Sunday, August 12, 2018

Are Americans Already Socialists?

A poll was recently conducted for a Koch brothers-funded organization. In Pursuit Of, the marketing wing of the Koch-backed Seminar Network, ordered up the poll.

The results were shocking.
The survey of 1,000 adults nationwide, conducted online July 16-18, has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points. A margin of error of 3.1 percentage points is nowhere near a comfort zone for what the Koch brothers learned from the results when it came to asking Americans about a number of issues they felt would help them "overcome social barriers"

 The poll found that 66 percent of Americans saw government-paid college tuition as a “very effective” or “somewhat effective solution."

Sixty-five percent were in favor of a $15 minimum wage, with 35 percent saying it would be a very effective solution and 30 percent saying it would be a somewhat effective solution.

The top concern of those polled is the growing cost of health care, with 92 percent saying it is a problem. A combined 55 percent said a government-run health care system would be a very or somewhat effective policy response.

A remarkable 85% seem to be in favor of government industrial policy. That is 49% said that "encouraging scientific and technological innovation" was a very effective solution and 36% thought it was somewhat effective.

69% said increasing government assistance for childcare would be a very or somewhat effective policy.

To be sure, there were high numbers for "Freer trade and the open exchange of goods and services," at 78% seeing it as an effective solution and 74% said that an effective solution would be "Stopping government picking winners and losers, and instead letting individuals decide what products or businesses succeed or fail."

But it is clear that a large majority of Americans, as reflected in this poll, see no problem with government central planning, especially when it comes in the form of handouts.

When it comes to government paid college tuition, healthcare and childcare, well over 60% of Americans are in favor of it. This is all socialist-style thinking. It is the view that the government should either intervene and manage with subsidies or completely control large sectors of the economy.

So although the United States cannot be classified as a socialist country at present, it is not because well over 50% of Americans favor free markets. They don't. It is more likely we don't have full on socialism because Congressional and White Houe officials at some level realize that there has to be some limit to government spending and handouts--even if it limits their ability to buy votes. And crony capitalists probably slow some regulations.

But every new wave of elected government officials spend more and more and add more and more regulations. The spending problem can be seen clearly by looking at total federal public debt as a percent of gross domestic product.

Total Federal Public Debt as Percent of Gross Domestic Product

Click on chart for larger view.
That the current federal public debt relative to GDP is more than twice as high on a percentage basis as it was during the 1970s is stunning.

The view has seeped into the American psyche that the government should be at the core of making America a better country. This view is held by nearly all: Democrats, Republicans and socialists. Different political groups may battle and debate over where government money should be spent. But it is always about where to spend--not less spending. And even so-called small government conservative leaders bend to deliver regulations that the cronies and confused masses demand.

The "government is my savior" perspective is promoted by all politicians and is growing. It is not a straight line but the trend is clear and it is not good. With polls like this Koch poll, it is clear that it wouldn't take much in terms of a tipping point to put the United States in a very bad place.

American isn't socialist, yet, but the thinking about the direction that government should go in is socialist.

This is a very important time for Tom DiLorenzo's book, The Problem with Socialism, to be spread across the land. Indeed, it is an urgent time. The same goes for the James Ostrowski book, Progressivism: A Primer on the Idea Destroying America.

If I was a billionaire, never mind being worth a Charles Koch cool $36 billion, as a libertarian, I would spend $100 million to get these books in every nook and cranny of America. The books would provide the intellectual firepower on the ground level for those who want to do intellectual battle against the socialist thinkers. This is needed desperately and it is missing.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of

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