Socialism is no threat to Capitalism | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Socialism is no threat to Capitalism

Guest opinion by Jerome Waldie

I cannot believe the Republican Party has been chanting the silly, age-old, discredited mantra that the Democrats are socialists and that their present efforts to control the excesses of unbridled, unregulated capitalism will make America a “European Socialist Government.”

That same frantic accusation, socialism, was charged by fearful Republicans when Franklin Roosevelt proposed and enacted Social Security. The Congressional Democrats ignored the frightened threats of the Republicans and overwhelmingly supported the passage of Social Security. It is still one of the most popular programs ever enacted by the government.

Few, if any, Republicans, today would now oppose Social Security. When President George W. Bush sought to privatize Social Security, Congressional Republicans refused to support him. Apparently, Social Security no longer should be considered socialism by today’s Republicans and it no longer threatens our capitalist system.

And, when President Johnson proposed Medicare as a means of assisting our elderly in obtaining medical care, the Republicans again opposed Medicare arguing it, too, like Social Security, was socialism.

Yet, today, as was the case with Social Security, you will not find a single Republican voting against Medicare. They have come to understand that Americans do not consider Medicare as a socialistic program that should be repealed.

There is a considerable amount of hypocrisy involved in Republicans of this era claiming Obama’s stimulus package will lead us on the perilous road to European Socialism. If Republicans now believe that Social Security and Medicare are no longer socialistic, then surely, the stimulus package is not at all socialist.

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To bolster their charge that the stimulus package will result in America becoming a socialist nation, Republicans claim that the Obama legislative programs, such as universal health care, are merely efforts to redistribute wealth, which, as every conservative knows, is the prime goal of socialism.

There is a historical national program supported by Republicans and Democrats that indeed does redistribute wealth in America. It is called the progressive federal income tax, which is based on the wealthy paying more taxes than the middle class.

And for the last eight years of President Bush’s reign, there has occurred as great a redistribution of wealth as our nation has ever experienced. Except, in this case the redistribution was to favor the wealthy by cutting their taxes and thus shifting what heretofore had been a progressive policy of benefiting the middle class to now, benefit the wealthy.

I do not recall Republicans condemning the redistribution of wealth in this case, nor do I recall their suggesting that Bush had become a socialist when he sponsored this massive redistribution of wealth.

It seems clear that the Republican party is completely demoralized by the overwhelming rejection of their proposed policies by the American electorate. The people voted for Obama and his progressive program.

The Republican response to that national election seems pitiable. Socialism is not a threat to American capitalism, and it seems strange that Republicans believe it is possible for capitalism to be rejected as our economic policy. I have never believed capitalism was in such disarray nor presented such a weak posture as, apparently, do the Republican fear mongers. Socialism will never be the choice of Americans unless capitalism refuses to accommodate the needs of all of our citizens, not just the wealthiest.

That is what Democracy is all about.