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Obama as Socialist

June 13, 2013

First of all, I consider socialism a good thing.  A dictionary definition says that it means government or public ownership of the means of production and distribution.  That’s too much for my taste.  I don’t think that government ownership of auto companies, farms, or railroads would be a good thing.  Most people are motivated by rewards for themselves and their families, so that capitalist economies are more productive than controlled economies such as the late Soviet Union.

On the other hand, the market fundamentalism pioneered by Reagan and continued mostly by Clinton and the younger Bush doesn’t work very well except for the very rich.  Tax cuts mostly for the rich, deregulation, free trade, and union-busting have landed us in the economic toilet.

The ideal economy seems to be some combination of capitalism and socialism, as exemplified by Western Europe and Japan.  While these countries are suffering in the global recession, their people are still better educated and healthier than Americans.  Germany, where corporations are required to have workers on their boards of directors, solar energy is very successfully replacing nuclear, and even Walmart employees have a union and 3 weeks paid vacation, is beating the crap out of America economically.

So how does Obama fit into this picture?  He’s made some very timid reforms in our corporatist, Atlas Shrugged nuthouse.  The main feature of Obamacare, the requirment to buy private health insurance, was proposed by the right-wing shills of the Heritage Foundation and enacted by Willard “Mitt” Romney.  Dodd-Frank, the reform of Wall Street, has done almost nothing to correct the high-stakes government-guaranteed gambling which brought us the recession of 2009.  Obama has merely replaced the quagmire of Iraq with the quagmire of Afghanistan.  Obama continues the fascistic behavior of the Bush national security regime with plans for unlimited arrest, imprisonment, and execution of whomever the President identifies as a “terrorist.” 

A genuine socialist would have fought for single-payer Medicare for all, break-up of too-big-to-fail banks, and rapid withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq.  He would also restore high taxes on the rich, high taxes on imports, government regulation to protect the public from pollution, toxic food, and fraud, and protection of worker’s rights, especially the right to union representation.  This genuine socialist would be emulating Harry Truman, Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and Geo. Washington, who advocated the things which I mentioned.

Socialism is a bad word in America.  Americans don’t understand that it really means ordinary people using the government to protect themselves from predatory capitalists.  Resistance to predatory capitalism has been an essential part of the American tradition, going back to the Boston Tea Party, which was an attack on the British East India Company, which was trying to impose a monopoly in America.   

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Bretton Blodgett permalink
    January 20, 2013 11:22 pm

    Good point, well written

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