Many people (OK, one person) have (has) written me asking what I think about the future of socialism in America. And in reply I say, my friends, you don’t have to worry about socialism in America.
It’s doing just fine.
In fact, it’s had a banner eight years, and I think it’s safe to say that no matter who wins this November, socialism will keep right on trucking along.
After all, the largest expansion of entitlements since the Johnson administration was shepherded through Congress by the Republicans and happily signed by George “I Compensate Through the Size of My Government” Bush. So if you’re worried that John McCain is suddenly going to reverse course on his entire career and shrink the capacity of government to replace your spending choices with its own, you can relax.
Though there is a potential dark cloud on the horizon.
Turns out the last time a Democrat got elected President the initial overreach in paying back favors to all the people who carried water in the twelve years since the last administration caused a backlash that cost Democrats control of both houses of Congress for the first time in forty years. For a brief time–essentially until Clinton left office–socialism was slightly endangered as Republicans passed welfare reform and…um, maintained pay-as-you-go rules introduced by Democrats. But by opposing everything Clinton wanted to do, they actually allowed the revenue to catch up with and surpass expenditures, eliminating the budget deficit and actually shrinking government spending as a percentage of GDP.
But then George W. Bush got elected and the Republicans decided that two dudes kissing in public was a much bigger threat to the survival of the Republic than rolling back Leviathan…especially if Leviathan could buy you some of those sweet votes the Democrats used to pay for earn, then hey, socialism really isn’t that big a deal. Turns out the only problem with socialism was that the economy was directed by bureaucrats who might be gay and weren’t being guided by divine revelation. Fix that, and it will totally work this time!
Then of course they decided on an spending spree to fix a security problem that was already solved by the passengers of Flight 93 a couple of hours after it was discovered.
So now the banks are broken and are being nationalized, proving that divinely-inspired economic planning is differentiated from the lefty kind mainly in that lefty socialism nationalizes successful businesses. Well, except for Amtrak.
But all that bailing out is going to cost, and that might reduce the power of the next administration to do exactly what they criticized the Bush administration for doing, buying votes stimulating the economy. Still, the most popular Republican among conservatives at the moment is a welfare queen who is known primarily for redistributing money from large corporations to the public, so it will take a lot to find someone who wants to roll back socialism any time soon.