Free Market Capitalism?


For years the GOP has embraced the concept of free market capitalism with prices and services determined by the open market and consumers with the laws of supply and demand operating free from government intervention, price setting or other authorities.

But last week we saw a significant back step from that ideology when Nordstrom culled the Ivanka Trump line from their inventory. The reason is irrelevant, but per Nordstrom this was a business decision.

We’ve said all along we make buying decisions based on performance,” Nordstrom’s press spokesperson told Fortune magazine last week. “In this case, based on the brand’s performance, we’ve decided not to buy it for this season.”

Nordstrom’s action brought forth two major issues from our current GOP leadership, both deserve attention. One is a clear violation of ethical standards and U.S. law, and is what most agencies and citizens are focused on. But the other demonstrates open conflict with standing GOP principles, the very capitalistic ideology Republicans promote as the antidote for a sluggish economy.

The first response came to our attention with a Tweet direct from the White House:

Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump
My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!
6:51 PM – 8 Feb 2017

So it seems OK to intervene in the law of supply and demand…at least when it is beneficial to ones own family. We might easily accept this in terms of spontaneously defending our own children, except the shilling for his daughters business continued with both (official representatives of the Administration and party) Spicer and Conway.

“I think this is less about his family’s business and an attack on his daughter,” Spicer said. “He ran for president. He won. He’s leading this country. I think for people to take out their concern about his actions or his executive orders on members of his family, he has every right to stand up for his family and applaud their business activities, their success.”

“Go buy Ivanka’s stuff,” Conway said, adding that consumers can buy Ivanka’s products online. Done so from her official position speaking on behalf of the White House.

Following social media threads I also see GOP supporters dismayed by the Nordstrom decision with many proffering pledges to boycott the business chain. Here’s one right leaning publication’s take:

Not to mention all the conservative customers who will now purposely avoid Nordstrom. And remember, that’s at least half of all Americans.”

For the record “at least half of all Americans” is an unsupportable alternative fact with just 29.8% of the electorate having voted for this Administration and accounting for current approval/disapproval ratings, all evidence the number remains well under “half” but that’s for another time.

What is important is the GOP abandoning their ideological principle of the Free Market. The market unencumbered with government intervention, price setting or other authorities appears to be fiction. Perhaps ideology is just an excuse to reduce regulation protecting us average consumers from pollution, false advertising, and other risks to enhance corporate profits. But when it comes to involvement and equity for their GOP elite, government intervention is just fine.

Of course many are focused on the ethical and legal violations surrounding the acts of business and consumer influence direct from the White House. That remains an important issue, more so when the actors have refused to divest themselves of the very business conflicts we anticipated. But we can’t lose sight of the right, all the way from the White House, to publications, down to GOP affiliated consumers themselves, acting in direct conflict to their very own economic ideology.

The signal to U.S citizens directly from an administration promising to drain the swamp and rid Washington of this very corruption is clear. What’s good enough for you isn’t good enough for their own elite. Or another way, what’s good for me, consumer protection, income security, free markets, health care and much more, is far too good for you average citizens.

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