Tag: Liz Warren

The Problem with Soft Socialism


The political landscape in the United States continues to become ever more divisive—and ever more incoherent. The Trump administration is engaging in a major program of deregulation and lower taxation at home, while pursuing tariffs and a trade war abroad. Simultaneously, a growing fraction of the Democratic party is moving left from liberalism to progressivism to democratic socialism. Politicians like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren proudly call themselves democratic socialists and advance a vision for the country in which well designed regulations mitigate what they regard as the corrosive the effects and embedded inequality of the capitalist system. They rightly dissociate themselves from the brutality and totalitarianism of the socialist regimes, from the Soviet Union to China to Cuba to Venezuela; their hope is to achieve a state-dominated economy in a benign democratic form.

But how exactly does a socialist economy operate within a democratic system? As if on cue, this question is addressed by President Trump’s Council of Economic Advisors in a timely new report, “The Opportunity Costs of Socialism.” Its conclusion is that socialism cannot succeed even in democratic societies. The Report makes its case in part by showing how once prosperous nations like Cuba and Venezuela have become economic basket cases as formerly democratic institutions gave way to totalitarian rule.

The Council’s Report quickly provoked indignant responses for its “bizarre” juxtapositions of mass atrocities with market distortions. But even if the two issues are rigidly separate, Democratic socialists still have to explain why a system that has failed whenever it has been tried can succeed under their tutelage. To borrow a grandiose phrase from Marx, the internal “contradictions” of socialism doom it to failure. To see why, start with some definitions of socialism. As the Council notes, the Oxford English Dictionary defines socialism as “a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.” A somewhat shorter definition speaks of socialism as “collective ownership of the means of production,” in contrast of course with a regime of (bourgeois) private property. This latter regime, according to Marxist theory, “is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products, that is based on class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the many by the few.” More modern democratic socialists tend to soften the claim for state ownership by speaking, as does the democratic socialist journalist Meagan Day, of “pooling society’s resources to meet people’s basic needs.”

Welcome to the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast for February 16, 2018, it’s number 162, the Liz Warren 2020! edition of the show with your humble hosts, Todd Feinburg, radio guy and Mike Stopa nanophysicist. This week, in anticipation of her nomination, election and coronation in 2020, is our all Liz week! What’s the point of swimming upstream? Socialism is nigh. We didn’t build it! Who doesn’t need a shrill school marm to keep us all in line? Who doesn’t yearn for that Patron Saint of people who can’t read the fine print on their credit card application?

We will reveal some things you never knew about Granny Warren and discuss some things you know only too well.

Calling Liz Warren “Pocahontas” Is a Good Thing


Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) and President Donald Trump.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is known for lying about being Native American to get a job at Harvard, but she’s not the first “Fauxcahontas” I’ve come across. As some on Ricochet know, I was once in the cheese business. About 20 to 25 percent of my business was with the DOD. They bought what was commonly referred to as commodity cheese. Think gasoline. For the most part gasoline is gasoline is gasoline as long as it meets certain standards. If an intersection has four gas stations, everything being equal, you buy from the one with the lowest price. The cheese that the DOD bought was like that.