Ken Connor

There is nothing wrong with making a profit of course, and there's nothing inherently wrong about trying to make a profit in the eldercare industry. But it is wrong to secure those profits at the expense of the clientele. Part of being a responsible corporate citizen, after all, is following through on your professional commitments in a conscientious and ethical manner. This is particularly important when your "business" consists of providing an environment of care, comfort, and dignity for men and women in the twilight of life.

The irony is that few people have been enablers of these practices more than Gingrich and Perry, who under the guise of "tort reform," have fostered policies that ensure that corporate predators are not required to fully account for their wrongdoing. Governor Perry's Texas is home to some of the nation's more draconian tort reform measures and Gingrich has long been a champion of similar policies, though recently he's attempted to distance himself from this position.

But principle doesn't seem to stand in the way of these fellows. That was then and this is now. Given the bitter attitude that most Americans feel for Wall Street and Big Business in the wake of the financial meltdown and subsequent recession, their calculus seems to be that there is more political advantage to be gained by demonizing their former benefactors. That Wall Street has clearly cast its lot with Romney at this point might also play a role in their decision to play the populist card despite their Blue Blood roots.

As for those who are quick to label as heretics those conservatives with the nerve to question the ethics of "vulture capitalism" it is important to understand that merely calling into question unethical business practices does not equate to an attack on the merits of capitalism. Business is no less subject to the rule of law and ethical scrutiny than any other aspect of life. To suggest that capitalism is not subject to either law or ethics invites predatory and destructive practices. Wasn't the Wall Street meltdown, fueled by the unscrupulous practices of enterprises like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, and others all the evidence we need of the destruction wrought by practitioners of "vulture capitalism?" How quickly we forget.

Meanwhile, the practices of predatory capitalists in the nursing home arena continue to harm our institutionalized elderly. Who will speak up for them?


Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.