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Web Letter

I do happen to agree with Mr. Scheer about this form of socialism. Any form of socialism is bad and or stupid. Why should any one person or corporation pay or help pay for the continuation of that which fails? If this was correct and appropriate economic policy, why are we not sending accountants, CPAs, CEOs etc. to the Soviet Union to find out how they got it right and we did not?

Cuba was subsidized to the tune of about 7 million dollars per day, and what did it produce?

Why is China turning to capitalism in order to just maintain itself?

Yes, both parties are to blame for doing the same thing only from supposedly different political spectrums. My solution is and always has been the elimination of the federal income tax system, which only props up American socialism.

Now that's real change, change that will stop the corrupt atmosphere that resides in the nation's capital as well as the state capitals.

Mr. Scheer should step up to the plate and ask Obama to put up or shut up.

Me, well, I'm trying to find out if Texas can secede from the Union.

Joe Burris

Katy, TX

Dec 15 2008 - 11:22am

Web Letter

I could not agree with Mr. Scheer more on the question of socialism for the rich. If socialism is the answer then you need to ask a different question.

As to the contention that this was a lack of regulation that caused this I must dissent. As we move down the road of a really new media I desire a give and take between different perspectives and my take on the current crisis is that it is due to a moral hazard and lack of market discipline, both created by the government.

Quite simply, the problem is this: the Federal Reserve (therefore the government) created an interest-rate environment that encouraged the taking on of consumer debt levels that were unsustainable, and the chickens are roosting now in the form of foreclosures and consumer credit default. That is the moral hazard. The lack of market discipline is found in the government stepping in to aid some companies and workers at the expense of others (another moral hazard) rather than allowing them to fail. Government regulation was neither lacking nor weak--the markets responded to the conditions created by the state and, while that may argue for intervention to fix a state-created problem, the real solution is to let asset price levels fall and for the pieces to be picked up at their true value.

Government intervention will not fix the problem but rather exacerbate it by drawing out the economic hardship for a longer period of time.

I know that readers of The Nation will not agree with either the diagnosis or the cure--and that's fine--but we as a country need to look past ideological blinders and start down the road to a real discussion of the benefits and detriments of government action devoid of the hyperbole and pablum of the past.

Ending on a note of agreement with Mr. Scheer on President Bush--perhaps the worst president of my lifetime (born in 1969)--a feckless, decrepit liar of the first order and all around despicable human being.

Eric Weber

Richardson, TX

Dec 11 2008 - 1:02pm

Web Letter

Socialism is never the answer, for anyone, period. If only some folks at The Nation were always as cognizant of this fact.

R.J. Gibson

Cambridge, MA

Dec 11 2008 - 9:07am

Web Letter

Sorry, but the fault isn't Republican. Our government has become parochial with narrow self-interests. The Clinton era is no less guilty of shipping jobs away than any of the most guilty Republicans. The big lie is that foreign manufacturing is so much better than American and so much cheaper. That is the lie that has allowed corporate gluttony to ship all of America's sweat equity off shore. The globalist and trickle-down corporate greed has deindustrialized the country and, to use New Orleans as a metaphor, has left American workers wading in sewage up to their armpits. We need to face the fact that Wall Street corruption extends all the way to Washington. The class war is over, and the gluttons have won.

JAMES PINETTE

Caribou, ME

Dec 11 2008 - 6:46am

Web Letter

Bravo! I never, ever thought I'd agree with Mr. Scheer on anything but, by god, "Socialism for the Rich" did it. An interesting thing is happening now in our politics: populist right-wingers like me and populist left-wingers like Mr. Scheer are speaking with one voice at least on this issue. That's a good thing! Who knows, we both may be shouting bring the revolution before too long.

Charles Jackson

Atlanta, GA

Dec 11 2008 - 2:05am

Web Letter

Good analysis! It is really weird how the Republican Party has, in away, moved to the so-called left by making government a partner in private enterprise. They have, for the most part, sought government help or protection for private enterprise, but tried to avoid government participation and control. I have on occasion called the Bush administration "corporate fascist," is a form of corporate socialism. Some conservative analyst have compared the current economic fashion to a social democratic European model, but Mussolini's corporate fascist government in Italy would be a more accurate description. Well, they can still blame Europe for everything! However, I think globalization is in the process of collapse, and it is already apparent that it has destroyed substantial business interests and the wealth of the "investor class." We can fix our economy by returning to traditional American economics controlled by traditional progressive economic legislation. We can fix ourselves on a national basis, and show the rest of the world how it is done. By the way, I don't know if you are still in LA., but I rather like Kaiser as a health plan, and you don't have to run all over town for testing. Some people don't like it, but I think it is an organizational model for a government health plan.

Pervis James Casey

Riverside, CA

Dec 10 2008 - 5:32pm

Web Letter

I've argued for a long time that both Democrats and Republicans clearly support socialism, in terms of what they actually do in office, anyway. Moreover, we have many socialist institutions in the US already: the public education system, the Postal Service, national parks and forests, the interstate highway system, the military (which, interestingly, is where small-government neocons love to spend enormous amounts of money--moreso than anyone else, in fact) and so on. Recently, we nationalized Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac. And now much of the financial sector, and possibly the auto industry, are or will be nationalized to some extent. And we still have forty days before Barak Obama's inauguration.

Even so, the GOP ticket and many of its supporters routinely alleged during the election campaign that Barak Obama was bad for America because, they said, he would "experiment with socialism"--in their view, apparently, a new phenomenon in the United States. Interviews with disappointed Republican voters still often show that many believe Mr. Obama is a socialist (and/or a terrorist sympathizer, a racist, not a "natural born" citizen etc., etc.). Their "evidence" for Mr. Obama's socialist tendencies almost always boils down to the casual comment he made to a man who came to be known as "Joe the Plumber," off-the-cuff, about "spreading the wealth." Never mind that Joe the Plumber seriously misrepresented himself, and that it's likely he mainly sought to set up a marketable persona, one which he is exploiting even now (while betraying the man who made him famous, John McCain). Obama's comment to JTP hit the GOP public conversation like chum hits shark-infested waters.

The question is: how did a casual comment come to trump actual data? The data show that both parties lean toward socialism. However, Dems and Reps apply it somewhat differently. Republicans clearly prefer upward redistribution of wealth, and government handouts for corporations rather than citizens. Democrats support big corporate interests too, but prefer to include some additional government assistance for people who are not fabulously wealthy. That's the bit Republican politicians really don't like: helping average people too, not just big business or rich people.

Robert Scheer writes beautifully about this and Dubya's brand of socialism.

Eric Burr

Pocatello, ID

Dec 10 2008 - 2:59pm

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