Hickenlooper aligns himself with capitalism in op-ed

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

Former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperDemocrats hesitant to raise taxes amid pandemic The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump's second impeachment trial begins Sanders says Biden sees progressives as 'strong part of his coalition' 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.


“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 SandersHouse Democrats to keep minimum wage hike in COVID-19 relief bill for Friday vote Sanders slams parliamentarian decision on minimum wage Parliamentarian nixes minimum wage hike in coronavirus bill 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.”