I need to get this off my chest: I'm both upset and amazed that a wacko like Donald Trump is polling second to a mainstream candidate like Jeb Bush in the race for the Republican nomination for President. I'm equally upset and amazed that a wacko like Bernie Sanders is polling second to a mainstream candidate like Hillary Clinton in the Democratic race.
The difference between the two relates to discipline. Trump says whatever is on his mind with no concern for the repercussions. (I won’t bother to recount his comments as they are well covered by the press.)
Sanders, on the other hand, has so far delivered his thoughts with a lot of “message discipline”.
Sanders is not a Democrat. First elected to Congress in 1990 and as Vermont’s Junior U.S. Senator in 2006, he has been an Independent who caucuses with Democrats. He is a self-declared “democratic socialist”.
We know what the ‘democratic’ part of this definition means. It means that, unlike the dictatorship that governed the socialist system of the Soviet Union, the electorate chooses its government. However, I wonder if we know what a socialist is.
Socialism is an economic system whereby the government owns the means of production. Citizens lose the right to private property. Investors (if there are any left) do not have the right to a return on their capital.
Anyone who thinks that socialism would be preferable to free-market capitalism is either ignorant or stupid. And yet, Sen. Sanders is gaining traction. What’s happening to the United States? Have we lost our bearings?
What we once described as the “profit motive” has been recast as “corporate greed”. Greed, as we all know, is one of the seven deadly sins. So, we have redefined something with enormous positive effects as something that is sinful.
Capitalism and the profit motive have driven innovation from the 1690s, when the invention of the steam engine and steel plows made farms more productive, to the1870s, when the invention of both the automobile engine and distribution of electricity began an era of rapidly improving lifestyles, to the 1990s when the Internet boom created an interconnected world.
The result of all this innovation…
Poverty has been reduced to one fifth of what it was in 1900. Child labor has been reduced by half since 2000. Number of hours worked per worker has been reduced by one third since the 19th Century. Infant mortality is half of what it was in 1990. The store of nuclear weapons has been reduced fivefold since the end of the Cold War. Carbon emissions have been flat for the last four years. (Yes, government regulation played an important role in these improvements.)
All this is the result of innovation driven by free-market capitalism. It would not have happened if we lived in a socialist system.
As for those who contend that capitalism exploits workers, I offer this: Other things being equal – culture, geography, education, etc. – workers always thrive in a capitalist system where socialism fails to deliver. Think of North and South Korea, Taiwan and Mainland China, or East and West Germany.
To be clear, it is the free enterprise, capitalist system that has led to a better life for Americans. In its absence, you wouldn't have time to play with your kids or enjoy a glass of wine with your friends on Saturday night; you wouldn't be able to access the Internet from an electronic device in your pocket; and, you wouldn't be living in a climate controlled home. You would be working hard and not reaping the benefits. The benefit of your labor would go to the government.
Free-market capitalism is the surest path to prosperity. To describe it as corporate greed is doing all of us a disservice. To consider voting for a socialist is the height of folly.
WHO WILL LEAD?