Socialism is Hurting the Left

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U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont speaking with supporters at a town meeting at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. July 18, 2015. (photo: Gage Skidmore)

2019 has not been a good year for self-professed Democratic Socialists like Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Nor has the last decade been a particularly good one, at least as it pertains to examples of socialism working and examples of capitalism failing.

The U.S. economy is truly humming, having just sailed through a record-breaking holiday shopping season. Consumer confidence is holding at a comfortable high. Unemployment has fallen to record lows. Middle-class families saw a substantial income gain; working-class families and wage-earners at every level saw considerable wage gains. Wall Street is booming.

“We are living in the luckiest period in human history, and here’s why” says the Star Tribune. 15 countries lifted 900 million people out of extreme poverty in the last decade.

Capitalism did that; not socialism. Not communism.

The number of refugees worldwide reached record levels, though. Most of the refugees are currently fleeing violence from 5 countries; Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar, and Somalia.

But between 2016 and November of 2019 however, 4.6 million of these refugees were economic- fleeing devastation and starvation in Venezuela caused by a the very socialists reforms and government seizure of private industries Democratic Socialists in the U.S. want to copy.

If you believe in communism, and its precursor socialism, you’ve clearly never spoken at length with anyone who has ever lived through the collapse of a communist country.

China, while made increasingly prosperous through trading with capitalist countries in the West, has maintained a shockingly bad reputation on human rights that continues to this day with minority Uighur Muslims interred in reeducation camps by the thousands.

China’s massive surveillance system- not ironically named Sky-Net- has become so advanced, Chinese authorities will soon reach their goal; finding anyone, anywhere in China, in three minutes. A few years ago, they were at seven minutes. Chinese citizens are not to worry, however, the government insists, also without irony, “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.”

Not exactly a glowing endorsement of communism.

Even the Norwegian countries Democratic Socialists like Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez like to trot out as models for socialism aren’t really socialist countries. They are countries made wealthy by capitalism who have expanded their social welfare programs to be more generous.

Many of these programs have long-since been abandoned because they simply didn’t work. Sen. Bernie Sanders, however, hasn’t updated his talking points in 20-years.

Democratic socialists don’t really want a revolution, they really don’t want socialism; they want a more generous welfare state. And that’s perfectly ok.

But pretending socialism is a model for making money is naive at best and dishonest at worst.

If Democrats nominate Sen. Bernie Sanders, Democrats will lose to Donald Trump in 2020. Sanders’ brand of socialism is just too difficult a sell during an economic high tide like this one.

Sen. Bernie Sanders plans to raise taxes to pay for experimental socialists programs that may, or may not, work as intended. At least he is willing to say so openly, unlike Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who persists in perpetrating the myth that a tax on the wealthy will pay for Medicare for All.

It won’t; but openly admitting you will raise taxes on the middle-class and the working class, as Sanders has done, is no way to win in a general election.

Most taxpayers feel they are paying enough in taxes, and many feel they are getting little enough in return as it is.

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)

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