Hickenlooper aligns himself with capitalism in op-ed

Hickenlooper aligns himself with capitalism in op-ed
© Greg Nash

Former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperLeft off debate stage, Bullock all-in on Iowa Yang says he would not run as a third-party candidate The Hill's Morning Report - Hurricane Dorian devastates the Bahamas, creeps along Florida coast MORE (D) declared on Sunday that he is running for president to “save capitalism,” writing in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that the economic system needs fixing if it hopes to survive.

At the same time, Hickenlooper took aim at politicians on both ends of the political spectrum. On the right, he argued, the threat to capitalism has come in the form of perpetual calls for deregulation. On the left, he said demands for socialism and big government pose the greatest risk.

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“Neither approach recognizes the realities of our situation,” he wrote. “Capitalism is the only economic system that can support a strong middle class, a growing economy, and innovative entrepreneurs leading global technological advancements.”

“Yet,” he added, “for too many Americans, capitalism simply isn’t working.”

Hickenlooper is among several Democratic presidential contenders running as relative centrists at a time when many in the party have lurched to the left on issues like health care and taxes.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Krystal Ball calls on Sanders to follow Yang's lead on war on drugs Buttigieg calls Warren 'evasive' on Medicare for all MORE (I-Vt.) has openly described himself as a democratic socialist, while others have expressed support for proposals like Medicare for All or an additional tax levied on the wealthiest Americans.

Hickenlooper wrote in his op-ed that “dramatic income inequality” in the U.S. was responsible for driving voters to support politicians who advocate for more sweeping changes to the country’s economic system.

If capitalism is to survive, he wrote, “the government has to adjust it, as it has countless times in this nation’s history — from Teddy Roosevelt and the muckrakers to Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal.”

Among Hickenlooper’s proposals to fix the country’s current system: making community college free for those who can’t afford it, implementing a $15 minimum wage and stepping up enforcement of antitrust laws.

“The 2020 election will decide if capitalism flourishes in America,” Hickenlooper wrote. “I am a small-business man — and, yes, a capitalist. But today American capitalism is broken. We have to fix it before it’s too late.”