Steamboat Institute Op-ed on the Growing Support of Socialism

June 26, 2019

The Steamboat Pilot ran the op-ed below by Jennifer Schubert-Akin, chairman and CEO of the Steamboat Institute, arguing that the growing support for socialism is being reflected in today’s public policy ideas from the Green New Deal to Medicare for All. Read the op-ed HERE or pasted below.

Growing support for socialism shapes today’s public policy ideas

A Gallup poll released last month finds that 43 percent of Americans favor socialism. This is just one of many recent surveys finding that Americans are increasingly enchanted by socialism, an economic system where the government controls resources. A majority of Millennials and Democrats, for instance, now support it.

Democratic politicians are united in their calls for the government to collect far more taxes from top earners, with some presidential candidates calling for top income tax rates in the 70-percent range. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren even wants to confiscate some of the wealthy’s property in order to fund various social programs.

Socialist policies aren’t limited to Democrats. Leading Republicans no longer seem willing to call for reform to existing floundering socialist programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Though the political news cycle may suggest otherwise,  the essence of today’s political debates — from energy to fiscal to healthcare policy — are rooted in a broader disagreement over capitalism vs. socialism.

Capitalism is the only economic system conducive to economic growth, i.e., rising living standards. It’s the best system for people to rise up and improve their lot in life through hard work, trade, and entrepreneurship.

While capitalism grows the size of the economic pie, socialism merely distributes it, with unlimited interest groups fighting over the scraps. Burdensome taxes and regulations reduce the number of mutually beneficial exchanges that fuel economic wellbeing.

Capitalism’s critics claim that this economic growth is unequal, with most of the benefits going to the rich. Yet, historically, it’s ordinary people who benefit most during economic expansions. Ever wonder why America’s middle class is so much wealthier than its developed-world counterparts? Because of its relatively free market and the economic opportunity it fosters.

Don’t take my word for it. Two of the leading proponents of capitalism and socialism, respectively, will debate the issue at the Steamboat Institute’s 11th annual Freedom Conference in Steamboat Springs, Aug. 22 to 24. Stephen Moore, a distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation and economic advisor to President Trump’s 2016 campaign, will face off against Bhaskar Sunkara, the founding editor of Jacobin Magazine and author of The Socialist Manifesto, with viewers encouraged to come to their own conclusions about the relative merits of each economic system.

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