Is America on the path to becoming a socialist nation? As we approach another presidential election, the Democrat candidates are ever-increasingly calling for programs and policies that are undeniably socialist. Senator Bernie Sanders calls himself a socialist and enjoys the support and favor of his Democrat colleagues. At the tip of the spear for socialism in America is Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), a member of the Democrat Socialist Party. Last week Ms. Ocasio-Cortez unveiled her vaunted Green New Deal, complete with the details of how Democrats plan to reach its goals in a mere 10 years. It came in the form of a resolution, sponsored in the Senate by Massachusetts’ Edward Markey, on which AOC is determined to force a full House and Senate vote. That means every elected Democrat in Washington will get to go on record regarding this socialist agenda.
Socialist programs are expensive. In countries such as some European nations, Cuba, Venezuela, and the former Soviet Union, socialism costs up to 70% of a nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). By comparison, government programs of all varieties in the USA account for about 20% of the nation’s GDP. The Gross Domestic Product measures the value of economic activity within a country. Strictly defined, GDP is the sum of the market values, or prices, of all final goods and services produced in an economy during a period of time.
Estimates for the Green New Deal (there is no official calculation as to costs) put it in the range of 7 trillion dollars. Presently, the American GDP is 19.4 trillion dollars. The New Green Deal would cost at a minimum, over one-third of our GDP. The last time the U.S. spent that percentage of the GDP was in the last two years of World War II, 1943 to 1945.
Among other things, the Green New Deal calls for limiting or abolishing air travel, as well as the internal combustion engine, eliminating millions of jobs for the production, parts, sales, and maintenance of automobiles. In place of cars and planes she proposes a nationwide high-speed rail system. Laughably, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s “deal” would destroy the cattle industry due to methane gas produced by cow’s digestive flatulence. The resolution would mandate all American homeowners to retrofit their houses to 100% renewable energy; it requires demolishing or re-fitting every commercial and government building, so they are powered by renewable energy (wind, solar, etc.). Under the delusional proposal, the government is charged with providing free healthcare and secondary education—not a green energy idea but thrown into her proposal as it fits her all-encompassing socialist agenda. In the first draft of the Green New Deal, it called for providing every American a livable income, even for those who are “unwilling” to work.
Ocasio-Cortez’s plan would demand raising multiple trillions of dollars in taxes. However, with fewer people working under this program, tax revenues would actually decrease. Ocasio-Cortez dismisses questions about how to pay for her program; to her that is irrelevant. However, she has lauded several times a tax rate of seventy percent or higher. This type of government program has wrecked several national economies, notably Greece, Venezuela, and the former Soviet Union.
The concept of communism is tied directly to socialism. The root of the word suggests that everyone would have all things in common. Attempts to dress up socialism and downplay its communist attributes have not worked. They are connected at the root, historically and practically. Both philosophies espouse common ownership of property under the auspices of the government. Both involve state control of wealth, social services, and the production of goods and services. It also became quickly apparent in nations that tried it that there was still private wealth and the control of very valuable property. However, the wealth and property became the domain of a select group of socialist leaders. It was the penultimate redistribution of wealth. Ironically, elitism has always been foundational to socialism.
Socialism, this panacea where everyone has everything in common and all live fairly and happily, has become the nightmare of government control and oppression everywhere it exists. Socialism—morally, politically, and historically—is the antithesis of the principles on which the United States was founded.
Socialism, and the tenets of the Green New Deal, is also a threat to national security. The exorbitant price tag of socialist programs invariably curtails a nation’s ability to pay for its defense. For example, the collapse of the Soviet Union was brought about in part because, during the Reagan Administration, the Soviets could not afford to keep pace with the United States as we increased defense spending. Their socialist/communist society bled their economy; we simply outspent them, and they collapsed. Part of the reason that our NATO allies in Europe have had difficulty paying the required mere 2 percent of their GDP for their own defense is tied directly to the cost of their expansive socialist programs.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, lauded by Democrat presidential candidates Booker, Harris, and Warren, are all reminders that socialism and its admirers are still with us. In a survey, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VCMF) found that 44% of Millennials would prefer to live in a socialist country, compared to 42% who would choose a capitalist nation. Seven percent of those surveyed would choose an actual communist form of government.
Examining the report of the VCMF, one might ask how can it be that “America’s largest generation would prefer to live in a socialist or communist society than in a free enterprise system that respects the rule of law, private property, and limited government. This is even more disconcerting when coupled with the fact that, despite Millennials’ enthusiasm for socialism and communism, they do not, in fact, know what those terms mean.”
Our young people are not steeped in history. Classes in Civics, required in high schools a generation ago, are no more. The history and political science classes offered by progressive professors in an ever left-leaning academia do not even attempt to be unbiased. In many universities, indoctrination has replaced education. It explains why so many of self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist Bernie Sander’s supporters two years ago were young people; it is how Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went from being a New York City bartender to a member of Congress who is the darling of the Left and of the mainstream media. It is illustrated by Senator Elizabeth Warren in her comments about the free enterprise system.
Individual liberty necessarily entails private endeavor, with the possibility of success as well as failure. There are both risks and rewards. We are guaranteed life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We are guaranteed equal opportunity not equal results. We have the opportunity, with sacrifice and hard work, to control our destiny. Obtaining some measure of financial security, or even wealth, is a possibility. It is not a right.
We live in the greatest nation on earth. As the Declaration of Independence reminds us, we “are endowed, by our Creator, with certain unalienable Rights.” But as the late-President Ronald Reagan reminded us, we are never more than one generation away from losing this great experiment in democracy and the American dream. Our form of government and our way of life are not passed from generation to generation genetically. It must be taught, exemplified and defended. We are not perfect. But we are unique. And we must never be a socialist country.
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