Recently Brad Kramer wrote a column expressing the Republican point of view. After attacking the Democrats by calling them “socialists” or “Marxists”, he wrote: “We [Republicans] are free market capitalists…. “
Eh? Multiple sources (from Wikipedia to thefreedictionary.com) indicate that a market economy is an economy in which supply and demand are unregulated, and government regulations such as labor laws, wage laws minimum or even age restrictions for buying alcohol are seen as barriers to a free market. In such a system, get rid of government regulations: no more child labor laws, no more meat inspections, no more regulations to ensure the safety of cars and household appliances, companies would be free to dump any poisonous substance in our lakes and streams and dirty our water supplies. Ouch!
Fortunately, the United States, in all respects, is a mixed economy. We Americans learned our lessons in the 1920s and 1930s when the market failed, leading to the Great Depression. Many Americans were unemployed, homeless, and felt helpless and hopeless. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected president, he proposed a number of New Deal programs (i.e. banking regulations, public works programs, child labor laws, and the security system. social). He said at the time that the monopolies and reckless bankers of the day hated him, and he welcomed their hatred. Over the years, Republicans have worked hard to dismantle New Deal programs and even privatize our Social Security program.
Today we are again facing crises caused by the pandemic and endemic inequalities in our country. For weeks now, President Biden has been proposing the necessary bold steps – an infrastructure bill and a Build Back Better bill to help everyday Americans do better. There are provisions to maintain the child tax credit (which lifted millions of children out of poverty), to enact a minimum wage of $ 15, to start incentives to develop clean energy technology for to help us deal with climate change, to help families with school fees, and other programs to help ordinary citizens, not businesses or the wealthy.
So, coming back to the discussion of market economies, I think most Americans don’t want to trust businesses completely. We know businesses are driven by profit. Do you remember the tobacco companies? These business leaders have knowingly lied to Americans for years, peddling dirty and toxic products to my family, all of us – for profit. This is the essential point. We Democrats know that we must rely on our government and its agencies to protect us and our families from for-profit businesses. We have the right to vote and the ability to demand from our government the changes we want.
When Republicans use words like “socialism” or “Marxism” to scare us, they are just covering up the rich and powerful. It’s not brave, it’s not smart. It is weak and dishonest.