Monday, May 4, 2009
Posted by Jacob S.
Shaking my head in despair.
I can't believe I have to right these words, but: Pres. Obama is not a socialist.
Go ahead and Google Obama + Socialist and you will come up with over 7.3 million hits. This is the duly elected POTUS, and we have to have a discussion about whether or not he is a socialist. The unfounded hysteria, I suppose, is based on the bank bailouts (TARP), the auto-industry bailout, and the stimulus bill.
Am I really writing this?
Socialism is state ownership and control over the means of production and distribution. Socialists, like the Socialist Party USA or the Socialist Party of America, call for nationalization of all or most of: the financial system, the health care system, the transportation system (including the production of cars, airplanes, and ships), factories, media, etc. They call for absolute income inequality and the abolition of classes. All of this to be achieved by militant action, if necessary, which they believe it almost always is.
I'm dreaming, aren't I? This can't be real.
The first piece of evidence that Pres. Obama is not a socialist, and I'd say its the biggie, is that socialists disavow and want nothing to do with Pres. Obama. They don't think he is a socialist. And they are not an especially humble or an easily embarrassed crowd. Nor are they the types to shun the spotlight. They appear to be absolutely giddy with all the new-found publicity they are receiving, but still don't accept the president as one of their own.
Now why is that?
As for TARP, a socialist would have used the financial crisis caused in large part by a lack of personal responsibility and regulation, coupled with immense greed and pride, to completely restructure the financial system and put government in permanent control. This is clearly not the case. The banks came asking to be bailed out, the government did so. The reason was because businesses and banks rely on short-term loans that are borrowed and paid back nearly daily, day in and day out. Because the banks had gambled and lost on the mortgage bubble, they had no money for these short-term loans which businesses need, as in have to have, in order to function. The government stepped in and guaranteed the loans and got credit flowing again.
Hey, that sounds like the capitalism! It is. There are basic regulations and oversight which dictate how the banks can use that bailout money, but there is no complete government control and the whole system is temporary until the economy turns around. Socialists would like to see complete control of the banking system, or something akin to the public utility system. This ain't that.
Every word I have to waste on this subject kills a puppy.
As for the auto bailout, I don't know what to say. They received an infusion of cash, again with them on their knees begging, to avoid catastrophic collapse that would have resulted in hundreds of thousands of lost jobs. It is not just the workers for the Big 3, but the workers of every industry that is supported by the Big 3, such as all the parts manufacturers. The government, again, has no real control of the companies and no permanent control whatsoever. Again, the government propping up capitalism until the economy recovers.
Is this what hell is like?
The stimulus gives the government control of nothing. It was federal money, mostly to states, for things like infrastructure and schools. It was a lot of money, and it is still unclear how effective it will be, but no threat of socialism. In fact, just about every Congressperson, Democrat and Republican alike, put pork in that bill. No one has clean hands on that one.
So what we see so far is that the federal government has just transferred millions of dollars into private hands. They took money from the masses and transferred it to the select few bankers, mostly. Does that sound like socialism? Sounds a little like bizzaro-socialism to me.
Please someone kill me.
That leaves us with health care. In that I want universal health care, which I laid out ad naseum on this site previously, to the degree that I want that certain industry universal-ized, I guess I am a health care socialist. Pres. Obama's plan is not a call for universal health care. It is not complete government control of the health care apparatus. That is what is needed, frankly, but he isn't willing to go that far yet.
So does anyone who wants government control of an industry a socialist? What about the police force? The fire department? Schools? Public transportation? Public utilities? TV and radio airwaves? The military? Does the public control of these industries stifle capitalism? Is anyone that supports government interference in these services a dreaded socialist?
We make decisions all the time that the government is best suited to control certain services and industries. Is health care so different from schooling and public safety?
Merciful, this is almost over.
I will say this again: Pres. Obama is not a socialist. He's not even close.
Suggestions to the contrary are conservative fear-mongering at its worst. Republicans have been out of office for a little over 100 days now and they are already acting like the ruin of America is upon us. They think that Americans are so dumb that they can't even see a socialist Manchurian candidate staring them right in the eyes.
They remind me of a Simpson's episode (Steve M. can help me out on this) where Marge kicks Homer out of the house for some indiscretion. Homer is forced to live in the kids' treehouse. Within less than a day, when he and Marge reconcile, his clothes are in tatters, the beard is full grown and unkempt, and he basically is a hysterical homeless man. He can't live without Marge for even a few hours. Republicans had unchecked power in Washington for such a long time that they are now not able to live without it for even just a few months, let alone years, and have turned to the sensational to help reclaim that power. Americans just are not buying it.
* Know that when I am talking about Republicans, here, I am mostly referring to the Washington and media elite like Boehner, Cantor, Gingrich, Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, etc. I understand the average Republican still has his or her head on straight.