The Hill recently ran an article entitled, “America – The New Socialist Frontier” (link https://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/425970-america-the-new-socialist-frontier). Whether you agree or disagree with the perspective of the article, there are a couple of things that I would like to point out about issues connected with this article.

Some newly elected legislators do have a socialist agenda. No doubt. What the article doesn’t talk about, though, is why they were elected by the voters.  In order to answer that question, let me first digress for a moment.

After World War II, many Americans believed in something that was referred to as The American Dream. Sure, there was a sprinkling of wealthy people in the country, but the vast majority worked very hard just to be able to support their families.  In a fairly short period of time, prosperity blossomed from sea-to-shining-sea.  The burgeoning American middle class was born. Opportunities abounded – capitalism was king and consumerism became the driving force in society.  Before long, the nouveau riche sprouted up seemingly everywhere.

After many years of prosperity, something unforeseen happened.  Class warfare. Why? Well, because not everyone shared in the spoils equally.  Of course, not everyone contributed equally either but that didn’t seem to stop the have-nots from complaining.  People had gotten accustomed to great prosperity in the country.  They could see it everywhere – in magazines, on TV and the movies and in advertisements, and so they wanted some of it for themselves.

A new age dawned. People become fat and lazy.  They no longer wanted to work hard to obtain The American Dream. Many didn’t want to work at all. They simply wanted the government to provide for them. Problem was that the government doesn’t grow money on trees. It’s is funded by the taxpayers.

So, a rallying cry inevitably went out to tax the rich. However, taxing the rich is not quite all it’s cracked up to be as The Hill article pointed out,“The philosophy of envy and siphoning from the rich appeals to a large segment of the population that does not realize that the definition of ‘rich’ is a spiral of devolution that eventually will reach every business and every individual who works for a living.” You may remember how President Obama’s definition of ‘rich’ with respect to tax increases kept spiraling down and down until at one point it was going to include the middle class.  In actuality, it’s even much worse than that.  When you look at the income distribution curve in this country, the only place that significant tax increases can really come from is the middle class. You can’t fund a socialist society like Ocasio-Cortez wants unless the middle class pays for it.  Increasing the top tax rate to 70% for the rich is a smokescreen.  It’s a mere pittance of what will be required. What she is not saying is that her Green New Deal will destroy the middle class which is actually a key objective of socialism.

This leads me to the political strategy of our newly-minted socialists. The key words that I quoted from the article are “every individual who works for a living.” The reason those words are key is that Ocasio-Cortez is appealing to a political base who does not work for a living or, at the very least, works but does not pay taxes. She is targeting the have-nots to get them to revolt against the haves; in other words political class warfare. It’s a smart strategy since it appeals to roughly half the people in this country who do not pay income taxes as well as to people who get paid some form of government assistance. The problem, though, as Benjamin Franklin pointed out, is that,When people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the Republic.” Are you ready for that?

Socialism is superficially a very appealing concept. However, there has to be a group that implements the desires of the people, assuming that the people are smart enough to even make those kinds of decisions (which studies seem to show that they are not).  Even in a democracy such as America, you can see how flawed a process that can be. There always has to be a 1% whether they’re called kings, tsars, presidents or the corporate elites. So, tell me, who gets to decide who will be the 1%?  See the problem. The real issue isn’t whether it’s capitalism or socialism, it’s who gets to be in charge. Ocasio-Cortez wants to be the one in charge, to be the one who gets to tell you which personal freedoms you’ll have to sacrifice on the altar of socialism and to be the one to tell you how much in additional taxes you’ll have to pay. Now, that’s what I call a New Deal.

 

Epilogue

There’s a reason why communism has never worked.  Russia, Cuba and Venezuela should be a reminder to us all. The reason is that when there is no incentive for people to get ahead, there is no incentive for them to contribute either. Everyone has to share equally, right? Eventually, everyone does share equally because everyone is equally poor.  Well, not everyone.  We forget sometimes that regardless of whether a society has capitalism, socialism, fascism or communism, there always has to be a ruling class. There always has to be a 1%.

 

“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples’ money.”
– Margaret Thatcher