I am in the midst of some form of political debate on Facebook, which is a really bad idea in the best of times. I won’t give all the details here but let me say that the debater has suggested that the President is a socialist. I would like to mention before going any further that the President before was called a fascist. Neither is correct. To use such terms out of context and without proper background is to cheapen the arguments made by either side (and to cheapen the suffering of those who were oppressed in such systems). In the case of Obama he bailed out Wall Street and kept the automotive industry alive (something that his predecessor was quite happy to do as well as I recall). Now when he enacted a health care reform that was eerily similar to the Republican suggestion in 1994 and also to that of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney he is a socialist? That is weak tea by any standards.
This is all before we go into definitions of what Socialist really means: the political ideology that the means of production should be owned publicly (or common owned) and regulated as such. What I continuously fail to see in the United States is this actually taking place. The case of General Motors could be used here, but that is also being put back on the market because the government doesn’t want to be involved in things like running a business. The democrat idea then is to regulate private industry (like all governments have always done) through laws and/or taxes (carrots and sticks). The degree of the regulation required is the difference between the parties and not that they are massively opposed sides in a war for the American soul (as the radio show hosts would like to paint the whole thing). Both sides want what’s best for America. Is this really so hard to understand?
To add to the healthcare question, if the insurance companies had done such a good job, then there wouldn’t have been a need for government interference. However as the health care system in the United States affects the government, it was therefore the government’s job to act to reduce its deficit and to better the ways that American citizens are treated. The Obama plan did that really well on paper so lets give it time to work in reality. There was no public option because a. it would have been impossible to get in the senate and b. I don’t think Obama believes in that because he as he himself has demonstrated in other policy: he is a capitalist.
Can we stop name-calling as a way to disagree over policy? Lets talk about numbers instead of listening to blowhards tell us who is good and who is evil. I think the American people are smart enough to decide these things by themselves.