I recently saw a morbidly hilarious headline on the satire site The Babylon Bee. It said Bernie Sanders had dropped out of the presidential race because his vision of locking everyone up and destroying the economy had already been accomplished.
Without a doubt, the coronavirus has seen us as a nation careening toward socialist-type policies with alarming speed. In a way it makes sense: If no one can work, then I guess you figure you try to operate under the system that has little regard for work. That’s socialism, which claims to be all about the workers but actually removes almost every reward for working.
Socialism is about state control, and about getting what you need through politics instead of through your own industrious efforts. It’s what much of the Democratic Party has wanted in this country for a long time, and they’ve tried for decades with little success to convince the rest of the country it’s the way America should be.
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They’re probably as surprised as anyone that, given this public health crisis, we’re suddenly living their dream.
Whether people realize it or not, we are currently test-driving socialism in some crucially important ways. The things we’re experiencing are exactly what we would see if the likes of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren or AOC ever got the chance to run this country. And I want to point out to you 10 examples of how this is already unfolding.
- Everyone is watching their bank accounts for money from the government. Did you get your stimulus check yet? Still waiting? Still watching your online bank account or your mailbox? Still waiting to see when the government will take care of you with the money you’ve been promised? Frustrating, isn’t it. Now imagine doing that every week, or every month, for the rest of your life. That’s what happens under socialism.
- We’re finding out that government money intended to help small business is going to the politically connected. How, people wonder, did the likes of Harvard University and Shake Shack get all that PPP money intended for small businesses? Because they’re powerful and politically connected, and because the banks want to take care of their best customers. When government decides to be the arbiter of who gets benefits, the powerful and the connected always end up first in line. It’s only under a free-market system that getting what you need is determined by your own objective merits.
- Government disincentivizes work. We’ve talked a lot on here about how people on unemployment are earning more than they did when they were working, thanks to perverse incentives put into the CARES Act. So why should anyone work? It’s actually a more rational decision not to under a system like this. And when people don’t work, no wealth is created and the economy collapses. Just like now.
- Debt is exploding. Where does the government get all that money to pay people not to work? It floats bonds and goes into debt. How will it pay off the bonds? By printing money. What will that do to the currency? It will cause its value to collapse. What will that do to the wealth you’ve built up? Same thing. This is why socialist countries have such worthless currency. Because they always do what we’re doing right now.
- Freedom is being sacrificed to the supposed greater good. You can’t buy paint. You can’t go on the water in a motor boat. You can’t go to your office. You can’t plant a garden. And don’t you dare complain because it’s for the greater good that the government tells you what you can and can’t do. Fidel Castro would be so thrilled to see all this.
- Government makes promises, then quickly runs out of money before it can fulfill them. How did the money for the PPP run out two weeks after the bill was passed? Because when private-sector productivity is replaced with government freebies, there is never enough to last for long. You’re promising all kinds of goodies and no one is creating the wealth that makes it possible to fulfill those promises. This next round will run out just as fast. Rinse, repeat.
- Grocery shelves are lacking essential items people need. No toilet paper? No eggs? No coconut milk? No peanut butter? No Rice-a-Roni? We’re not used to this in America, where the shelves are always well-stocked with everything we need. In socialist countries, the disincentives to work mean there’s far less being produced, because the producers aren’t allowed to make a profit so why should they bother? That’s where we stand today. Stores can’t keep the shelves stocked because their suppliers aren’t producing and can’t distribute using their normal methods. They have to stay within the government’s guidelines, which is what you have to do under socialism all the time.
- People are threatened with punishment for protesting. In addition to being sneered at by the political class and the media, these protesters in state capitols are being told their criminals, or even murderers. Some social media platforms are taking down posts encouraging protests. We’re told that it’s dangerous for them to say the things they’re saying, and that they have to be silenced. Nicolas Maduro says and does things like that.
- You can’t trust the media. This, I realize, didn’t start with the pandemic. But we already have a media that basically acts as the mouthpiece for one political party. That means that in a crisis situation like this, they’re not going to report factually and objectively on what’s going on. Rather, they’re going to spin everything to serve the agenda of their side. That means you never really know what’s true – at a time when you most need to know what’s true – because you can’t trust the people telling you. It’s just like relying on state-owned media in socialist countries.
- Precious natural resources have become worthless. People often wonder how a country like Venezuela, which is so rich with oil resources, can become so poor. It’s because inept and corrupt politicians mismanage and squander that resource. Did you see the other day that some oil futures contracts have dropped below $0 a barrel in Texas? That’s because the government has killed all demand for oil products with its pronouncement that everyone has to stay home. Any resource can be made worthless if you’re incompetent and malevolent enough.
The next time Democrats tell you we need a socialist system, remember: This is what it’s like. You’re getting a taste of it right now. It’s not much fun, is it? Nor will it ever be.
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This is something Republicans should remember for generations – that whenever Democrats push socialism, the response should be, “Oh, you mean like during the COVID-19 quarantine? Yeah, that was great.”
People will remember this. If we make sure they understand what this really is, those pushing socialism will be doomed to defeat for the next 100 years. So let’s get this right, in the hope that we’ll never have to live through anything like this again.