TAMPA, November 8, 2012 – “We’re all socialists now.”
If all of the pre-election hype about the presidential election being a choice between socialism and capitalism was true, then that statement must be true.
I doubt most Americans believe it.
In fact, Obama is no more a socialist than Romney is a capitalist. Obama has not called for state ownership of the means of production. Romney has not called for a laissez faire economy. Absent the rhetoric, they would both be most accurately described as European social democrats.
For libertarians, the choice between them was “heads the government wins, tails libertarians lose.” It is generally assumed that libertarians would consider Romney the “lesser of two evils.” I don’t think that’s true.
Romney’s rhetoric employed buzz words that both libertarians and conservatives respond to, like “free markets,” “small government” and “less taxes.” Obama’s rhetoric employed universally recognized code words for wealth redistribution like “fairness,” “fair share” and “investment.”
However, when you strip all of that away, the policy platforms of the two men were virtually identical.
Obama wants to raise taxes on the wealthy to help balance the federal budget. Romney does not disagree. Romney stated – over and over again in the first debate – that his plan to lower the income tax rates while simultaneously “closing loopholes” (translation: eliminate deductions) was aimed at getting the wealthy to pay more while giving small business and the middle class a tax break.
When Obama says it, he’s a socialist. When Romney says it, crickets.