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The American Way: Socialism for the Rich, Free Enterprise for the Rest


The American Way: Socialism for the Rich, Free Enterprise for the Rest

Jake Johnson

While it's not entirely clear who coined the phrase "socialism for the rich, free enterprise for the rest," its ability to provoke — and, more importantly, to describe — is beyond question.


That's Dean Baker (economist); Russ Baker is a writer of books on the Bush family--he doesn't like them.


The old Soviet Union collapsed when backroom central planning squeezed all it could from the population with austerity. An eerie parallel between the US and the old USSR is that most of the general population as well as central planners accept skillful propaganda over reality and science.

Centrally planned corporatism in the United States is following an austerity path similar to the old Soviet Union, as the graph on the link clearly shows. The main difference between the situation faced by the US today and the USSR of the 1980's is that central planners guiding the US economy are facing environmental and climate collapse at the same time that eternal war absorbs more and more of the economy for destruction rather than positive social growth and a stronger nation.

see https://rwer.wordpress.com/2016/11/01/wages-not-commensurate-with-labor-productivity-in-the-usa/


Thanks again Jake Johnson. On a related note the new book by James Galbraith,
''Welcome to the Poisoned Chalice: The Destruction of Greece and the Future of Europe''


I'm surprised that Jake, who is usually a fountain of information of source material and history doesn't know one of the original writers on the dual economic system, and obviously Baker doesn't either (though he should have known, because he's an economist.)

John Kenneth Galbraith in his book Economics and the Public Purpose clearly lays out the rise of the technocrats at the heads of huge corporate entities that gained the economic might to be able to control the environment in which they operate. He called it the Planning System (ironically, this is what the acolytes of capitalism fault socialist governments for,) and everyone not in that rarefied contingent is subject to the "Market Economy." Written in 1973 and still as pertinent today, where those with the most clout of freedom of operation harvest the biggest rewards or profits and dictate terms to the next level below them, who in turn do the same to those immediately beneath them (in terms of clout,) and so on down the line, till those at the bottom (the majority) are exploited from every quarter. The lone or little entrepreneur must self-exploit to gain a market advantage in the "free enterprise" system. Wage slaves r us.


Just a note about language. It's not "free enterprise," it's capitalism. We live in a world dominated by the capitalist mode of production. It does little good and some harm to euphemize the economic system by calling it "free enterprise," the "free market" or some other such nonsense. Capitalism is an ugly word, but it's accurate. Use it.


Zinn on class...........


It's also not socialism for the rich. It is a lot of things, but socialism it isn't. In the simplest terms....

If it's not collectively owned and controlled by the working class ... it's not socialism!

The last thing the capitalist elite ruling class would allow is for the working class to collectively own and control the means of production, its distribution, and the use of profits for the benefit of everyone instead of a select few.

Thank you, stewarjt, for pointing out that words (language) mean something. Words are not something in which the definitions can be changed, at will, to mean whatever a user needs them to mean at a given point in time ... even though the misuse of the words may create a great headline or a line to be used in propaganda.


Our middle class want to maintain or increase the measure of socialism that benefits the middle class, and they want assurances than not a crumb will trickle down to the poor. Meanwhile, our rich aren't going to cede any of their advantages, and they're the ones who have all the power.


Although those who are wage slaves are the better-off today.


While this article is very depressing, it is spot-on. I have great fear of the continuation of the automated economy. Health care may be hit next. Computers will soon replace pharmacists for the most part. I am a nurse practitioner and see how xrays can be read in Indian for less pay out to American radiologists. It is the "not for profit" (ha ha ha) hospitals that will reap the rewards.
The number one global occupation for men is driving. The driverless vehicles are coming. I park in a hospital lot that used to have an attendant. Now it is all automated. Self-check out grocery stores are everywhere. So the jobs are going away for many, even the professional class.
I do not know where it will all end. I made a career move in my late 20s and specifically chose a field somewhat protected from outsourcing. Even still, often I will be the only American born nurse on the unit. Health care conglomerates import nurses from other countries to keep wages down. Other than vote for Bernie, I often feel very helpless about the state of a country I don't recognize anymore. I don't know how much more people will take.


Those poor people, always taking advantage of the system with their teams of lawyers, lobbyists and accountants. No wait, I'm talking about the rich.

Since the poor always "take advantage of the system," why is it that they always remain poor?


Yah, being poor and on food stamps is a real treat.


Don't be so literal. "Socialism for the rich" is a metaphor for a system where the government uses tax funds (actually the government borrows money because nobody wants to raise taxes) to benefit the wealthy. TARP bailed out the big Wall Street banks but did nothing for all those peons who lost their homes when they defaulted on their mortgages. Paulson and Bernanke were deathly afraid of credit markets freezing up. This is what happened in the Great Depression when a lot of banks failed. To prevent the failure of the big Wall Street banks, the government gave them money in the hope that they would lend the money (capitalism is totally dependent on credit). The big banks simply gave the capitalists who ran the big banks big bonuses. As Ayn Rand said: "selfishness is a virtue."

Socialism as Marx defined it: a "dictatorship of the proletariat" is a myth. The Soviet Union under Stalin was never a dictatorship of the proletariat, but the state did control the means of production and used central planning (the market was irrelevant). Stalin was more concerned about industrializing the Soviet Union so that it would not lose a war to Germany as had happened in WWI. The workers were exploited under Stalin because they were simply a means to an end: making the Soviet Union an industrial world power with a military that would defend mother Russia. It worked because the Red Army kicked the Wehrmacht's butt.

Marx was simply naive because he thought workers of the world would unite. But in WWI, German workers killed French workers and vice versa. National solidarity was far more important than class solidarity.

Instead of socialism for the rich, what you get under capitalism is a social welfare state for the rich. Since this is too clumsy, socialism for the rich works better. The idea behind taxing the rich to fund social welfare programs is that they are supposed to help the poor. As Bismarck said: "Either the government will enact social welfare programs or the socialists will take over the government." The German SPD started in 1875 and produced all kinds of social welfare programs 50 years before FDR came up with Social Security in the US.

TARP was not socialism for the rich; it was a social welfare program that benefitted only the big Wall Street banks.


Trickle-down? I bet you also believe in the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy.

Supply-side economics is the notion that if we cut taxes on the wealthy something will trickle down to the rest of us. This is all nonsense because cutting taxes on the wealthy results in one thing: concentration of wealth in the hands of the 1%.

In 1980, the 1% controlled 25% of the wealth in the country. Reagan was elected and we got supply-side economics. The result was a massive transfer of wealth from the 99% to the 1% because the 1% now controls 50% of the wealth in the country. As that socialist Warren Buffett says: "It's class warfare and my class is winning."


I think you are wrongly assuming that I accept Marxist theories.

Theories of socialism existed years before Karl Marx started talking about and publishing his theories. I only mention this because I reject Marxism as Karl Marx was a centralist ... meaning he advocated for centralization. As such, you are absolutely correct that a "dictatorship of the proletariat" was/would be impossible (or a myth on your words) because centralized power and authority will usurp the collective power from the working class by laws and military force, when needed. (Example: The Kronstadt Rebellion)

Below is a portion of my Statement on Marxism:

Anarchists (also known as libertarian socialists) ultimately oppose the socialist theory of Karl Marx (including Lenin and Trotsky) because following and applying the principles of Marxism always leads to centralized authority and power. Whether that is under centralized state socialism/communism or centralized state capitalism, the end result is that a select few always end up having authority and power over the many. In essence, replacing capitalism with Marxist socialism/communism is simply exchanging one exploitative, oppressive master for another.

By the way, a mix of capitalism and socialism will never, ever work for the following two reasons:

  1. The "surplus value" (profit) generated by labor (physical and mental) of the working class goes to the capitalist elite ruling class ... not to the working class who actually produced/generated the profits.

  2. You cannot impose an adequate tax to replace the theft of the surplus value generated from the labor of the working class.

The failures of the Scandinavian model documents and provides proof of the above two statements.

As far as being "so literal," I proudly proclaim my guilt. Words have specific traditional definitions/meanings. Allowing the bastardization of language does nothing but create chaos and ignorance.

Enjoy the rest of your day! :grin:


Please explain why "wage slaves are better off today." Better off today than when? Would you put yourself into the wage slave category?


K, just used your comment on facebook...


Well, you don't really know what Marx meant by socialism. This is clear because you apparently didn't take the time to study and understand Marx's historical materialist methodology. I would take the time to educate you, but you should really do it yourself. Until you do, please leave your ignorance of Marx out of all further posts.


Uhm ... actually I spent over 300 hours in 2015 reading and studying Marx.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were centralists - not only politically, but socially and economically. They never denied this fact and their writings are studded with glowing encomiums to political, organizational and economic centralization. As early as March 1850, in the famous "Address of the Central Council to the Communist League, "they call upon the workers to strive not only for, "the single and indivisible German republic, but also strive in it for the most decisive centralization of power in the hands of the state authority." Lest the demand be taken lightly, it is repeated continually in the same paragraph, which concludes: "As in France in 1793, so today in Germany the carrying through of the strictest centralization is the task of the really revolutionary party."

Source: Marxism or Anarchism

Study for yourself. The resource materials are readily available.

Until you do, please leave your ignorance of Marx out of all further posts.

By the way, what gives you the fucking right to be making a directive request of me anyway?