Money / Politics

The Far Left’s Ignorance of Capitalism and Poverty

millennials capitalismAfter 15 years teaching high school economics it never ceases to amaze me how little people understand about capitalism and how it is the poor who need and benefit from it most. Rich people can do well anywhere and would be rich no matter the economic system of the country, but it’s the poorest who do better under American capitalism than almost anywhere else. Having traveled to over 100 countries, including many in Southeast Asia and Africa where abject poverty exists, there are precious few color televisions, automobiles, and microwave ovens among the poor there.

This is not the old “welfare Cadillac” argument here, rather an acknowledgment that poverty will always exist at some level.  In any room of a dozen people, just as in my classrooms of 25 students, someone has to be the “poorest” if you ranked everyone by household income.  But capitalism doesn’t create poverty any more than spoons create fat people.  Poverty has hovered between about 11 and 16 percent in the U.S. for a century.  It’s at the lowest end in prosperous times like now and at the higher end during recessions.  And someone poor today will not necessarily be so in five years.  Only 3% of those poor today will be so in a decade.  Still, consider what Democrat Anthony Clark, a candidate for the 7th district in Illinois, recently tweeted: “If billionaires didn’t exist poverty wouldn’t either!”  What?

This is the classic failure to understand what was taught in the first chapter of all economics books.  A man is not poor BECAUSE of Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos; he is poor IN SPITE of them.  Neither Gates nor Bezos stole or took anything from the poor.  The economically ignorant believe the economic pie is the same as the pumpkin pie at the dinner table—if your brother takes a bigger piece, then you get a smaller one.  It’s classic “zero sum” thinking, but it’s 100% a fallacy!  An economy can grow.  Gates and Bezos baked whole new pies.  Think how our lives are so much better because of computers, software, the Internet, and buying low priced items on-line.  We can buy groceries and stocks and book airline tickets in our pajamas because of the value created by these and other millionaires and billionaires.

If you still agree with Clark’s tweet, then you agree with these statements, as summarized by syndicated columnist Alyssa Ahlgren:  “if physically fit people didn’t exist, neither would obesity; if students who got A’s didn’t exist neither would F students; if professional athletes didn’t exist then neither would the athletically challenged.”

Jeff Szymanski works in political communications for AMAC.

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The author, a former public education teacher tasked with teaching economics to students who, in most cases, probably lacked any real interest, understanding or appreciation of the basic principles of capitalism prior to entering his classroom, must no doubt be aware of how the majority of his felloe educators viewed capitalism and passed on those views to every student they could. The modern public education environment is primarily staffed by educators who are openly hostile and actually quite ignorant to the basic tenets of capitalism or even rudimentary economics. Many of the author’s fellow educators did their level best to fill his students’ heads with fantasies of “social and economic justice”, “economic fairness” and “income equality” that would exist in a socialist world. Thus the students attending his class would have a fundamental misunderstanding of what capitalism really is, what the benefits are, how an actual free market economy works… Read more »

D Dean Maltsberger

Nice to the truth once in a while.

Pat Kelley

I wish every High School student could read this. The Liberal teacher community would not allow it


Sometimes simple logic is so easy to understand. Why can’t Democrats get it?

Suzanne S Pike

Great article! So simple….if we could just get more people to read it!!!!!!!


What makes Capitalism thrive and seem like an obvious choice for economic vitality are these three elements which don’t necessarily have anything to do with money, jobs, prosperity or investment. They are # 1 Freedom of Movement… # 2 Free Enterprise, and # 3 Checks and Balances.


Several months ago while interviewing a woman from Africa, I asked her why she came to the United States; she said, because the poor people in America are fat.

Jean Pizzoferrato

I’m totally shocked at how many people in this country believe socialism is better than capitalism. They are being brain washed by Bernie, Liz, Joe, Pete and if they attend a University, their professors.


People need to demand the Clark’s of this world prove the assertions they make. It used to be the Media’s job to wave the BS flag when goofy assertions like Clark’s were made.