Economy

What's With Democrats and Capitalism?

The party of socialism is having a harder time discussing our actual economic system.

Lewis Morris · Mar. 26, 2019

Democrats are increasingly looking to position the 2020 election to be a referendum not just on President Donald Trump, but on capitalism itself. A quick glance at the policy prescriptions and public statements of several announced candidates demonstrates just how far to the left the Democrat Party has tilted.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders publicly announces that he is a Democratic Socialist. No word on whether he has been called out for repeating himself.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper awkwardly pondered a direct question on whether he identified as a capitalist. “Once you get back into these labels — am I a capitalist? Am I a socialist? How much of a capitalist am I versus how much of a socialist?” Slow down, Governor, before you hurt yourself. It was a simple question. And the answer should be easy. You can’t be both.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she is a capitalist, but only if there are serious socialist rules. “Encouraging companies to build their business models on cheating people — that’s not capitalism.” It’s unclear who or what she is referring to that is “encouraging” companies to rip people off (unless it’s insurance companies under ObamaCare), but her statement implies that capitalism does not have any rules. Be warned, though, the type of rules that Warren favors are not meant to foster capitalism.

In fact, the so-called rules that many Democrats say would make capitalism more to their liking actually make the country more socialist. From Dodd-Frank financial regulations to ObamaCare to any given Democrat tax proposal over the last half-century, all lead to a more centralized, top-down structure in which the federal government makes all decisions, including picking the economic winners and losers.

Democrats and socialists share some significant traits. Neither ever believes that their policies are failures. Instead, they explain away their bad decisions as not having received enough taxpayer money or as being sabotaged by the other side. They believe that all money essentially belongs to government, and that people just get to keep some from time to time. They believe that government can fix any problem and cure any ill. They also share the belief that the path to power is to sow discord among the populace and stir class envy.

This is why you get empty statements from the likes of Beto O'Rourke, who told reporters, “It is clearly an imperfect, unfair, unjust, and racist capitalist economy.”

Easy for a white guy who married a wealthy woman to say.

But O'Rourke’s tired leftist bromide is fundamentally incorrect. Blacks and Hispanics have made bigger economic gains in the last two years than at any other time since researchers started following those demographics.

Capitalism is imperfect. But there is no such thing as a perfect system. As Winston Churchill so aptly put it, “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”

Throughout history, time and again, socialism has failed to produce beneficial results — unless you define success very differently. Instead of workers’ paradises, there are gulags; instead of peace and plenty, there is conquest and famine. From the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the ‘80s right through to Venezuela today, socialist countries repeatedly collapse.

The American Left is trying to circumvent this untidy fact by disguising socialism as all these “free” programs dangled in front of American voters. Many of the other Democrat candidates for president claim they oppose Bernie Sanders’ brand of Democratic Socialism, but they have all raised the bar on what new entitlements they want to grant the public.

Sadly, young voters and many others among the population are fooled by all the free stuff. The battle for ideas is harder to win when your opponent targets uneducated but indoctrinated potential voters with promises of free everything — just short of a bucket of lollipops in every living room.

Democrats are drifting into becoming a hyper-socialist party. The left-leaning perception is shared both inside and outside the Democrat Party.

The message of capitalism’s virtues is lost in the media noise, in large part because the media won’t report the facts. Journalists, too, are often already dyed-in-the-wool socialists.

Capitalism has done more to improve the human condition around the world than any other political system in history. It works. Most problems in our economy are because of too much government interference, not too little. And that’s the refrain Republicans should be repeating.

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