The problem is not socialists. They have no place in US politics and won’t. The problem is not capitalism. It worked well to make American the economic powerhouse of the world. The problem is rigged capitalism–which for 40 yrs the GOP has engineered with the help of some Dems.
Our system has been hijacked by the rich and powerful to serve them. With wages at effectively the same level as more than 4 decades ago and the minimum wage at effectively the same level as 6 decades ago, while the 1 percent get richer, everyone else is left behind.
Increases in productivity no longer translate into higher wages for workers. Companies don’t use tax breaks to create jobs they use them to buy back stock and enrich top management and shareholders. Regulations are rolled back. Tax cuts help only the wealthy.
The benefits of growth accrue primarily to the top 1 percent and hardly at all to the bottom 90 percent. Trump was elected because of people’s outrage with the system that made this happen and disenfranchised them (HRC was seen as part of the establishment that made it happen.)
But he has proven to be the most corrupt president ever–self-dealing & working to empower the richest and to plunder the country’s assets on their behalf. He has taken advantage of campaign finance laws (and rulings like Citizens United) that have further empowered the powerful.
The GOP will say that adjusting tax laws so that the super-rich pay their share is “socialism.” It is not. It is capitalism as it was practiced in the US until just the last few decades. They will say measures to rein in the power of big corporations is socialism.
But it capitalism as practices as far back as the beginning of the last century with Teddy Roosevelt and the trust-busters. They will say that trying to provide a decent retirement or a secure pension for everyone is socialism. But it is New Deal era capitalism.
They might decry efforts to give shareholders more rights–but under the Marshall Plan the US demanded shareholders have board seats in German companies at the end of World War II. Effective unions are not socialism, they are vintage U.S. capitalism.
They will decry efforts to have the government step in where the market fails, but the U.S. politician who argued that was the role and responsibility of government was not a socialist, it was Abraham Lincoln.
Providing for good education, help ensuring all Americans can find a good job at a decent wage, providing good infrastructure, good health care, secure retirements, and regulations that preserve our environment and stop the exploitation of the many by the few are not socialism.
They are the foundations of American capitalism. We have been waging a war on them since the Reagan era–attacking regulations, changing campaign finance laws, institutionalizing the power of the richest Americans, of Wall Street and of big companies while chipping awayat the rights of average Americans. Reagan and Bush and Bush and Trump have done it. So too, it must be acknowledged did Bill Clinton (see for one example the repeal of Glass Steagall or our active work…in which I participated…for largely unfettered free trade).
So too did Barack Obama who raised more money for his campaigns and more from Wall Street than any other candidate and who enabled big industries to cut sweetheart deals in key legislation. But Clinton and Obama also fought for the average citizen in ways the GOP did not.
And it is undeniably now the Democratic Party upon whom the responsibility of representing Main Street vs. Wall St. must fall. The GOP has embraced unprecedented,shocking corruption. The “small government” message is designed to give more power to the most powerful outside gov’t.
The GOP is the party of wild excess deficit spending. It is the party dismantling the education department, the environmental agencies, the regulators. It is the party of tax cuts for the few. It is the party of political self-dealing.
In fact, the GOP is not promoting capitalism, it is promoting oligarchy, crushing the ideals of real opportunity, embracing crowding most Americans out of the market and the money…of government programs that enable the rich to get richer. Call it pluto-socialism.
They are practicing a form of socialism where the community being served is just the richest in the society, where the cooperatives are among the mega wealthy and super corporations. What the Democrats want is the anti-dote to the GOP rigged system.
The policies the Dems advocate are hardly radical and in fact draw on the thinking of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Eisenhower. Of president’s who presided over America’s rise to greatness and ultimately eras like the 50s and 60s in which the economy worked better for the middle class. The activism of Democrats today is for restoring the ideals and energy and opportunity and fairness that were the goals of prior eras and fixing what is broken in our system to ensure that it is not only more equitable in the future more inclusive, but that it also is adjusted and adapted so the country can grow in the decades ahead…the entire country…that everyone can benefit…and that the economic anxiety that burdens the lives of most Americans today can be eradicated.
That’s not socialism. That’s American capitalism. Ethical capitalism. Moral capitalism. Compassionate capitalism. Capitalism that is not an end in itself but a means to serve the ideal of more prosperous, more just, more stable, stronger society.