If you’re Barack Obama, the answer is “none.”
On Wednesday, the president shared remarks at the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative Town Hall in Buenos Aires, where he said:
[S]o often in the past there’s been a sharp division between left and right, between capitalist and communist or socialist. And especially in the Americas, that’s been a big debate, right? Oh, you know, you’re a capitalist Yankee dog, and oh, you know, you’re some crazy communist that’s going to take away everybody’s property. And I mean, those are interesting intellectual arguments, but I think for your generation, you should be practical and just choose from what works. You don’t have to worry about whether it neatly fits into socialist theory or capitalist theory — you should just decide what works.
Where to begin? First, I suppose, is his view that calling someone “a capitalist Yankee dog” or “some crazy communist” constitutes an “interesting intellectual argument.” To most people that’s name-calling. Then again most people don’t go around calling those with a different ideological perspective “enemies” of the state and worse.
As for his reference to taking “away everybody’s property,” he has expressed the desire on more than one occasion to redistribute wealth in America. In 2011, for example, he said during one of his many battles with Republicans in Congress over raising the debt ceiling:
I do not want, and I will not accept, a deal in which I am … able to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional income that I don’t need, while a parent out there … is struggling to figure out how to send their [sic] kid to college. [Emphasis added]
The notion that money that you earn but can’t identify an immediate use for should automatically be confiscated by the government and divided up among needier families certainly smacks of socialism.
Saving the best for last, consider his recommendation that when it comes to socialism or capitalism, “you should just decide what works.”
If he been forthcoming with these views in 2008, one wonders whether the nation would have made the mistaking of electing him president even once.
Here is the video: