News & Politics

Did You Know That Socialist Programs 'Make Capitalism Work'?

Tom Perez speaks during the general session of the DNC winter meeting in Atlanta, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Branden Camp)

You have to feel a little sorry for Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez. Day after day he goes before the cameras and is forced to come up with the most convoluted explanations to explain why Democratic Party presidential candidates are not radical extremists, hell-bent on bankrupting the country with crazy schemes.

Stuck with the task of making candidates like Bernie Sanders and Beto O’Rourke sound reasonable, Perez decided the best thing to be done is pretend that up is down, black is white, and socialism is actually capitalism. Appearing on Fox News with Brett Baier, Perez tried to make the laughable point that a government takeover of health care will be successful.

I don’t think it worked very well.

Washington Times:

The two men, having just watched ten presidential hopefuls spar on stage, discussed the divide between democratic socialists like Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders and the more fiscally moderate former Vice President Joe Biden.

“You know Brett, socialism is the oldest trick in the book,” Mr. Perez said. “You’re a very good student of history. When Social Security was debated, when Medicare was debated, when the minimum wage was debated, Republican opponents of all of those three critical elements of our social compact said this is socialism. What Social Security and Medicare and the minimum wage have done is make capitalism work for everyone. And so, this is the oldest attack line in the book. Voters are smart. When you have coverage for people with a preexisting condition, I’d hardly call that socialism. I’d call that sound health policy and sound economic policy.”

Mr. Baier then asked if Democrats would substantively address how they proposed to pay for their initiatives while also controlling deficits and debt.

Yes, yes…please tell us, Tom.

“The big difference between Republicans and Democrats on the economy is that Democrats believe that the economy should work for everyone — not just a few at the top. Republicans don’t,” Mr. Perez replied. “Democrats have passed, in the House, an increase in the minimum wage. Donald Trump said seven and a quarter [dollars] is enough to feed your family. … If you want fiscal responsibility in this country — go back 20, 30 years — elect Democrats. [The] stock market does better. The deficit goes down. George Herbert Walker Bush handed Bill Clinton, you know, a deficit as long as the eye can see. Bill Clinton handed George W. Bush surpluses.”

Did Donald Trump really say that a minimum wage of $7.25 “is enough to feed your family”? Must have missed it.

Social Security and Medicare are, in fact, socialist programs. What Perez doesn’t mention is what the nation would look like if a retirement program and health care for seniors was market-based. There would still be some kind of pension system (probably better) and those 65 and over would still be getting health care. The difference would be in the delivery system.

I’d love to hear Perez tell us how the Green New Deal or Medicare for All would help capitalism work for everyone. It would, of course, put government in charge of healthy care, energy, and several other economic sectors. It has as much in common with “capitalism” as I do with a Chippendale dancer.

The press has done a lousy job in asking the question that Brett Baier posed: how the hell are we going to pay for all those goodies?

When Democrats answer that question, I’ll listen.