Socialism: The Beast Won't Die
Reiland, Ralph R, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman got it right about a lot of things, but he was overly optimistic when he wrote in 1990 that socialism was dead.
"Ten years ago, many people around the world believed that socialism was a viable, even the most promising, system for promoting material prosperity and human freedom," wrote Friedman. "Few people anywhere in the world believe that today."
Those few die-hards who were still clinging to their collectivist convictions, said Friedman, were found only in places like Zambia or Harvard's faculty lounge: "Idealistic faith in socialism still lives on, but only in some ivory tower enclaves in the West and in some of the most backward countries elsewhere."
But here we are only 19 years later, and Newsweek's cover story is "We Are All Socialists Now." And in a Rasmussen Reports survey last month, only 37 percent of American adults under 30 said that capitalism was better than socialism (33 percent preferred socialism and 30 percent were undecided about which system was better). It sounds like they could vote in a Castro if he had a good smile.
The Newsweek story states that "America of 2009 is moving toward a modern European state," i.e., toward a full-blown welfare state. In 2000, U.S. government spending was 34 percent of total spending in the American economy. Next year, the government portion of GDP in the U.S. is expected to rise to 40 percent, compared with 47 percent in the 16-nation Eurozone.
"As entitlement spending rises over the next decade," says Newsweek, "we will become even more French." And perhaps even more unemployed. During the 1990s, the unemployment rate in the Eurozone was more than twice the rate of U.S. unemployment.
Private-sector employment, i.e., nongovernment employment, expanded by 70 percent in the United States between 1970 and 1998. During the same 28 years in the Eurozone, private-sector employment increased by less than 5 percent.
Overall, the European welfare states have a long and clear record of overexpanding government and destroying job creation in the private sector and then expanding government over again to pick up the pieces. …