I love my country. I love the fact that we are a nation based on a political ideology of separation of powers and separation of church and state. I love our notions of equal protection and due process, and the uniqueness of our civil rights movement. I love that we are a nation of immigrants and have no official language. You won’t find that anywhere else in the world.
But just as you won’t find a Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, or George Soros flourishing elsewhere in the world, the United States is due for a serious wake up call; it is falling behind. The best example of this are the ridiculous accusations of “socialism” by America’s conservatives as a last ditch effort to dissimulate their own lack of ideas and deflate Obama’s optimistic bubble.
Let’s look at the facts. Republicans have nothing left but fear-mongering, falling back on the 1980s Reagan anti-communism rhetoric to call Obama’s stimulus plan socialism. Ironically, just as the Republicans have deified Reagan as capitalism’s heroic slayer of communism, the majority of the world now views American capitalism as the principle culprit in the global economic crisis. America has become the easy scapegoat. Here’s how the story goes: when we’re not bombing the world to fuel our SUVs at home, we’re bullying countries to open their markets to American goods and services and to liberalize their banking systems. They followed suit, got burned, and now have to pay the price for a failed economic policy.
As I have already mentioned, free market capitalism has never been honestly practiced in the U.S. Rather, our government has consistently intervened, through corporate tax breaks, licenses and permits, deregulation and military action, in favor of large companies at the cost of taxpayers and the free market. So what are the Republicans proposing now? More of the same. As Paul Krugman writes in The New York Times:
But it’s now clear that the [Republican] party’s commitment to deep voodoo — enforced, in part, by pressure groups that stand ready to run primary challengers against heretics — is as strong as ever. In both the House and the Senate, the vast majority of Republicans rallied behind the idea that the appropriate response to the abject failure of the Bush administration’s tax cuts is more Bush-style tax cuts.
It’s time that we had an honest conversation, and by honest I am mean free of the brainwashed anxiety about socialism and bread lines. It’s time to face the fact that we have fallen behind the rest of the world. How much better are we than other developed nations? Continue reading