HuffPost says baby boomers panicked by the popularity of socialism, just need to “relax.”
Senior political economy reporter Zach Carter declared “Socialism is Good Now,” on HuffPost July 29. At the same time, actual socialism was collapsing in both Venezuela and Nicaragua.
That didn’t phase HuffPost. In order to make critics of socialism look crazy, Carter brought up Merwin K. Hart of the “Golden Age of American Paranoia” who warned throughout the 1940s and 1950s against the U.S. drifting into socialism.
He also railed against boomers calling them “worst American generation since Reconstruction” and raised in a “political culture dominated by madmen, their minds warped at an early age” — warped because of their opposition to socialism, of course.
“For decades, Boomers saw the term ‘socialism’ deployed not to denote a set of economic policies, but to conjure a vague, foreign horror. Accustomed to this nomenclature, Boomers have reacted with fright or at least confusions to the terminology of today’s American left, which has embraced the ‘socialist’ label more widely than any domestic political movement in living memory.”
He added condescendingly, “Boomers need to relax. Socialism is good now.” Later, he crowed that “Millennials are the first generation to come of age without all this Cold War brain baggage” — because knowing about totalitarian despots and mass murder under communist and socialist regimes is “baggage.”
It’s arrogant for Carter to assume Boomers simply fell for a boogeyman. One extreme form of socialism through state ownership known as communism, killed millions of people (including mass murder in the U.S.S.R).
However, even less radical forms of socialist economic systems have failed to deliver the prosperity adherents claim. Instead, it has delivered poverty and tyranny. Six years after socialist dictator Hugo Chavez took over Venezuela is collapsing under 1 million percent inflation, low economic growth and 30 percent unemployment. Axios reported that Nicaragua’s socialist government is struggling to retain power in the face of anti-government protests and allegations of massacres against dissidents.
The Foundation for Economic Education explained that part of the reasons socialism fails is it doesn’t use a profit-and-loss system of accounting.
“Under central planning, there is no profit-and-loss system of accounting to accurately measure the success or failure of various programs. Without profits, there is no way to discipline firms that fail to serve the public interest and no way to reward firms that do. There is no efficient way to determine which programs should be expanded and which ones should be contracted or terminated,” FEE wrote.
Carter is correct that some polls have shown millennials have more positive attitudes toward socialism — however, that doesn’t make socialism good or function. He can tout “soon-to-be Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez” all he wants and try to portray her democratic socialist agenda as “old-school New Deal liberalism, or basic, functional, small-d democracy.” She also wants Medicare-for-all, much like Sen. Bernie Sanders. The costs of such a plan were recently analyzed by the left-wing Urban Institute and libertarian Mercatus Center — both put the figure around $32 trillion.
No amount of hipness or popularity can erase the fundamental flaw of socialism: the problem of how to pay for “free” stuff.
Cortez says “no American should be too poor to live” and “access to dignified health care” and “you should be able to send your kids to college and trade school” and “no person should feel precarious or unstable in their access to housing.”
Those are grand ambitions, but if they become the responsibility of the government, they’re unlikely to be achieved.
Governments cannot simply gift free anything without paying for it with tax dollars (or future debt), and once you’ve taxed rich people so much that they’re not rich anymore — there will be nowhere left to turn.
Yet Carter insisted, “No gulags, just dignity. Boomers of the world, calm down. You have nothing to lose but some words.”