Don’t Let GOP Fool You, It’s Long Supported ‘Socialism’ and Still Does

Some people really seem to be spending a lot of time yammering on about “socialism” heading into the next elections. It appears to be part of an attempt to deflect from the Republicans’ unseemly relationships with veteran Communist officials who still run Russia, and prey on the emotions of the more poorly informed among the GOP’s followers.

It’s not a new line of attack. Republicans using ”socialism” as scare tactic to demonize essential programs and initiatives dates back at least 60 years to a period known as the post-World War II “Red Scare.”

“Socialism is the epithet they have hurled at every advance the people have made,” Harry Truman said in 1952. “Socialism is what they called public power. Socialism is what they called social security. Socialism is what they called farm price supports. Socialism is what they called bank deposit insurance. Socialism is what they called the growth of free and independent labor organizations. Socialism is their name for anything that helps all the people.”

We should not confuse the Red Scare with the scary red hats of today. From Trump to McConnell, their talk of “socialism” is pure nonsense. Republicans have a long history of backing what they now complain are “socialist” programs. Let’s consider a few of these GOP-backed taxpayer-funded programs.

We should start with the poorly executed Trump trade war. It hit farmers particularly hard and forced Trump to rescue Big Ag and family farmers with at least $28 billion in emergency subsidies (on top of a $100 million toward developing needed export markets to find new buyers for American agriculture all but rotting as a result of the trade war). Are taxpayer-funded subsidies “socialism?” Sure sounds like it based on all the wailing from Trump and McConnell. Could this bailout have been avoided? Yes, had Trump not created the mess in the first place, but that’s just what he did and we couldn’t just sit by and let American farmers go bankrupt.

Government subsidies are often necessary, but that bailout would not have been needed had Trump not penalized the Rural Economy with his poorly thought out trade war. That’s not to say China doesn’t need a good seeing to on the issue of trade imbalance. Beijing does need to level the playing field, for sure, but really poor planning by Trump failed to see the opportunities he created for retaliation by the Chinese with his headlines-ahead-of-Americans approach.

By the way, there’s likely more needed help on the way for farmers as a result of 100-year floods that happen just about every year now (please refrain from calling it climate change, and instead go with “a new routine of catastrophic climate occurrences that are a change from what used to be the normal weather pattern,” or not). USDA is considering aid to farmers unable to plant because of the unrelenting rains. Are these taxpayer-funded subsidies for bad weather socialism, too? For that matter are all emergency funds for hurricanes, tornadoes, fires and health epidemics socialism? Based of the Trump-McConnell bluster scale, it sure sounds like it.

The tab for medical costs for the heroes who worked at Ground Zero after Sept. 11, 2001 is another program we have been hearing about recently. Police, firefighters, hardhats and others all are helped by taxpayer funds that seek to help put their lives back together after the great sacrifice they have made for our country. Is that “socialism?” It’s a government-funded healthcare program, isn’t it? McConnell certainly treats it with disrespect and disdain the way he ignores the victims of the terrorist attacks and waits until the last possible moment to fund the program. Doesn’t sound very patriotic of McConnell, does it?

Wiping out of billions of dollars in state and local taxes to placate corporate giants like Amazon and Google is another practice that recently caught our attention. Oligopolies like those two tech giants really don’t need tax breaks, but they get them by using fear and the threat of moving their operations away to shakedown state and local governments to give them tax breaks. Are these “socialist” programs? We should ask the Republicans. They seem to know a lot about doing business with taxpayer-funded subsidies.

Perhaps the most ironic “socialist” program in modern history was the $700 billion bailout for giant Wall Street investment banks during the Bush recession of 2008. Some would say this was one of the most avoidable “socialist” programs in modern history, had deregulation not allowed for Wall Street greed to destroy the U.S. housing market and upend the global economy.

The Wall Street banking bailout funded by American taxpayers was crafted by then- Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, a Republican and former head honcho at Goldman-Sachs. You might recall that President Obama inherited that financial catastrophe, but then guided the U.S. back to a sound economic footing and a pathway to the robust growth that Trump inherited. It’s hard to imagine the recovery coming as fast it did without that “socialist” bank bailout.

Then we have the perennial favorites on the GOP corporate “socialism” front, like oil and gas subsidies, and the government funded “socialist” ATM machine for corporations, known as the Export-Import Bank. The latter lends amounts in excess of $10 million, or provides insurance when even those giant investment banks and underwriters deem the risk too high. Ex-Im reports it has nearly $40 billion in transactions in the pipeline that would translate to about 230,000 jobs. Some Republicans actually do say Ex-Im Bank is “socialist,” but the majority calls it a real good investment with good economic returns.

So it’s pretty obvious Republicans aren’t really against what they call “socialism,” in fact they clearly love many programs they pretend aren’t “socialist,” according to their definition of the word. Their scheme is really to demonize the programs like healthcare, retirement benefits and food and nutrition programs that benefit the middle class and workers left behind in the new economy. The Republicans’ conundrum is they oppose programs that help the many in favor of corporate “socialism” that benefits the few at the cost of the many.

For the record, our sarcasm aside, we have no problem understanding the value of the programs listed above. They prop up Americans and the American economy. We completely support U.S. commerce, jobs, aid and investment; although it is a shame that some of these programs could have been avoided had (ironically Republican) administrations not allowed the policies that created bad situations in the first place.

Best to ignore the “socialist” label, but counter-punch at the partisan attack. The truth is these are the programs of the American Safety Net, from the bank bailouts to farmer subsidies, to access to affordable healthcare to tax breaks for corporations that locate in our communities. So don’t play defense when Trump, McConnell or anyone else starts quacking about “socialism.” Give it right back to them hard, fierce and repeatedly. Consider using one simple message: “You’re confused. You’re talking about Americans being Americans, and Americans always take care of their own.”

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply