And reveals Republican attacks on "socialism" as BS
Right as usual, Robert.
I do not, however, expect DeSantis to learn from this experience and to change his behavior as a result.
Anyone who has been willing to hurt (immigrants,women, children) and kill ( Covid policy, denial of reproductive rights) people for his self aggrandizement has an addiction to power that is immutable.
Morally, DeSantis is no better than Trump. He is equally as selfish and ruthless, equally as incapable of self evaluation and change, equally as unfit for office.
I agree with all of this 100%. But I would urge that the same kinds and levels of help being given to Floridians be given to the people of Puerto Rico. They are Americans too and deserve the same level of care and help given to citizens on the mainland but did not get it five years ago with Hurricane Maria nor today.
Americans misunderstand socialism. Having experienced real socialism, growing up in England in the 1960s, I can attest to its sterility. But socialism UK-style (or Soviet Lite) meant government ownership of key industries, such as automobiles, computers, etc. The result was a disaster. For example, the Mini Cooper, which Dr. Reich drives, was a brilliant product of capitalism, in 1959. After the government takeover of the auto industry, its descendants ended up in the wretched claptrap known as the Mini Metro - hardly better than a Trabant.
Now take the famous experiment of dividing Germany up into East and West after WWII. A north-south line was drawn from the Baltic to the Alps. To the east there was socialism, to the west there was enlightened capitalism. Same people, same language, same history, same awful food. Take the lid off in 1970, say, and to the west people were driving Mercedes, Porsche, BMW and Audi. To the east, people had only one choice, the Trabant, which let water in when it rained.
This proves beyond reasonable doubt that capitalism is superior in economic terms to socialism. But there is a modifier, "enlightened." In Germany and the Nordic states (and to some extent the UK) there has been a return to the founding principles of capitalism, as laid out by Adam Smith, namely that some government is good. Good for collecting taxes from the wealthy. Good for redistributing those taxes for the benefit of all (such as providing universal healthcare, paid maternity leave, education, etc.), good for things that the capitalist has little interest in. Such a form of capitalism was seen in America from 1950 to 1980.
So what do we have in America today? Well, it's certainly not socialism for the common man. One could, perhaps, call it socialism for the wealthy. For what is not paying your taxes other than government welfare for rich people? Seen this way, Bezos and Musk are the new Welfare Queens.
However, perhaps the best description of the system we have currently in America, is aristocracy, a system where a tiny group of people own, and control, most of the wealth and then pass it on to their children. It is a primitive system which goes back to Babylon. It is not the enlightened system of Smith.
But isn't America innovative, and doesn't that come from this system of vast inequality? I would argue not, taking the point Dr. Reich made yesterday, that if money spurs innovation, then this is in the amount of millions rather than billions. And I would argue that America is perhaps less innovative now than in the past. What do we have today as innovations? Products of the internet (which was invented outside of America). Facebook is not really innovative, it is merely a digitization of an existing product - and it has brought out the worst in us. Tesla makes EVs, but these are dependent on battery technology that dates back to the 1960s. Amazon is truly innovative, although it has caused big disruptions. Healthcare has become an expensive and cruel joke.
What did America invent prior to Reagan? Massive improvements in automobile, computing, and aeronautic technology. The laser, the transistor, CT, MRI, universal healthcare of great quality, massive improvements in rocketry which made possible the moon landings. And on.
So, when Desantis criticizes socialism he is blowing a dog whistle to a brainwashed group of middle Americans. He is doing this because he is funded by the real socialists, the Welfare Queens of the new aristocracy.
Definition of Socialism ( a Government of the People, by the People, FOR THE PEOPLE! )
Hurricane Ian reminds me not only of DeSantis's rank hypocrisy but of Trump tossing rolls of paper towels to the masses in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. My, oh my, how the Republican approach to helping other Americans differs from the Democrat approach. It's a mystery to me why so many ordinary Americans who profess Christian values and who wouldn't hesitate to lend their fellow citizens a hand continue to support Republican politicians like these.
Beautiful and brilliant. I hope it is read and quoted often and everywhere, not with credit and gratitude directed at Democrats, but at the essential and righteous GOOD that government does (which is all of us working for all of us, not "us vs them"). The damage done by the decades-long diatribe against government performed by Republicans so eager to get INTO the government they so disgenuously claimed to rebuke continues to undermine our country to this day. We see it in the Dejoy sabotage of the USPS. We see it in the chronically underfunding of all of our institutions. The Republicans will gladly exploit government when it benefits THEM, but if it helps the very populace that funds it and pays them? Then it's socialism and their dishonest corollary that socialism is communism and both are bad. Democrats would do all of us a world of good if they would speak up and speak out for the marvelous good, the essential value of GOOD government to a civilized society.
Dr. Reich, you don't want to call DeSantis hypocritical, so I'll do it for you. (And, there's more republican governors in states which are subject to the most cruel effects of the Climate Crisis who are, in my view, in the same "boat") These Hurricanes are TOTALLY predictable - everyone paying attention knew it was just a matter of time until a catastrophic one showed up (and, who knows, there could be another one on the way before the Hurricane "season" is over), yet DeSantis and his republican controlled legislature has presided over the near collapse of the property insurance market in Florida. From what I understand there's a lot of Floridians who will be thankful we live in a nation (despite all our flaws) where coming together to help victims of these GROWING natural disasters is simply our nature. And, a lot of the funding source for the help which will go to Floridians will be coming from so-called "blue states." With not an "ounce" of remorse. Hopefully, at some point, the people of Florida will understand which of us believes "when our neighbor asks for help we give them what we can." I can imagine not only will our government be reaching out to the people of Florida, but an untold number of non-profit organizations will as well - plus many of us will simply be donating money to the organization we believe will be doing the most good. (ie the Red Cross, etc. etc.) This response is like a broken record - Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane, Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Sandy, etc. You're right, in the last couple of days, DeSantis "tune" has changed 180 degrees! To me, that makes him a hypocrit! (Maybe I should just say a typical republican)
I have to add, I hope "we the people" are providing the assistance needed in Puerto Rico as well - a Caribbean island which could someday become a state. They also desperately need our assistance - although, I haven't seen as much reporting on the devastation they endured just a few weeks ago. I'm going to send what little money I can afford in that direction.
These "anti-socialism" Republicans will explain their use of federal funding for disaster relief as 'using the law as it is written' and 'taking back what the socialists stole from them.' They have a story for everything....
For DeSantis the shoe is on the other foot. Florida is a mangrove swamp that should have been left that way. The water is coming.
Ronald Reagan was his generation’s leader against the evils of socialism. He railed against the federal government, saying the nine worst words in the English language were “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” tRUMP, deSantis, Abbott and the rest of that ilk ride on his coattails. When disaster hits a blue state they rail against socialism. When disaster hits a red state they don’t turn down the federal aid, do they?
The elephant in the room is climate change which already is drastically increasing the demand for government services in response, not only to stronger hurricanes, but also to more frequent wildfires and flash flooding events.
Climate change has drastically shortened the intervals between catastrophic weather events, thus totally upending the actuarial basis of homeowners and other property-damage insurance coverage. This translates directly to an increasing demand for government services nationwide, with the federal government increasingly serving as the insurer of last resort.
It’s already absurd to believe that future conditions will allow anything similar to the libertarian worldview. On the contrary, government spending to address climate change impacts will compel allocating ever-rising portions of federal, state and local government budgets for disaster preparedness and management. Regardless of the outcry from conservatives, big, fat socialism is the only thing we see emerging today on our national horizon.
My conservative parents derided Medicare as socialism in the 1960s and relied heavily on it thirty years later. Sharing of risk underlies all insurance, public or private, and socialism is only a word describing public insurance, generally a more efficient way of paying bills in a civilized world.
Thank you for articulating what many of us are thinking. It’s shocking to me that anyone who knows anything about the life of Jesus of Nazareth (such as so many Republican Party members claim) would be against working for the common good. That these right wing religious zealots miss the core teaching of their supposed messiah is the ultimate hypocrisy. You might not want to call them out for it, but I’m happy to. The real harm those of DeSantis’s ilk do to people is the antithesis of the Jesus they so blasphemously claim. We will know them by their fruit.
DeSantis is amoral
It is the ranting and raving about "socialism," usually based on no knowledge of what socialism actually is, that keeps Americans from having the same social health that other democratic countries have. Of course, the ranting and raving is always orchestrated by very wealthy people who benefit from keeping other people poor. European and Canadian social democracy (considered in those places to be mainstream, but in the US to be radical left even by many, many Democrats) would be a great blessing to the United States. Take from someone who was born and raised in the US, took a job in Canada at age 37 and has now lived the last 37 years in Canada. Sadly, the virus of Trumpism is spreading North, so we have work to do here.
DeSantis is a perfect illustration of what is wrong with the Republican brain. No in-depth thought. “If it’s the people who elect ME, give them all the help possible. If it’s the people 1,000 miles away, it’s a boondoggle.”
DeSantis doesn’t belong in any public office. Nor do Trump or many other one-dimensional thinkers. No empathy, no compassion, no sense of being a member of our society as a whole. Our federal government is US, and we establish and maintain it to be, among other things, the ready arms of all of us when any of us is hit with disaster. That’s what a SOCIETY does! What do these people THINK humans form societies for? Not to enrich THEM and hand them power over people. They are elected to see that things get done to serve and benefit all of us.