Newsweek: Celebrating America as a New, Socialist France
By: Warner Todd Huston
Newsweek’s Jon Meacham and Evan Thomas are tired of all this talk of socialism. We need to stop talking about yesterday’s news, they say, and embrace the great new fact that America is already a socialist country. They chortle that America is just like France. Meacham and Thomas chide Sean Hannity for using socialism as a dirty word because it “seems strangely beside the point.” The pair is enthusiastic about our new American socialist society!
We are a European country and we like it, claim the Newsweek duo. Unfortunately, they seem to misunderstand so very much about what they speak.
One of the worst tactics that the morally bankrupt use to justify an argument is that of moral equivalence. This Newsweek article employs this strategy at nearly every turn. For instance, the piece chides Republicans for the excess of the Bush years as some sort of balm on our turn to socialism.
There it was, just before the commercial: the S word, a favorite among conservatives since John McCain began using it during the presidential campaign. (Remember Joe the Plumber? Sadly, so do we.) But it seems strangely beside the point. The U.S. government has already–under a conservative Republican administration–effectively nationalized the banking and mortgage industries…
…but it was, again, under a conservative GOP administration that we enacted the largest expansion of the welfare state in 30 years: prescription drugs for the elderly. People on the right and the left want government to invest in alternative energies in order to break our addiction to foreign oil. And it is unlikely that even the reddest of states will decline federal money for infrastructural improvements.
Of course, it was amusing for them to take a jab at Joe the Plumber and telling that his wild media ride made them “sad.” After all, his emergence as Obama’s foil was Obama’s worst foot-shooting episode of the campaign. It was where Obama admitted he was basically a Marxist in base political ideology. No wonder Thomas and Meacham hated Joe. He made their messiah look the fool.
But also notice how they use the Bush-did-it-too argument as if this somehow justifies a further tumble away from American principles and toward European soft communism? No, gentlemen, it was not OK that Bush nationalized banks and enlarged the welfare state. So it is not OK that we continue it.
Further more, to say that the States won’t refuse federal money for “infrastructural improvements” so this justifies more socialism is absurd. The two act as if the feds just hand out money for free and that the states aren’t obligated to supply money beforehand. This is clearly ignorant of the process. In fact, it is almost impossible to refuse the federal money because it is OUR money we’d all be refusing! The money does not belong to the federal government in the first place. Apparently Thomas and Meacham don’t understand this.
Then the pair advocate for resignation instead of a righting of the ship:
If we fail to acknowledge the reality of the growing role of government in the economy, insisting instead on fighting 21st-century wars with 20th-century terms and tactics, then we are doomed to a fractious and unedifying debate. The sooner we understand where we truly stand, the sooner we can think more clearly about how to use government in today’s world.
This is like a soldier throwing down his weapon and refusing to fight because he’s just going to get killed anyway! Give up the quest of returning our nation to its proper moorings, Newsweek? Why should we do this, merely because the socialists now have the upper hand?
Then the two resort to panic and fear to cajole the reader.
As the Obama administration presses the largest fiscal bill in American history, caps the salaries of executives at institutions receiving federal aid at $500,000 and introduces a new plan to rescue the banking industry, the unemployment rate is at its highest in 16 years. The Dow has slumped to 1998 levels, and last year mortgage foreclosures rose 81 percent.
So, MORE government, BIGGER government, is the solution? Where do these fools get this nonsense? This more-government plan has never once in the history of mankind ever worked. It has not worked in this country, either. Not in the 1930s under FDR, or the 1970s under Nixon, nor will it today.
Then the Newsweekers again use the Bush-did-it meme by expanding upon all the horrible fiscal policies that Bush indulged in. Yes, the pair is undoubtedly correct. Bush’s domestic agenda was his absolute worst feature in many, but not all, ways.
But, again, Bush’s failed fiscal mess is not a justification for Obama to make it worse by going deeper into this pit of anti-capitalist, unAmerican policies. Not only that, but Newsweek â€˜s ignoring of the Democratâ€™s hands in this mess is a glaring and partisanly obvious omission.
Finally, the piece gets the analysis wrong on how we got here.
Now comes the reckoning. The answer may indeed be more government. In the short run, since neither consumers nor business is likely to do it, the government will have to stimulate the economy. And in the long run, an aging population and global warming and higher energy costs will demand more government taxing and spending. The catch is that more government intrusion in the economy will almost surely limit growth (as it has in Europe, where a big welfare state has caused chronic high unemployment). Growth has always been America’s birthright and saving grace.
The Obama administration is caught in a paradox. It must borrow and spend to fix a crisis created by too much borrowing and spending. Having pumped the economy up with a stimulus, the president will have to cut the growth of entitlement spending by holding down health care and retirement costs and still invest in ways that will produce long-term growth. Obama talks of the need for smart government. To get the balance between America and France right, the new president will need all the smarts he can summon.
All completely wrong. We got into this mess largely because of government meddling in the economy, and because of regulations, policies and agencies that have no business existing in a capitalist society in the first place.
Undoubtedly, we are in one of those cycles of the “destructive” phase of the “creative destruction” that IS capitalism, the only economic model that is best for man. But, it is called a cycle because it comes and goes, not because it is permanently affixed to the here and now. Our financial system allowed itself to get corrupt. It is now paying the price. But, government was the baneful influence that pushed our economic system over the edge. The way we all interact in economic endeavors will right itself without government help. It always does.
So, no Newsweek, more socialistic meddling is not the solution. And Meacham and Thomas are as wrong as wrong could be. We don’t need to shrug our shoulders and sigh in resignation because socialism is already here. We need to destroy it and return our system to its capitalist base.