Last Thursday, Professor Eubanks asked each one of us whether our government was capitalist, socialist or interventionist. We all agreed that our government practices a great deal of interventionism, but it is difficult to know if the current level of intervention still allows for unrestrained capitalism or if our government’s interventions are increasingly socialist in nature. I decided to re-read Marx’s 10 measures of communism to help me get a feel for where we rank. http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/ch02.htm
1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
· The federal government is the largest land owner and maintains control over 650 million acres or one-third of the land in the United States (86% of Nevada is owned by the federal government). http://www.heritage.org/Research/EnergyandEnvironment/bg1282.cfm
· Private property rights are slowly being eroded as private organizations lobby to protect the ever growing list of endangered species such as the Panamint Alligator Lizard, Brown Pelican, Giant Armadillo and the Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse.
· The government’s power to seize private property for public use under eminent domain laws is being abused not only by the federal government, but also by private corporations to “provide for the public good” by building condos, restaurants and shopping malls.
· Zoning laws often prevent property owners from utilizing their personal property as they see fit.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
· The top 1% pay as much in taxes as the bottom 95% of the population combined, and the current democratic presidential nominee would widen that gap even further. http://www.taxfoundation.org/files/tw-novdec2007.pdf
3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
· Current laws allow the government to confiscate up to 55% of a family’s wealth if left unprotected.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
· Colorado law currently states that “whenever a police officer is permitted, with or without judicial approval, to conduct a search to investigate a potential crime, the officer may seize and keep as much property associated with the alleged criminal as the police officer considers appropriate. “ http://www.davekopel.com/CJ/IB/ForfeitureReform.htm
5. Centralisation of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.
· The government seized control over our country’s largest mortgage underwriters Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on September 7.
· The current 700 billion dollar bailout offers US taxpayers a stake in each of the firms the government bails out. The collective ownership of capital IS socialism.
6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state.
· It is illegal for anyone but a United States postal employee to place mail in mailboxes.
· The federal government has always had major control over our transportation system. Are they gaining even more with the federal takeover of airport security and the intermittent bailout of the airline and railroad industries?
7. Extension of factories and instrument of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of waste land, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
· Today’s labor unions are the modern-day equivalent of the industrial army. Federal and state laws have a hand in enforcing the labor unions power and control.
· Government subsidies to farmers have maintained control over the agriculture industry for years.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production.
· We have achieved free education for all children in public schools and abolished child labor – which, of course, are good things. But there continues to be an assault on the freedom to choose where you want your child to be educated (school vouchers and home schooling) and the things you wish for them to be taught.
Of course, we could find countless amounts of evidence to argue either side of these 10 measures – I only pointed out some of the points that were obvious to me. The current economic and financial crises will force our politicians and the American people to take a stand and show their true colors for either capitalism or socialism.