While I was looking at something else, a recent article by Michael Moore caught my eye. Headline: "The Pure Greed of Obama's Phony Health-Care Reform". Yeah, he doesn't like it; not left-wing enough.
But the introductory part of his article was (unintentionally) funny.
Whoa, really? Let's look:
Moore's first example:
Insurance company greed: "Millions Spent to Sway Democrats on Health Care"
You might think from Moore's blurb that the article detailed how insurance company money was being spent (somehow) to influence legislators, specifically Democrats.
Here's what's in the article about what those greedy insurance companies are up to:
That's right: nothing.
On the other hand, the article does contain, a description of how the pro-Obamacare side is ramping up its ad buys:The new money from Pharma, the association of drug makers, as well as contributions from labor unions and other groups helped equalize the advertising fight. This week, officials said, the groups backing the legislation will focus extensively on the insurance industry with this theme: "When insurance companies win, you lose."
So one of the main points of the article is totally different from what Moore implies. It's not insurance company greed, it's drug company greed. And labor union greed. And one of their primary tools is demagogic Moore-like insurance-company bashing.
And, of course, in their support for Obamacare, Pharma is not pushing for "capitalism", as Moore would have you think. Instead this is part of their closed-door deal with Obama hammered out last summer to insure a steady flow of income from taxpayers. It was so "capitalistic" that the Wall Street Journal hated it.
The article discusses the anti-Obamacare side too, typified by Employers for a Healthy Economy, a US Chamber of Commerce-led coalition. They're spending a lot of ad money, too. But (as near as I can tell from the list on their web page), the coalition doesn't have any insurance company members at all.
OK, so does Moore get any closer to reality in his second example?
War profiteers: "Contractors Tied to Effort to Track and Kill Militants"
… an article with vague and not particularly well-supported allegations about improper use of information gathered for the military by private contractors in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The main source for the allegations seem to be two other "profiteers": Eason Jordan (yes, the guy who had to quit CNN in disgrace) and Robert Young Pelton (who's been looking at private military contractors for years).
I'll be generous and give Moore a fractional point here, although even if the allegations are true, it hardly supports Moore's charge that "capitalism is slowly, but surely, killing us". It would be more accurate to say that capitalism is helping to kill suspected terrorists.
On to Moore's third example:
There's no profit in repairing our infrastructure: "Repair Costs Daunting as Water Lines Crumble"
Yes, it's yet another article on Our Crumbling Infrastructure, in this case water/sewer infrastructure. There's a focus on the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority.
The connection to "capitalism" here is non-existent. The DC system is a heavily regulated utility, and (indeed) the article details how the utility's director had to defend the rate hikes needed to get started on a realistic upgrade path against vociferous objections from politicians.
China, the bank: "China Uses Rules on Global Trade to Its Advantage"
Yes, Moore is using China as an example of how capitalism is "killing us". And specifically, the article points to how China's government holds its currency value lower than—guess what—market forces would otherwise set it.
And this "capitalism" really isn't "killing us"; instead it's artifically subsidizing American consumers buying Chinese goods while keeping Chinese wages artificially low.
Moore's fifth example:
You mean NAFTA didn't improve life in Mexico: "Two Drug Slayings in Mexico Rock US Consulate"
The article describes the brutal murders in Ciudad Juárez over the weekend; there's nothing at all in the article about NAFTA, let alone how it caused the recent surge in violence. NAFTA came into effect in 1994, sixteen years ago. But apparently for Moore, there's nothing bad that happens in Mexico that NAFTA somehow doesn't cause.
Reading further in the article, a more proximate cause is pretty easy to find: Mexico's escalated drug war, "which has led to spiraling levels of violence" is of relatively recent vintage, and (guess what) it's "backed by more than $1 billion in United States money."
So it's capitalism that's killing us? Please.
Moore's final example is his most ludicrous:
What happens when Big Food profits from hurting kids: "Forget Goofing Around: Recess Has New Boss"
This article is about new efforts by some schools to organize school recess activities; there's some controversy, because at least one quoted expert thinks recess should be more laissez-faire. But, judging by his "Big Food" comment, I'm pretty sure that's not what has Moore exercised.
No, the article (tangentially) mentions that one of the rationales of the program is to "address concerns over obesity." And we all know that our kids would be as svelte as Karen Carpenter were it not for "Big Food".
Moore, of course, is still being duped by "Big Food".