In the June 3, 2009 article "What Socialism Looks Like" in The Atlantic, Conor Clarke explains the absurdity of the claims that President Barack Obama is leading the United States toward socialism.
Socialism is defined as:
a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.In other words, socialism occurs when the government owns and operates the corporations and other businesses that produce goods and services for the society. Take a look at the chart above. Does the government own and operate most businesses in the United States?
Clarke has two related blog articles.
"What Socialism Looks Like, Part Two" was a response to a reader that suggested increasing government expenditures as a share of U.S. gross domestic product was evidence of socialism in America. Clarke retorts:
If you're going to equate an increase in the deficit or in federal spending as a percentage of GDP with socialism, then every modern American president (with the partial exception of Bill Clinton!) is a socialist. In which case I'm not sure Barack Obama has a lot to worry about.
"Sarah Palin's Economics Lesson" provides an example of something that resembles socialism more closely - Alaska. Clarke writes:
Alaska gets $13,950 per resident from the federal government, more than any other state in the nation. It ranks number one in taxes per resident and number one in spending per resident. It's also number one in pork-barrel spending. Each Alaska resident receives a check for $3,200 a year from state oil revenues -- which Palin bumped up from $2,000 last year. Palin once justified this by saying that the state of Alaska was "set up, unlike other states in the union, where it's collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs." (Sounds socialist!) Industrious indeed.