If Americans Oppose Socialism, Why Do they Keep Voting for It?

Today's socialism is elites in designer suits, not overworked men in overalls.

Some conservatives take comfort in a December Rasmussen/Heartland Institute poll which purports to show that Americans favor the free market over socialism by 75% to 11%.

But if Americans overwhelmingly support capitalism, why do they keep voting for socialism?

Do they even know what socialism is? Socialism isn’t tired-looking men in overalls, going to work in state-run factories.

Direct ownership of what’s traditionally called the means of production and distribution is the old socialism – the socialism of Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea. Today’s socialists prefer indirect control.

As the great Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises explained, this is a type of socialism which “nominally and seemingly preserves private ownership of the means of production and keeps the appearance of ordinary markets, prices, wages and interest rates,” while (through subsidies and mandates) it exercises increasing control over what still appears to be a free market. This is the socialism of our elites, including the Democratic leadership.

During the campaign, Biden asked, “Do I look like a radical socialist” (“Come on, Man!”). No, and neither does Vogue model Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her $14,000 designer outfits – and she’s an avowed socialist.

Biden also tells us that he “beat the socialists” in the primaries. Then he turned around and made a deal with them to get their support in November, by embracing a large part their agenda, including the Green New Deal, canceling college debt and expanding Medicare.

Okay, Joe isn’t committed to the Marxist class struggle -- because he isn’t committed to much of anything.

Biden spent almost his entire adult life as a faithful foot soldier of the Democratic establishment. When the Democrats were the party of big government and the welfare state, a la LBJ and Jimmy Carter, that’s what Biden was. Now that his party has shifted ever leftward, the Vice President follows dutifully in its wake.

Take his campaign slogan, “Build back better.” What’s wrong with what we have now? Too much personal liberty and profit-motive?

But Not-My-President has a cure for that:

1. Making Housing “more affordable” – This would entail spending $640 billion over 10 years so that “every American has access to housing that is affordable, stable, safe and healthy.” Biden’s website proclaims, “Housing should be a right, not a privilege.” When a politician says we have a right to something, alarm bells should sound. If housing is a right, why not transportation (a BMW in every garage)? Socialists have a genius for making things more costly by subsidizing them. Student loans have resulted in annual tuition at private colleges of $35,000.

2. Free Tuition – Tuition-free education at public colleges and universities for families with incomes below $125,000. Indoctrination in the socialist worldview is another human right. And it will only cost taxpayers an additional $750 billion.

3. $300 billion on R&D -- for advances in tech industries like batteries for electric cars and artificial intelligence. Corporations willing to play footsie with the bureaucracy will get the funds -- along with requirements for social engineering, like a “transgender-friendly” workplace, including language police.

4. Lockdowns galore – Joe (Who was that Masked Man?) Biden is aching for the opportunity to expand Fauci-ism nationally. Bureaucrats get aroused at the thought of placing the populace under house arrest whenever they choose, of deciding which restaurants will fail and which will succeed, while they merrily flout the rules they’ve made for others. The more businesses that fail, the easier to build the new economy. F.A. Hayek wrote “Emergencies have always been the pretext on which safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded.” From Climate Change to the Coronavirus, hysteria is an effective tool for herding the masses.

5. Biden’s Green New Deal – A piddling $2 trillion over 4 years for “clean energy and infrastructure and to create millions of new jobs” – in oil, coal and natural gas? Energy is the lifeblood of the economy. If socialists control it, there’s no need for five-year plans.

6. Tax the Rich – Biden wants to pay for all of his better building with $4 trillion from raising taxes on “corporations and the wealthy.” Naturally, his regime will soon run out of fat cats to rob. That’s when it’ll get around to skinning the rest of us. Without the rich to invest in job-creating, wealth-generating new businesses, government will have a monopoly on those investments, allowing Washington to have even more control over the direction of the economy.

7. Open Borders -- Socialists need a proletariat. But America is mostly a middle-class country. The answer: Import their proletariat from the poorest countries around – Mexico and Central America. Lure them here with lax immigration enforcement (including catch-and-release and sanctuary cities) and freebies like medical care. Soon, it won’t just be college kids and trust-fund statists marching for socialism.

8. Rig the political system so elections are increasingly meaningless -- Abolish the Electoral College, statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico, and stacking the Supreme Court, which has the power to decide property rights.

It’s reasonable to assume that part of Rasmussen’s pro-free market 75% voted for Biden’s socialism in the last election. Obviously, that includes the 57% of Democrats who say they’re down with economic freedom. They say they prefer capitalism to socialism, but identify with the party of Pelosi, Schumer, Gavin Newsom, de Blasio and the Squad.

The average voter needs a basic course in economics, using Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt and Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom as textbooks. Then, Rasmussen’s poll might actually mean something.

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