Both Pope Francis and Bernie Sanders seem to be down on capitalism and they support the imposition of more economic regulations, and higher taxes on “the rich,” in the name of reversing “income inequality.” Which means taking more wealth and income away from the producers, the innovators, the entrepreneurs, the providers of jobs. Which ultimately causes slowed productivity, factory shut-downs and higher unemployment. And then these socialists and fascists call for more interventions, more bureaucratic intrusiveness into private industry, and ultimately, government seizures of whole industries (like health care).
Yes, they are both fascists as well as socialists. But “fascist” sounds bad, unlike “socialist.” That has “social” in it. “We love people!” So Bernie calls himself a “socialist.” And while I don’t think Pope Francis calls himself a “socialist,” I’m sure he probably doesn’t object to that description.
As opposed to “fascist,” which sounds like “Hitler” and all that. But both words have economic meanings, and that’s important.
In my simplistic view of things, I see socialism as “public ownership of the means of production” which really means government ownership, which means bureaucrats usurping ownership away from the people. It is theft, in actuality. And fascism supposedly allows for private ownership, but the controls over the industries, property, contracts and labor are seized by those covetous and power-grabbing government bureaucrats. Both socialism and fascism are enslavement of the people.
As I have stated in the past, minimum wage is an example of economic fascism. Bureaucrats order employers to pay workers not less than a certain amount. The choice is: pay the worker less than demanded by ignoramus bureaucrats and go to jail, or cut those jobs if the employer can’t afford it. Most employers choose the latter rather than going to jail. So that’s a fascist control usurped by bureaucrats over the wage part of the private contract between employer and employee.
Interesting how “liberals” are concerned when private businesses engage in “price gouging,” even though the free market’s raising prices at certain times actually benefits those most in need (as opposed to anti-price-gouging laws which backfire and cause shortages). But when the “liberals” artificially raise the price of labor (minimum wage), they really are “price-gouging” by legal force, and thus causing people to lose their jobs! (Some “liberals”!)
Now, Pope Francis and Bernie Sanders’s complaints are supposedly of the greed of “capitalism” and the “1%“. They want to crack down on Wall Street. In my view, Wall Street is just a de facto branch of the federal government, and is rigged to enrich the insiders at the expense of small investors. Wall Street is also a beneficiary of socialism. Example: The Wall Street Bailout at involuntary taxpayer expense. So Wall Street is not an example of actual free market capitalism.
Actually, there has been very little capitalism, that is, free market capitalism, in America, certainly not in Europe or any of the other areas of the world. There is crony capitalism, in which the established firms get in bed with the bureaucracy’s major power wielders, who write special legislation to pay off the insider established firms’ bigwigs, who have all the legal forces at their fingertips to get around whatever legislation is written that the smaller firms can’t afford to do. This is a main component of fascism, by the way.
Besides the minimum wage, one textbook example of crony capitalism and fascism (that some people have been mistakenly referring to as “socialism”) has been the ObamaCare law, or the Affordable Care Act. This law was largely written by the lobbyists of the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. They have benefited a great deal from this new health insurance racket.
In contrast, real capitalism is this: Free markets, i.e. freedom, in which everyone is free to do with one’s own person, labor, property, capital and wealth whatever one wants, as long as you don’t steal, use fraud, coercion or aggression against others. And that’s it. No governmental intrusions or guilty-until-proven-innocent controls, mandates, licensing, or reporting anything to the government. For those are all trespasses, in my view, and thus they are criminal intrusions, which is what socialism and fascism are all about.
In contrast, free market capitalism is the way of life which during the 19th Century led to the greatest expansion in human prosperity and raised the standard of living of most of the people in society. It raised the standard of living of those at the bottom, as well as the middle.
And then in the 20th Century the socialists and fascists came in and wrecked all that. Besides the Europeans and their socialist and fascist centrally planned economic policies and wars, in America there were Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt, the two major players whose socialism and fascism gave us the income tax, the Federal Reserve System, and FDR’s many, many fascist bureaus and programs, ordering people to do this and do that, or else.
The socialist redistribution-of-wealth schemes and takeovers of whole industries and/or fascist controls that Pope Francis and Bernie Sanders want to impose on America are an expansion of those which began over the last century. The policies they support are not those of promoting freedom, of liberating the people from the shackles of the State, but just the opposite.
Socialism and fascism are government enslavement of the people. Of course, they would never admit to that, just as the “tax” theft advocates don’t want to call their policies “stealing.” As I wrote in this earlier post, there are some people who mistakenly view the relationship between a capitalist employer and employee as like an “enslavement.” I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “wage slavery.” But in free market capitalism everything is voluntary. The worker is not being forced to work at that place of employment. In a free society, all relationships and contracts are voluntary. In socialism and fascism, they are not voluntary — they are coerced, forced, compelled, ordered, mandatory, or prohibited by government bureaucrats who just like to order people around. And that’s one of the biggest differences between free markets and the socialist/fascist utopia envisioned by Bernie Sanders and Pope Francis.
Besides the personal enslavements, the results of economic policies that Bernie Sanders wants to impose on America and Pope Francis wants to see globally, would be like the terrible conditions in Venezuela. Government’s socialist takeovers of industries and fascist price controls cause shortages and empty store shelves and long lines.
In America, just look at all the free market-directed grocery stores and food distributors we have, with minimal or non-existent bureaucratic intrusions. Prices are set by wholesalers and retailers, not government bureaucrats. No long lines and empty store shelves. That’s capitalism, freedom, and prosperity.
The motivations of Pope Francis and Bernie Sanders, and most of the people on the left, should be viewed as dubious when they continually support policies of government theft of private wealth and government regulations which have mainly succeeded in causing higher unemployment, inflation and economic distress. The Left’s most recent anti-capitalist hero, French economist Thomas Piketty wrote in his book, Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century, that a progressive, global tax on capital and individual wealth “would not bring the government much in the way of revenue, because it would quickly fulfill its objective: to drastically reduce remuneration…” As quoted in this Mises Institute article, Piketty writes his main point, which in my view mirrors most on the left: “The primary purpose of the capital tax is not to finance the social state but to regulate capitalism.” i.e. not as important to help the poor as it is to make the rich less rich. Which ultimately takes more opportunities away from the middle class and the poor, and it makes the poor poorer as well — that’s how things work with these government interventions. We know that from actual historical and empirical evidence.
So really Pope Francis and Bernie Sanders reflect the Left’s general sentiment of envy toward the successful, the entrepreneurs, and producers and creators of wealth. They promote the policies of wealth destruction and economic and moral decay. After all, promoting the stealing from others’ honestly acquired wealth and property is just that: stealing. And that’s immoral. They can rationalize the institutionalized theft all they want, but that’s what it is. This is also what motivates their obsession with higher taxes on producers to cure “global warming/climate change,” as well. In my view, they are not as concerned with cleaning the environment and preventing “melting polar ice caps and rising sea levels” as they are obsessed with taking more wealth away from the producers of society (and thus taking jobs away from the workers!).