I don’t know whether to laugh, chuckle or scream whenever I hear some right-wing social democrat (a.k.a Republican) politician talk about how the United States is “sliding towards socialism” as South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint put it in response to Obama’s stimulus package. In fact, if you Google the phrase “sliding towards socialism” you’ll find it being repeated a lot in letters to the editor and online articles. Apparently there are a lot of fearful people out there who believe that America stands just hairsbreadth away from socialism.
Didn’t they hear the word ? We live in a socialist country.
Have been since 1933.
United Socialist States of America.
The good old USSA.
In fact one can say we’ve been sliding towards socialism ever since the Progressive Era of Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson and its been downhill ever since. Neither Warren Harding nor Calvin Coolidge were socialists, but neither did they nor the Republican Congresses of the 1920s ever repeal the Sherman Anti-Trust Act or other Progressive Era legislation. And when Hoover came into power, well… Katie bar the door right there. Ever heard of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC)? Government gives money to banks and corporations to keep them afloat? How is that not socialistic?
Hoover’s RFC basically legitimized the New Deal, as Bush II’s TARP now legitimizes anything the Obama Administration does to fully nationalize banks or bailout other industries. Whatever was left of the free-market argument made by the GOP went out the window when they decided it was okay for the American taxpayer to own 80 percent of AIG to spend on hunting retreats. For them to pretend otherwise is silly. Hell, according to the Washington Monthly, the social-democratic Right can only find about $18.7 billion within the stimulus package they agree is wasteful spending. That only leaves $884.5 billion of spending they’re AOK with!
What’s going on on the social-democratic Right is mere political posturing, trying to reclaim a brand label for themselves that was fraudulent to begin with so they can try to disguise themselves now that they don’t have to back up a Republican President with their votes anymore. What does that make them? Apparently less honest with themselves than President so-called “Compassionate Conservative” Bush II. At least we knew where Bush II stood. And Ron Paul is right too. The social-democratic Right simply believes in different spending priorities (like the trillion dollar War in Iraq) and wants to fund them with tax cuts which means more borrowing to cover the costs, all thanks to House GOP leader Rep. “Borrow-and-Spend” Boehner.
So the Republicans are not proposing we go back to the America of 1870s because they accept socialist American as much as anyone. It doesn’t matter whether they like it or not. They accept the political reality of the USSA and they live with it. Only on two occasions (1981 and 1995) have they ever challenge the legitimacy of the USSA and both times they retreated with their tails between their legs. Every GOP President since Roosevelt has accepted the New Deal and has expanded upon it, whether it was the Interstate Highway system, the EPA, the SBA, OSHA, Homeland Security. No cabinet departments were ever eliminated under Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan and the Bushes, much less other “social programs.” They accept Social Security, which is socialist. They accept Medicare, which is also socialist. They accept Medicade, which is socialist too. And on top of their well known love of pork barrel projects, earmarks and subsidies for businesses and farms, which are all socialist and in their design and intent, to complain that America is on the way to becoming like France only shows social-democratic Right simply has no grasp of reality, only what they want to lie to themselves about.
Don’t believe me? Try this experiment. Write to every Republican Congressperson in Tennessee and Kentucky and ask them whether they support privatizing the socialistic Tennessee Valley Authority. See what kind of responses you get. Needless to say the nascent “Republican Revolution” died because its members in South refused to part with the family jewels bequeathed to them by the New Deal Democrats they replaced in office. Well when that started taking place it became quite obvious that the “Revolution” was a fraud and it was every politician for themselves, all at the public trough. That kept the GOP in power in Congress for another 15 years before they lost it all when people saw through their charade, the one they apparently haven’t abandoned yet.
In fact, name me a country in the world where government isn’t involved in the so-called free market in some way, shape or form or tries to control its citizens’ behavior. It simply varies by degree. There are light socialist states like, say, Switzerland or India. There’s moderate socialist states like the Western Europe. Israel was founded by socialists and still operates as a socialist nation and yet all us free marketeers we have no problem supporting it. There are crony capitalist states in Asia, which is a form of socialism known as corporatism. In China, the government is the corporation but they figured out its still socialistic so the Communists can still maintain power with a straight face. There’s the time-warp socialism like that practiced in Cuba. There’s the oil-state socialism of Venezuela or the rest of OPEC. There’s cynical drunken socialism of the old Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. There’s the paranoid socialism of Robert Mugabe, the Burmese junta and Hoxha’s Albania and there’s hermetically sealed socialism of North Korea. Only in Somalia can one live without the heavy hand of government because there is no government.
Where does the U.S. fit on this scale? Oh, somewhere in between the Western Europe (Democrats) and Asia’s crony capitalism (Republicans), always sliding in between the two depending on which party is in power. But it’s socialism nonetheless and no amount talking about “sliding into socialism” is going to change that. Even a Ron Paul led government would be socialistic, just to lesser degree, a fact the Congressman, perhaps the last honest person in Washington, acknowledges.
Acknowledging the reality of USSA would be a good first step for all those Republicans and wanna-be conservatives. Then perhaps they can make the progression to deal with America as it is and not as they want to think it is like. There’s is no “sliding into socialism.” We’ve slid right into it.
Right back into the USSA.