What Democratic socialism really means

The capitalism vs. socialism debate is heating up ahead of the 2020 Presidential election, with candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.,  Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., calling on policies like tax increases on the wealthy, free college tuition, Medicare for all, amongst other things.

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Socialism advocate, Nomiki Konst told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Wednesday, she believes a democratic government is essentially what democratic socialism is.

“It’s the government that’s built off of the people. It’s made up of the people. The people are deciding are the people writing the laws. The people who are effected by the economy,”  she said.

However, Konst also believes the United States is not living capitalism.

“Right now, we are living more in an oligarchy, where not a 1 percent, but a 0.1 percent is there making all the money, not paying the taxes, living in multiple homes, driving up the cost of real estate, lobbying our lawmakers to not make sure that working people can live better lives. Income inequality is worse than it’s even been in history right now,” she said.

The Great Depression was the worst economic downturn in the history of the industrialized world, lasting a decade, from 1929 to 1939. It began after the stock market crash of October 1929, which sent Wall Street into a panic and wiped out millions of investors. Over the next several years, consumer spending and investment dropped, causing steep declines in industrial output and employment as failing companies laid off workers. By 1933, when the Great Depression reached its lowest point, some 15 million Americans (20 percent of the population) were unemployed and nearly half the country’s banks had failed. In Konsts' opinion, the market is "worse now than it was then."

How exactly did the U.S. get through the Great Depression?

In 1932, Democrat, Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president. Roosevelt took immediate action to address the country’s economic troubles. During Roosevelt’s first 100 days in office, his administration passed legislation that aimed to stabilize industrial and agricultural production, create jobs and stimulate recovery. Among programs created, the New Deal, which built dams and hydro-electric projects to provide electric power and control flooding in the Tennessee Valley area, created nearly 9 million permanent jobs from 1935 to 1943.

“We believe that the markets need to be checked," said Konst. "Right now they are out of control. Every person should be able to start a small business the way my grandparents did when they immigrated here, when they escaped communism."


Nomiki believes that polls themselves on socialism don’t tell an accurate story of how Americans feel because while the word socialism might frighten people away, when you speak to them, they align more with socialism than capitalism -- such as Medicare for all, fair housing, and eliminating student debt.

“Most people don’t understand, especially with the older generation, mainly coming out of the Reagan era, is that people don’t understand what socialism is when you poll people on the issues that Democratic socialists are fighting for,” said Konst. “Capitalism needs to be checked. Democratic socialism is a check on capitalism. It is not a rebuttal on capitalism, an elimination on capitalism, we live in a global economy that’s not gonna happen any time soon, but the truth is that people need to be paying their fair of taxes  -- especially the 1 percent.”