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Peter Morici: Americans don’t want socialism shoved down their throats

President Joe Biden campaigned as a moderate and repeatedly tells us he is creating a government that looks like America but his hard-left program is more radical than the persona he offered and out of step with public sentiment.

Whether it is voter suppression, border enforcement, limiting police or dramatically boosting federal spending, voters are not in step with the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

Out of the mainstream

According to recent polls, three-quarters of Americans support requiring voter IDs, about four-fifths see illegal immigration as a threat, and more than half are against redirecting resources from police to social services agencies.

In a recent Fox News poll, more respondents said the president wants to spend too much than respondents who said he wants to spend too little. Forty-nine percent see socialism as a threat whereas 26% think it is not.

Americans should be free to think and say what they wish, but the administration has been silent about Facebook
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 suppressing critical ideas, such as COVID may have been created in a Wuhan lab, and muffling conservative voices.

Kamala Harris never managed to break into the first rank of candidates in the Democratic primaries and the hard left’s ultimate standard-bearer, Bernie Sanders, was soundly defeated by Biden presenting himself as a moderate. Yet, judging from what the president is offering, this could easily be a Harris or Sanders administration.

Understandable cynicism

No wonder Americans are cynical—that’s when decent people start embracing conspiracy theories.

Americans elected a moderate but a left-leaning bureaucracy subverts their choice. Intolerant universities and left-leaning alumni fill the administration, and push agendas beyond the Constitution on racial preference and established law on antitrust without congressional ascent.

Democracy is threatened, not just by the rowdy fools who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 but also by the infiltration by an anointed intelligentsia into powerful institutions that enforce progressive orthodoxy, validate the cancel culture, and compel compliance at the risk of losing careers and livelihoods. And insidiously propagate to our youth falsehoods about our founders and the legitimacy of our core beliefs—the New York Times 1619 Project and critical race theory.

Capitalism—citizens not the state should own our businesses and homes—and free markets—individuals investing and offering their labor to create the greatest value—have been pillars of the American system, at least until now.

Level playing field

The New Deal, the Great Society and what followed were about elevating people so they could compete. Head Start, Medicaid, the earned-income tax credit, the expansion of our state universities and government-backed student loans were intended to ensure that while the starting line is not the same for everyone—it never is in any capitalist, socialist, feudal or tribal society—the resources to succeed should at least be adequately available to each child and young adult.

Now progressives say the government should not merely guarantee each citizen a decent chance to succeed, but free money is the new mantra—a guaranteed minimum income.

The Biden budget is a Trojan Horse and nothing more than a ruse. The refundable child care tax credit, which sends parents up to $3,600 a year for each dependent, virtually free child-care for all, universal prekindergarten, paid family and medical leave, two years of free community college, enhanced subsidies for health insurance premiums, and so much more in the American Family Plan, when set against other entrenched federal programs like food stamps and Section 8 housing, become pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle that make a guaranteed minimum income appear the rational alternative.

Cut out the tedious eligibility criteria and bureaucracy and just give the people free money!

We hear two common refrains from the left-leaning media—virtually all the advanced nations provide these things—and from Biden—these things will strengthen America.

Europe has chronically high youth unemployment and anemic growth, and Biden’s budget projects a 25% downshift in growth from the Trump performance.

The reasons are simple. If everything is free, people won’t work—look at how excessive unemployment benefits caused so many COVID displaced workers to sit out the recovery—and high taxes stifle innovation.

France is the poster child of the left’s crusade, but it has spawned no high-tech giant, can’t even make a car competitive in North America, and was the only permanent U.N. Security Council country without a successful COVID vaccine.

Warts and all, rugged individualism and personal accountability are necessary for democracy and the human race to survive. 

Peter Morici is an economist and emeritus business professor at the University of Maryland, and a national columnist.

More insights from Peter Morici

Half measures won’t do in the competition with China

Biden’s budget would beget the Italian Republic of America

Guaranteed income for children could define the midterm elections

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