George Bailey Saw the Miracle of Capitalism -Wall Street Journal
"Frank Capra's 'It's a Wonderful Life' rose from commercial failure after its 1946 release to Christmas fixture starting in the 1970s. The film tells a story offering insight into how Americans perceive our economy and their role in it....The film's antagonist is the banker Henry Potter (Lionel Barrymore), who epitomizes the Democrats’ caricature of unredeemable capitalism.
Peter Bailey (Samuel Hinds) defends capitalism in an often overlooked dialogue when he asks his son George (Jimmy Stewart) to join his building-and-loan business. George dreams of adventure and wealth and wants no part of 'this business of nickels and dimes and spending all your life trying to figure out how to save 3 cents on a length of pipe.' His father, being older and wiser, responds: 'I feel that in a small way we are doing something important. Satisfying a fundamental urge.'....What the Baileys' penny pinching accomplished in moving Bedford Falls families out of Mr. Potter's slums has been achieved by real-life Baileys throughout our nation's history. Those who were able to save pennies enriched all mankind. Henry Ford saved pennies and put America on wheels, Thomas Edison cheaply electrified the world and Sam Walton's cost savings brought quality goods to working-class families at prices they could afford....Peter Bailey's insight reflects a vision originating in the Enlightenment, which set people free to promote their interest, and in the process, through Adam Smith's invisible hand, promote the interests of mankind....Capitalism alone respects life's greatest gift: the freedom to choose how you live your life, where you discover meaning, and what you sacrifice for...The film's rebirth suggests that when the Baileys of America fully understand the choice they face, they will choose the hard work and fulfillment of economic freedom over the economic suicide of socialism."