Governor Perry created a buzz recently when he said that President Obama is a socialist, though he was quick to add that the president loves his country and simply doesn’t understand how America’s market-based economy works. If the president understood the private sector, Governor Perry explained, he wouldn’t pursue tax and regulatory policies that crush job-creators and prevent wealth creation.
There are two types of socialism. One is authoritarian socialism once seen in the Eastern Bloc countries (many of which are now free-market economies) and some nations in Central and South America. It’s used by harsh and oppressive authoritarian regimes that repress their people.
The other type of socialism is a big-government philosophy that uses wealth redistribution to fund a massive nanny state of cradle-to-grave entitlements. We see this type of socialism in many Western European and Mediterranean countries that are allies of our country, such as Spain, Italy, France and Greece.
Governor Perry was referring to this Western European socialism. President Obama believes that government has all the answers if led by an enlightened leader (as he fancies himself), and he believes it can improve everyone’s lot. Perry referenced Obama’s infamous exchange with Joe the Plumber, where Obama said when government spreads the wealth it’s better for everyone.
The term “socialism” is misunderstood by many, and people on the left spin it as if calling someone a socialist is a personal attack. They do this to avoid serious discussion of socialism’s impact.
Socialism is a philosophy that says that government owes everyone in society a certain standard of living. It calls on government to provide or subsidize food, housing, education and health care. Socialists believe heavy government regulation leads to a better society.
No honest person can deny that President Obama’s policies fit these criteria. Government-run health care (and calling it a fundamental right, despite the fact that it’s nowhere mentioned in the Constitution). Federal control of education. Government picking winners and losers in the economy.
History repeatedly shows that free markets work over time, and socialism does not. But we don’t need to plumb the depths of world history. We have our own recent history.
Since Obamacare, employers have reported that they will have to drop insurance policies covering tens of millions of Americans, and Medicaid spending will increase by $434 billion by 2020.
After (partially) bailing out the housing market, housing remains a depressed and failing sector, and Fannie and Freddie have the gall to ask for $6 billion in additional taxpayer money while paying $13 million in bonuses to their executives.
And this administration deludes itself into believing that it knows how to invest in business. So it gives $535 million in loan guarantees to Solyndra, only to see the company promptly go bankrupt. Just for good measure the energy secretary illegally restructured this scam to pay off President Obama’s fundraisers and stick you with the bill.
Arrogance and incompetence are a toxic combination. This White House and its cronies are overflowing with both. So Governor Perry argues that America needs someone new in the White House.
Ken Blackwell and Ken Klukowski are fellows at the American Civil Rights Union, on faculty at Liberty University, and authors of Resurgent: How Constitutional Conservatism Can Save America.