By Anita Finlay ("Ani") on April 18, 2010 at 8:30 PM in Austan Goolsbee, Bailouts, Bank Bailouts, Bank Failure, Current Affairs, Earmarks, Elitism, George Bush, National Debt, Obama Administration, Obama's Broken Promises, President Barack Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Toxic Assets, Wall Street
CNN’s John Blake posted an article the other day that is just too rich to let pass without comment. CNN, certainly very Obama-friendly, was probably trying to do our President a solid by posting this piece in an effort to prove to the Tea Party activists and others who are not fans of Mr. Obama’s policies that he is not — yikes — a Socialist! So Blake interviewed an authority on the matter…
According to CNN, when it comes to the passage of the new health care bill…
[Billy] Wharton, co-chair of the Socialist Party USA, sees no reason to celebrate. He’s seen people with bumper stickers and placards that call Obama a socialist, and he has a message for them: Obama isn’t a socialist. He’s not even a liberal.
“We didn’t see a great victory with the election of Barack Obama,” Wharton says, “and we certainly didn’t see our agenda move from the streets to the White House.”
Obama’s opponents have long described him as a socialist. But what do actual socialists think about Obama? Not much, says Wharton.
And here is where CNN shares a doozy and my second favorite line of the entire article. According to Mr. Wharton:
“He’s the president whose main goal is to protect the wealth of the richest 5 percent of Americans.”
Ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding !!!! Bingo! You win the prize. Corporate bailouts. Crony capitalism. “Too big to fail policies” that encourage Wall Street thugs who have been reckless to continue said behavior knowing they will get bailed out when they fail again. A health insurance plan to benefit Big Insurance and Big Phrma, bailing out mis-managed car companies….
Mr. Obama is a corporatist.
One of his biggest economic advisors is Austan Goolsbee (um, the guy who wants to privatize Social Security). I said it when President Bush was trying to do the same thing – do you want some of these Wall Street ganeffs (crooks) managing your hard earned dough and playing Ponzi schemes with your retirement?
The following should be of interest:
[Wharton] and others say the assertion that Obama is a socialist is absurd.
“It makes no rational sense. It clearly means that people don’t understand what socialism is.”
Definitions of socialism vary, but most socialists believe workers and consumers who are affected by economic institutions should own or control them.
Not all socialists, though, want to confiscate personal property. Democratic Socialists are more interested in protecting ordinary people from unregulated capitalism through regulation and progressive taxation.
Some of the socialist agenda is already part of American life, according to Wharton and others.
Social Security, Medicare, unemployment benefits — all reflect socialistic values, says Van Gosse, an associate professor of history at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who has researched socialist movements in the United States and Latin America.
The widely accepted notions of public education and Pell Grants for college students are socialistic in origin, Gosse says. They fit well with the socialistic premise that government should provide basic security from the cradle to the grave to all of its citizens, he says.
“We assert that education should not be left up to the private market — where those who can pay, get it and those who can’t, don’t get it,” Gosse says. “It’s a common good and in that sense it is a socialistic institution even if the U.S. remains a capitalist nation.”
Socialists are not happy with the recent 2,700 page health insurance reform bill…
They don’t applaud the passage of the recent health care bill either. They wanted a national “single-payer” health insurance plan with a government option. The bill that Obama championed didn’t have any of those features.
Wharton said the new health care bill only strengthens private health insurance companies. They get 32 million new customers and no incentive to change — something a socialist wouldn’t accept.
“Most of it was authored by the health care industry,” Wharton says. “I call it the corporate restructuring of health care.”
BINGO!! And in regard to The Obama administrations actions re the banks, just like Bush before him:
Other critics point to Obama’s Wall Street bailout — which actually had its roots in the Bush administration. Critics say it’s socialistic for government to assume control of private industry.
Frank Llewellyn, national director of the Democratic Socialists of America, says the bailout had nothing to do with socialism.
Llewellyn says a socialist leader would have at least nationalized some of the troubled banks.
“He gave them [the banks] too much with no strings attached,” Llewellyn says. “Banks that were too big to fail are bigger, and they can still fail.”
How about Obama’s bailout of the Detroit auto industry? During the bailout, the federal government assumed partial ownership of General Motors.
“It’s not socialism,” Llewellyn says. “The mere fact that the government owns something or has a stake in it, doesn’t make it socialist. If that was true, you would say that we have a socialist army. The government owns the army.”
Here’s where it gets interesting:
Defining socialism is complex, Llewellyn says, but it starts with a simple goal: Socialists want to introduce democratic features into the economy to reduce inequality.
The economy has “to be run for the overall benefit of the entire population, not for the benefits of a very few people.”
By that measure, Obama’s economic policies are not socialist, he says.
Many here at NoQuarter have long maintained that Presidents Obama and Bush are mirror images of each other. Mr. Llewellyn’s comments go some distance in making that point.
A tea party member had this to say in response:
“The role of government is to provide a safe environment to conduct business, not to take from one and give to the other,” says Quagliaroli, a financial planner who lives in Woodstock, Georgia.
Quagliaroli was not persuaded by the arguments of other socialist leaders who reject the idea that Obama is a socialist.
“He’s just not socialist enough for them.”
Quagliaroli says he doesn’t like socialism because it breeds mediocrity and encourages people to “live on the dole.” Capitalism “breeds excellence” because it encourages initiative, he says.
I have likewise heard other heretofore compassionate people becoming judgmental over the lifestyles of others, particularly if they are reckless, since we are now going to have to subsidize them. If “spreading the wealth acround” means I have lived by the rules my whole life and now have to bail out those who haven’t — no, I don’t like that either.
And now we come to my favorite line in the entire article – this ought to have heads exploding all over the country:
The argument over Obama’s ideology may rage on, but at least one socialist says another prominent politician ought to be inserted into the debate.
Llewellyn, the national director of the Democratic Socialists of America, says he was struck by one player in the 2008 presidential elections who displayed more socialistic leanings than Obama.
This candidate raised taxes on the big oil companies, and sent the revenue to the people.
If you want to learn something about spreading the wealth, Llewellyn says, don’t look to Obama.
“To be honest, the most socialist candidate in the 2008 election was Sarah Palin.”
Hmmm. Well, at least that gives the lie to lefties claiming Sarah Palin is some sort of reactionary.
I think the reason so many keep calling President Obama a socialist is that they don’t know how to term his political philosophy. Perhaps because the only one he seems to have is the one that is going to get him re-elected – namely putting money in the pockets of the groups who have the most dough to spend on his campaign.
His supporters didn’t want to admit it, but he got more money from Wall Street than any other candidate. Fannie and Freddie, Unions, Big Insurance, Big Phrma likewise helped put him over the top – burying all comers in an avalanche of money. His policies most seem to benefit them. Not us. Even the rumblings we are hearing about proposed regulatory reform in the banking industry leave me doubtful anything will be imposed that has real teeth. This health care plan was more or less written by insurance companies for their own benefit. How can we believe anything else that comes out of this administration is going to be for the benefit of those on the street?
Frankly, I’m not sure what name to give what is coming out of this White House but it sure seems to continue the idea that an elite few create policies that most benefit themselves, and we are told to sit down, shut up and take what’s left over.
What would you call it?