Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What's the Difference Between a Trump Populist and a Socialist?

Not much.

Ed Yardeni writes:

The February 6, 2009 cover story of Newsweek was titled “We Are All Socialists Now.” I reread it over the weekend, and was floored by the first paragraph:
On the Fox News Channel last Wednesday evening, Sean Hannity was coming to the end of a segment with Indiana Congressman Mike Pence, the chair of the House Republican Conference and a vociferous foe of President Obama’s nearly $1 trillion stimulus bill. How, Pence had asked rhetorically, was $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts going to put people back to work in Indiana? How would $20 million for "fish passage barriers" (a provision to pay for the removal of barriers in rivers and streams so that fish could migrate freely) help create jobs? Hannity could not have agreed more. "It is … the European Socialist Act of 2009," the host said, signing off. "We’re counting on you to stop it. Thank you, congressman.”
Jon Meacham, the author of the piece, concluded, “Whether we want to admit it or not--and many, especially Congressman Pence and Hannity, do not--the America of 2009 is moving toward a modern European state.”

Now Pence is the VEEP-elect and Hannity is one of the favorite journalists of POTUS-elect Donald Trump. None of them are socialists. However, they are all now self-proclaimed populists. I’m not sure what the difference is, since both socialists and populists tend to advocate strong government intervention to help the common man, the little guy, and the forgotten man.


  1. Populism is basically socialism with different packaging while both left and right populists say with a straight face that it's not socialism.

  2. I use Mises's term, Interventionism.