Ahead of the 2020 election, Americans have a clear, blunt, and logical message for all the presidential hopefuls: Get your socialism out of our government programs. That’s about as intellectually consistent as Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) grievance over “too many sneakers” while owning three properties. But this is the type of polling that the Democrats are paying attention to.
We’re Not Socialists – Promise!
Whoever emerges from the Democratic primary in 2020 and beyond, they will have a unique presidential campaign slogan: “I’m Not a Socialist, But …” Despite socialism’s growing popularity in America today, many politicians on the left are fearful of coming out of the ideological closet, opting instead for making dubious claims about being a progressive or advancing modern capitalism.
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) revealed to MSNBC that “I am not a socialist, I am a Democrat.” Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) told CNN: “I’m a progressive Democrat. I am a Democrat, I’m a proud Democrat. I’m not a socialist.” Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) declared that he is a capitalist, not a socialist. Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA), an heir to the Kennedy throne that will inevitably lead to a White House run in the next decade, demanded the U.S. adopt moral capitalism.
The truth is obvious. They want the various hallmarks of “the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy” without having to come out and say it. Indeed, it is a case of “having cake and eating it too,” and the proletariat always gets the cake crumbs under socialism.
While they might not be socialists in the traditional sense – the nationalization of industry – the 2020 contenders do accept many of its modern-day principles. From instituting Medicare for All to mandating profit-sharing in the private sector, several of the Democratic frontrunners are promoting themselves as centrists: middle of the road folk who want what they perceive as the best of both worlds.
Middle of the Road
As legendary economist Ludwig von Mises told the University Club of New York in April 1950, middle of the road policies – the third way – always lead to socialism. Why? Because their proposals remain interventionist, using manipulative language about the benefits of markets and entrepreneurship while simultaneously decrying its excess and inequity.
“The interventionists emphasize that they plan to retain private ownership of the means of production, entrepreneurship and market exchange. But, they go on to say, it is peremptory to prevent these capitalist institutions from spreading havoc and unfairly exploiting the majority of people. It is the duty of government to restrain, by orders and prohibitions, the greed of the propertied classes lest their acquisitiveness harm the poorer classes. Unhampered or laissez-faire capitalism is an evil.”
Taxes beget taxes. Regulations beget regulations. Government begets government.
For instance, the Democrats’ soak-the-rich policies are front and center of the party platform. This has generated widespread support among the electorate, but what happens when the affluent, which already pay most of the nation’s tab, flee the country and tell lawmakers “you won’t have us to kick around anymore”? Well, to ensure big government continues to take care of you from cradle to grave, someone has to pay the bill, and it is going to be Phil, the sales representative making $60,000 a year with a wife and two kids; or Janet, the store manager earning $50,000 who takes care of her ill grandmother.
Frustrated by their declining living standards, Phil and Janet will demand that the government do more. The state acquiesces, offering free stuff that will be marketed as rights, like health care, free child care, prescription drugs – even a massage chair to alleviate the tension. Before you know it, the government is enlarged and bigger than it was one, five, and 10 years ago.
Meanwhile, when the likes of Phil and Janet are tapped out, the state will find another group to target – small businesses, property owners, or anyone else who seems to have more than the average person. That’s how socialism works: identifying the other so you know who to hate and justify the theft.
Dems Still Bad News
Even if the Democrats shied away from socialism on the campaign trail, there is no guarantee they would not tergiversate and bring the visions of Sen. Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to life once in power. Many of these Oval Office hopefuls have already praised the socialist-esque Green New Deal. That alone should immediately disqualify someone from public office. The next time another Democratic candidate swears that they are not socialist, find out if they are crossing their fingers behind their backs.