In the last century, socialism and communism proved to be bankrupt ideologies that crippled economies, impoverished millions, destroyed personal freedom, brought dictators to power, sparked wars and turned millions of people into refugees fleeing their home countries to seek freedom in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Nations in Eastern Europe abandoned the failed ideologies. The Soviet Union broke up. And even Russia and China were forced to adopt some free market practices to improve their economies and the lives of their people.
But today, the hottest trend among some far-left Democrats is to embrace socialism – calling it “Democratic socialism” to make it sound more appealing.
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont – a self-described Democratic Socialist who nearly captured the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 – now touts Denmark and Sweden as his models of socialism. But it wasn’t too long ago that he and others praised Venezuela as a beacon of the socialist dream.
Today Democrats are loath to mention Venezuela, where the economy is in freefall and almost 90 percent of the people are living in poverty. But many nevertheless loudly praise the socialist ideology that is responsible for much of Venezuela’s troubles.
Following in the footsteps of Venezuela would be the quickest way to turn the American Dream into the American Nightmare.
Sanders is far from the only Democratic Socialist around. Look no further than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 28-year-old U.S. House candidate strongly supported by the Democratic Socialists of America. She defeated fourth-ranking Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley of New York City in a primary victory that took the nation by surprise.
Ocasio-Cortez recently said: “Right now, we have this hyper-capitalism. … What that means is profit at any cost. Capitalism has not always existed in the world, and it will not always exist in the world.”
Sounds an awful lot like a recent graduate’s way of summing up this principle from Karl Marx’s “Communist Manifesto”: “What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.”
Maybe next Ocasio-Cortez can adopt Marx’s famous call to action as her campaign slogan: “Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!”
Stunningly, despite Ocasio-Cortez’s embrace of socialism, she has been welcomed into a Democratic Party that has at least rhetorically tried to distance itself from socialism. Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez says that Ocasio-Cortez “represents the future of our party.”
Meanwhile, a Morning Consult/Politico poll revealed that a shockingly high 35 percent of Democrats say “it’s somewhat or very important” to replace House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., with a socialist.
According to The Associated Press: “There are 42 people running for offices at the federal state and local levels this year with the formal endorsements of the Democratic Socialists of America.” The number of formal, dues-paying members of the Democratic Socialists has skyrocketed from 6,000 to 45,000.
The Associated Press story went on to say of the Democratic Socialists: “Members during public meetings often refer to each other ‘comrades,’ wear clothing featuring socialist symbols like the rose and promote authors such as Karl Marx. The common association with the failed Soviet Union has made it difficult for sympathetic liberals to explain their connection.”
Indeed, the lurch of Democrats toward socialism has been well underway for some time. Consider the following list put together by my colleague, Rapid Response Director for the Republican National Committee Michael Ahrens:
When Bernie Sanders first offered a single-payer health-care bill in 2013, he didn’t have a single co-sponsor in the Senate. Today one-third of Senate Democrats and two-thirds of House Democrats have endorsed the radical plan.
Democrats endorse government-run health-care despite the empirical evidence of its failure. In Canada’s government-run system, wait times are now more than double what they were 25 years ago, with the average Canadian waiting to see a specialist for approximately five months.
According to one study: “63,090 Canadian women may have died as a result of increased wait times (in Canada) between 1993 and 2009.”
The story of the United Kingdom’s socialized medicine system is no different. The National Health Service in Britain recently reported its worst accident and emergency wait times on record. According to the BBC: “It is estimated there are up to 9,000 deaths in hospitals each year caused by failings in NHS care.”
And yet, single-payer health-care is the rallying cry of Democrats.
Though Bernie Sanders had zero co-sponsors for his free-college plan in the past, today he has seven co-sponsors of his legislation, along with several potential 2020 Democratic presidential contenders.
Democrats ignore the failed free-college experiment in the United Kingdom, which increased inequality and depleted student resources, therefore leading the British to reintroduce tuition. Democrats likewise ignore that “college-attainment rates were higher in G-7 countries that charged tuition than in those that did not.”
Once again, Sanders’ five co-sponsors of a government-mandated wage from 2015 ballooned into 30 co-sponsors.
Democrats who sign on to this plan do so at the behest of low-income workers. As the Washington Post noted, a “very credible” study on Seattle’s $15 minimum wage law revealed that “the average low-wage worker in the city lost $125 a month because of the hike in the minimum” and the resulting number of employers who cut payroll, stopped hiring, or let employees go.
Universal Basic Income
Once relegated to the far-left fringe, universal basic income (where the government gives cash payouts to its citizens) recently received its biggest endorsement yet, this time from President Obama.
Obama’s suggestion that we “consider new ways of thinking … like a universal income” came on the heels of Finland’s basic income program failure, with the country announcingit would not be continuing its two-year experiment.
Experts note that a universal basic income would come with a $3.6 trillion price tag each year, requiring a doubling of the federal budget at a time when our country holds $21 trillion in debt.
Single-payer health-care, free college, a government-mandated wage, universal basic income, government-guaranteed jobs (another recent proposal) and the increasing acceptance of these radical ideas among Democrats signify a slow and troubling creep toward socialism.
What the Democrats neglect to mention is that paying for all these “free” goodies would require massive tax increases. And there aren’t enough rich people to pay for all the freebies without raising taxes on the rest of us.
As the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher so wisely said: “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples’ money.”