It seems these last few years’ socialism has become more popular with a majority of the people in our nation. With the rising popularity of Senator Bernie Sanders, many have become convinced that America and Socialism go hand in hand and is the way our government should be. Is our Democratic Republic no longer a viable form of government? Why is this?
Many looks at the rising homeless rate or the lack of healthcare that several have and feel that the government should do more to eliminate these problems. There are also many in the nation that think the government should control low wages, in other words, raise the minimum wage. A lot of the young socialist think the way to pay for all this is to reduce military spending, when in fact we contribute more as a nation on social programs than any other government.
History of Socialism in America
Is America becoming Socialist? We could say that our younger people have not been adequately instructed about the problems associated with a socialist government, and I would like to remind everyone that there have been many that want to create a socialist government in our nation since our founding. Woodrow Wilson was elected president in 1913 with 42 percent of the popular vote and immediately started implementing many Social programs. Wilson achieved significant progressive reforms, among them, a new federal income tax, and had it not been for World War One he may have succeeded in moving the nation further toward a Socialist government.
The depression in the 1930s brought the election of Franklin Roosevelt and immediately created what was called the New Deal. The New Deal was a group of aggressive programs designed to get people back to work and bring the nation out of the Great Depression. Moreover, given the severity of the depression, many of these programs were needed. Among some of his plans were the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), the Public Works Administration (PWA), the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).
In 1935 the economy had begun to recover, and Roosevelt asked Congress for another wave of reforms, known as “Second New Deal.” The Second New Deal brought about the Social Security Act (which provided Americans with unemployment, disability, and a pension for old age) and the Works Progress Administration. Because the Democrats have the majority in both houses, they were able to raise taxes on large corporations and wealthy individuals.
Despite, all this government money flooding the economy it took a downturn in 1937, and Roosevelts’ approval rating dipped. By the end of 1938, approval for the New Deal was fading and had it not been for the oncoming of World War Two; the country would have experienced further economic pain. As it was the nation had to endeavor another ten years’ of misery to fight the Germans and Japanese. By 1947 our country has begun to recover from all this, but had it not been for WWII it is debatable if all these social programs had brought us out of the Great Depression.
Some others who have tried to move the nation towards Socialism in recent time are Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. President Clinton took office in 1993 and implemented many social programs, among them the Family and Medical Leave Act, some critical bills about crime and gun violence, and tried without success to enact universal health care. Mr. Clinton had some successful legislation in his second term from 1997 until 2001, but most of his second term was marred by the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
In 2009 Barack Obama became the 44th president of the United States. When Mr. Obama took office, like Franklin Roosevelt, he inherited a massive international recession. In the early years’ of his administration, he coaxed Congress to expand health care insurance for children and provide legal protection for women seeking equal pay. A $787 billion stimulus bill passed in the hope that this would promote short-term economic growth. Obama’s first budget was $3.5 trillion, the highest in our history.
President Obama implemented many rules and new regulations by way of the executive order which hampered growth in the private sector. In the first two years’, his administration was able to pass the Affordable Care Act, which provided free government health care to many more. Because of the higher taxes on corporations and the new regulations economic growth was tepid at best. The far left felt that more taxes and regulations were required to pay for more social programs and they felt that would stimulate the economy; this led to the popularity of Bernie Sanders, a Senator from Vermont.
Senator Sanders ran against Hillary Clinton for the nomination of the Democrat Parties candidate for President in 2015. Sanders would have won the election had it not been for Clinton’s longtime relationships with the older members of the Democrat Party, quite a few backroom deals and her manipulation of the media. As a result of all the infighting within the Democrat Party and America’s dislike for socialism, the much disliked Donald Trump was elected President in 2015.
Like Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy after World War II and Ronald Reagan after the stagnation of the Jimmy Carter years’, President Trump immediately implemented a substantial tax cut for corporations and middle-class Americans. He also rolled back many of Obama’s regulations. The rollback of their taxes and the reduction of the number of rules enabled the economy to run full steam ahead.
What is Democratic Socialism
Socialism has been at work for many years’ now, but what do these new Democratic Socialist stand for or believe and do the majority of Americans want a socialist government? Democratic Socialist is the far left members of the Democratic Party, just as the Republicans have their far-right members who have views that are not well liked by many on the left. I firmly believe the majority in our nation do not embrace a far left or far right agenda. The majority are average, regular people who want to be left alone to make an adequate living, have a family, and raise their children without the worry of them shot in school or smoking crack.
The latest socialist movement to come about and gain popularity is the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). The DSA came into existence in 1986 through a merger of Democratic Socialist Organization Committee (DSOC) and the New American Movement (NAM) both that date back to the early 70s. The DSA had about 6,000 members at its start.
DSOC was founded in 1973 after the Vietnam War and had 5,000 members at its beginning. It had a notable network among trade union and left Democratic Party activists as well as a rapidly expanding, predominantly campus-based Youth Section. The New American Movement was founded in 1971, had its origins in Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the socialist-feminist women’s unions of the late 60s. In 1997 the Youth Section changed its name to Young Democratic Socialist. These groups came together to form the Democratic Socialist of America in 1986.
It is understandable that this group would oppose any policy put forth by the Republican Party. They opposed almost all the policies of the Reagan, Bush I and Bush II presidencies. To find out how far left they are one can look at their opposition to what they describe as the neoliberal Democratic Clinton agenda in the 1990s. They were deeply frustrated with what they considered moderate policies of President Obama.
Some of this information was from the website dsausa.org where they state they would like to see an immediate end to capitalism. DSA fights for reforms today that will weaken the power of corporations and increase the power of working people. They support changes that:
- decrease the influence of money in politics
- empower ordinary people in workplaces and the economy
- restructure gender and cultural relationships to be more equitable
On their website they state – we are activists committed to democracy as not merely one of our political values but our means of restructuring society.
We are socialists because we reject an international economic order sustained by private profit.
We are socialists because we share a vision of a humane international social order based both on democratic planning and market mechanisms to achieve equitable distribution of resources. If you would like one can read more about this organization here www.dsusa.org
On the other side of the spectrum is the far right conservative party. We can point out the KuKluxKlan (KKK) or maybe Breitbart, or the American Spectator as these are considered extreme right as far as the majority is concerned. Once again the majority of Americans are middle of the road who do not support the far right or the far left.
The United States has embraced Capitalism since its founding. Capitalism is an economic system in which capital goods are owned by private individuals or businesses. The absolute form of capitalism is free market or laissez-faire capitalism, in which private individuals are entirely unrepressed in determining where to invest and what to produce. Most modern countries exercise a mixed capitalist system that involves some form of government regulation.
Instead of planning economic decisions through centralized political methods, such as socialism, planning under capitalism occurs through decentralized and voluntary choices. Private property rights are fundamental to capitalism. The belief being that private property encourages efficiency by giving the owner of resources an incentive to maximize its value. By building incentives for entrepreneurs to siphon away sources from costly channels and into areas where users value them highly, capitalism has proven a highly efficient vehicle for an economic increase.
Capitalist creation processes have significantly improved productive capacity. More and excellent goods became economically available to large populations, increasing standards of living in previously unthinkable ways. As a result, most political theorists and almost all economists argue that capitalism is the most efficient and prolific system of exchange.
Differences Between Capitalism and Socialism
Ownership: In a capitalist economy, property and businesses are maintained and regulated by individuals. In a socialist economy, the state controls and manages the means of production.
Equity: The capitalist economy is neutral about equitable arrangements. The capitalist feels that inequality is the force that encourages innovation, which then pushes economic development. The main concern of the socialist is the redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor, out of fairness and to ensure equality of opportunity and justice.
Efficiency: The capitalist argues that profit incentives drive corporations to develop innovative new products. They also say that state ownership of the means of production leads to inefficiency. If there is no incentive to earn more money, workers and developers are less likely to put forth the effort to produce quality products.
Employment: In the socialist economy, the state is the primary employer, thus taking away control of the employees by an employer. During times of depression or recessions, the socialist state can require hiring, even thou the company may not be creating enough revenue to satisfy wages and benefits.
The U.S. and the United Kingdom have a relatively pure type of capitalism with minimum government interference in financial and labor markets. Canada and the Nordic countries have created a balance between socialism and capitalism. Many European nations follow welfare capitalism, a system that is involved with the social welfare of the worker. We should note the countries that have a socialist government spend very little of their GDP on defense. More on capitalism can be found at www.investopedia.com
Many of these European nations were overrun during World War II and had it not been for the strong military of the U.S. and the U. K they would be under control by the Soviet Union. We can also look at the history of Cuba, in which Fidel Castro took control by promising jobs, free healthcare and pensions for life to the citizens. All of this was good until the country had no money for all these free programs and had to turn to Russia for aid. Hugo Chavez took control of Venezuela by making many promises like Castro to the people. Venezuela had a very profitable oil industry, and everything ran along fine until oil prices plummeted in 2014.
We can debate the good and bad of Capitalism and Socialism forever, as it has been discussed since the beginning of our nation. The United States was founded on the principles of free-market capitalism and the Democratic Republic; it has been proven many times over that this is the best form of government. An oppressed people have no motivation to excel. Whereas people that are given the freedom to develop the best products, invent the best medicines and excel at what they are best; thus creating a successful and productive nation.
We can see this in all the great inventions that have come about over the years’. Apple, Google, the modern automobile and air travel, to name a few, have all come about because people were free to think for themselves, with very little government interference. My feelings are the majority of the people in our nation want things to stay the way they are. The average American does not want the government telling them how to live or how to work. The average American does not embrace extreme socialism or extreme conservatism, and it puzzles me why these extremes get publicized so much.
In the upcoming election, this November 2018 several far-left candidates are running for different offices. I honestly hope the majority does not want this type of government because the failures outweigh the successes of socialism all over the world. We should all vote this year and let the media and all the politicians know we just want our good old American way of life! The freedom to work, make a good income for our families, attend the Churches of our choice, and play the American way.
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