According to opinion polls, about 40 percent of Americans believe the US is evolving into a socialist state. Some of them are excited about that prospect; others are angry and alarmed. The people who believe our country is becoming socialist slightly outnumber the ones who’re confident it isn’t, and almost a quarter of us aren’t sure one way or the other. So what’s the truth? Is the US on its way to becoming a bigger Cuba?
- The main reason so many Americans think the country is becoming socialist seems to be the size of the government. A majority of people think the government is too big, too expensive and too deeply involved in our lives. They’d be happier with a smaller government that does fewer things, but does them more efficiently.
- A big government isn’t actually a sign of socialism, although socialist governments do tend to employ a lot of people and be very interventionist. The US government also employs a lot of people and is expanding the things it does.
- However, socialism doesn’t mean what a lot of people think it does. Just because something is paid for by tax money, that doesn’t make it socialist. Leftists like to claim that “without socialism we wouldn’t have schools, roads or a military.” They’re wrong.
- Socialism is public (which basically means government) ownership of the means of production, and the redistribution of wealth to minimize inequality. Almost all businesses in the US are privately owned. In fact, over the last few decades the government has sold off or closed down most of the production facilities it did own. America certainly isn’t going socialist in that respect.
- When it comes to redistribution, the situation isn’t so clear. Some on the left wing of the Democratic Party are proposing extremely high tax rates of up to 70 percent, and that certainly fits socialist principles. What they plan to do with the money might not, though; people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez want to take money from “the rich” and spend it on grandiose projects.
- Despite what people believe, there are no signs that the USA is moving towards socialism. That might change – far left ideologies seem to be more popular among young people that don’t remember the mess socialism made of Eastern Europe – but, right now, we can’t expect to see a red flag over the White House anytime soon.