February 19, 2009

SHHHHHH....YOU'LL INTERRUPT THEIR FEVER DREAMS:

We're Not Heading to Socialism (Robert Brent Toplin , 2/23/09, HNN)

The leading socialists of earlier American history, such as Edward Bellamy, Daniel De Leon, and Eugene Debs, would be surprised to hear that the emergency measures advocated by Obama and leaders in Congress constitute socialism. Bellamy, De Leon, and Debs differed vigorously on details but agreed on essentials. As socialists, they wanted to make the U.S. government owner and manager of some of the great corporations. Those socialists aimed to nationalize large businesses, because they judged capitalism corrupt, exploitative, and oppressive.

Today’s advocates of strong federal action do not share that enthusiasm for replacing capitalism with socialism. They understand that the free enterprise system is vastly superior to one based on state-run industries. And they are not enthusiastic about investing public funds in failing businesses to give them temporary protection from a meltdown. Socialists, by contrast, eagerly sought a permanent role for government as owner and manager of the great industries.

Obama, the Democrats, and some Republicans agreed to let the government take a financial stake in AIG, auto companies, and troubled banks as well as a larger commitment to Fannie Mae because those institutions were teetering. Eventually, some banks may need to be nationalized (temporarily) so that collapse can be prevented, toxic assets can be removed from their balance sheets, and depositors are protected.

We have been here before – in the 1980s -- when the government managed temporary rescues of the savings and loan associations.

Leaders in Washington are pouring public money into troubled institutions in order to save them for capitalism, not to transform them into socialist enterprises.


Mr. Debs, he dead.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at February 19, 2009 8:00 AM
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