“Capitalism:  A Love Story”
 
Michael Moore is at it again.  He’s taking his 60-Minutes-style expose’, and this time turning his camera on the corporate giants (Citibank, etc.) who got us in a financial crisis and took the billions of government bailout to finance executive bonuses.  Or so Mr. Moore would have us believe.
It is extremely difficult to comment upon such an explosively political “documentary” without the commentator betraying some political point of view, as well.  Michael Moore, without question, enjoys being abrasive to the “fat cats” whom he thinks are ruining us all.  And yet he is also a populist at heart.  At the end, he regales us with an extensive quote from FDR, who in 1944 was proposing a “Second Bill of Rights” that would include basic life-needs like owning a home, working at a decent wage, having health care coverage, looking forward to at least a modest pension, being able to send children to college:  a veritable short list of middle class goals.  (And this commentator resides squarely within that group.)  Moore takes pains to point out all the union-busting tactics of corporate America , and gleefully reminds us that a Manager at Taco Bell makes more than a pilot for American Eagle.
Of course, it would be extraordinarily easy to point out inequities in compensation in our vast capitalistic system (sports stars vs. teachers, for example).  It’s also easy to point out instances where greed has overcome good judgment (a judge sends truant juveniles to a private institution which in turn gives kickbacks to the judge).  Mr. Moore gives extensive coverage to some workers at a factory who held a “sit-in” strike until the company paid them in full before handing them their pink slips.  But that one redress doesn’t really solve the problem of the vanishing middle class, either.  Mr. Moore seems to imply that returning to the 90% tax of the rich in the 1950’s would be a good start toward distributing the pieces of the pie more evenly.  Naturally, he defends the almost-automatic accusation of “socialism” with his rebuttal that he merely wants to restore “democracy” (read:  re-distributing the wealth more evenly) to the United States in place of “capitalism” (read:  the rich get richer and poor get thrown out in the street).
True, one could argue that those whose homes are being foreclosed have some personal responsibility to bear for their difficulties, as well.  But there is something wrong, systemically, when a person can get a good education, then be in enormous debt for it, then be unable to find a job with a living wage.  That’s a scenario set up for failure.  And it happens every day in America .
No matter where you happen to fall in the economic or political spectrum, there are part of this movie that will “get a rise” out of you.  And that is exactly what Mr. Moore is trying to achieve.
 
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Greenville , Texas