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Obama and the socialists

March 16, 2009 - Jim Anderson
Is Barack Obama a socialist?

Only in the minds of an odd assortment of conservatives, says Socialist Party organizer and magazine editor Billy Wharton.

In a recent Washington Post piece, Wharton describes Obama as “a hedge-fund Democrat.”

“Not only is he not a socialist, he may in fact not even be a liberal,” Wharton writes.

Among other things, Wharton says Obama is at odds with socialists on:

— The bank bailout. Socialists support nationalization of the banking system. The Obama administration favors “costly, temporary measures that can easily be dismantled should the economy stabilize,” Wharton says.

— Health care. Socialists support a national health insurance system, similar to the single-payer health plan envisioned by Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.). Wharton sees ObamaCare as a boon to private health insurance companies. By mandating that every person be insured, it would give private insurers “license to systematically underinsure policyholders while cashing in on the moral currency of universal coverage,” he says.

— Iraq and Afganistan. A socialist foreign policy calls for the removal of all troops from Iraq and additional scholars and engineers in Afghanistan, rather than more fighting forces. Obama intends to leave as many as 50,000 troops in Iraq and wishes to expand the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“ ... I doubt that any of Obama’s policies will someday appear in the annals of socialist history,” Wharton writes.

“The president has, however, been assigned the unenviable task of salvaging a capitalist system intent on devouring itself,” he continues.

He offers a list of questions for the president:

— Can you lend legitimacy to a society in which 5 percent of the population controls 85 percent of the wealth?

— Can you sell a health-care reform package that will only end up enriching a private health insurance industry?

— Will you continue to favor military spending over infrastructure development and social services?

“Socialists know that Barack Obama is not one of us,” Wharton writes.

Is that in any way reassuring to those who suspect otherwise? Probably not.

But socialists, apparently, are planning no Obama parades.


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