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If there’s any hot topic on the left this electoral cycle, it’s socialism.
Between Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her Green New Deal — which is essentially an agglomeration of socialist policies, not all of which have anything to do with “saving the environment” — and independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, another self-described socialist currently ensconced in second place in the 2020 Democrat polls, there’s been plenty of play regarding the idea that socialism is the Next Big Thing.
In fact, it’s gotten to the point where, when President Donald Trump said during the State of the Union that “America will never be a socialist country,” he wasn’t talking about a threat from a reconstituted Soviet Union but a shift toward the socialism in America. And, wonder of wonders, the Democrats called this divisive without actually defining what socialism was.
“It is a society coming together to increase the standard of living of our seniors,” declared Democrat Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, when asked about socialism on CNN after the president’s speec. “And that is pretty much the definition. And the president is attacking it.”
Merkley, it’s worth noting, has been one of the higher-profile co-signers of the Green New Deal. Like many of the new utopians, they believe that they’re moving toward a future in which government would guarantee equality in plenty.
In an opinion piece for Fox News, author Ying Ma — whose family fled communist China during the 1980s — said her experience leads her to believe is the kind of thinking that leads to equality in misery.
“The Democratic Party’s lurch to socialism led to a presidential rebuke at the State of the Union on Tuesday night,” she wrote in the Saturday piece.
“From Sen. Bernie Sanders’s call for ‘Medicare-for-all,’ to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal of a ‘Green New Deal,’ to Democratic presidential hopefuls’ hankering for stiff tax hikes, prominent members of the Democratic Party seem unwilling to miss any opportunity to advocate for greater government control of the economy.
“Yet as Democrats justify grandiose proposals by decrying income inequality, many of us who immigrated to the United States from socialist countries see great irony,” she continued. “After all, unending income equality is what drove us to leave our native lands in the first place.”
Ma’s family fled China in the 1980s in the aftermath of the disastrous programs of Mao Zedong. She describes growing up in China’s third-largest city, Guangzhou: “Everyone in my city was equal in having no running hot water, no modern toilet facilities, no refrigerator, no washer, no dryer, and no color television.
“Imagine a world without Whole Foods, Safeway and Walmart, or the plethora of products stocked on their shelves,” she wrote. “Imagine no Vitamin Water, no Gatorade, no Starbucks, no Panera Bread, no candy bars and no sea salt potato chips. Now imagine instead being allotted food stamps from the government, indicating how much your family can eat.”
China may have backed off of some of Mao’s more onerous policies, but that didn’t mean the country was any less of a command economy. The government, Ma wrote, still decided where you were to live and work, as well as what you’d buy and for what price.
“After decades of totalitarian rule and grand socialist experiments, China had a meager per capita GDP of less than $200 in 1980. By comparison, America’s was $12,500 that year,” Ma continued.
“Around that time, China decided enough misery was enough. It embarked on historic economic reforms and opened up the country to the world. Liberalization introduced market prices, allowed for the return to household farming from collectivization, created Special Economic Zones in coastal areas that attracted foreign investment and promoted exports, exposed state-owned factory production to profit incentives, and opened up the market to private firms and entities.”
You’re probably familiar with what happened next. China is nowhere near as free or as prosperous as the West, but the privations of the 1980s are far behind them.
“Over the past 40 years, China became the second largest economy in the world,” Ma wrote. “However, don’t for a minute forget the lesson that still applies: When the state runs the economy and its citizens’ lives, there will be plenty of equality in scarcity, poverty and hopelessness.
“Today, this is a lesson that prominent Democrats seem eager to forget,” she continued. “Less than 30 years after the former Soviet Union collapsed and the United States emerged victorious from the Cold War, Americans increasingly find it necessary to debate the shortcomings and evils of socialism all over again.”
Given her background, it might be no surprise that Ma is a firm Trump supporter. Check her 2016 interview with Megyn Kelly, then of Fox News, where she explains her reasons.
But, with apologies to Sinclair Lewis, the worst excesses of socialism can’t happen here, right?
Well, let’s consider the baby steps that the left wants to take.
Sen. Sanders’ “Medicare for all” plan will cost well over $30 trillion, and that’s a very conservative estimate. As for the Green New Deal, the U.K. Guardian noted that “(i)n supporting documents staffer(s) acknowledge the investment required would be ‘massive,’” which is still an understatement.
Ocasio-Cortez herself has been fond of comparing the kind of mobilization necessary for the plan to what the United States experienced in World War II, during which we turned our industrial might into a command economy in order to beat a concerted enemy. In this case, we would assume the same stance based on a profoundly vague environmental/social agenda.
“It was left up to President Trump to declare on Tuesday night: ‘Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence – and not government coercion, domination and control. We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country,’” Ma concluded.
“It is crazy that the leader of the free world had to state this. It is crazier still that he will have to deliver an even more robust defense of democratic capitalism in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election. Hopefully, the Democrats’ vision of economic equality will not prevail.”
The sad thing is that we don’t particularly realize just how close it really is to succeeding.
Liberals all love the idea of equality in plenty. What they invariably end up getting is a funhouse mirror version of that vision, one where the only equality is shared misery. Just ask Venezuela.