Good for Catherine Rampell. The Washington Post columnist has just hit Republicans with a strong dose of reality. She’s done the same for anyone who reads her column in yesterday’s Post.
The title of Rampell’s column is “Trump Is the True Socialist.” She cites Iowa Republican U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, who just launched her reelection campaign with the following sentence : “Let me be clear: Socialism has no place in the Hawkeye State or America, and I will stop at nothing to protect our Iowa values.”
Well, except for one thing: “Iowa values” include a socialist dole in the form of “big fat federal government subsidies for corn ethanol — among other payouts and market-distorting government interventions that Republicans might in other contexts smear as ‘socialist.”
Rampell correctly points out that pure socialism consists of a society in which the government owns the means of production—i.e., all the businesses and industries in the country. In that type of society, typified by countries like Cuba and North Korea, everyone works for the government.
But then there are the socialist programs, ones that use the government to take money from people to whom it belongs in order to give it to those to whom it does not belong.
And there is also “central planning,” a core feature of socialism in which the government centrally plans and directs certain aspects of private economic activity.
Also, government-owned enterprises, such as the Postal Service and Amtrak, which Rampell failed to mention in her article.
Rampell correctly observes the longtime antipathy that Republicans have toward food stamps and other socialist programs for the poor, while, at the same time, supporting socialist programs for the rich and middle class. Social Security and Medicare are premier examples, both of which she cites. So are Trump’s welfare bailouts to farmers he has bankrupted or financially damaged with his centrally planned trade war against China. So is the federal government’s central management of the economy, such as dictating to foreign regimes what they need to buy from American suppliers. Subsidies to American coal plants is another example.
Examples of Republican devotion to socialism that Rampell didn’t cite include public (i.e., government) schooling, the Federal Reserve, immigration controls, the graduated income tax, and the vast U.S. military establishment.
When it comes to socialism, there isn’t any difference in principle between Republicans and Democrats. The only real difference is that Democrats acknowledge that they are socialists. Republicans, on the other hand, live the life of the lie, the life that proclaims that they are defenders of “free enterprise, private property, and limited government” while they support every socialist program that comes down the pike, except those for the poor.
Unfortunately, Rampell omitted from her piece that the only ones who oppose socialism in all its variations are we libertarians. We believe that everyone has the right to keep everything he earns and decide for himself what to do with it. We understand that any society based on the socialist concept of mandatory charity cannot under any circumstances be considered a free society. We’d ditch all those socialist programs and free the American people. Unlike both Republicans and Democrats, we are advocates of economic liberty and free markets, not socialist central planners and governmental redistributionists of wealth.