Are we heading towards socialism? Listening to the rants and raves coming from the campaign trail you might think so. With calls for "The Green New Deal," "Medicare for All" and "Accountable Capitalism," congressional Democrats have put forward proposals for greater government authority to monitor, regulate and control large swaths of the American economy. President Donald Trump and his supporters are railing against "creeping" socialism.
Though few are promoting classical socialism, namely government ownership of the means of production, the far left is advocating greater control over the private sector by the federal government. Many candidates for the Democratic nomination for president, notably U.S. senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, are advocating a form of socialism similar to social democracy where government intervenes heavily to redistribute the fruits of capitalism through progressive taxation, transfer systems and government entitlements.
Recent polls suggest that socialism is no longer viewed as antithetical to the American way of life, with a majority of young Americans more comfortable with socialism than capitalism. Despite their current infatuation with socialism, the left wing should remember the successes of American capitalism. Over the course of our history, competitive capitalism has been shown to be the best way to grow the economy, create jobs, and advance the general welfare.
However, unfettered capitalism can uproot both businesses and lives, leaving many behind as evidenced by income inequality and wealth disparity. Yet, the vibrancy and magic of capitalism is not incompatible with a strong social safety net, and our economic system has been enhanced by social insurance, progressive taxation and welfare programs.
The continuing success of...