Friday, November 14, 2008

The Republican Socialist Charge

As noted in an earlier blog in this past election the Republicans tended to label Democrats as being Socialists and Marists. As one writer, Barbara Simpson, has penned “It’s clear Marxism will permeate Obama’s presidency.” The Socialist/Marxist label was not new to this election for it has been a tactic that has been used by the Republicans for decades.

Before commenting on the charge, let me summarize the essence of Marxism. Marxism views society through the prism of class struggle whereby the wealthy keep workers repressed while they absorb the wealth of their worker’s labor. The goal of the wealthy is to exploit workers by underpaying them and limiting their employment rights.

The goal of Marxism is to create an egalitarian system by eliminating class distinctions. It holds that all workers are to be paid the same wage. To this end, the state owns all corporate assets and creates monopolies, owns all farms and manages every aspect of the society. To help establish the egalitarian system and eliminate the wealthy landed gentry, Marx advocates the abolition of inheritance and implementing a heavy progressive income tax to strip the wealthy of the wealth that they have accumulated and inherited.

When I look at Democratic policies, I do not see Marxism at play. Neither the Democrats nor President-elect Obama is advocating that the state hold all property and assets, the creation of state run monopolies, implementing an egalitarian pay system and the abolition of inheritance.

No one can deny that the current tax structure is progressive with the wealthier paying a higher per cent of their income in taxes than those who are paid less. A progressive structure is not Marxism if it is neither heavy nor intended to eliminate the wealth of those who have amassed it. Heavy is a matter of interpretation. A tax rate of 35% is heavy if you believe that you should not be paying more than 20%, 15% can be viewed as outrageous if one holds that one should not be paying more than 7%.

Like the next guy, I would love to pay less in taxes. Yet, if there was a poor public infrastructure it is unlikely I would have my same standard of living. Public infrastructure elements ranging from transportation to education, from regulatory standards and enforcement to public safety are essential to a stable and healthy modern country. Without such a solid public infrastructure corporations and business owners would not be able to flourish and increase their wealth. Without a healthy business community, solid gainful employment for most in the country would be unlikely. A progressive tax structure allows those who are benefiting economically at a higher level to pay for a greater portion of the public infrastructure.

The red herring Socialist charges will continue to be made by the Republicans. As evidenced by Representative Michelle Bachmann’s blatant McCarthy like statement during the campaign, there are Republican elements who would be happy to have Congress investigate Obama and a host of Democrats for anti-American and Marxist beliefs. Fortunately, the attack has had less traction this year than in past elections because a large portion of those under the age of forty are buying into that language. The Republican attacks indicate that they are either ignorant about Socialism or if they are informed as to its definition, that they are intentionally preying upon those who are uninformed.

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