“Isms” At High Noon

You can hardly read a political blog without finding a comment calling President Obama a “socialist,” as opposed to the apparently preferred alternative of a “capitalist.”  Frankly, I don’t get it.  But let’s not worry about Obama for a minute.  Let’s figure out where we stand.

First, let me give you a couple definitions to work with:

Socialism:  Businesses are primarily owned by the workers. Profit is the fruit of labor and it is divided accordingly.  Workers share in both profits and losses.  Individual residents and workers pay relatively high tax rates and  retain the majority of political power.  Corporations pay comparatively low tax rates, leading to a reduction of their role in public policy.  The goal of a socialist system is improved quality of life.

Capitalism:  Businesses are primarily owned by shareholders. Profit is divided amongst those who provided this investment capital.  Workers are paid a wage.  Corporations pay relatively high tax rates and enjoy significant clout in elections and the process of policy making.  The goal of a capitalist system is an increase in the standard of living.

Now I want you to go back in for a minute and listen to any recent Obama speech.  He is a capitalist.  His rise to power was funded by large corporations and it has lead him into conflicts of interest he should have envisioned – like how to handle an environmental catastrophe caused by one of his biggest campaign donors.  Make no mistake, Barack Obama is a capitalist and any attempt to brand him as anything else is a primitive attempt to create an “us vs. them” wedge issue for the “low information” voter.  The fact is, he is trying too hard to govern like an entrepreneur – betting on businesses and even getting directly involved in some.  I’m not sure anyone voted for him with that intent.

Really, be careful before you throw around the “isms.”  Take another look at the definitions I gave you above.  Think a minute about “quality vs quantity.”  It will give you a new way to look at any politician or candidate.