Barack Obama and his minions in the administration as well as many Democrats in the Congress are often described as Socialists, or in the extreme as Marxists. However, their actions and strategy are straight out of the fascist economic playbook. They have become the modern reincarnation of the fascist mindset, without the militarism of Italy and Germany, that dominated Europe in the 1920s and ’30s.
Over the past seventy years, the left and their allies in the media have succeeded in labeling fascism as a right-wing or conservative philosophy when it in reality was an offshoot of socialism. Socialism/Marxism seeks the total control of a society’s economy through complete state control of the means of production and income. Fascism seeks that same control, indirectly by the state domination of private ownership, as well as controlling individual income and wealth through taxation and regulation. Jonah Goldberg’s masterpiece Liberal Fascism convincingly demonstrates the progressive roots of fascism.
Per Sheldon Richman in the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics:
As an economic system, fascism is socialism with a capitalistic veneer. In its day (the 1920’s and 1930’s), fascism was seen as the happy medium between boom-and-bust-prone capitalism, with its alleged class conflict, wasteful competition, and profit-oriented egoism, and Marxism, with its violent socially divisive prosecution of the bourgeoisie.
Where socialism abolished all market relations outright, fascism left the appearance of market relations while planning all economic activities. Where socialism abolished money and prices; fascism controlled the monetary system and set all prices and wages politically. [Emphasis added.]
Under fascism, the state, through official agencies, controlled all aspects of manufacturing, commerce, finance, and agriculture. Licensing was ubiquitous; no economic activity could be undertaken without government permission. Levels of consumption were dictated by the state, and “excess” incomes had to be surrendered as taxes or “loans”.
To maintain high employment and minimize popular discontent, fascist governments also undertook massive public-works programs financed by steep taxes, borrowing and fiat money creation. [Emphasis added.]
Fascism is most often identified with Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, who not only took it to an extreme but used the basic tenets of this economic philosophy to finance huge armies and arms production in order to satisfy their militaristic and megalomaniacal ambitions. But the concept of a corporate state has been a staple of the American left since Franklin Roosevelt.
It was FDR who initiated the National Labor Relations Board to make the government the final arbiter in labor issues. The National Recovery Act that governed all aspects of manufacturing and commerce. The Agricultural Adjustment Act, which introduced central planning to agriculture. Taxes were dramatically raised on the so-called wealthy and class warfare rhetoric accelerated in order to focus anger elsewhere and not on the government. Massive spending on public works projects was a centerpiece of the “New Deal.”
Mussolini heaped praise upon FDR’s New Deal as “boldly… interventionist in the field of economics.” Roosevelt was not reticent in his compliments to Mussolini for the latter’s “honest purpose in restoring Italy” and acknowledged that he kept “in fairly close touch with the admirable Italian gentlemen.” Yet it is generally recognized today that by pursuing these policies FDR prolonged the Great Depression by another 5-7 years. (See Amity Shlaes: The Forgotten Man.)
A legacy of the FDR years is the nearly 170,000 pages of federal regulations that exist today and intrude into all aspects of the day-to-day life of every American. However, Barack Obama has not only added to the regulatory burden, but also taken actions which are geared to further establishing a fascist economy.
ObamaCare is not about health care, per se; rather, it is intended to dictate to business and the individual what insurance they must buy, what health care they are allowed to access, and ultimately what behavior is acceptable – all at the whim of a centralized bureaucracy. The Dodd-Frank Bill firmly establishes the concept of “too big to fail” for certain financial institutions, thereby subjecting them to the absolute control of the state while allowing, and in many cases forcing, others to cease doing business, as well as instituting lending and operating policies determined by government regulators.
The Obama regime has thrown out the rule of law when it comes to the rights of private investors by their actions against the bondholders of Chrysler and General Motors, as well as forcefully taking over and operating both companies and others as quasi-private entities. They have chosen which businesses will succeed or fail by the taxpayer financing of companies such a Solyndra among a score of others, others of which have failed. The Obama appointees to the National Labor Relations Board are now dictating to companies where they can locate and are attempting to force their workers into unions without secret ballots.
The mantra of public-works spending is alive and well and constantly being used to justify massive government spending. The demonization of the rich has taken on a new role in the Obama era, as the rich are now being singled out as responsible for all the problems created by the Obama policies and are a potential target for retaliation. The current proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy and the so-called “Buffett Tax” are solely an attempt to rally the people into a unified anger over the need to punish a perceived foe – in order to shift the spotlight off the failure of the current government.
A key characteristic of the reality of fascist thinking is rampant cronyism and corruption. Certain capitalists, wishing to ingratiate themselves with the state, are willing to fund the election of those in power in exchange for favorable government contracts and avoidance of regulatory wrath. Recently, much of Wall Street, Hollywood, the unions, major companies such as General Electric, and the super-wealthy such as Warren Buffett are willing to sleep with those in power and be used as props in any propaganda campaign initiated by the Obama regime.
The Obama administration has, through the Justice Department and other agencies, behaved exactly as many quasi-fascist regimes in the past – almost all of whom have been governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect themselves and their friends from accountability.
The term “fascism” has been redefined by the horrendous acts of Mussolini and Hitler, actions spurred by their megalomania and nationalism. However, the economic philosophy that is fascism is alive and well and being pursued in the United States by those whose desire it is to control the people of the country and reinforce their domestic power base, not to conquer the world. Yet the pursuit of the same tenets that motivated Franklin Roosevelt has prolonged and exacerbated the current economic disaster facing the United States.
However, as with FDR, chances are that it will not succeed in America, with its history of individualism and entrepreneurship – but only if the current citizenry recognizes what is the Obama end-game. It is time to call what is being pursued by Barack Obama what it is: fascism.