The debate over whether or not Barack Obama is a socialist is beginning to gain some traction with the frequent references by Sarah Palin and John McCain to Obama’s desire to “spread the wealth around”. The media consensus is that attempting to brand Obama as a socialist is counter productive because the American people do not consider it important and the Democratic Party is able to relate it to “name calling” and “dirty politics”. The problem is that most Americans do not recognize socialism when they are confronted with it.
Karl Marx identified socialism as the stage between capitalism and communism that follows a revolution by the proletariat. In classic socialism, the means of production are owned and controlled by the workers. As an economic theory, socialism is over two hundred years old. During that time, hundreds of variations have developed around the world. Today very few, if any, economies meet perfectly the classic definition. Most economies are a mixture of socialism and capitalism.
In spite of the fact that there are hundreds of different varieties of socialism, all of them rest on a relatively few basic principles. In the modern world we live in today, there are two principles that identify the socialist philosophy: the distribution of wealth and state control of private property. It is the exact opposite of capitalism which rests on the principles of wealth accumulation and owner control of private property.
Socialism operates as a parasite on the body politic. It takes the earned wealth of the productive members of society and redistributes it to the less productive members until all the accumulated wealth is dissipated. If unchecked, the process continues until all members of society, with the exception of the ruling elite, are living in deprivation and poverty. Average citizens are eventually reduced to a state of servitude to the state.
The lifespan of socialist systems vary according to the amount of wealth to be redistributed. On average, a system dominated by socialism seems to last about fifty years before it collapses in economic disaster. Mixed economies such as those in Western Europe and North America last a little longer because the capitalist parts of the economy keeps producing wealth even as existing wealth is being dissipated by the socialist segment. The rise of socialism in America can be dated from about 1930 which means we are living on borrowed time.
The primary vehicle by which socialism has advanced in America is the system of progressive taxation. Taxes are used by Congress to accomplish three goals. First is the constitutional purpose of raising monies to pay for the legitimate functions of government. However, taxes are also used for two purposes that are definitely not authorized in the Constitution. One is for social engineering where tax incentives are used to encourage behavior desired by Congress and tax increases on behaviors Congress wishes to discourage. The other is the purely socialist function of redistributing income and wealth.
The Constitution, in Article 1, Section 8 empowers Congress to levy taxes for the purposes of carrying out the enumerated powers of government and requires that they be evenly apportioned among the several states. The Sixteenth Amendment allowed for the collection of taxes on income and repealed the requirement that they be evenly apportioned among the states, but it did not authorize the use of those taxes for purposes other than those enumerated in Article 1. While it is true that socialism cannot survive without progressive taxation, it is equally true that socialism in America cannot exist when the U.S. Constitution is followed.
Americans have become so accustomed to progressive taxation they no longer consider whether it is constitutional, and they never consider the fact that it provides the only foundation for socialism in our system. In fact, between forty and fifty percent of Americans seem to embrace socialism as the best economic system. No other explanation can be given for Barack Obama’s current poll numbers.
An Obama presidency could very well represent the interim stage between Capitalism and Communism foreseen by Karl Marx. A vote for Obama is a vote to ultimately live under a Communist Government. Consider this as you cast your vote on November 4th.