By Manuel E. Yepe
Exclusive for the daily POR ESTO! of Merida, Mexico.
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann.
Trump and Bolton’s regime has added a new front of war to its theater of operations against the Third World. They’ve targeted the “troika” of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, charging them with nothing less than the crime of being “socialist,”. The White House Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) has released a study titled The Opportunity Costs of Socialism that warns of the “return” of socialism to U.S. political discourse.
The U.S. government feels threatened by a new rise in socialist ideas in the United States on the eve of the November 6 legislative elections, the report notes.
“Coinciding with the bicentennial of Karl Marx’s birth, socialism is experiencing a return to the country’s political discourse. Self-styled socialist political proposals are gaining support in Congress and a good part of the electorate,” says the White House in the report.
Some think the CEA has reacted like this after recent polls showed Republicans overwhelmingly support the Medicare for All program that the White House has worked so hard to discredit.
The 72-page report used texts from “white papers” by the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.
The authors of the report argue that socialism is reappearing in American political discourse. And that seriously concerns at least a subset of the Executive Branch, to the point of devoting entire pages to such “pressing” issues as the socialist debates of a century ago and such significant quotations as “to each according to their ability.
The Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) also compares vaguely social democratic policies -such as the exclusion of private interests from health care- with Mao Tse Tung’s Great Leap Forward. “There are journalists and analysts who openly assert that single-payer programs are more efficient and their objectives are similar in spirit to those of Lenin and Mao,” according to the CEA.
Among the proposals analyzed is universal public health care. Although it’s far from being part of the public opinion debate has begun to gain followers after the momentum given to this by progressive Democrats such as Senator Bernie Sanders, the former Democratic presidential candidate in the 2016 elections.
“Initiatives such as universal public healthcare are very much in line with socialist approaches,” CEA Director Kevin Hassett said at a news conference.
If public health were to be funded by higher taxes, Hassett said, it would lead to “a 9% drop in GDP.”
The document is unusual because the CEA’s job is to offer opinions from an academic and non-partisan point of view.
Hasset links politicians from the most progressive wing of the Democratic Party, such as Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren, who defend a social-democratic model within a market economy, with icons of socialist historical thought such as Karl Marx and Vladimir I. Lenin.
In several campaign events prior to the mid-term elections of November 6, U.S. President Donald Trump has rampaged against Venezuela and its Bolivarian revolution, warning that “if Democratic candidates like Florida’s gubernatorial hopeful Andrew Gillum and Texas Senator Beto O’Rourke were elected, the United States would run the risk of becoming another Venezuela.”
“Democrats want to raise taxes massively and impose socialism in our country. We will be another Venezuela,” Trump said recently at a rally in Nevada.
The conclusions reached by the CEA report are what one would expect: Venezuela is doing badly and free markets are doing well.
But what the report really shows is that the White House feels threatened by a rise in socialist ideas when its witch-hunt is most intense.
The CEA’s attitude toward Medicare for All shows that what worries them is the idea of a specifically American democratic socialism emerging.
“Coinciding with the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx, socialism is reborn in political discourse. The political proposals of socialists gain support in Congress and in a good part of the electorate,” the White House laments in its report.
November 5, 2018.
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