Today America is arguing over what should be a settled question for anyone with a cursory knowledge of socialism’s bleak history. Most countries that have tried it have gone down a dangerous road that leads to poverty and oppression, supported by authoritarian governments that destroy freedom while socialism destroys opportunity. Yet somehow socialism is making a comeback, an economic shift that should concern all people living in this country.
Millennials seem to have a fascination with socialism, maybe because the Great Recession of 2008 where what they saw was a system that wasn’t delivering solutions to the economic predicament, so they were open to considering socialism. This is particularly true in the Democratic Party.
It is in the Democratic Party that socialism has gained an ideological foothold. Recent polls have shown that Democrats seem to believe that it’s time for America to move even further left toward an economic system that would inevitably change the very character and future of this nation.
Those polls asked people to choose which economic system — capitalism or socialism — was better. Democrats were evenly split on the two economic systems, with capitalism at 35 percent and socialism at 31 percent, with 35 percent undecided.
This contrasts with Republicans who continue to be the strongest supporters of capitalism by 73 percent to 10 percent. A majority of independents favored capitalism 56 percent to 13 percent, however over the past year, 4 percent of the independents had moved toward socialism.
This seems incredible as American capitalism has delivered unemployment rates at or below 4 percent for 12 straight months, with record low unemployment for Hispanics, African-Americans and women. Wage growth has been slow but now in February the highest wage gains in a decade are at 3.4 percent, Last month also saw the labor force participation rate stay at its five-year high at 63.2 percent.
Even with these impressive numbers the siren song of socialism still attracts many. Especially those that want free stuff and frankly do not want to work hard. Free college, free medical care free housing and food. Income equality which means you get some of the money someone else earned. You do not even have to work for all this just sign up.
This all goes counter to all those values that made America the envy of the world. How do we make a more persuasive argument to voters that a socioeconomic system based on redistribution of wealth, which is a system of failure? At first there are enough goods and services but then socialism fails to produce the kind of growth needed to support an economy that can supply all the things promised.
Venezuela is a perfect example, from one of the riches countries in South America to the most wretched. Most people go to bed hungry because food (when available) is for those in the government and their supporters. No electricity or water much of the time. More than 3 million people have left the country. The country is collapsing because of the implementation of the economic policies of socialism.
Despite the obvious progress capitalism delivers, many of the Democratic presidential candidates are unable to support capitalism. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, recently called capitalism “irredeemable,” not surprising from the woman who destroyed the New York City Amazon deal, along with the 25,000 jobs and $27 billion in tax revenue it would have generated. Then there is socialism’s most prominent longtime proponent, Bernie Sanders of Vermont who is riding high in the race for the Democratic candidate for President.
Most of the Democratic presidential field have embraced the progressive left’s socialist agenda while trying to avoid calling themselves either socialists or capitalists. Elizabeth Warren has tried to straddle the issue by saying she believes in capitalism, but she added, “capitalism without rules is theft.” She and Sens. Kamala Harris both back the Green New Deal which would devastate our economy and want a discussion on reparations.
Senators. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren are progressives who back the Green New Deal and want to talk about reparations but maintain they are Democrats, not Democratic Socialists. Centrist Democrats are trying to avoid giving their progressive opponents a national platform for expressing their views but unfortunately, they are being upstaged almost every day by new socialist proposals.
The good news is that every time the liberal Democratic presidential candidates endorse another extreme progressive position, it gives Republicans the opportunity to make the 2020 campaign about the nation’s strong economy, delivered by a president and party that proudly supports the capitalist ideas, the driving force behind our economy. America has been the dream of people from all over the world and it can be again when we support capitalism and Keeping America Great.