Capitalism: A Love Story Review
Capitalism: A Love Story
I saw Michael Moore's new movie on opening night tonight--"Capitalism: A Love Story." Moore's blade is still sharp, and he sticks it in the Wall Street banks and brokers, Countrywide Financial, WalMart, the pharmaceutical industry, and the Bush and Reagan administrations which marked the beginning of the decline of the American middle class. Moore praised General Motors for providing good jobs in the 1950s and 60s, but was critical of its failure to match the quality of imported cars that have flooded the U.S. market. Throughout the film he juxtaposes the poor, the unemployed, the foreclosed with those at the top of the heap. He blames Bush but does not criticize Obama. Moore offers sharp criticisms but no answers. He appears to hope that Obama will improve the situation.
Moore intersperses and contrasts archival newsreel and movie footage from the thirties, forties and fifties with current film of home foreclosures and factory closures. He winds up with FDR speaking about his dream that everyone was entitled to an opportunity for a good job, health care, and education which came close to being realized in the 1950s and 1960s but now has faded thanks to the Reagan assault on unions, the role of government, deregulation of the banking industry, huge reductions in the upper tax brackets and the effects of free trade policy which has allowed imports to wipe out entire industries.
The movie's theme contrasts postwar prosperity and economic progress for the middle class when an auto worker earned enough to buy a house, a car and have his wife stay home and take care of the kids until they went off to college, with today's decline of high paying manufacturing jobs and the devastation this has wrought on Detroit and Midwest.
Anybody heard of "dead peasant insurance?" Apparently WalMart and some other companies have started purchasing life insurance policies on some of their employees and naming the companies as the benificiary upon the death of the employee. Internal memos or emails at WalMart referred to these employees as "dead peasants." Moore interviewed a widow of a deceased former middle manager at a bank who learned that the bank had received a $1.5 million insurance payment upon the death of her husband. She got nothing. At WalMart the "dead peasant" insurance payouts to the company were much more modest. I can see why a company might want to insure an employee who is critical to the continued success of the company, but the "dead peasant" concept sounds a bit strange to me.
We pulled up to the theater behind a brand new chauffered Bentley which deposited none other than Al Taubman, billionaire inventor of the shopping mall, and a very attractive and much younger lady companion. Taubman and his friend were in the lobby waiting for their limo as my wife and I and couple of friends left the theater. I resisted the temptation to ask Taubman whether he enjoyed the movie.
Dead Peasant Life Insurance Isn't a Figment of Michael Moore's Imagination!!
- Does your boss want you dead? - MSN Money
'Dead peasants' insurance pays your employer a secret, tax-free windfall when you die. Insurers have sold millions of policies to companies such as Dow Chemical.
Dead Peasants at WalMart--Daily Kos
- Daily Kos: State of the Nation
Its worse than it sounds in Wal-Mart's case. Thanks to Liza Featherstone, I found the name of Vicki Rice, the plaintiff in the NH case. She alleged not only was Wal-Mart wrongfully enriched by the death of her husband, but hastened his death as well.
Michael Moore talks about Capitalism in Metro Times
- Interview with Michael Moore on Capitalism: a Love Story
MT: You attack Reagan. Moore: They want to put him on Mount Rushmore, andt to take FDR off the dime and put him on it. efore we get too far down the road, I want the truth told about what Reagan did to destroy this country.
9-23-09 Manola Dargis Review in the NYTimes
- Manola Dargis on Capitalism: A Love Story
What is to be done? After watching Capitalism, it beats me. Moore doesn't have any answers, either, which is true of most socially minded directors and speaks more to the limits of such film making. Capitalism is a tragedy disguised as a comedy.
- "Sicko" review by Jack Lessenberry
Sicko is an utter masterpiece: brilliant, acidly funny and terribly anger-inspiring. Here's a link to Jack Lessenberry's review in MetroTimes: http://www.metrotimes.com/editorial/story.asp?id=10641 I saw...