Susan Roesgen was outraged that someone at the Chicago tea party carried a sign that called Barack Obama a fascist. That she was so offended is a bit odd considering she didn’t have any problem with someone attending an anti-Bush hurricane Katrina protest in New Orleans was wearing a pappier mache head of Bush as both the devil and Hitler.
Besides, it was not the first time anyone has used the term fascist to describe Obama’s policies. Michael Ledeen at Pajamas Media also used the term to describe the increase in government control of business in his article “We’re all Fascists Now,” a response to Newsweek’s cover story about Obama called “We’re all Socialists Now”:
There’s a element of truth to the basic theme (although not to the headline): the state is getting more and more deeply involved in business, even taking controlling interests in some private companies. And the state is even trying to “make policy” for private companies they do not control, but merely “help” with “infusions of capital,” as in the recent call for salary caps for certain CEOs. So state power is growing at the expense of corporations.
But that’s not socialism. Socialism rests on a firm theoretical bedrock: the abolition of private property. I haven’t heard anyone this side of Barney Frank calling for any such thing. What is happening now-and Newsweek is honest enough to say so down in the body of the article-is an expansion of the state’s role, an increase in public/private joint ventures and partnerships, and much more state regulation of business. Yes, it’s very “European,” and some of the Europeans even call it “social democracy,” but it isn’t.
Jerry Doyle agrees. He has a new article in Human Events in which he argues that Obama’s actions regarding Chrysler is economic fascism:
Economic fascism can be defined as government control over the four P’s: Product, Price, Profit Margin, and People. When the government controls the product created by the market, when it controls the price structure for product and company securities, when it controls how much profit particular companies can make, and when it controls the people who are hired and fired, economic freedom has been banished, and economic fascism reigns supreme.
And economic fascism reigns supreme in Barack Obama’s America. Just look at the recent government handling of Chrysler. In a series of press conferences this week announcing Chrysler’s bankruptcy, Obama hit on all of the four P’s.
It’s difficult to refute Jerry’s arguments because they played out on television for everyone to see. Obama’s supporters who can’t bring themselves to see what he’s actually doing will resent Jerry’s assertion by saying that Obama’s actions are not fascist but are necessary to save the US auto industry. They may try to confuse and obfuscate by finding definitions of fascism that may not match his description. But that won’t change the reality that what Obama is doing looks and sounds an awful lot like fascism. The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics has a long entry about fascism. Here’s a small portion:
In its day (the 1920s and 1930s), fascism was seen as the happy medium between boom-and-bust-prone liberal capitalism, with its alleged class conflict, wasteful competition, and profit-oriented egoism, and revolutionary Marxism, with its violent and socially divisive persecution of the bourgeoisie.
Does the phrase boom and bust sound familiar? Obama has used the phrase “bubble and bust” a number of times to describe what is bad about the American economy:
If new threats are spotted, he said Obama would use “regulatory oversight to prevent guys who want to make a quick buck from doing real harm to the economy. … That is what it means to get out of the bubble-and-bust cycle.”
More from the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics:
Where socialism sought totalitarian control of a society’s economic processes through direct state operation of the means of production, fascism sought that control indirectly, through domination of nominally private owners. Where socialism nationalized property explicitly, fascism did so implicitly, by requiring owners to use their property in the “national interest”–that is, as the autocratic authority conceived it. (Nevertheless, a few industries were operated by the state.) 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. In doing all this, fascism denatured the marketplace. Entrepreneurship was abolished. State ministries, rather than consumers, determined what was produced and under what conditions.
This sounds much like what Barack Obama is doing right now with Chrysler and what he will do with GM, too.
Update: Major Garrett went on Brian and the Judge on Friday and talked Chrysler (after he discussed how he was dissed by the president during his last press conference). It’s an interesting discussion in the context of this post, particularly Judge Napolitano’s comment at the very end. From Johnny Dollar: