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Posts Tagged ‘Socialism’

Bernie’s Socialism vs. Trump’s Socialism | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on March 20, 2020

Is reelecting Donald Trump the only way to stem the tide of socialism in America? With self-described “democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders still a strong contender for the Democratic nomination, many on the right, including the president himself, argue that only by voting for Trump can socialism be abated. “America will never be a socialist country,” Trump confidently declared in his most recent State of the Union address.

Fighting Socialism?

The problem is that the United States is, in some respects, already a socialist country, at least if we define socialism broadly enough to encompass federal welfare programs. Though the president may lambast progressive policy proposals as intolerable socialist impositions, in reality these programs are mere expansions of policies that have existed for a long time.

Bernie Sanders’s assertion that public universities ought to be “tuition free,” for instance, is hardly a radical departure from traditional government education policy. Indeed, local and state governments already provide “free” education for students from kindergarten through high school and have done so for well over a century. For its part, the US Department of Education spends about $41 billion on elementary and secondary schooling. Almost $30 billion are awarded to college students in the form of Pell grants, while other students receive federally subsidized loans.

The most glaring example of an expansion of an already existent socialist policy is “Medicare for All.” The plan is clearly not novel; after all, the program it seeks to expand is right there in the name. President Trump may not want to extend Medicare coverage to every citizen, but he has shown no interest in rolling it back. In fact, the president’s 2021 budget proposes to increase Medicare spending every year for the next decade, nearly doubling its expenditures by 2030. So much for fighting against socialism.

Trump’s Flirtation with Socialism

To be fair, Trump’s budget proposal does contain certain reforms to Medicaid and other entitlement programs. These reforms would lower federal expenditures relative to current budget projections but would nonetheless increase spending on those programs overall. Despite a few small cuts, the federal government under Trump’s 2021 Budget would continue to run a deficit, albeit a shrinking one, through 2030.

Considering that the president has been incredibly harsh in his antisocialist rhetoric, his plans to downsize the federal government appear weak.

Indeed, aside from some modest deregulation, Trump has tended to increase the power and scope of government. While the president did implement somewhat substantial corporate tax cuts and personal income tax cuts, he then turned right around and raised taxes, imposing billions of dollars in tariffs on Chinese imports. The trade war, now in its third consecutive year, has cost individual American consumers thousands.

After the Chinese began imposing their own tariffs in retaliation, American farmers found it increasingly difficult to export their products. So, the president simply bailed them out. Without congressional authorization (and perhaps even without the legal authority to do so), the Trump administration doled out $28 billion of taxpayer money to farmers and is now promising to send more.

In classic socialist fashion, the bailouts appear to be going to a fairly small set of farmers. According to a recent NPR analysis, “100,000 individuals collected just over 70% of the money.” One giddy farmer interviewed by NPR referred to the bailouts as “Trump money,” a term reminiscent of the now infamous “​Obama money” woman. Unsurprisingly, many of these farmers were wildly overpaid compared to the actual harm they’ve suffered due to the president’s trade policies.

A Tale of Two Socialisms

For all of his antisocialist bluster, Trump has hardly been a friend to the free market. On the contrary, the president has pursued an agenda of economic nationalism, recycling old mercantilist policies intended to “protect” American industry from insidious foreign competition, even going so far as to explicitly order American companies not to do business with the Chinese.

But rather than fight back against Trump’s socialist tendencies, his administration has emboldened nascent nationalists within the conservative movement and has even encouraged former friends of the free market to embrace government interventions. Once a nominal defender of liberty, Senator Marco Rubio, for example, is now firmly in the economic nationalist camp, arguing that the government needs to subsidize special companies and engage in massive wealth transfers in order to further the “common good.” Other Republican legislators, such as freshman Senator Josh Hawley, have pushed for more government regulation of social media. And just recently the president’s attorney general, Bill Barr, suggested that the federal government purchase major American tech companies, essentially turning them into state-run enterprises.

In point of fact, Trump has succeeded in shifting the Overton window in Republican politics toward socialism, not away from it. The choice facing voters in 2020, therefore, is not between capitalism and socialism, but merely between two different kinds of socialism.


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Socialism’s Past – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on March 19, 2020

Bernie Sanders’ statements are not that different from those of Lenin, Stalin, Castro, Chavez and other tyrants.


Senator Bernie Sanders’ call for socialism has resonated among many Americans, particularly young Americans. They’ve fallen prey to the idea of a paradise here on Earth where things are free and there’s little want. But socialists never reveal what turns out to be their true agenda. Let’s look at the kind of statements they used to gain power. You’ll note that all of their slogans before gaining power bore little relation to the facts after they had power.

Vladimir Lenin promised, “Under socialism all will govern in turn and will soon become accustomed to no one governing.” That’s Friedrich Engel’s prediction about “the withering away of the state.” Lenin also promised, “Communism is Soviet power plus electrification,” and “No amount of political freedom will satisfy the hungry masses.” Lenin’s successor, Joseph Stalin, said, “Advance towards socialism cannot but cause the exploiting elements to resist the advance, and the resistance of the exploiters cannot but lead to the inevitable sharpening of the class struggle.” He also said, “Gaiety is the most outstanding feature of the Soviet Union,” and that “Gratitude is a sickness suffered by dogs.”

Then there’s China’s Chairman Mao Zedong, who said: “Socialism must be developed in China, and the route toward such an end is a democratic revolution, which will enable socialist and communist consolidation over a length of time. It is also important to unite with the middle peasants, and educate them on the failings of capitalism.” Mao advised: “A communist must be selfless, with the interests of the masses at heart. He must also possess a largeness of mind, as well as a practical, far-sighted mindset.”

Cuban dictator Fidel Castro said: “Capitalism has neither the capacity, nor the morality, nor the ethics to solve the problems of poverty. We must establish a new world order based on justice, on equity, and on peace.” He added, “I find capitalism repugnant. It is filthy, it is gross, it is alienating… because it causes war, hypocrisy and competition.”

Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez promised: “I am going to do my best to try to create a country in which children are not living in poverty, in which kids can go to college, in which old people have health care. Will I succeed? I can’t guarantee you that, but I can tell you that from a human point of view it is better to show up than to give up.” Adding, “I am convinced that the path to a new, better and possible world is not capitalism, the path is socialism.”

His successor Nicolas Maduro said: “Fidel Castro represents the dignity of the South American continent against empires. He’s a living legend: an icon of independence and freedom across the continent.”

Bernie Sanders’ statements are not that different from those of Lenin, Stalin, Castro, Chavez and other tyrants. Sanders says, “Let us wage a moral and political war against the billionaires and corporate leaders, on Wall Street and elsewhere, whose policies and greed are destroying the middle class of America,” and “We need to change the power structure in America, we need to end the political oligarchy.”

Stalin’s campaign didn’t mention that he would enact policies that would lead to the slaughter of 62 million people in the Soviet Union between 1917 to 1987. Mao Zedong didn’t mention that his People’s Republic of China would engage in brutal acts that would lead to the loss of 76 million lives at the hands of the government from 1949 to 1987. The late Professor Rudolph J. Rummel of the University of Hawaii documented this tragedy in his book “Death by Government: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900.”

Because socialism is a fight against basic human nature, it requires brute force in the attempt to reach its goals. The best warning about socialism comes from Aesop, who said, “Those who voluntarily put power into the hands of a tyrant … must not wonder if it be at last turned against themselves.” We shouldn’t ignore Martin Luther King Jr.’s warning, “Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”

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Harsh Words For Liberals Who Say Socialism is Not ...


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Socialism Would Have Solved This Problem – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on March 14, 2020


Everything about this virus situation is making me crazy.

Including this kind of thing, from socialists:

So it’s “capitalism” that makes people fight over toilet paper at a time when toilet paper isn’t a product they particularly need.

Socialism, they tell us, is “a system in which scarcity is no longer an issue.”

So when there’s an unanticipated pandemic, socialism will evidently have huge warehouses of toilet paper sitting there for no reason, waiting for consumers who don’t actually need it to get all they need.

Well, that seems like a rational approach to production.

How about the fact that it’s capitalism itself that’s made it seem normal and unremarkable that everybody you know readily purchases and uses soap, disinfectants, and sanitizers?

Which European king had all of these?

Scarcity is always an issue. If we produce A with resources B, C, and D, we cannot simultaneously produce F with B, C, and D. If we employ labor in the service of one line of production, we cannot simultaneously employ it in the service of another.

Here is the situation we face:

Billions of people have an enormous number of conflicting preferences.

We have to figure out a way to satisfy as many of those preferences as possible, but arrange the means of production in such a way that in satisfying one preference we are not inadvertently depriving more urgent preferences of the resources necessary for them to be satisfied.

The market economy, with its price system, accomplishes this seemingly impossible task — or at least approaches it as closely as mankind is capable of — without coercion or central direction.

It does it so well that people consider it automatic, like a spontaneously occurring feature of human existence.

Instead of marveling at it, they complain — and risk destroying the very thing that in all likelihood makes their own existences possible.

I might add, incidentally, that one thing the market provides that socialism surely would not, is home education.

The kind of system being described above would place indoctrination of the young fairly high on its list of goals, so good luck homeschooling.

Meanwhile, we’ve created the Ron Paul Curriculum, which — gasp — presents students with more than one point of view, while at the same time giving them a top-notch education in all the major subjects, plus others: like how to speak effectively, how to run a small business, how to operate a blog, or how to manage money.

There’s going to be more demand for it in the coming weeks, for obvious reasons.

Curious? Join through my link and I throw in three bonuses I created myself:

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Central Banking is Socialism

Posted by M. C. on March 10, 2020

Allowing the central bank to buy assets of, and thus assume a partial ownership interest in, private companies would give the Federal Reserve even greater influence over the economy. It could also allow the Fed to advance a political agenda by, for example, favoring investment in “green energy” companies over other companies or refusing to purchase assets of retailers who sell firearms or tobacco products.

The essence of socialist economics is government allocation of resources either by seizing direct control of the “means of production” or by setting prices business can charge.

Written by Ron Paul

Last week, the Federal Reserve responded to Wall Street’s coronavirus panic with an “emergency” interest rate cut. This emergency cut failed to revive the stock market, leading to predictions that the Fed will again cut rates later this month.

More rate cuts would drive interest rates to near, or even below, zero. Lowering interest rates punishes people for saving, thus encouraging consumers and businesses to spend every penny they make. This may give the economy a short-term boost. But, it inhibits long-term economic growth by depleting the savings necessary for investments in businesses and jobs. The result of this policy will be more pressure on the Fed to indefinitely maintain low interest rates and on the Congress and president to create another explosion of government “stimulus” spending.

Boston Federal Reserve President Eric Rosengren has suggested that Congress allow the Federal Reserve to add assets of private companies to the Fed’s already large balance sheet. Allowing the central bank to buy assets of, and thus assume a partial ownership interest in, private companies would give the Federal Reserve even greater influence over the economy. It could also allow the Fed to advance a political agenda by, for example, favoring investment in “green energy” companies over other companies or refusing to purchase assets of retailers who sell firearms or tobacco products.

Mr. Rosengren’s proposal to allow the central bank to “invest,” in private companies seems like something one would hear from democratic socialists like Senator Bernie Sanders. This is not surprising since the entire Federal Reserve system is a textbook example of socialism.

The essence of socialist economics is government allocation of resources either by seizing direct control of the “means of production” or by setting prices business can charge. Federal Reserve manipulation of interest rates is an attempt to set the price of money. Federal Reserve attempts to set interest rates distort the signals sent by the rates to investors and business. This results in a Fed-created boom, which is inevitably followed by a Fed-created bust.

Economic elites benefit when the Federal Reserve pumps new money into the economy because they have access to the money created before there are widespread price increases. Artificially low interest rates also facilitate the growth of the welfare-warfare state.

The Federal Reserve’s inflationary policies harm the average American by eroding the dollar’s purchasing power. This forces consumers to rely on credit cards and other forms of debt to maintain their standard of living. Many Americans are unable to afford their own homes because they are saddled with student loan debt that can even exceed their income.

Since the bailouts of 2008, there has been a growing understanding that the current system is rigged in favor of the elites and against the average American. Unfortunately, popular confusion of our system of Keynesian neoliberalism with a free-market economy, combined with a widespread entitlement mentality, has led many Americans to support increasing government control of our economy.

The key to beating back the rising support for socialism on both the left and right is helping more people understand that big government and central banking are the cause of their problems and that free markets in all areas — and especially in money — is the solution. It is important that the liberty movement put pressure on Congress to cut spending and rein in or, better yet, end the Fed.

Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
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Erie Times E-Edition Article Democrats stumble out of the gate in presidential voting

Posted by M. C. on February 6, 2020

…and a carnival of unintended consequences.

This could be any government project.

George Will may be a warparty Buckley acolyte but he does understand government.

George Will

The progressive party’s Iowa caucuses were a hilarious parody of progressive governance – ambitious, complex, subtle and a carnival of unintended consequences. The party that promises to fine-tune , from the production of wealth to the allocation of health care to the administration of education, produced a fittingly absurd climax to what surely was Iowa’s final strut as a national distraction.

Like a toddler trailing a security blanket across Iowa, Elizabeth Warren clung to identity politics with a fervor that suggested desperation and defied caricature.

Eventual autopsies of her campaign, and perhaps of the Democrats’ presidential hopes, should ponder this promise to Iowans: For the purpose of “restoring integrity and competence to government,” she will have “at least 50 percent of Cabinet positions filled by women and nonbinary people,” and a “young trans person” will vet her secretary of education candidates. In the Democrats’ ideological auction, Warren bested Pete Buttigieg who, in what counts in today’s Democratic Party as Solomonic centrism, promised only that half the members of his Cabinet will have two X chromosomes.

Four days before Iowa Democrats stumbled into futility, Bernie Sanders revealed to The New York Times the genesis of his socialism. Never mind the gulags, famines, Venezuelas and other wreckages, socialism is justified because the Dodgers decamped from Brooklyn to Los Angeles after the 1957 season when Sanders was 16. The Times says “perhaps no single event has proved more enduring in Mr. Sanders’ consciousness – more viscerally felt in his signature fury toward the 1 percent.” Well.

In 1955, the Dodgers, with six future Hall of Famers, won the World Series but had an average attendance of just 13,423, barely better than Major League Baseball‘s worst-drawing 2019 team (Miami, 10,016). In 1950, St. Louis, the western-most major-league city, had teams and Los Angeles had none. In Sanders’ cartoonish understanding of reality, his explanation of everything he finds objectionable – other people’s “greed” – explains the loss of what he still considers his eternal entitlement to the Dodgers being in Brooklyn.

Never mind that many of the Dodgers’ fans left Brooklyn, as did today’s senator from Vermont who, by the way, when playing a like-minded rabbi for a film said that he despises “free agency crap” – the unionized players’ hard-won right to negotiate terms of employment with teams of their choice.

Substituting indignation for information, Sanders’ baseball nostalgia is akin to his claim that the average worker “is not making a nickel more” than 45 years ago. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says that from 1990 to 2016 the average household’s inflation- adjusted income after taxes and government transfers increased 46 percent, and 66 percent for households in the bottom quintile.

Fortunately, there is something comparatively serious in America’s political future. Super Tuesday, aka March 3, will allocate 1,357 delegates, 68 percent of the total needed to nominate. They will come mostly from (never mind American Samoa and Democrats abroad) 14 states that include five that the nominee will lose in November (Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Utah), three that he or she will win (California, Massachusetts, Vermont), five competitive ones (Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado) and one (Texas) that might be competitive if the nominee is neither Warren nor Sanders.

If a few early states must initiate the nomination process, they should be unlike Iowa, which has a population just 14 percent larger than in 1960, compared with North Carolina (130 percent larger), Georgia (169 percent), Texas (203 percent), Colorado (228 percent) and Florida (334 percent).

Michael Bloomberg, however, is giving a glimpse of another alternative – a national primary, or several regional primaries. His spending – $250 million on television and internet ads in two months; approximately what Anheuser-Busch has spent advertising beer in the same period – will demonstrate either the steeply declining utility of political dollars or the manageable challenge for ordinary candidates to raise large sums from small donors in a nation that spends $8 billion a year on potato chips.

Meanwhile, like startled pheasants flushed from an Iowa cornfield, the surviving Democratic aspirants have fluttered away. The silliest candidates have disappeared (remember Beto O’Rourke?

didn’t think so) and Iowa has at least clarified the Democrats’ clashing theories: Americans are angry and hankering for more turmoil (Warren, Sanders), or Americans are embarrassed and exhausted by today’s politics of obnoxious noise (everyone but Warren and Sanders).

Sanders and Warren find billionaires distasteful, and neither they nor their woker-than-thou supporters will graciously accept a rising Bloomberg, so Iowa was just a sample of the Democrats’ coming self-inflicted wounds.

President Donald Trump’s smiles usually look strained, like grimaces out of context, but perhaps not today.

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Understanding the Fabian Window – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on January 22, 2020

Bertrand Russel, H.G. Wells, Beatrice and Sidney Webb, George Bernard Shaw, G.W. Bush sock puppet Tony Blair

Socialism Collectivism, Redistribution, gentle Execution, Eugenics, UK liberal party roots

The Fabian Society-The self described wolf in sheep’s clothing. One of the reasons the UK is in the shape it is in.

The following video was produced by Truthstream Media

In the video below, Truthstream Media discusses one of the most dangerous and ideologically insane root organizations of modern globalism and the “new world order – The Fabian Society.  The Fabians are notorious for their obsession with incremental tyranny and the erasure of individual and national sovereignty.  Though other organizations like the Council On Foreign Relations have now taken over at the forefront of the globalist effort, the Fabians were the foundation, the beginning of the modern push towards an everlasting totalitarian empire ruled by the elites.  Understanding their history and tactics helps us to understand exactly what is taking place today.  The “Brave New Word” is being established now, and it must be stopped…

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Q Anon: 10/05/18 Trust Trump's Plan

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France’s Political Hooliganism – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on January 7, 2020

Here is where the US gets to shine.

A universal basic income, then government (taxpayer) sponsored retirement at 40.

Where are you Bernie, AOC?


France’s favorite sports are striking and street demonstrations. At heart, most French are revolutionaries and protestors.

In France, the answer to every problem seems to be ‘aux barricades!’ (to the barricades!). Demonstrations are typically followed by a hearty lunch…

France is not highly unionized, but its belligerent trade organizations, most of them with roots in 1930’s communism or socialism, have a stranglehold on key sectors of France’s economy: trains, metros, refineries, truck transport, ports, food distribution, air traffic control, and even hospitals.

The current round of demos that began a month ago are serious business. Just about everyone appears opposed to President Emanuel Macron’s plans to modernize the nation’s crazy-quilt pension regulations that confer special privileges on favored groups of workers. Rail workers, for example, a particularly pampered bunch, can retire with close to full pay while in their 40’s. Ballet dancers enjoy similar benefits. Average workers can retire at 62. Macron wants to change retirement to 64, citing the longer life-span of today’s workers, and to consolidate the nation’s 42 separate retirement plans. Britain’s retirement age is 66 years.

France’s labor movement is up in arms, responding with more outrage and fury than it did when the Germans invaded in 1940. Unless Macron backs down, the unions will strike oil refineries and petroleum distribution centers, threatening to cripple most road transport, food distribution, emergency services and airports. Ports will also be targeted.

In short, industrial warfare against the state and its citizens…

Behind all this, is the unspoken but very real French notion that government is ‘papa.’ Rather than pay for work, Paris doles out allowances to the French. When they want more, like unruly kids everywhere the French throw tantrums, demanding better pay and benefits. Government in France is assumed to enjoy unlimited wealth. Budgets and spending restraints are dismissed as the works of mean-spirited Scots or Swiss accountants…

France is one of this world’s most beautiful nations. Its citizens are well educated and sophisticated; its cities shine; its ecology superbly safeguarded. In many ways, it remains ‘the Great Nation’ of the era of Louis XIV. But not when it comes to labor and civic responsibility. Instead of calm discussion to resolve wage and work issues, such as we see in Switzerland and Germany, the French keep indulging in political hooliganism to the endless misery of their fellow citizens.

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French protesters step up violent strikes against labour ...





Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment » Rand Paul Explains to John Stossel the Truth About Socialism

Posted by M. C. on January 5, 2020

In conjunction with the release of Rand Paul’s new book, The Case Against Socialism, John Stossel interviewed Rand.

Rand’s book is excellent. I reviewed it here.

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The Battle Isn’t Right vs. Left. It’s Statism vs. Individualism – Foundation for Economic Education

Posted by M. C. on January 4, 2020

satire from the clever folks at the Babylon Bee.

At a press conference on Thursday, American Nazi Party leader Emmett Scoggins told reporters that his group is not trying to instate full-on Nazism, but a much better system called “democratic Nazism.” …Scoggins was questioned about the use of the word “democratic” and how democratic Nazism was any different from plain-old Nazism. “The main difference is we add the word ‘democratic’ on there because people like that word a lot more than just plain ‘Nazi,’” Scoggins said. …The conference ended with a long speech from Scoggins about…how “real” Nazism has never been tried.

Libertarian principle: Free people own themselves.

How high does the death toll need to get before people realize that communism, like its sister ideology of Nazism, is despicably evil?

I’ve written about how totalitarian ideologies such as communism and Nazism have a lot in common. Both subordinate the individual to the state and both give the state power over the economy.

And both slaughter millions of people.

My buddy from grad school, Matt Kibbe, has a great video on this issue.

Needless to say, I agree with Matt’s characterization.

The battle is not right vs. left. It’s statism vs. individualism.

Let’s look at some writings on this issue.

We’ll start with an article by Bradley Birzer, published by Intellectual Takeout. He worries that totalitarianism on the left is making a comeback.

In 1936, you had three choices: National Socialism, international socialism, or dignity. In 2018, we find ourselves in similar circumstances… Why is this happening now…?  First, we scholars have failed to convince the public of just how wicked all forms of communism were and remain. …Almost all historians ignore the most salient fact of the 20th century: that governments murdered more than 200 million innocents, the largest massacre in the history of the world.

Terror reigned in the killing fields, the Holocaust camps, and the gulags. …Second, an entire generation has grown up never knowing such things as the Soviet gulags or even the Berlin Wall. …most younger defenders of communism buy into the oldest propaganda line of the Left—that real communism has never been tried.

He explains that fascism and socialism are two sides of the same coin.

That the National Socialists embraced socialism is factually accurate. …they did nationalize very vital industry in Germany, even if by outright intimidation rather than through the law. In his personal diaries, Joseph Goebbels wrote in late 1925: “It would be better for us to end our existence under Bolshevism than to endure slavery under capitalism.” Only a few months later, he continued, “I think it is terrible that we and the Communists are bashing in each other’s heads.”

Whatever the state of the rivalry between the two camps, Goebbels claimed, the two forces should ally and conquer. …The Italian fascists had even closer ties to the Marxists, with Mussolini having begun his career as a Marxist publicist and writer. A few Italian fascists even held positions in the Comintern.

Richard Mason makes similar points in a piece he wrote for the Foundation for Economic Education.

…how do we react to the hammer and sickle? I don’t have to write an article explaining the millions of deaths that occurred at the hands of communist regimes; like the Holocaust, the gulags of the Soviet Union and killing fields of Cambodia are widely known. Yet journalists in the UK openly and proudly advocate communism. Statues of Karl Marx are erected. …there is no justifiable way a fascist could argue ‘That wasn’t real Nazism.’ The same is not true for communism. …Since Karl Marx never implemented communism himself, the leaders of communist states always have that get-out-of-jail-free card.

Any shortcomings, tragedies, or crises a communist regime faces can always be blamed on a misapplication of Marx’s infallible roadmap… The communist ideology in its purest form might be separated from its implementations, but at what point does its awful track record discredit any attempts to advocate it? …The history of communism is as bloodstained as that of Nazism; much more so, actually. It’s time we treated it as such.

Amen. I’ve weighed in on that issue, and I strongly recommend what Jeff Jacoby wrote on the issue as well.

And Sheldon Richman expands on this theme…

See the rest here

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Freedom Isn't Free - Conservative Intelligence Briefing

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Why Republicans Are Powerless against Socialism

Posted by M. C. on January 4, 2020

If we are to believe the Republicans, they are all that is holding back the forces of socialism from taking over the United States and replacing a free and capitalist society with an authoritarian and socialist society.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

After suffering the humiliating loss of the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm election, and having to deal increasingly with the fallout from the govern-by-Twitter pronouncements of Democratic bogeyman, Donald Trump, Republicans needed a bogeyman of their own to feign horror over in order to help them convince moderate and independent voters (and on-the-fence Republicans) that they should be afraid of the policies pushed by Democrats and vote Republican in the 2020 election. That bogeyman is socialism. As Republicans gear up for the 2020 campaign, they are pressing their case that a vote for Democrats is a vote for the policies of socialism.

Republicans don’t have an easy road ahead of them. A Gallup poll taken last year found that 37 percent of Americans feel positive about socialism, including 16 percent of those who lean Republican. Young people are especially likely to view socialism positively, with about half of Americans under 30 (51 percent) responding that they had a positive view of socialism. That accords with other polls that reveal that an increasing number of Americans support progressive ideas such as government-mandated paid maternity leave, tuition-free college, government funding for child care, increasing the minimum wage, and Medicare for All. Popular political figures such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), as well as an increasing number of progressives, embrace the label “democratic socialist.” Even so, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has told reporters that the path to Republican success in the 2020 election is “running to be the firewall that saves the country from socialism.”

Back in April, Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) received approval from the U.S. House of Representatives for the creation of the Anti-Socialism Caucus. According to a press release that was posted on the congressman’s official website, “The purpose of the caucus is to inform lawmakers and the public on the dangers of socialism and to serve as a bulwark to stop the advancement of socialist policies and legislation.” According to Representative Stewart,

Socialism is a folly. Not only is it doomed to fail wherever it rears its head, it leaves a wake of destruction in lives and freedoms lost.

So much time has passed from the fall of the Iron Curtain that many have internalized — or never experienced — socialism’s ultimate price. If we fail to recall those dangerous times, the primitive appeal of socialism will advance and infect our institutions.

Our adversaries have one thing in common: they want to destroy freedom, democracy and the rule of law, for the life-affirming principles which define our liberal democracy represent an existential threat to their existence.

The Anti-Socialism Caucus will play a part in how we will defeat socialism once again.

“This caucus will defend individual liberty & free markets and highlight the dark history of socialism,” tweeted Stewart upon receiving approval from the House for the formation of the caucus.

At the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held earlier this year outside Washington, D.C., White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), former White House deputy assistant Sebastian Gorka, head of the Republican National Committee Ronna McDaniel, and Vice President Mike Pence all played the socialism card.

According to the Associated Press and Business Insider, Kudlow implored conference attendees to “join us to keep America great and join us to put socialism on trial and then convict it.” Meadows, chair of the House Freedom Caucus, warned Republicans that Democrats are “embracing socialism.” Gorka asked and answered a question: “What is America’s biggest problem? Not socialism in Russia, but in America!” McDaniel told the conference that the GOP would look to “go out and educate” voters about socialism. Pence said in his speech that the choice in the next election is “between freedom and socialism, between personal responsibility and government dependence.” “The moment America becomes a socialist country is the moment America ceases to be America,” said Pence to the friendly crowd.

A Trump campaign official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the campaign was exploring ways to use the “socialism” message to drive a wedge between Democratic voters and independents. It was a surprise that Trump did not mention socialism in his speech to the crowd of conservative activists. But of course, he has mentioned it numerous other times. Just before the 2018 election in which Democrats regained control of the House, he predicted,

If Democrats win control of Congress this November, we will come dangerously closer to socialism in America. Government-run health care is just the beginning. Democrats are also pushing massive government control of education, private-sector businesses, and other major sectors of the U.S. economy.

In his State of the Union Address in February, the president again warned of the dangers of socialism:

Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence —not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.

Socialism in theory

The term “socialism” is increasingly bandied about by pundits and presidential candidates, resulting in much confusion. What is socialism? Although Republicans are increasingly trying to demonize Democrats with the label, they rarely stop to define the term in its specific historical sense or in its more general modern sense. Akin to that is their insistence that they believe in free markets and that the United States is a capitalist country that must be saved from socialism.

In its essence, socialism is the government ownership and control of the means of production, distribution, and exchange. That is why socialist parties, once in power, seek to nationalize major industries. Under socialism, government central planning, not markets, determines what should be produced, by whom, and in what quantities — at least in theory.

The Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, in his 1944 book Bureaucracy, contrasted capitalism and socialism:

The main issue in present-day political struggles is whether society should be organized on the basis of private ownership of the means of production (capitalism, the market system) or on the basis of public control of the means of production (socialism, communism, planned economy). Capitalism means free enterprise, sovereignty of the consumers in economic matters, and sovereignty of the voters in political matters. Socialism means full government control of every sphere of the individual’s life and the unrestricted supremacy of the government in its capacity as central board of production management.

More recently, economist Walter Williams succinctly explained the difference between the capitalist and socialist systems: “The key features of a free-market system are private property rights and private ownership of the means of production. By contrast, socialist systems feature severely limited private property rights and government ownership or control of the means of production.”

But as Mises’s disciple and Nobel laureate economist Friedrich Hayek made clear in the preface to the 1976 edition of his classic work The Road to Serfdom (1944), the meaning of socialism evolved in the second half of the twentieth century from meaning “unambiguously the nationalization of the means of production and the central economic planning which this made possible and necessary” to mean “chiefly the extensive redistribution of incomes through taxation and the institutions of the welfare state.” Modern-day socialists and their fellow travelers aren’t calling for the nationalization of industry or the abolition of private property. They want a mixture of government ownership, government control by regulation, and government redistributive programs to ensure social justice and economic equality.

Socialism in practice

In spite of Republican rhetoric, and contrary to what most Americans think, the United States, like every democratic country, has — in the words of economist Thomas DiLorenzo — “islands of socialism in a sea of capitalism.”

Socialized education. Public education is one of the most blatant forms of socialism in the United States. Every state government has a provision in its constitution for the operation of K–12 schools, colleges, and universities in the state. K–12 schools are funded by local property taxes as well as the federal and state governments. Public universities are funded directly by state governments and indirectly by federal Pell grants, other federal educational grants, and federal student loans. Teachers are employed by local school boards (in the case of K–12 schools) or state governments (in the case of colleges and universities). Textbooks are selected, and curricula are designed, by government entities.

Every state, as well as the federal government, has a department of education. The states have mandatory-attendance laws and standardized-testing requirements. Government agencies mandate teacher-education requirements and certify teachers. The federal government has math and science initiatives, special-education mandates, bilingual-education mandates, research grants for colleges and universities, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Higher Education Act, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, Common Core, Title IX anti-discrimination mandates, the No Child Left Behind Act, and school breakfast and lunch programs. The accrediting agencies of colleges and universities are government agencies.

Socialized medicine. Americans who criticize the socialized medicine that exists in Canada and European countries forget that we have several forms of socialized medicine in the United States. Medicare is government-funded health care for Americans 65 years old and older and for those who are permanently disabled, or have end-stage renal disease or ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). It covers more than 55 million Americans, most of whom become eligible for Medicare when they reach age 65, regardless of their income or health status. Medicaid is government-funded health care for poor Americans of any age and people with certain disabilities. It is the primary source of health-insurance coverage for low-income populations and nursing-home long-term care, and covers about 70 million Americans. Medicaid is jointly financed by the federal and state governments, but designed and administered by state governments within federal guidelines. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a partnership between federal and state governments that provides federally funded health insurance to children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid.

Government insurance exchanges help millions of Americans purchase health insurance subsidized by the federal government. The federal government has a National Institutes of Health (NIH), federal laboratories, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), HIV/AIDS prevention initiatives, vaccination programs, and nutrition guidelines.

Social Security. This is the largest socialist program in the United States. There are actually two parts to Social Security (OASDI). The Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) program provides monthly benefits to retired workers, families of retired workers, and survivors of deceased workers. The Disability Insurance (DI) program provides monthly benefits to disabled workers and families of disabled workers. More than 60 million Americans receive some sort of Social Security benefit. The government pays the benefits, determines the benefits, sets the retirement age, decides on cost-of-living adjustments, and makes the rules for eligibility.

Despite the name of the program, many Americans think that they are entitled to receive Social Security benefits because they earned them by contributing to the system over the course of their working life. But there is no contractual right to receive Social Security benefits. Congress can reduce benefits at any time, increase Social Security taxes at any time without increasing benefits, and raise or eliminate the wage base upon which Social Security taxes are figured at any time without increasing benefits. The federal government can even pay Social Security benefits in perpetuity regardless of the amount of Social Security taxes that are collected.

Socialized charity. There are in the United States about 80 means-tested welfare programs that offer benefits on the basis of the beneficiary’s income or assets. U.S. welfare programs provide cash, food, housing subsidies, utility subsidies, and social services to poor, disabled, and lower-income Americans.

The most egregious of the means-tested welfare programs is the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. It pays cash directly to welfare recipients to spend as they please. States receive block grants from the federal government to design and operate TANF programs. In an average month, approximately 3.5 million Americans receive TANF benefits. The majority of poor families with children receive some form of cash assistance from the government.

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program gives cash assistance to people who are disabled, aged, or both and who have low income and few assets. More than 5 million low-income households in the United States receive federal rental assistance through the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program. Most recipients of federal housing assistance pay 30 percent of their adjusted income toward rent, with the government paying the rest up to a certain amount.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP [formerly known and still referred to as food stamps]) is administered by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but operated by the states. Recipients of food-stamp benefits receive a deposit on an EBT card each month that can be used only for prepackaged food items. About 13 percent of the population are on food stamps.

Other means-tested welfare programs include the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP); the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); Head Start; Healthy Start; the National School Lunch Program (NSLP); the School Breakfast Program (SBP); the Special Milk Program (SMP); the Elderly Nutrition Program; the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), and subsidized low-income phone service. Some welfare programs aren’t means-tested at all, such as Unemployment Compensation, which is overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor and administered by the states. It provides benefits to those who become unemployed who meet certain eligibility requirements.

Socialized services. Governments at all levels in the United States provide services that could be provided by the free market. The most infamous example is the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). And to make matters worse, by law, only the Post Office is allowed to deliver regular mail. The federal government’s National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) costs taxpayers more than a billion dollars a year in subsidies. The federal government’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) provides security at airports and forbids airlines to provide their own security.

Government “public works” projects are not only socialism on a grand scale, they are also the epitome of the term “boondoggle.” In many states, counties, and cities in the United States, it is the government that collects the garbage; operates mass transit; supplies electricity, water, and natural gas; operates fire departments; owns the airports; operates health clinics; provides ambulance services; operates hospitals; inspects restaurants; operates the liquor stores; and picks up stray and dead animals. Other things that are done by private businesses are also done by government-run enterprises.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), “In 2017, U.S. government spending for national, state and local budgets was 38 percent of GDP.” Almost two-thirds of the federal budget goes for transfer payments and subsidies.

The Republicans

Will the Republicans save us from socialism? To think so is to dream the impossible dream. Republicans are powerless against the onslaught of socialism, and for two reasons. One, they support the same socialist policies as the Democrats. And two, they did nothing to roll back socialism when they had the chance.

Republicans support the three biggest socialist programs in the United States: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Just read what it says in the Republican Party platform:

As the party of America’s future, we accept the responsibility to preserve and modernize a system of retirement security forged in an old industrial era beyond the memory of most Americans. Current retirees and those close to retirement can be assured of their benefits. Of the many reforms being proposed, all options should be considered to preserve Social Security.

We intend to save Medicare by modernizing it, empowering its participants, and putting it on a secure financial footing. We will preserve the promise of Medicaid as well by making that program, designed for 1965 medicine, a vehicle for good health in an entirely new era.

Even worse, Republicans sometimes create new socialist programs of their own accord. In 1997, the Republican-controlled Congress created the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP, now just called CHIP), a partnership between federal and state governments that provides federally funded health insurance to children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid. The program has been reauthorized with Republican support ever since then.

After many years of Democratic control of both houses of Congress, Republicans captured the Senate during the presidency of the Republican Ronald Reagan and held on to control of it for six years. They did absolutely nothing to stop the onslaught of socialism. In fact, they raised the Social Security and Medicare tax rates to bolster those socialist programs. If only we had control of the House, said the Republicans. During the last six years of the presidency of the Democrat Bill Clinton, Republicans had a majority in both houses of Congress. They did absolutely nothing to stop the onslaught of socialism. In fact, they increased the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) every year to redistribute even more of the incomes of American taxpayers. If only we had a Republican president, said the Republicans. When the Republicans finally got their Republican president in George W. Bush they had a perfect opportunity to abolish the federal government’s socialist programs and restore the United States to a free and capitalist society. The Republicans controlled both houses of Congress for more than four years during the Bush presidency. They had not had absolute control of the government since the first two years of Republican Dwight Eisenhower’s presidency. Again, they did absolutely nothing to stop the onslaught of socialism. In fact, they expanded Medicare, created the TSA, and tremendously increased the budget of the Department of Education. The Republicans had another chance to roll back socialism when they controlled both houses of Congress during the first two years of Trump’s presidency. But again, they did absolutely nothing to stop the onslaught of socialism. In fact, they could not even come together to repeal Obamacare, even though they had railed against it since the day the Democrats passed it in 2010.

The conclusion is inescapable: Republicans are powerless against socialism because — as shown by their words and deeds — they are socialists themselves.

This article was originally published on the Future Freedom Foundation website and in the August 2019 edition of Future of Freedom.

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