It bothers me a little when conservatives call Barack Obama a “socialist.” He certainly is an enemy of the free market, and wants politicians and bureaucrats to make the fundamental decisions about the economy. But that does not mean that he wants government ownership of the means of production, which has long been a standard definition of socialism. What President Obama has been pushing for, and moving toward, is more insidious: government control of the economy, while leaving ownership in private hands. That way, politicians get to call the shots but, when their bright ideas lead to disaster, they can always blame those who own businesses in the private sector.
Thus the Obama administration can arbitrarily force insurance companies to cover the children of their customers until the children are 26 years old. Obviously, this creates favourable publicity for President Obama. But if this and other government edicts cause insurance premiums to rise, then that is something that can be blamed on the “greed” of the insurance companies. The same principle, or lack of principle, applies to many other privately owned businesses. It is a very successful political ploy that can be adapted to all sorts of situations.
I would quibble that what Obama favors is a kind of Socialism, just that he achieves it through regulation rather than confiscation. But the end result is the same… a planned, political economy where political operatives make decisions according to their own prerogatives rather than letting people make decisions for themselves. The hugely expensive politically-driven push to wind and solar power that results in consumers paying more for energy is one example, and the wretched and unpalatable school lunches dictated by the whims of the president’s wife are another. Then there is, of course, Obamacare where the Government decides men should have to pay for women’s gynecological services and the mentally healthy must pay for the genital mutilation of transgendered people because these are voting blocs for the ruling political coalition. Britain’s NHS has politicized and bureaucratized the practice of medicine; Obamacare has achieved the same result with the thin veneer that private bureaucrats, rather than Government ones, administer the program.
If all a company’s decisions are dictated by the Government, the company is de facto socialized. And when the details of running the economy are worked out between corrupt politicians and corrupt businessmen, Obama has successfully nationalized the Chicago style of Government.