Carol Roth: Our government's plan to make America socialist is working
Between the two spending bills before Congress are a host of endeavors meant to take away choice and make people more dependent upon the government
As Congress considers trillions of dollars in additional spending, both in the $1 trillion infrastructure bill that has already passed the Senate, as well as the $3.5 trillion social agenda plan that is being negotiated, there are people arguing about hold-ups and holdouts, as if it should be easy to spend trillions of dollars of money that isn’t yours. However, the size of the spending (which is, of course, fraught with accounting and timing trickery and actually represents even more dollars that tax payers will be on the hook for, one way or another), obscures something even more concerning-- the continued expansion of government.
Between the two bills are a host of endeavors meant to take away choice and make people more dependent upon the government, as well as enhance crony interests.
They seek to expand the government’s reach into education, something that it has already made education in the US more expensive with inferior outcomes. They take us a step closer toward Medicare-for-all by lowering the Medicare eligibility age and expanding benefits. They seek to funnel more money toward green energy, ironically at a time when we have climbing energy prices, and in some locations around the globe energy rationing, in part because of this administration’s interference in the market, among a slew of other big government endeavors.
Over many decades, but accelerating greatly in the past two, the U.S. has been torn away from a free market economy and thrust toward one of central planning.
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Whether you want to call it socialism, democratic socialism or otherwise, I won’t get caught up in the semantics other than to say that instead of moving toward more freedom, choice and transparency, supported by the guardrails of property rights, we are being subjected to a small number of bureaucrats making major economic and other decisions on behalf of the masses, using force, coercion, control and, usually, under a cover of opacity.
This is scary on its own; but what is worse is that many Americans are falling for it. In a Fox News poll taken in February of 2020, 40% of Democrats who participated said they had a favorable view of socialism; a high number, but still not the majority. A recent version of the poll recently conducted by Fox News showed that number increased a whopping 47.5% (or 19 percentage points); now 59% of registered Democratic voters who participated had a positive view of socialism!
One would think that central planners imposing their will via categorizing businesses and workers as "essential" vs. "non-essential", as well as a continual loop of flubs in handling COVID-19 during the now 570-ish days into "15 days to slow the spread" would lay bare just how awful central planners are at making decisions, let alone economic decisions.
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That obvious conclusion seems to be a giant neon blind spot to those who got used to the government’s giveaways. Whether individual cash stimulus, extended unemployment "bonuses" or cash to cronies that has comprised a substantial part of every funding bill since March 2020, including the $1.9 million "American Rescue Plan" passed in March 2021, Democrats are clearly focusing on the government payoffs in front of them and ignoring the full-scale transfer of wealth from Main Street to Wall Street that is being enabled by a combination of government and Fed policies that is happening in the background.
The central planners may not know what they are doing in terms of the economy, but they know how to consolidate power and that is by generating buy-in for their plans.
Despite generating increased inflation, disrupting the jobs market and supply chains, shuttering small businesses and throwing savers and retirees under the proverbial bus, among other financial and individual rights atrocities, they have managed to convince a whole slew of Americans that the government will be there to take care of them and conditioned those individuals to expect government financial support, completely unaware that the government is only limiting their and their children’s economic futures.
With this buy-in, the Democratic politicians feel like they have the mandate to continue down this path and too many Republicans are enabling it—possibly given their lack of a leg to stand on, since they only seem to be fiscally conservative when it suits their talking points.
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With this backdrop, the Senate was able to pass the disgraceful infrastructure bill; more than $1 trillion of spending in which far too little goes towards actual infrastructure. Now, the $3.5 trillion spending bonanza is a full-on socialist overhaul of the economy.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has been transparent about the goals, saying, "The Democratic budget will bring a generational transformation to how our economy works for average Americans." For those in need of a secret decoder, this is clear code for an economy by central planning mandate. How could that not be expected from a budget committee chaired by Bernie Sanders?
The World Economic Forum talks about "The Opportunity" for an initiative they call "The Great Reset." Their website says, "As we enter a unique window of opportunity to shape the recovery, this initiative will offer insights to help inform all those determining the future state of global relations, the direction of national economies, the priorities of societies, the nature of business models and the management of a global commons."
There would be no bigger opportunity for a reset or shaping the change in direction of the global economy than the U.S. giving up on economic freedom.
Before the COVID-19 government panic, the government was already spending around $8 trillion dollars at all levels of government.
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It was subjecting us to thousands upon thousands of laws and it was expanding its purview into more and more areas of our life and the economy.
Now, with the new spending framework, the government wants to expand its role as middleman and fairy godmother.
If we were a hybrid economy before, these initiatives move us closer and closer to being socialist, and many voters view that favorably, not realizing the implications for wealth creation opportunities and economic freedom.
This is the government’s plan and frighteningly, it is working.
Carol Roth is a former investment banker, entrepreneur and author of the new book "The War on Small Business" Broadside Books (June 29, 2021) and the New York Times bestseller "The Entrepreneur Equation."