”

I know that the liberals who communicate through jazz hands think that “greed” could be wiped away if we all just channeled our inner “razzamajazz!”, but it won’t. And given that, I’m pretty darn happy with the widgets and gadgets and wonder drugs our businessmen have brought to the market over the years.

Apple computers or Cash for Clunkers? You’ll have to excuse me if I put down the V for Vendetta mask the kooky Ron Paul supporter hands me, and I pick up a Macbook Pro. Perhaps Commander Mike Fossum of the International Space Station put it best:

“In every generation there are great thinkers and people that have the vision of what can be and then have the energy, the skill, and the genius to make it happen. Steve Jobs is definitely one of those rare individuals, and the world’s gonna miss him a lot.”

Steve Jobs never set out to end poverty, but through his inventions the definition of poverty changed. The federal government set out to END poverty, and has spent trillions of taxpayer dollars to do so. How’s that working out? Instead of throwing trillions of dollars at an impossible task, the world would be much better if we left that money in the hands of men and women with a knack for inventing products we didn’t know we wanted.

And now, if you excuse me, I have a protest song to listen to.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

6 comments

  1. I subscribe to Gekko’s “greed is good” mantra as well. But greed is a lot like fire: very useful to cook and warm the home, but if it goes out of control the whole house goes up in flames (see recent bailout for details). Government should to check corporations, and manage the playing field in many areas–the environment, banking, corporate laws, consumer protections–if only to protect its people. Ever see a full-contact football game with no referees? It would devolve into a violent free-for-all mess.

    Now, that doesn’t mean I’m for big(ger) government, I’m just not for letting corporations to decide what should be written into law by my congressperson. Corporations don’t always have the people’s best interest at heart (see mass layoffs versus CEO’s golden parachutes for failure).

  2. Reality Calling: Have you ever played full-contact football with a bunch of your guy friends? A pick up basketball game with some dudes at the courts? I’m not saying that refs are needless, but your analogy gives a glimpse into the faith you have in people to take care of their own affairs and police themselves (at a state and local level).

    Without getting too into it, it’s also worth noting that your Congressman doesn’t always have your best interest at heart, either. When Apple screws its customers, they vote by withholding cash. When your Congressman screws you over, you can vote for someone else…but usually the lines have been drawn for each district so it’s pretty darn hard to kick the bum (or their Party) out.

    I fear Big Government much more than I fear big corporations…

    1. Your sports example includes “friends.” Mine does not make that assumption. Competitors rarely are friends. But, I see your point and I believe you understand my analogy.

      I fear both. I’m for a smaller, more efficient government that is accountable to the populace it governs. One that gives me a receipt for my taxes. Really… I want an itemized receipt for the taxes I paid. I think voters deserve it and it would be an eye opener. As long as people think NASA’s a huge waste of money when we spend more each year trying to solve the rust problem on our aging Navy fleet, they may find themselves immune to adopting positions foisted on them by the talking heads at whatever news station they watch.

    2. Hmmm. An itemized receipt would be eye opening, even if it’s unfeasible…

      One small nit-pick: My pick up basketball game did not include friends. We used to do it when I was younger (high school until my mid-twenties). Just a bunch of dudes who wanted to play ball. I don’t claim to have ever been any good, however.

  3. My belief is that the whole thing is not about all “corporations”, but rather about Wall Street banking corporations, whose professionals never missed even one year’s giant bonus despite gambling and losing in their rigged casino, destroying the world economy, and yet getting 100 cents on the dollar by Barack Hussein Obama as corrupt proxy for American tax payers.

    1. If you had a movement that honed in on just that aspect, you’d be on to something. I could even get on board with something like that, as I was never for the bailouts to begin with. You don’t bail out losers…

      I’d rather eat sand for a decade than deal with the aftermath that comes from repeatedly bailing out individuals, businesses, and entire nations for their bad decisions.

      OWS is a mish-mash collective of misfits and malcontents that marginalizes the few sane people in their midst.

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