Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson is agog that people are calling Barack Obama a socialist. Socialism, he says, is when the government owns everything. Apparently, such things as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, stimulus packages, bailouts, massive federal spending, and perhaps even nationalization of banks should simply be considered as free-market reforms that save free enterprise rather than as socialist steps on the road to socialism.
Shades of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal! You remember it, right? That was the series of government programs that we were taught in our public schools and state-supported colleges and universities saved free enterprise, right?
Never mind that Roosevelt’s National Industrial Recovery Act revolutionized America’s economic system by permitting American businesses to form cartels and set their own prices that were then imposed on the rest of the industry. And never mind that it could have easily served as a model for what was happening in fascist Italy under Mussolini, who was serving as a model for Roosevelt and his cohorts. Apparently the NIRA was just a free-market reform that helped save America’s free enterprise system … well, before the U.S. Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional.
Never mind that Roosevelt’s Social Security program also revolutionized America’s economic system by adopting a program that was originally proposed by German socialists. Social Security was based on the idea of using government force to take money from young people in order to give it to old people, bringing to mind the old Marxian saying, “From each according to ability, to each according to need.” But apparently Social Security was just another free-market reform that helped save America’s free-enterprise system.
After more than 70 years of Roosevelt’s welfare-state revolution, the socialistic system he foisted upon the American people is besieged by crisis. And what do the statists say about this? Oh, it’s not their beloved system that has failed. Instead, it’s all because there hasn’t been enough government control, enough federal spending, enough printing of money, and enough redistributive programs — despite more than 70 years of this junk.
When you stop to think about it, what else do they have? Just like decades of drug-war failure, they can’t afford to let even a smidgeon of doubt enter the minds of ordinary Americans. If that were to happen, that could spell the death knell of America’s tragic and disastrous experiment with socialism.
So, they have to pull the same fake and false nonsense that Roosevelt did after the Federal Reserve caused the 1929 stock-market crash. They have to convince people that it’s all the fault of too much economic freedom and not enough socialistic and regulatory programs. All that’s needed, they tell us, is more control, more socialistic programs, more spending, more borrowing, and more printing of money, and, voila!, happy days are here again.
And how are they going to accomplish this magic act? The same way Roosevelt did — just spend, spend, and spend some more. They’re going to spend the nation into wealth and prosperity.
Don’t taxes have to be raised to match the spending? Not at all, well, unless they tax the rich and we all know how evil the rich are. This is where the magic comes in. They just go out and borrow the money. But won’t all those loans have to be repaid in the long run, perhaps even by printing gobs of paper money?
Oh, we don’t need to worry about the long run, the statists tell us, because in the long run we’re all dead. After all, aren’t Roosevelt and his ilk dead? Yes, but of course the problem is that their children and grandchildren who they damned in the long run (i.e., us) are very much alive and now having to deal with the long-run consequences of FDR’s socialistic folly.
So, the idea is that we should just party away and do the same thing to our children and grandchildren. Borrow the money, spend it, print it, and party on. Like Roosevelt and his cohorts, in the long run we’ll all be dead. Damn our children and grandchildren. That’s their problem.
Seventy years ago, Americans fell for the socialistic scam, causing them to support a revolutionary change in America’s economic system. We can only hope that after experiencing decades of taxes, interventions, regulations, welfare, debt, inflation, and crisis, a critical mass of Americans will stand up and join us libertarians in saying, “No more. It’s time to reject FDR’s socialist revolution and restore the principles of economic liberty on which our nation was founded.” Perhaps some of those children and grandchildren they’re now damning with piles of debt will join us.