Socialism used to be a bad word, because everyone knew it meant legalized THEFT.
If you called Obama a socialist a few years ago, you were marginalized as a paranoid and obviously racist wingnut.
You didn’t understand that American Big Government is compassionate and necessary, and not in any way similar to an ideology that butchered countless millions of people in the 20th century.
Fast forward a few years, and it’s socially acceptable to call yourself a socialist.
There are so many books discrediting socialism, in all of its various forms, that consolidating my favorite arguments against it is actually difficult. It’s like compiling the best arguments against medical bloodletting. Where the hell do I start?
In case you run into anyone who’s feeling the Bern, here’s the ointment.
1) Putting “democratic” in front of “socialism” doesn’t fool anyone.
In Socialist America, we wouldn’t have gulags (for awhile), but we’d have more corporate sensitivity training. We wouldn’t have mass starvation, but we’d have health care rationing, 75% top tax rates, and a brain drain.
Look at Bill de Blasio’s war with Uber for a preview of what a socialist president could do for American innovation.
Democratically electing a socialist nincompoop won’t legitimize a set of objectively bad ideas.
2) America’s semi-socialist experiments are a series of disasters.
Lefties tell us that because we have military spending and roads and bridges, America is a already a fundamentally socialist country.
They say we have socialism for the rich, and now it’s time to equalize things and enact socialism for the poor.
They’re alluding to the bank bailouts, which they don’t seem to understand have already been repaid, with interest. The Treasury has made a profit of $65.3 billion from the bailouts.
For the sake of the argument, I’ll accept that government intervention into the economy constitutes socialism. Now let’s examine the record of some of our other socialist experiments:
- Social security: $8 trillion in unfunded liabilities
- Medicare: $23 trillion in unfunded liabilities
- Medicaid: $35 trillion in unfunded liabilities
- War on Poverty: $22 trillion spent as of 2014, with about $1 trillion spent per year on welfare programs (the poverty rate is about the same as it was when the WOP started)
- Obamacare: Even liberal Huffpost admits Obama’s signature achievement is collapsing under its own unintended consequences
- VA health system: This government-run medical system is a disaster, subjecting veterans to ridiculous wait lists and subpar treatment
- Post Office: Even Bernie Sanders has complained about the post office, apparently missing the irony that his platforms would turn America into one giant post office
- Infrastructure: America has a D+ infrastructure rating, which would quickly change if we privatized it (like we did with railroads, water services, and power services)
- Stimulus: Obama’s $800 billion redistribution project cost up to $4 million per job “saved or created,” with 10% going to cover Medicare/Medicaid shortfalls and only 5% spent on infrastructure
If you think the solution to this mess is more socialism, then you should probably quit your job and make Bernie posters.
3) Inequality created by free markets isn’t a moral issue.
Apparently it’s absurd that the person who started Walmart is rich, and that he shared his wealth with his family.
Young socialists love Steve Jobs because he created their favorite technology. He was such a nice guy, he probably would have created Apple out of the kindness of his own heart.
Economic ignorance aside, the obsession with inequality is a mental disorder that threatens to undermine our country.
Right now, a young person is eating ramen noodles and drawing up plans for the next Apple. Maybe it’s a technology that will make flying cars feasible, or a digital disease detector that will reduce Obamacare-induced waitlists. This person is the driver of progress, not regulators and haters.
Before blindly accepting that American inequality is a moral issue, consider the characteristics of the American poor, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau:
- The average poor American has more living space than the average non-poor Swede
- 96% of poor children never feel hungry for lack of food
- 9.5% of poor people live in mobile homes, 50% live in houses, 40% live in apartments, and the vast majority of poor homes aren’t in need of repairs
- 70% of poor homes have more than two rooms per person
- The majority of poor families have video games and over a third have plasma or LCD TVs
That’s a piss poor definition of poor.
4) Government created the inequality that the left cries about.
This chart is taken from Bernie’s website.
What he doesn’t tell you is that it’s pre-tax and pre-benefit, ignoring the effects of the progressive tax system.
More importantly, it treats unrealized capital gains as income.
The top one percent keeps the vast majority of its money in the stock market. People with less money usually opt for CDs, which pay very little at low interest rates.
The stock market has increased in value by $40 trillion since 2009 because the Fed has kept interest rates low. Equities added $55 for every $1 gained by workers during this period.
This has nothing to do with a conspiracy by the billionaire class to steal people’s money.
This has everything to do with the policies of the Federal Reserve.
5) Only the rich pay taxes.
The top 1% also employs a disproportionate number of the bottom 99%. Policies that hurt the top 1% are going to be passed on to the rest of the population, usually in the form of lower wages and unemployment.
It’s true that some rich people take advantage of tax loopholes. This doesn’t change the fact that rich people pay the lion’s share of taxes.
The solution to loopholes isn’t to make the tax code more complex, it’s to tear the whole thing down and institute a flat tax.
6) Poor people can’t consume if rich people can’t invest.
“Poor people spend money and help the economy, while rich people hoard money that sits in bank accounts.”
This is the biggest canard in recent history. Money never sits idly in banks. It always gets lent out to businesses that make production, and therefore consumption, possible.
The idea that demand drives the economy is a joke. People don’t know what they want until it’s been produced. Did you have demand for an iPhone 20 years ago?
No money in banks, no investment, no iPhones.
Even if a rich playboy lives a self-destructive lifestyle, the money in his bank account funds new businesses that produce new things.
If we liquidated every single American’s financial assets and redistributed them equally, we’d give about $40k to every citizen. A one-year carnival of consumption would then literally give way to the zombie apocalypse.
7) Democratic socialism ignores incentive structures.
Socialists assume that rewarding laziness creates wealth. They assume that if we tax something at 100%, its quantity won’t be affected and the government will receive 100% of it, forever.
Taxing cigarettes have successfully reduced smoking. Why would we expect a different result from taxing work?
People won’t stop working, but they’ll sure as hell move out of the country.
The left always fails to anticipate the results of its policies.
Example: Bernie’s plan to fund free college for all by taxing stock market trades would actually lose money for the government. It would result in fewer trades, more stock market volatility, and less college for all.
If everyone understood the following, no one would be a democratic socialist:
- Before taxes can bring in revenue, producers have to expect to keep their profits
- Before the “national pie” can be divided, it must be produced by individuals (who are deterred by taxes, regulations, and of course socialism)
- Before $15 an hour can be demanded as a fundamental right, companies must be able to actually pay workers that wage (since they don’t, minimum wage laws result in unemployment)
- Before corporate taxes and regulations can benefit government, newer and smaller companies must be free to compete with more established corporations
This last point is huge. Democratic socialism makes the corporate system more “rigged,” because it infuses more government into the existing system. More regulation means higher overhead costs that can only be absorbed by large corporations. Instead of nationalizing the means of production (or just leaving it alone), Big Government gets into bed with Big Business.
Democratic socialism means more cronyism, not less.
8) The push for “free college” is about mass indoctrination.
I recently heard someone on a liberal news outlet complaining about “Christian people telling kids that socialism doesn’t work.”
What about the 90% of college professors telling kids that it does?
Democratic socialists are upset that they can’t get ahead in life with their gender studies degrees. College in America is four years of hedonism combined with Marxist brainwashing.
Free tuition is the best way for the left to increase its ranks at the expense of society. The left is happy to turn student debt into national debt, as long as it produces more hostility towards capitalism and more social justice warriors.
9) Democratic socialism in Scandinavia is a mirage.
Democratic socialists want to remodel America on the social democracies of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland.
Three inconvenient truths about the Scandinavian countries:
- They tax the crap out of their middle classes to pay for their welfare states
- In the past two decades, they have been reducing the size of government
- They have significantly lower corporate tax rates than we do
More Viking facts:
- Sweden began as a capitalist success, experimented with 100% tax rates in the 1970s (the IKEA founder left the country in 1973), and has now been moving away from socialism for two decades
- Denmark is also moving away from its crumbling welfare state
- Finland is a near-bankrupt welfare state, and its economy is entirely dependent on tourism and immigration
- Norway utilizes offshore drilling (!) to produce twice as much oil per person (250 barrels) as Saudi Arabia; it has also been cutting government spending for the past two decades and has a regressive tax system in which the rich pay less in taxes than the middle class
We should emulate Scandinavia by dismantling failed War on Poverty programs.
10) Democratic socialism endangers freedom of speech.
Any Bernie fan who’s gotten this far is probably hoping that this website gets pulled off the web by a federal regulator.
Once you accept the premise that the government should seize people’s stuff for the common good, it’s not a stretch to start calling for government regulation of people’s speech.
This already happens in Sweden, where it’s illegal to speak out against Muslim immigration.
It’s no coincidence that most of Bernie’s young fans are inclined toward social justice.
The war to end inequality goes hand in hand with the war on hate speech. The latter is an Orwellian term that includes all speech that is at odds with left-wing identity politics.
Example: CNN’s Chris Cuomo apparently thinks the Constitution bans hate speech made by individuals.
Cuomo is obviously wrong, but his sentiments are shared by millions of little lefties.
If democratic socialism comes to America, they’ll get their anti-speech laws just as easily as they steal the mic from sympathetic Bernie.