"The World's Most Hazardous Blog"

Christopher Walton

Chris is a graduate of Le Moyne College, Syracuse, New York where he earned a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Secondary Education. He also holds a Masters of Arts Degree from Fordham University, Bronx, New York in American History and a Masters of Arts Degree from Fordham University, Bronx,... read more

Obama Is A Terrible Socialist

Christopher Walton on 04/29/2013

GOP Fearmongering

GOP Fearmongering

The bumper stickers that I see on the cars on the highway highlighting the driver’s intellectual capacity for economics and politics grates me when I see anything that equates President Obama with Socialism. The celebrated sage, Ann Landers, had a very funny article that I recall from my old teaching days. This particular column sought to teach school children a lesson in simple economics. I remember her advice, vaguely, as follows: A student asks his teacher, “What is the difference between Capitalism, Socialism and Communism?”
The teacher responds, “Capitalism: You have a pregnant cow and you sell the calf and keep the money. Communism: The community comes over and everyone eats the two cows and all leave hungry. You don’t get paid. Socialism: The government sends the army to your house kills you and takes the two cows.”

If you have the mind and education of a six year old you would take the story above and rip your anti-Obama bumper sticker off of your Chevy pick-up truck with rusted floorboards or your brand new Lexus. By the way, when you’re on the way to his McMansion to paint his fence, please note that the two of you really don’t share the same economic theories on taxation, public school funding, and Obamacare.

If the comical story above isn’t clear enough for you to rethink your misunderstanding of American politics and economics, then the rest of this blog is for you. I turned to a noted historian, who wishes to remain anonymous, for some clarity in this false debate:

C.W. Professor, please tell us the textbook definition of capitalism, socialism and communism as a starting point for this conversation.
Prof:  I would say an orthodox version of Communism or Socialism is when the means of production are owned and managed collectively. Capitalism is where the means are owned and managed privately. Therefore, profit is private in a capitalistic system, whereas there is no profit, or as such an individual profit, in a Socialistic or Communistic system.

C.W.:  Can you please define specifically how Socialism is different than Communism?
Prof.: I’m not sure we can arrive at really a chemical difference or definition [for] the difference between socialism and communism; although I think there’s often the notion that socialism proceeds communism…it’s more a political definition or political difference. Socialism often is thought to precede communism by democratic means. In terms of a classic Marxist definition as a relationship of workers and means of productions, there isn’t any really difference.

C.W.: It seems to me that folks who attack President Obama by labeling him a Socialist, start from the perspective that Socialism is indeed evolutionary to Communism, hence the fear that if President Obama is a Socialist, if he enacts specific legislation, than he will automatically fall into or bring the country into Communism.
Prof.: {Chuckling} Yeah, I suppose. That’s the fear I guess. There is a thing practiced in Europe called Market Socialism…maybe that’s what their talking about. In Europe, Market Socialism is how I would define that… Market Socialism does allows largely for wide spread private ownership and management of capital, but there is a disposition to socialize the means of production in key industries and also a disposition to redistribute income through progressive taxation. There is a thing called, ‘Market Socialism’, but I think, perhaps, without knowing it, this is what critics of Obama are really accusing him of. But the idea that somehow any policies of Obama is trying to enact are plausibly Socialist or Communist in the classic sense, is just rubbish.

C.W.:  Thank you. I personally agree. Next question, just for the record, would you state that Obama is a terrible Socialist?
Prof: No, he is just not a Socialist by any meaningful standard of the term.

C.W: Just to reiterate, you would say he is not a Socialist?
Prof.: No, not in any way.

C.W.: Has President Obama done anything that you would see that has a footprint, policy wise, with a Socialist doctrine?
Prof.: So the main accusation…there are two prongs of the conservative criticism against Obama. The first is that he wants to raise taxes, but the fact is marginal taxes rates are now still lower than under President Clinton, whose no Socialist…Not to speak of the Eisenhower era; we never accuse Eisenhower of Socialism. The other prong of the attack is the Affordable Care Act. First of all, that’s a market base solution, that’s simply heavily regulation of the health care industry. These ideas came out of the Heritage Foundation; these are fundamentally and foremost Republican ideas, that now Republicans oppose as kind of socialist. It has no substantive basis…it’s basically just tribalism. We’re calling it socialism because Obama is advancing it; these were bonafide conservative ideas ten or fifteen years ago.

Tea Party Jingoism

Tea Party Jingoism

As a political reporter for Politics Uncensored, I am very alarmed by the number of Americans who believe Obama to be a socialist.  (As Bill Maher points out on his recent Tweet: “Mississippi pronounced most religious state at 58% very religious…also last in education. hmm”.) Who is doing all of the alarming? Well, let’s turn to the usual suspects. The Tea Party and Republicans have created the idea that President Obama is a socialist.  (This is probably a good point in the blog to revisit Governor Mitt Romney and Rep. Santorum’s recent campaigning for for-profit colleges and attacks against the “arrogant” educated college graduates.)

If you want to hear from someone who really has a clear understanding of the horrors of communism, let’s turn to an expert. Milos Forman won Academy Awards for best director for the films “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Amadeus.” He witnessed, first-hand, the horror  of living in Communist Czechoslovakia and finds the neo-cons’ attack on Obama to be appalling.

President ObamaSo America, it is time to finally rip of your ‘Romney 2012’ bumper sticker and high time to tear off and burn your ‘Obama is a Socialist’ one as well. Oh, and you might want to really come to terms with your actual socio-economic class status and realize that for most of America, Obama is working very hard for you.

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