By “socialist,” I do not mean a Lenin, Castro, or Mao, but whether Obama falls within the mainstream of contemporary socialism as represented, for example, by Germany’s Social Democrats, French Socialists, or Spain’s socialist-workers party?
By this criterion, yes, Obama is a socialist........
PES: The welfare state and state-provided universal access to education and health care are society’s great achievements.
Obama: Favors universal access to health care and associated benefits as a critical expansion of the welfare state.......
PES: A strong and just society must ensure that the wealth generated by all is shared fairly as determined by the state.
Obama: Favors progressive taxes on the rich to redistribute income and wealth from winners to losers and to ensure that all pay their fair share. (As he has said: “When you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”)
PES: Collective responsibility makes society stronger when people work together, and all people are enabled to live a dignified life, free of poverty and protected from social risks in life.
Obama: Favors collective responsibility (as defined by the federal government) to protect all from social risks through food stamps, welfare programs, extended unemployment benefits, guaranteed health care, the bailing out of big companies, forcing renegotiation of mortgages, class action law suits, and other measures. (Instead of opportunity and incentive to succeed, no one is allowed to fail).
PES: The state must insure that economic growth is environmentally “sustainable.”
Obama: Favors carbon taxes, higher energy prices, restricted drilling and refining, and subsidies of green technology for the “common good,” even at the expenses of higher conventional growth and jobs.
PES: If unfettered by state control, market forces, driven by and greed and shift power to the privileged few, deepen economic, geographic and social inequalities, and create economic crises.
Obama: Shows a distrust of market forces and advocates selective regulation, subsidies, and taxation to persuade or coerce business to promote the general welfare as he defines it. Industries not part of his collective endeavor (oil and gas and coal) are penalized. Industries that serve his conception of “general welfare” (green technology) are to be promoted even if the market rejects them.
PES: Ensuring long lasting prosperity, stability and above all, peace requires effective coordination in the international realm based on democracy, mutual respect, and human rights.
Obama: Places reliance on international institutions, international consensus, and mutual respect in the conduct of foreign policy. (The United States must coordinate its foreign policy with international organizations and treat even rogue nations with respect in the hope that they will voluntarily improve their behavior).
PES: A strong state must preserve the public good, guarantee the common interest, promote justice and solidarity and allow people to lead lives rich beyond material wealth, so that each individual’s fulfillment is also part of a collective endeavor.
Obama: Advocates a strong state that offers the “positive right” of political and economic justice to its citizens. He complains that the U.S. Constitution is a “charter of negative liberties,” that dictates what government “can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf.”