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While at the West Michigan Policy Forum, American Enterprise Institute’s President Arthur Brooks talks about how Capitalism has rescued billions from poverty….without evidence

October 22, 2018

Last month, the West Michigan Policy Forum held their big policy conference in Grand Rapids, a conference that I was denied access to, even though I have covered all their previous conferences. 

The primary focus of the West Michigan Policy Forum’s conference this year was on education and talent creation. One of their main speakers was former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who’s comments we provided a critique of

Another speaker was Arthur Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), one of the most influential far right think tanks in the country.  The speech by Brooks is still not available, but while he was in Grand Rapids, he did a short interview with Comcast’s show, Newmakers, which you can view here

The Comcast show host sets up the show by asking the question, Socialism vs Capitalism – why are young people turning towards the former? It’s an interesting and an important question that AEI President Arthur Brooks doesn’t answer.

However, before Brooks gets a chance to ask the question, he is asked about the American Enterprise Institute. Brooks claims the organization is, “about expanding freedom, liberty and free enterprise, particularly for people who are at the margins.” Based on this statement, AEI is deeply committed to working with communities of color, immigrants, the LGBTQ community and people experiencing poverty……those on the margins, right. Not hardly. AEI has been a think tank for corporate capitalism, which is why they are a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). AEI has fought against increasing wages, fought against any real kind of economic regulation, has defended big tobacco, defended environmental polluters and was deeply involved the US invasion/occupation of Iraq beginning in 2003.

Brooks then attempts to address why young people are attracted to Socialism. He says that the economic crash of 2007-2008 probably had an impact on young people who viewed the economy as being bleak. Brooks then says this always happens when capitalism takes a down turn, but people should remember that only capitalism can actually rescue the billions of poor people in the world. Of course Brooks ignores the massive US government bailout of Wall Street in 2008, which saved Capitalism.

The show’s host the asks Brooks what he would say students at a college campus about economics. Brooks says that in recent decades some 2 billion people have been pulled out of poverty because of free trade policies, globalization, property rights and the culture of free enterprise. Brooks offers no evidence and the show’s host doesn’t ask for any.

The show’s host then talks about the role of electoral politics in all of this and about how Liberals and Conservatives need work together. Brooks says he has a new book coming out about this very topic. The President of AEI says that there is a small group of people who are getting rich off of telling people they need to hate people they disagree with. His forthcoming book is, Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from Our Culture of Contempt. You just couldn’t make this shit up.

The American Enterprise Institute has nothing but contempt for the poor and has demonstrated during its history that their allegiance is to those in the Capitalist class. This is exactly why the DeVos family has contribute millions to AEI over the years and it is exactly why the West Michigan Policy Forum brought him to Grand Rapids for their conference.

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