49 percent of Democrats want a socialist economy

49 percent of Democrats want a socialist economy
Life under socialism in Venezuela (Image: YouTube screen grab)

A recent Harvard-Harris poll shows that 49 percent of Democrats want a “mostly socialist” economy. That is a much larger percentage than felt this way a decade ago, when the Democratic Party was less radical that it is today. But it’s less than one would expect based on other recent polls. According to a Gallup survey, 57 percent of Democrats have a positive view of socialism, while most don’t have view capitalism positively.

Democratic primary voters replaced several liberal legislators with avowed socialists in safe Democratic seats in 2018. That includes the self-described “Democratic Socialist” Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. After she was elected, the progressive web site Vox estimated the cost of her economic proposals as $42 trillion. That was about twice the size of the entire U.S. economy, and ten times the size of the current federal budget. Such spending proposals would bankrupt America.

The cost of her proposals later rose to well over $100 trillion, with the release of her “Green New Deal” proposal. A Washington think-tank estimates the cost of that proposal as at least $50 trillion, and possibly over $90 trillion. That estimate is probably too low: for example, Ron Bailey of Reason Magazine estimated the cost of just one of the Green New Deal’s six components as $1.6 trillion to $7.6 trillion higher than the think-tank did (Bailey was estimating just the part of the Green New Deal devoted to the power grid). If the Green New Deal costs $90 trillion, that’s four times as much as the entire U.S. economy, and four times as much as America’s current national debt.

The next Democratic Presidential nominee may well be an avowed socialist. The candidate who leads in New Hampshire Democratic primary polls is self-described “Democratic Socialist” Bernie Sanders. He leads former vice president Joe Biden there by two percentage points. Sanders is clearly in the lead for the Democratic nomination nationally, if Biden, who has yet to announce his candidacy, is taken out of the picture.

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Sanders supports the incredibly-costly Green New Deal. So do most of the candidates for the Democratic Presidential nomination, such as “Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).”

The Green New Deal would greatly expand government welfare programs. It would shut down some vitally-needed power plants that do not pollute the air, and are needed for the stability of the electric grid. The Green New Deal would pay for a vast array of new construction projects, many of them pointless white elephants. Although these projects would enrich politically-connected construction unions, they could actually increase greenhouse gas emissions, by requiring the copious use of steel and concrete. The Green New Deal would result in increased road congestion. It would also reduce the efficiency — and increase the energy consumption — of America’s freight transportation system, at least in the short run.

The Democratic Party has moved so far to the left that Democratic elder statesmen such as former President Jimmy Carter have warned against going too far. But today’s Democratic politicians are ignoring such warnings.

Hans Bader

Hans Bader

Hans Bader practices law in Washington, D.C. After studying economics and history at the University of Virginia and law at Harvard, he practiced civil-rights, international-trade, and constitutional law. He also once worked in the Education Department. Hans writes for CNSNews.com and has appeared on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.”