The Willful Blindness of Socialism

-edited

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez puts her foot in her mouth once again.

In a telling interview with Pod Save America released yesterday, current leftist darling and Democratic House candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gave a telling non-answer to the question of how she proposes to pay for her avowedly socialist agenda of “housing, healthcare, and education for all.” So Ms. Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t whine that I’m not playing fair, I’ll provide the entire relevant part of her statement. After sputtering for a moment, she answers:

“You know, they say 'how are you gonna pay for it,' as though they haven’t used these same ways to pay for unlimited wars, to pay for trillion-dollar tax cuts and tax cut extensions. They use these mechanisms to pay for these things all the time. They only want to know . . . It just seems like their pockets are only empty when we’re talking about education and investing in human capital in the United States: education, healthcare, housing, and investing in the middle class. All of a sudden, you know, there’s nothing left. All of the sudden, the wealthiest nation in the world, we’re just totally scarce. We have complete scarcity when it comes to the things that are most important. And so for me, I think it belies a lack of moral priority and it’s unfortunate.”

Notice how she completely fails to address the question, preferring instead to bring up tired, overwrought falsities about “unlimited wars” and “complete scarcity.” I don’t envy the mugging reality will give Ms. Ocasio-Cortez if she wins her election.

The hyperbole Ms. Ocasio-Cortez employs points to a fundamental truth. Socialism is what happens when those who have given up on God seek to solve the problem of poverty. They turn to the most powerful deity they still believe in – the federal government. Socialism is also a form of moral laziness: if the almighty government will provide, private people don’t need to take initiative and offer charity toward “the least of these.”

Beyond the revealed moral bankruptcy of socialism, however, socialists like Ms. Ocasio-Cortez are consistently less than forthright about how they will pay for their massive government programs. This is objectively a problem for the socialist agenda, and even some on the left are beginning to realize it. Take, for instance, a left-wing publication like Vox running an article estimating the cost of instituting socialism – based on numbers from left-leaning organizations – at $42.5 trillion over its first decade. Paying for socialism would require slashing defense spending down to 2% of GDP (the same level as most European nations) and raising federal taxes to astronomical levels.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s answer to this conundrum is to propose, in jumbled and near-incoherent fashion, that the current federal funding arrangement be obliterated entirely to make way for a bright new socialist dawn. Goodbye, tax cuts! So long, military might! Instead, we’ll have government-provided services as far as the eye can see. Never mind how we'll pay for them, because that’s just the proper “moral priority."

It’s glaringly obvious that socialism is financially ruinous. I have to believe, then, that even the socialists know their agenda will cost more than they can muster. One must then wonder why they persist.

My best guess? If they’re young socialists, they probably lack a basic understanding of economics, labor markets, and policymaking in general. They also likely have minimal sympathy for the average American. See, for instance, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s faceplant a few weeks ago on Firing Line, or her embarrassingly out-of-touch statement today about soccer moms.

If the socialists in question do understand economics, then I expect they’re actually pushing their ridiculous proposals as a way of destabilizing our current economic and governmental institutions – which is the ultimate goal of any socialist program. Socialists believe they have to start society over, and thus they must destroy everything.

Socialism and its devotees pose an existential threat to America as we know it. Thank goodness that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is an anomaly, and most avowed socialists (like failed Michigan gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed) still seem to be losing their bids for office.

For decades, conservatives have struggled to overcome the supposed moral high ground that socialists claim by labeling things people want as “rights” and painting conservatives as evil monsters who want to take them away. Sadly, responding entirely with reason and facts to such nonsense won’t win the day. If it did, all conservatives would have to do is point to the modern-day socialist utopia of Venezuela.

But conservatives can win hearts and minds at the same time by appealing to the insane cost of socialism. It is an undisputed fact that instituting a socialist agenda in America will require burdensome taxes on everyone, replacing the freedom to spend your money how you choose with forced reliance on inevitably broken big-government welfare programs.

Every American will be hurt by socialism. We cannot allow its proponents to take power.

Comments
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technophobe
technophobe

Not sure I agree with the author.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is actually answering the question: she plans to pay for her programs via deficit spending (i.e. borrow money). And yes, that is how we "pay" for many things (yes, including the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. and the most recent round of tax cuts!)

I don't believe in some of these socialist programs because I don't believe in blowing up the deficit like that. But it is ironic how most of our Republican representatives only care about the debt/deficit when it comes to programs they don't like but are perfectly happy to run trillion dollar deficits when that money is financing Trump tax cuts, increased military spending, etc.

E.E. Bokbok
E.E. Bokbok

We already pay for anybody who comes up to an ER sick in this country, we pay for the care of the elderly, we give free food to the poor, etc. etc. etc.

So we already have "socialism" here in the USA and have done so for the last half century.

And oh look, we didn't become Venezuela.

And neither did all of the developed European countries like Holland and Germany and France and England. Neither did Japan and South Korea. Neither did Australia (who Trump reminded us has a way better health insurance system than ours).

But the author's point about the Republicans giving up on trying to convince the population using democracy is well-taken.

The GOP espoused "trickle-down economics" in the 80s. They tried very hard to convince people that tax cuts for the rich are better for everybody. They might have had a point or two here and there, but suffice it to say they gave up trying to convince anybody and moved on to Plan B, which is to cobble together underrepresented groups like racists and gun enthusiasts and forced them to make friends with each other.

Now that that plan is starting to blow up, they are on to Plan C, which is to eliminate democracy entirely. Step one was systemic gerrymandering, then voter suppression laws, and now an all-out assault on our democratic institutions like the DOJ, FBI, etc.

Next step is to fully equate Russia's legal status with our own. Trump pushed a little too hard last month and freaked enough Republicans out that it didn't stick, but he'll keep trying. The next Congress will be 100% Trump-approved Republicans. If they have a majority then Helsinki-like performances will no longer be criticized by the party in power.

FreeMkts
FreeMkts

I could respect these people more if they would just announce that there will be massive tax hikes on everyone, not just the rich and evil corporations. At least FDR created the FICA tax to pay for SS. You want it? You pay for it!

esotericwy
esotericwy

Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Brian Riedl points out in glorious black and white exactly what the FREE STUFF being offered by the Democratic Socialite (oxymoron) Senator Bernie Sanders and the new rising starlet of the Left Ms. Ocasio-Cortez will in the Real World cost. The FREE STUFF is not free but has a Budget smashing outcome. The following proves that:

Expanding Social Security like Bernie Sanders wants costs $188 billion. 12 weeks of paid family leave costs $270 billion. Sanders’ single-payer health care plan costs $32 trillion. A more moderate version of Ocasio-Cortez’s and Senate Democrats’ guaranteed jobs plan will cost $6.8 trillion. Senate Democrats’ infrastructure plan will cost $1 trillion. Paying off student loan debt will cost $1.4 trillion. The total cost to the National Operating Debt will a mere $42,500,000,000,000 (trillion) over a 10 year period and within 30 years require 50% of GDP. Taxpayers are you ready to open your wallets wide tallow the Federal government to invade?

The consequences of the FREE STUFF for everybody will impact ever American citizen and those consequences mainly unintended are very severe. Mr. Riedl then goes on to point out "Under the most generous assumptions possible, liberal proposals would cut $8.5 trillion on the spending side. To begin with, state governments no longer burdened with health care costs would save $4.1 trillion, according to the Urban Institute. The popular leftist goal of slashing defense spending down to Europe’s target of 2 percent of GDP, for which there is no plausible blueprint, would nonetheless save $1.9 trillion if achieved, according to CBO data. Charitably assuming that the jobs guarantee would reduce antipoverty spending by one-quarter would save $2.5 trillion.

Paying for the remaining $34 trillion would require nearly doubling federal tax revenues (emphasis added).

Therefore choosing what is behind doors 1, 2 or 3 have the exact same results.

There will be no hanging on to your wallets. We, the People will see

Seize “roughly 100 percent of all corporate profits as well as 100 percent of all family wage income and pass-through business income above the thresholds of $90,000 (single) or $150,000 (married), and absurdly [assume] they all continue working.” Pass a value-added tax at a rate of 87 percent. Create a new payroll tax of 37 percent on top of the current 15.3 percent payroll tax. Hike income taxes across the board by 15 percent to pay for current federal programs. This is what Democratic Socialism will look like in the USA. Obama was not hiding his real intent when he forecasted the "fundamental transformation of America".

Are you ready?

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