December 31, 2008
Washington, D.C.--“Republicans routinely criticize the policies of Barack Obama and other Democrats as socialist,” said Alex Epstein, an analyst at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights. “But their endorsement of Barack Obama’s imminent, trillion-dollar ‘stimulus plan’ shows that they buy into socialist ideas just as much as the Democrats. Indeed, Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s explanation of his party’s approach to a ‘stimulus plan’ would make Leon Trotsky proud: ‘We should have a simple test: Will the . . . trillion-dollar spending bill really create jobs and grow the economy . . .?’
“What is socialism, if not the idea that the government should seize citizens’ wealth and control industry in the name of creating jobs and growing the economy? If the government has the political right and economic ability to conduct this ‘simple test’ with a trillion dollars of stimulus, why not just nationalize the whole economy outright, and have McConnell, Obama, and a handful of czars tell us what to do and where to spend our money?
“A party that truly understood what is wrong with socialism would recognize the injustice and impossibility of central planners expropriating and dictating citizens into prosperity. It would recognize that wealth creation and economic prosperity are the result of protecting the rights of productive individuals to plan, produce, and trade on a truly free market--absent the massive government manipulation of interest rates and home-buying that brought about the current disaster. The Republicans have not earned the right to call anyone socialist--except themselves.”
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Alex Epstein was a writer and a fellow on staff
at ARI between 2004 and 2011.