Woody Brock is mad as hell and he's not going to take it anymore.
Brock, founder of Strategic Economic Decisions and author of American Gridlock: Why the Left and Right Are Both Wrong, hardly seems the Howard Beale type. He's an Ivy League-educated policy wonk with five degrees, including a Ph.D. from Princeton in mathematical economics and political philosophy. Yet he's pissed off just the same.
"We are mortgaging our children's future and I'm mad about it," he says. "I believe when this country takes lightly the concept of equality of opportunity, we're in real trouble. This is a country where anyone who works hard can own that Rolls Royce down the street, or at least has a shot at it."
By focusing attention on income inequality, Brock believes the Occupy Wall Street movement and its global progeny are on the right track, even if they're somewhat disorganized. "These guys are right," he says, referring to the Occupy crowd as idiot savants, French for "wise idiots." (See: Occupy Wall Street: 2011 Reflections)
Unless Washington D.C. gets its act together, stops the partisan bickering and reforms the K-Street system, Brock believes "the pitchforks will come out" by the 2016 elections.
Invisible Hand vs. Visible Fist
While the bulk of the book is about what he calls "commonsense solutions" (See: "Deficits Are Wonderful": Woody Brock Explains His $10 Trillion 'Domestic Marshall Plan') part of Brock's book is dedicated to the occupiers and his effort to tell them "how they are right."
Step one, he says, is reminding the protesters — and the rest of us — the beauty of real capitalism, which Brock says has helped improved living standards 30-fold since the 1700s vs. merely doubling in the 1000 years prior to Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations.
"People ought to know — real capitalism, with fair play [and] no rigged game is wonderful," Brock says. "You'd better worship true capitalism."
The problem, and why he's so mad (along with many others) is a fear our society is rapidly approaching crony capitalism.
"When the special interest groups, not the invisible hand but the visible fist on K-street, take over and you end up in a world with so many special interest groups so deeply embedded that no one gets anything done [and] no one represents 'we the people' at all," Brock declares. "In true capitalism...Goldman Sachs (GS) couldn't exist; no firm with the power to go to Washington and rig the game can exist."
The good — or at least hopeful - news is Brock doesn't believe U.S. society is past the point of salvation, comparing America to an onion that is brown and scabby on the outside but "inside is a moist, sweet thing."
And to the Occupy crowd, Brock has a message: Don't throw the free market baby out with the crony capitalism bathwater.