Have you ever noticed how Republicans nearly slip into speaking tongues when warning about the dangers of “socialism.” A visitor from another planet would think that the Democrats are the party of Marx and Engels.
Ranting endlessly about how so-and-so is a closeted socialist, any policy, or idea a Democrat has, is deemed, without even consideration of its merits, “socialist garbage.” President Obama’s initial proposal for universal health care was actually identical to a proposal made by The Heritage Foundation in 1994 — we all know how Republicans reacted.
The Republican aversion to socialism reminds me of those conservative pastors, and politicians, who rage against homosexuality; only later to be outed by a same-sex aide suing them for harassment. In truth, the Republican Party is driven by the spirit of socialism, folks. They are constructing a socialist paradise where the super-rich don’t have to do much at all, but just sit back and wait for laws to break their way making them even wealthier.
The Republican desire to build the world’s most-privileged socialist country differs from the strategy of, say, Norway. The Scandinavian, oil-rich nation shares the country’s bounty with all of its people. Such pie-in-the-sky goals don’t interest the GOP, however. The likes of Finland, Sweden, Germany and Denmark, offering rich social safety nets to the masses, also seem silly to them. What is a net, after all, if not just something to catch fish, or falling trapeze artists?
The Republican Party is building the most generous golden parachute it can for the nation’s top earners.
To more clearly appreciate the degree to which Republicans are succeeding at building this comfy, cozy socialist nation for the super-rich, let’s take a look at how they control the narrative around something as basic as the minimum wage.
Why are Republicans adamantly against working-class Americans earning a fair wage? How can it be that paying hard-working Americans an inflation-adjusted wage is socialism?
If the minimum wage had kept step with productivity gains, as it did from 1938 to 1968, it would now be $24, according to a January 2020 study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
I am willing to bet that all Americans would like to earn more for their labor. Asking for the above inflation-adjusted wage doesn’t mean that hard-working Citizen Mary is asking for a hand-out. Like most Americans, Mary is ready to work her ass off from sun up to sun down, and she wants one thing: to be able to take care of her family.
What is wrong with this desire? What is wrong with me, the employee, lobbying for the best wage possible for the time I have invested? How can they label those desires socialism? This stupid statement impregnated the pauses at the CPAC in Orlando.
The minimum wage was last raised in 2009. It’s really been a long time since the residents of Main Street — the middle and working classes — were put front and center when major economic decisions were made. Barack Obama tried to help Main Street, and actually did in many ways, but with absolutely no help from the Republicans. The entirety of the Republican machine was against every attempt he made to strengthen Main Street. The Republicans sold it to their base by menacingly whispering the following words: “He’s building socialism. Beware.”
The dummies running the show on the right don’t know what socialism is, though. They do, however, know that the very word socialism, has Mr. Potato Head qualities, and can be turned into anything they so desire it to be. Loaded to the gills with really bad, and scary stuff — most of it not true —they know that they rightwing knuckleheads will react to the word the way cats do to water. It is thanks to this confusion that enables the Republicans to get away with being one of the most socialist parties in the world.
As mentioned above, the Republican Party sees countries like Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom as being representatives of bad socialism. The mere notion of sharing the wealth with hundreds of millions is just bad math, they figure. Contemporary European socialism is boring because it downplays the delightful extremes of society. The elite classes of people, whose extravagant lives make it interesting for the rest of us suckers — and give us good TV like Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous — are needed to show everyone how great America truly is.
See, we have the most billionaires. We have the richest person in the world. Look at wealthy we are, they brag. But, we aren’t.
The European brand of socialism, that turns the masses into happy, sated, and khaki-wearing drones driving around in electric Honda-Civic style cars, seems like a cop-out to them; and, it makes a pretty boring visual when you get right down to it. The Republicans Party, however, looked elsewhere when seeking a model for its aspirations; and, when turning the yellowing pages of history, they stumbled upon the kind of socialism they could collectively get behind: the kind the former Soviet Union used to peddle.
They paid homage to the great, failed experiment of Soviet Communism.
To be fair, the Soviet Union was never a communist nation. It became, what they called it, “an advanced socialist state.” Without going into a historical treatise here on communism, suffice it to say that the first three, or four decades, of Soviet Russia did make substantial strides toward becoming communist.
After Stalin’s death, though, the Communist Party quietly gave up those pie-in-the-sky notions, realizing it would have meant giving the people too much power, and instead built a system where the masses, provided with a handsome social contract, would always live somewhat impoverished; and, the ruling minority, would always live a lot better. Let’s call this system “Soviet socialism.”
Jumping ahead to America 2021, we see that the nation’s economy is fully focused on making the rich richer. Income inequality is more severe than at any time in our history. The Republican Party is fully bankrupted both intellectually and spiritually. It condones rebellion against our government, and regularly use lies and fear to keep its people unified.
Forced to toil under the harshest conditions of text-book capitalism, the kinds that made a Russian Revolution possible, American workers are begrudged a bare minimum of services; and yet, they consistently end up in the top three of most productive workers in the world. How do Republicans show their gratitude? They pass economic policies that routinely make the income inequality worse. Use your freedom to provide for yourself, seems to be the motto, while sustainable labor, the former backbone of the middle class, is offshored thanks to Republican-sponsored tax incentives.
Authoritarian societies offer richer, more humane social contracts than the Republicans are willing to — just take a look at Cuba, Russia, North Korea, China and many more. The Republican answer for everything is emotional propaganda — guns, patriotism, traditional marriages, God and freedom.
A majority of Americans are facing an economic crisis like nothing seen since the Great Depression, and still Republicans refuse to help them. Instead, they blame all of the woes on Democratic-sponsored polices, then we act surprised that these Republican-believers would undertake something like a January 6th. The January-6th terrorists were fighting a fictional enemy determined to wreck their lives, Trump and rightwing media told them.
There is, however, a cohort of Americans, numbering at around thirty million or so, whose lives resemble nothing less than a cruise on an all-inclusive 5-star, luxury liner. Every bill the Republican Party pass, every tax it cuts ensures that the nation’s wealth be fairly, and equally, distributed upward to this elite group of Americans. Industries are created, deregulated, modified and relaunched for their benefit. Wars are started for their benefit — they own the defense industry; they own the politicians, and they have even purchased the courts.
Profits reach record levels and taxes being eviscerated in historically large cuts for this elite “nation” of the rich. The elected officials of their “socialist government” do all they can to keep the rest of America lost in cost: health care, interest from student debt, gauged electric bills (Texas), predatory loans, unregulated opioid distribution in the nation’s communities, polluted air and water, and climate devastation from increasingly worse climate catastrophes; and, the Republicans mockingly say it’s probably a lack of prayer, or gay marriage, causing the bad luck America is facing.
After one of the largest, and most egregious, tax cuts in US history was passed in 2017 — tax reform they called it — rightwing economists, whose job it is to, if not justify the cuts then to muddy the waters so no one understands them, predicted Americans workers would see windfalls in the forms of bonuses from their grateful, patriotic employers. (I will pause here for the laughter.) Shortly after the tax cuts went into the effect, and up until COVID began, the largest stock buybacks in history were recorded — and who benefits from these?
Toiling like at no time in history, the amount of value American workers receive for their labor sinks. Value, it should be stated, is not just a wage. It is also the infrastructure which frames our lives. The suffering schools; the crime-ridden neighborhoods; the clean-ups after apocalyptical storms which now take longer; and the repairs, which in many cases, are not done. The Trump response response to the pandemic, and the lack of Republican uproar over the incompetence, demonstrates clearly how Republicans regard their constituents. If they had all been billionaires, however, the response would have been different for sure.
Republicans behave today exactly the way the leaders of the Soviet Union did in the final twenty years which led up to the nation’s collapse. Keep the people busy with emotions, while Main Street is sold piece by piece to the highest bidder — turning it into a capitalistic dystopia. All the while, creating a socialist paradise for the super rich.
The Soviet Union collapsed because of such lies. The United States is not immune from the effects of Republican socialism.