Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Socialism everywhere?

A recent John Nichols article in The Nation was entitled, "Is the Financial Regulation Bill 'Socialist'? Don't Make the Socialists Laugh."

Noting that our new, up-and-coming Republican Senator from Massachusetts, Scott Brown, endorsed the bill, he predicts, "it will be harder for Republican legislators to claim the proposal offers more evidence of the forward march of socialism in America." Well, not necessarily: I heard a lot of commentary to the effect that this just proves Brown is not a real Republican—so typical of Massachusetts, and all that. Anyway, Nichols returns to his main point:
Why are so many GOP senators so very determined to block the bill, which cannot be debated unless sixty senators senators support a cloture vote?

What's the problem?

Republicans say that it is not that they oppose regulating Wall Street and big banks. Rather, the argument goes, they are afraid of big government—of the "socialist" sort . . .
He then goes on to cite some real socialists, who propose far more radical measures, such as nationalization of banks, heavy taxation of corporations in order to finance free college education, and the like, and concludes:
And that, of course, is the point: Socialism is not some vague, ill-defined concept. It's a well-established approach to economic and social issues. Americans can agree o[r] disagree with that approach—and they do—but it is absurd to suggest that a little bit of regulation for Wall Street and the big banks amounts to a dramatic abandonment of capitalism.

Almost as absurd as trying to scare people into thinking that putting an end to credit-card and loan abuses will deny braces to kids or pay to bank tellers.
Nothing to worry about, for as another piece in the same issue explains,"a Progressive Presidency Is Impossible, for Now."

As chance would have it, across the Atlantic, the week before, Harry's Place made a similar point, more simply:

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