you wanted to turn the United States of America into a socialist country, what strategy would you adopt?
Joseph Stalin, the world’s top communist from 1924 to 1953, is reputed to have
advocated the following strategy to William Z. Foster, leader of the Communist
Party U.S.A.: “Work for more government intervention and control of the
business activities of the people. In this way the American people will accept
Communism without knowing it.”
would be pleased with the trend in America since he dispensed that advice. He would be positively
delighted with the recent partial nationalizations of the housing, mortgage,
financial, and insurance industries during the Crash of 2008. He would be even
more thrilled by the future prospects for socialism in America.
Democrats seem to have found the perfect strategy to replace free markets with
government control. Their game plan is now clear: to move incrementally but
inexorably from capitalism (free markets) to socialism (government control of
first stage in that transition, the proverbial nose of the camel under the
tent, was accomplished by earlier generations of politicians, primarily
Democratic. It was to condition Americans to view government as a player, rather
than a referee, in all sorts of previously private markets. That is, sell the
voters on a government program for some worthy cause—nothing as radical as
total government control, but simply as a supplementary aid in some important
area of life, such as retirement, health care, housing, energy. Thus, Social
Security was created to put a modest floor under Americans’ retirement income;
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to help poorer Americans afford homes; Medicare and
Medicaid to help seniors and the poor afford medical care; the Federal Deposit
Insurance Corp. to insure bank deposits; the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. to
insure pensions, etc., etc., etc.
second stage in creeping socialism is to keep expanding government programs.
This is easy in a democracy. Understanding the political dynamic so pithily
summarized by the great playwright (and socialist) George Bernard Shaw—“The
government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of
Paul”—the politicians who want greater government control carry the day. The
party of Bigger Government—the Democrats—has skillfully employed demagoguery
against all who dare question the wisdom or long-term financial viability of
such programs, shamelessly and unfairly denouncing them as heartless and uncaring.
This Democratic and democratic pressure intimidates some Republicans to become
“pragmatists” who acquiesce in fiscally unsustainable policies. The result has
been that Congress has repeatedly increased the vote-buying benefits, while
avoiding the prudent, but politically unpopular, steps of maintaining programs
on a solid financial footing.
brings us to the present. Today’s Democrats—some crypto-socialists, others not
bashful about showing their socialist stripes—actually desire the fiscal mismanagement
that bankrupts federal programs, because it precipitates stage three of their
strategy: the crisis stage. During a crisis, the choice becomes whether to shut
down the insolvent program, or to rescue the program since so many Americans
have become dependent upon it. Few Republicans are willing to tell scared
Americans that government can’t help them during an emergency (e.g.,
President Bush during the current crisis), and that gives rise to stage four.
fourth stage of socialism on the installment plan has dawned in 2008. It is
rescuing programs in the crisis stage by nationalizing them. You can choose to
believe that Congress was taken by surprise by the looming bankruptcy of Fannie
Mae and Freddie Mac, but it wasn’t. I wouldn’t be surprised if Barney Frank and
other leading Democrats, who successfully blocked earlier Republican attempts
to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, uncorked champagne bottles when Uncle Sam
became the largest mortgage holder and de facto landlord in the country
by nationalizing the bankrupt mortgage giants. They will celebrate again when
the federal Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation goes broke and Uncle Sam
nationalizes private pensions. Ditto for when the Federal Deposit Insurance
Corporation some day runs out of funds and banks have to be nationalized.
looming in the future are the Big Three of precariously under-funded future
liabilities: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The Democrats are playing
a giant game of chicken as these three programs march inexorably toward
insolvency—Medicare alone being under-funded by $36 trillion for the next 65
years. Democrats reject all attempts to reform these programs and put them on a
sounder financial footing. When George Bush suggested private accounts as part of
a possible reform, the Democrats went berserk. Being socialistic, they are as
terrified of private property as Dracula is of a cross. We were given a peek of
the future of Social Security in October when Congressman George Miller (D-CA)
held hearings that included discussion of nationalizing Americans’ IRAs.
the frog who doesn’t realize it is being boiled until it is too late to jump
out of the pot, at some point during the ongoing government takeover of
Americans’ businesses and wealth, we could wake up in a new country.
the Democratic strategy succeed? Having just been swept into power on a wave of
expectations epitomized by the Sarasota woman who exulted, “I won’t have to worry about putting
gas in my car. I won’t have to worry about paying my mortgage. If I help
(Obama), he’s gonna help me.”—the Democrats are in the driver’s seat. We who
believe in free markets have our work cut out for us.