Michael Moore: A Hypocritical Story

You may have seen the commercials for Michael Moore’s new documentary.  We have learned a lot from Michael Moore over the years.  We learned that Cuba has better healthcare than the United States.  In fact, Ted Kennedy might have gone there for treatment if it wasn’t for his brother JFK and the unfortunate incident of the Bay of Pigs.  That gives Cuba a distinguishment of being one of the Communist nations the Kennedys didn’t collaborate with.

Moore also taught us that Iraq was a wonderful peaceful place to live, where kids flew kites, before Bush Jr. decided to avenge Bush Sr. and invent intelligence that fooled Republicans, Democrats, and even other nations into going to war to remove the benevolent dictator, Saddam Hussein.  Fahrenheit 911 has been debunked by several counter-documentaries and Moore was actually sued by some of the soldiers he interviewed, including one who had lost both arms but supported Bush and the war despite what Moore portrayed in the movie.

My first experience with Michael Moore was through my English Composition 101 class in college.  Apparently watching a Michael Moore documentary was supposed to make us better writers.  In the movie Roger & Me, Moore travels to a Democrat state where local, state and federal taxes and regulations and union restrictions have made it actually cheaper to build cars outside of the US and import them then to make them here.  As a result, GM closes a plant in Flint, Michigan.  Of course, that isn’t the angle Moore takes.  Instead he goes into the corporate offices to try to make the CEO look like a buffoon with his cameramen in tow, and then acts righteously indignant when they kick him out.  Moore spends the rest of the film chronicling people being evicted on Christmas Eve and eating pet rabbits.  He also mocks the former plant workers who make a new life for themselves.  He highlights one former plant worker who opened a successful lint roller producing company.  Selling lint rollers over assembling cars?  How demeaning.

Michigan has stayed true blue and as a result found themselves in the recession years before the rest of the country.  And there aren’t even that many greedy CEOs left in the state.

I wonder what would happen if the taxes, regulation, and union demands got to the point where GM just could not compete globally and would actually risk going out of business?  What would happen if GM needed to be bailed out by the Government to survive?  Now we have our answer, “Capitalism: A Love Story” by Michael Moore.

If Moore were truly honest, the movie would go something like this.  Scene 1 would be Moore getting kicked out of the Union boss’ office (quite literally) for asking why they have made labor so expensive that companies can no longer employ the workers and survive.  In fact, he might ask a controversial and in your face question like “With all the layoffs due to your rigid collective bargaining and refusal to cave even when taxpayers are keeping your company afloat, doesn’t it seem like the only workers you are interested in are the ones who survive the layoffs and keep paying dues?”

Scene 2 would have Michael Moore standing outside the White House with his money bag and his megaphone shouting “We want our money back!”  It would then fade to Moore sitting with the President going over the details of how Obama used tax dollars to buy a majority stake in Chrysler, gifted the stake to the unions, and then sold the company overseas to Fiat in Italy.  If Moore was smart he could rename his movie “Barack & Me”.  I mean how is Roger Smith moving jobs to Mexico because he can’t afford to pay American workers any different than Obama moving jobs to Italy because taxpayers can’t afford to keep Chrysler afloat?

Scene 3, if Michael Moore was truly honest, would be an interview with himself.  He could ask himself about how much money he has made in our capitalist system by making and selling propaganda movies.  He might ask himself what is so special about him that he could take advantage of such an opportunity to provide goods and services that Americans want at a price they can afford.  Perhaps he might venture into why it is that other Americans don’t take advantage of the opportunities provided by capitalism, like he did.

Instead, I think by now we can all predict Moore’s M.O.  He will find unsuspecting employees whose duties include ordering paper for the office and making coffee and ask them specifics about where the bailout money has gone.  He will get kicked out of corporate offices and then act like he actually had a right to be there in the first place.  He will highlight bonuses paid to CEOs by bailed out companies.  He will go to bailed out companies with his money bag and megaphone and demand our money back.

I guess the movie is already in production, so it might be too late to tell Michael Moore that the bailouts had absolutely nothing to do with capitalism.  In fact, TARP had absolutely nothing to do with capitalism.  Auto bailouts and government takeovers had absolutely nothing to do with capitalism.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the community reinvestment act had absolutely nothing to do with capitalism.  Government manipulation through tax credits has absolutely nothing to do with capitalism.  Trillion dollar stimulus programs have nothing to do with capitalism.  Sarbanes-Oxley regulation had absolutely nothing to do with capitalism.  The things that are still holding our markets down, such as cap and trade, higher taxes, universal healthcare, TARP repayment, cash for clunkers aftermath, and our enormously growing debt all on the horizon have nothing to do with capitalism.  “Too big to fail” is the antithesis of capitalism.

So what about CEO bonuses?  Shouldn’t they work for free now that taxpayers are bailing out their company?  Allow me to use a football analogy.  Last year the Detroit Lions went 0-16.  They have not had a good consistent quarterback in years.  Their best quarterbacks got injured.  Now think long and hard.  If America gave the Detroit Lions a $50 billion loan to save their team, rebuild their stadium, and get back on their feet, would you demand that they hire the best quarterback who will work for less than $100,000?  They might be able to get the waterboy to play quarterback for that much.  Instead they are paying more than $10 million a year for the number one rookie quarterback Matt Stafford.  If he performs well, they will have to eventually pay him more or he will go to another team.  I wrote a post about what happens when you don’t pay your executive employees on March 17th.  8 days later, it actually happened.

Michael Moore doesn’t live in the real world.  He lives in the land of Hollywood where if we are tolerant and understanding all war can be avoided.  If evil, greedy CEOs would learn to imagine no possessions, nobody would be poor anymore.  If we can afford to fight a war against poor Arab community organizations like Al Qaida, then we can certainly afford to buy everyone in our nation health insurance.  And if the markets are destroyed through government intervention and the government takes your money and gives it to companies so that they can pay their CEO a bonus, it must mean that capitalism does not work.

Ironically, Michael Moore is confusing government intervention with capitalism and is about to make millions doing it.

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