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March 22, 2009

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IMHO Obama is not a socialist, because he does not want the government to own the means of production. However, some observers compare Obama's economic approach to this description from a book by John T. Flynn

(1) a capitalist type of economic organization,
(2) in which the government accepts responsibility to make the economic system work at full energy,
(3) using the device of state-created purchasing power effected by means of government borrowing and spending, and
(4) which organizes the economic life of the people into industrial and professional groups to subject the system to control under the supervision of the state.”

That passage is a description of Italian fascism.

So, Obama is not a socialist, but he may be a fascist, not at all in the sense of Hitler, but in the way the termwas originally used by Mussolini.

It's incorrect that Obama wants a bigger government. He's increasing the size of the government only temporarily in order to rescue the economy. Even his health care reform is paid for by cutting inefficiencies and other wasteful spending.

Evidence of Obama's desire for redistribution of wealth doesn't rest on his Joe the Plumber encounter only. There's also the 2001(?) interview on a PBS station in which he speaks of distributive justice. (I apologize for the imprecision; I'm traveling outside the U.S. and my Internet access is rudimentary.) There are all the campaign statements about the increasing gap in wealth between the rich and the poor or middle class. There's this gem from page 5 of the
Administration's proposed 2010 budget:

While middle-class families have been playing by the rules, living up to their responsibilities as neighbors and citizens, those at the commanding heights of our economy have not.

Obama clearly wants to reduce the difference between the top quintile and the bottom four quintiles. And by virtue of the stock market's performance in recent months, he's getting his wish.

"David," throwing around a word like "fascism" is toxic but funny. Mussolini called "Fascism:" "Corporatism," the merger of corporation and state, which is EXACTLY WHAT THE RIGHT WING ENABLED THE LAST EIGHT YEARS.

The Republican Bush regime had the most incestuous corporate/government entanglements since Mussolini. Even Bush's Republican Vice President Dick Cheney was directly receiving income from a corporation that was receiving no-bid government contracts.

Republican Bush used taxpayer dollars to directly infuse corporate banks without any accountability or oversight (Geithner is continuing the Republican BUSH/Paulson plan). No one to this day knows where billions and billions of that money went under Republican Bush. There is also billions and billions that "disappeared" in Iraq.

Republican Bush increased the size of the American government dramatically, and in some senses, without any limit (see: signing statements, torture memos, unlawful domestic surveillance).

As for "redistribution of wealth," Republican Bush redistributed the wealth in America so that the top %10 had increases while the bottom %90 of the American population had their wealth either stagnate or significantly decline. That's been the trend under the last three Republican administrations (Under Clinton it was only slightly less bad).

Exactly how is the magic market that the right wing keeps fantasizing about doing this last year?

Just a reminder: the magic market did so poorly last year that it was REPUBLICANS that stopped believing in the magic market and used BIG GOVERNMENT to try to bail out the financial wizards. By most estimates, while "government" hasn't "fixed" the problem, "government" has larger been seen as preventing (or at least forestalling) a Greater Depression.

This current Great Recession stems directly from right wingers fantasy economic theories about the magic market. Right wingers claimed that if the market was deregulated then it's true magic would show itself. Well, they got their wish and now America is in the throes of the greatest recession since the Great Depression (which was also the result of an unregulated market).

As for Republican McCain, his buddy Phil Gramm was the principle con artist whose push for deregulation created much of the current economic crisis. Birds of a feather....

As "Rob" points out "middle-class families have been playing by the rules, living up to their responsibilities as neighbors and citizens, those at the commanding heights of our economy have not."

The banksters that destroyed America's financial system seem to expect both the government bailouts and the government bonuses that they had grown to expect under the Republican administration.

It's tough to say yet whether Obama will stop that right wing nonsense or plans to continue it. Though it appears "Rob" will be able to argue it's bad either way.

There is also the question of degree, or quantity. Obama would probably prefer a higher marginal tax rate on the rich than I would, but I doubt he would want a high marginal tax rate. It depends on the numbers. Obama may want a 35% tax rate, while I may prefer a 30% tax rate. That doesn't make Obama a "socialist", or someone who "in his heart of hearts, wants to take from the rich and give to the poor." Obama happens to be very sensitive to and concerned about people who are less fortunate, and he's oriented towards trying to help them out (especially now!). I admire him for this orientation of his; it's truly pathetic that to some people, this is just an excuse to attack Obama.

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