Why capitalists must support Clinton

October 16, 2016 01:00 PM

A presidential race can’t change a culture’s ideas, it only cashes in on those already accepted as truth. As Ayn Rand once noted, “Elections are won in every month of the year except November.” 

If America is to be prosperous, it must remain capitalist. America is unique in history, founded on the individualist idea your life belongs to you, not the King, Führer or “greater good.” Politically, this meant free market capitalism, and voluntary trade created the most prosperous society in human history. 

Yet, 63% of Democrats and 49% of Republicans now view Wall Street as detrimental to the economy. Barely half view global free trade positively and the majority of young people reject capitalism outright. Regulations on investing, trade and individual freedom are being enacted by both parties. 

Ideas are what move the world. That so many Americans, especially those in the financial industry, do not advocate for capitalism is a fundamental – and philosophical – concern. Reversing the trend will require education, not an election.

In this context, Republican candidate Donald Trump’s business credentials are exactly what makes him so dangerous. In the minds of voters, Trump represents capitalism, but on issues from trade to antitrust to taxes and free speech, Trump is explicitly anti-capitalist.
Examples range from his support of bailouts and stimulus spending to promises to threaten CEOs, determine which companies are and are not permitted to merge and, of course, his prized tariffs on imports.   

But to those of us in the markets, the most explicit tell of Trump’s peril is his view of trade, especially global trade, of which he regularly describes as “rape.” 

Regardless if you’re managing $1,000 in a stock account or $10 billion in a pension fund, capitalists understand that mutually beneficial, voluntary trade is how wealth is created. Trump relishes in likening that exercise to the most deplorable violent, sexual assault. 

For nearly a decade, a mythology has promulgated that free markets were tried — and failed — under President George W. Bush, necessitating greater government controls. But it was Bush who started the bank bailouts in 2008, President Barack Obama just picked up the interventionist ball and kept running.

With Democratic nomimee Hillary Clinton, voters get another term of Obama. She’s a mixed-economy power-luster, who, with principled opposition, can be democratically curtailed. 

And when Clinton’s socialist policies fail, as they will, her socialist ideas will rightfully be denounced.

But a Trump win would be the standard-bearer for American capitalism, despite the fact that his ideas oppose basic capitalistic principles. And when Trump’s policies fail, as they will, American capitalism will unquestionably get blamed.

This is why I’m supporting Clinton: The damage levied by a Trump win to capitalism in America will be immeasurably worse than that wrought by Hillary Clinton. At least with Clinton, the blame will be placed where it belongs: government control over the economy. 

Consider that the most catastrophic financial collapse in U.S. history came under President Herbert Hoover, the Republican businessman who enacted trade restrictions to “bring back jobs.”

What followed wasn’t just true economic misery, but the subsequent election of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, institutionalized welfare and curtailments on investing that hasn’t stopped metastasizing since.

In effect, what worries me most isn’t Trump, but what comes after Trump. “We tried free markets under Donald Trump,” they’ll say. “Look how it failed.”

At that point you can forget about curtailing government force. With capitalism completely discredited, there’s nobody left to stand in the way.

About the Author

Jonathan Hoenig is portfolio manager at Capitalistpig.com and director of the documentary film Pit Trading 101. @JonathanHoenig