I don’t know whether President Obama can be classified as a socialist or not. The term as popularly understood has a wide array of definitions, from European-style statism to communist Nirvana.
But I can say with confidence that Obama’s instincts are socialist.
Obama speaks a language that is different than that of most Democrats. He uses terms and has ideas that you wouldn’t normally hear from Democrats. Take Monday’s pronouncement during an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.
Obama was asked if there was a way to stop banks from assessing a service charge for using debit cards, a fee that arose from new requirements in the financial reform bill he signed into law.
Well, you can stop it because it– if you– if you say to the banks, “You don’t have some inherent right just to– you know, get a certain amount of profit. If your customers– are being mistreated. That you have to treat them fairly and transparently.” And– and my hope is is that you’re going to see a bunch of– the banks, who say to themselves, “You know what? This is actually not good business practice.” Banks can make money. They can succeed, the old-fashioned way, by earning it. By lending to small businesses. By lending to consumers. By making sure that– you know, we are building the economy together.
This is not a statement that could be made by someone who believes strongly in the American idea of capitalism.
The notion that you have a right to a “certain amount of profit” – actually to any amount of profit – is the basis of our economic system. Democrats normally don’t talk about capping profits. They say they will tax profits and take a share for the government in an amount that may be assessed in growing percentages as the profit increases.
Limiting profits is a fundamentally Socialist idea. It says government can set arbitrary caps on your business. It’s a way of limiting freedom that is contrary to the American theology that while government can impinge on freedom through taxation and regulation, it doesn’t set limits. The ability to realize your greatest dream, to make as much money as you can, is part of what has driven America since the covered wagons traversed The Great Plains, and before.
Making things worse is not just that Obama holds this concept of a limited right to profit, but that he would use his office as president to impart it to the banks. The head of the government is telling private citizens that there are limits on their freedom to which they should acquiesce.
And Obama would decide what is an acceptable way to make money. Apparently, fees are not acceptable. Banks should make money by granting loans – good for society, good for banks. Chilling.
Next thing you know, Obama will berate movie theaters for overcharging for candy. They should make money “the old fashioned way,” by charging fair prices for good movies.
This is the very crux of socialist thinking.
These are not errant comments. It’s not the first time Obama has said such things. Remember this?
Actually, there is no point at which you’ve made enough money. Because there is no point at which you have enough freedom.
Again, most Democrats would say that those who make a lot of money should “pay their fare share,” or something like that. “Spread the wealth around” is a Socialist formulation that suggests people who have earned their money don’t deserve it, and so it must be spread around. It’s a kind of thinking that believes redistributive policies are a basic right, and not a helping hand that should be limited, because it is a seizure of one person’s private property in order to give it to another.
Obama entered office with an economy to fix. But he doesn’t understand how the economy works.
That’s why, for example, instead of paying down the debt, he decided to spend nearly $1 trillion to nationalize health care.
Because when your priority is to spread the wealth around, first things come first.