Please, Please, Don’t Call it Socialism
August 22, 2008
In light of Ed Cone’s response to my allegation that Barack would suffer from pushing “failed Socialist policies (with groovy sounding names no less)”, in which he thanked me for reminding him that he needed “to write a column about the tortured usages of “socialism” in contemporary political conversation”, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out this gem by IBD.
The article, entitled “Just Don’t Call it Socialism”, takes a look at what Americans say they want, compared to their attitudes toward what Barack is promising.
In the survey of 856 adults taken Aug. 4-9, Obama supporters overwhelmingly backed an economic system that “emphasizes private property and free markets” — in other words, the capitalist model we have now. The breakdown was 59% in favor of such a system vs. only 11% against.
As expected, the majority of respondents supported the capitalist model. When quizzed about a more socialist model…
… Obama backers by 59% to 15% turned thumbs-down on a socialist system that “emphasizes government control or ownership of industries and the economy.”
Yet, when also asked if they personally believe “the government should control or own key industries such as health care and energy,” 40% of Obama supporters said yes and 31% said no.
On another tenet of socialism — that government should redistribute wealth and income — Obama supporters disagreed by a margin of 52% to 28%, similar to the 50% to 29% split for Democrats. Respondents overall disagreed 62%-22%, while Republicans and McCain supporters replied no by spreads of 80%-14% and 79%-14%.
Yet when also asked if they were “willing to pay higher taxes to support more social programs,” Obama supporters answered yes by a margin of 42% to 31%.
Obviously, there’s a disconnect somewhere. Americans are either disingenuous with their responses towards capitalism and socialism, or they don’t fully understand what Obama is proposing. I don’t think Americans lie on a large scale, so I have to think it’s the latter. Perhaps those with a wide audience and heavy journalistic talents, like Mr. Cone, should help explain these policies to America’s public in great detail. This would lend support to the idea that socialism isn’t a “tortured” piece of our political conversation, but more akin to the forgotten red-headed stepchild.