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Krugman writes: "The Commies are coming for your pickup trucks."

Democrats sponsor Medicare-for-All bill. (photo: Getty)
Democrats sponsor Medicare-for-All bill. (photo: Getty)

Trump Versus the Socialist Menace

By Paul Krugman, The New York Times

08 February 19

The Commies are coming for your pickup trucks.

n 1961, America faced what conservatives considered a mortal threat: calls for a national health insurance program covering senior citizens. In an attempt to avert this awful fate, the American Medical Association launched what it called Operation Coffee Cup, a pioneering attempt at viral marketing.

Here’s how it worked: Doctors’ wives (hey, it was 1961) were asked to invite their friends over and play them a recording in which Ronald Reagan explained that socialized medicine would destroy American freedom. The housewives, in turn, were supposed to write letters to Congress denouncing the menace of Medicare.

Obviously the strategy didn’t work; Medicare not only came into existence, but it became so popular that these days Republicans routinely (and falsely) accuse Democrats of planning to cut the program’s funding. But the strategy — claiming that any attempt to strengthen the social safety net or limit inequality will put us on a slippery slope to totalitarianism — endures.

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For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

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Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+71 # Porfiry 2019-02-08 14:15
If government helps ordinary folk it's socialism. Using that pattern, government helping the very rich and large corporations is socialism for those who need it least. Crony capitalism = selfish socialism.
+46 # suzyskier 2019-02-08 15:02
I’ll take socialism if it looks like it does in the Nordic countries any day over what we have here in this very lopsided country! I don’t want anymore Uber wealthy types thinking because they are the 12th richest persons in the world they know how to run the country. We already know that’s nonsense and some businessmen aren’t very honest, mentioning no name of course! Apparently the Koch Brothers think they should run the country because they are Rich, since when is that a criteria?
+20 # Glen 2019-02-09 07:24
There is already socialism in the U.S. "If people don't like socialism and are against anything having to do with it, then tell them they can no longer drive interstates, freeways, and similar." Right. And they cannot use a library, or fire departments, or certain museums, and on and on and on. A lot of good stuff comes from a decent tax to support such programs.

I experienced socialized medicine in both Norway and Canada and support it vehemently.
+13 # wrknight 2019-02-09 11:24
Quoting suzyskier:
...I don’t want anymore Uber wealthy types thinking because they are the 12th richest persons in the world they know how to run the country.
Actually, they do know how to run the country - into the ground.
+26 # Street Level 2019-02-08 15:25
In one of Trump's idiotic speeches where I believe he was addressing the UN regarding Venezuela, he demonized "Socialism/Soci alist" about 5 or 6 times in a short speech. And It Continues: The World According to Trump (for those too stupid to think for themselves).
+19 # Robbee 2019-02-08 15:57
In 1776 we the people rebelled against not-to-great britain
in 1787 we the people enacted a constitution that set forth what we had won
what we promise4e each other, by way of SOCIAL CONTRACT with our form of government - in other words, our MISSION STATEMENT, is set forth by “preamble”

note that EVERYTHING we promise each other fits under “promote the general Welfare”

we make no other promise!
we make no promise to promote capital, corporations, banks, military industry, industry, or elites - SUCH WORDS DO NOT APPEAR!

“commerce” does not regulate us - “we the people” regulate “commerce”

this is what we, by living here, sign up for, in 36 words! for our own “general welfare” -

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves

Article 1
Section 8
1: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States;

3: To regulate Commerce

18: To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers,

Amendment 16 - Income Tax
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived,

our economic system is “capitalist”
our form of government is “socialist”
+2 # dbrize 2019-02-10 15:15
In 1776 a FEW people successfully rebelled against Great Britain. There was far from unanimous support.

In 1787 a FEW people enacted a Constitution which was NOT favored by more than perhaps 40% of the “people”. It was based upon the hypothetical “social contract theory” presented by Locke.

The great abolitionist Lysander Spooner argued that even had a majority in 1787 supported the constitution, they had no legal or moral right to bind to it future generations who weren’t even born yet. This was a most persuasive argument in condemning the slavery endorsed by the Constitution.

Whatever you think “we” promised each other is nonsense. If you want a list of “promises” made and broken the Federalist/Anti -federalist papers are a good primer.

Short synopsis; the “fix” was in at the Constitutional Convention when the PTB ignored their original assignment to amend the Articles into a “new and improved” way to protect the PTB. Since, all that stands in their way has been diverted or ignored.
+30 # Anne Frank 2019-02-08 16:27
Conversely, the oligarchy has to destroy socialism that benefits the people, which is why the corporate media are whipping up hatred against Venezuela.
+8 # David Starr 2019-02-09 08:24
Yes, the demonizing of a leader and a country.
+5 # soularddave 2019-02-09 18:54
Apparently the trump administration supports a self-appointed "president" who wasn't even a candidate in the recent election. Could this be??
+16 # Shorey13 2019-02-08 16:48
Defining our terms would help: "Socialism" is an outdated concept that called for the workers to take ownership and control of the means of production. Well, the word "workers" is becoming less relevant every day, and the "means of production" are being rapidly automated even as I w\rite this sentence.

What we should be discussing is "Democratic Socialism
+29 # LionMousePudding 2019-02-08 17:30
Chavez was reelected 13 times. THIRTEEN times. He took a poverty-stricke n country with citizens who had nothing, and gave them free health care, free schooling, and much more. The people loved him.

The trick was he retained control of Venezuelan oil and the profits went to the CITIZENS.

Little known fact. Under Chavez, FREE OIL was distributed to poverty-stricke n AMERICAN CITIZENS. Yep. As we demonized him and his country, he helped our own citizens to survive in a country that does not take care of its own. What an evil man!

You can see why US Fascists/Corpor atists/Capitali sts HATED him.

A huge part of the problems Venezuela is having under Maduro are due directly to US sanctions. How any politician can insist we have to change their regime because of about how their hard citizens have it, when we are the cause and could just lift the damn sanctions, is just unconscionable. But we are not supposed to figure that out.
-13 # BKnowswhitt 2019-02-09 04:13
Chavez did that strictly as a PR stunt in USA. In his 'Home Country' .. he repeatedly rigged his elections .. maybe he won one or two fo them .. never won them all .. completely corrupt .. and a dangerous idiot .. when challenged those people disappeared .. please wake up to the facts .. dictator of the worst kind .. played off fools like you in USA who buy this kind of horseshit ..
-2 # joe_me 2019-02-10 05:06
"Chavez-he repeatedly rigged his elections"
The same thing happened very recently in the
2018 POTUS elections with help from Russia, i guess you consider that OK though.

Your other statements are factual though you have a negative 6 rating (-6).
-8 # BKnowswhitt 2019-02-09 04:29
Play out of inflation and an economy similar to what we had here in the Depression was created by teh Commie Bastard .. those who take profits for themselves .. create a phoney socialist state which is was not even that .. and then no one speaks out .. you will be killed .. just like Castro did .. million times worse than any USA corruption could be on steroids .. learn something please based on reality .. maybe this is why the donations are so thin at RSN .. intelligeht clear thinking people look at comments like yours and leave like a 'Bad case of Fleas' ..
+13 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-02-09 07:01
Lion - "Little known fact. Under Chavez, FREE OIL was distributed to poverty-stricke n AMERICAN CITIZENS. Yep. As we demonized him and his country, he helped our own citizens "

yes, this is important. Joseph Kennedy, former congressman from Mass and son of Bobby Kennedy started a non-profit in 1979 called "Citizens Energy." It provided heating oil to poor families in New England. In the early 2000s Citizens Energy teamed up with Citgo, the Venezuelan oil company operating in the US. The program expanded greatly with the help of Citgo and Chavez.

The program was hated by most US media and it was finally banned in several states. It goes on still today but at a smaller level because it is now illegal in several states. Formerly it served about half the states in the US.
+8 # Glen 2019-02-09 07:43
Thank you Lion. A plethora of propaganda has prevented U.S. citizens learning about Venezuela unless they research. Yes, Chavez died due to his resistance to U.S. manipulation and control. U.S. behavior and need to dominate governments and resources is downright evil.
0 # joe_me 2019-02-10 05:15
"Yes, Chavez died due to his resistance to U.S. manipulation & control"

You mean he was poisoned or something like that & did not die of cancer as published?
+2 # Glen 2019-02-10 16:57
+31 # WorkingClass 2019-02-08 17:34
Krugman states the majority of Americans want to have the choice to retain their private health insurance. I am sure that is true. Having said that, I believe that they have not really been educated about how a true single payer system would work. It's not socialized medicine. It is socialized medical insurance much like Medicare. We now pay premiums to fund an extremely inefficient system that scrims up to 20% off the top before one lick of medical service is delivered. Medicare has an approximately 3% administrative overhead. Savings by having a single payer come in the form of not diverting money to advertising, corporate profit, CEO pay (which is through the roof) and stockholder dividends. That all goes away with single payer. Those dollars provide necessary medical care instead. Every other industrialized nation in the world has some form of national health care. It is not that our policy makers are dumber than the others around the world (I know that could be debated). The problem is the private medical-industr ial complex owns our political system through its lobbying and political contributions. Personally I don't care if the money I come up with out of my pocket is called premium, copay, deductible or if its called a tax. But that money would sure be better spent if the private insurance industry leaches were cut out of the picture.
+12 # lfeuille 2019-02-08 20:56
What they want is to be able to keep their doctor if they are satisfied or find another they like better at their of their own choice and have the bill paid without a lot of red tape and price gouging. Single Payer will accomplish all this plus include coverage they likely don't currently have. They do not care about their insurance company. Nobody likes the insurance company that raises their rates and out of pocket expenses and cuts benefits every year and curtails their choice of doctors.
+4 # soularddave 2019-02-09 20:05
Why don't we just say it: People CAN keep their chosen doctors; The doctors just get their primary funding from "Medicare for all", and secondarily from supplemental private insurance. Its a CHOICE for the patient: what doctor to see, what supplemental insurance they might want to carry and pay for.

+5 # WorkingClass 2019-02-10 11:59
Since there would only be one source of payment for medical bills, that being the single payer (medical for all), you would definitely have a choice of doctors/clinic/ hospitals. Gone would be picking a doctor from a list of doctors provided by a private insurance company. People would actually have more choice, not less.
+8 # Porfiry 2019-02-08 21:13
The letters used to describe what's taken out of our paychecks for Social Security and Medicare: FICA, Federal Insurance Contribution Act. It's not a payroll tax. It's an insurance premium.
+7 # wrknight 2019-02-09 12:15
I am on Medicare but have my own private health care insurance as well. The private insurance plan pays what Medicare doesn't. It works like a charm.
+1 # Glen 2019-02-10 07:28
Problem is, wrknight, none of it is free. Money is withdrawn from social security after retirement in continuous payment for medicare, and the private insurance also costs quite a bit in many cases. No matter how you approach it, insurance is never free and even if open to all citizens they will pay.
+1 # PeacefulGarden 2019-02-08 20:13
I think there is no recovery for our health care system. It is a complete sham. It is truly fantastic who profits destroyed it.

Your only doctor is you.
+7 # sirimada 2019-02-08 20:36
Great comments by Robbee!! Re socialism, it should also be noted that the US Dept of Defense is probably one of the largest social programs in the country!
-14 # BKnowswhitt 2019-02-09 04:49
The Socialism of Fanny Mae and Feddy Mac .. government owned (TaxPayer Owned) housing lenders .. got gamed by Dems socialist plan to 'make homes 'affordable' to everyone' .. instead of it being earned they gave the paper away .. almost broke us .. back in '08 .. so Buyers Beware. I'm a liberal pointing these truths out. So Krugman an 'Economist' in other words a theoretical monetist professor type .. never with his own dough of course as are they all .. like today's Phoney Global Warming 'Environmentali st' .. who's that someone that exclusively has the inside track on fresh air and green land? Another parallel phonie-ism .. oxymoron .. so no not Medicare for All .. Medicare is to seniors .. please don't ruin that .. you can bet they will Guan Fucken' Teed!!!
+9 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-02-09 11:18
Krugman is mostly good on defining socialism but not good enough. The general trend toward socialism now in reaction to unrestrained capitalism and free-market fundamentalism is running up against a 100 year propaganda campaign to mis-educate Americans about what socialism is. Now we need to re-educate Americans about what socialism is.

Socialism is very simple. A society's economy is about how goods and services people need for life are produced and distributed. Some are produced by private for-profit organizations. This is capitalism. If there is no profit, the organizations stop producing the goods or services.

Some goods and services are produced socially or collectively. People decide that it is better to do things together as a whole group, rather than privately. Fire fighting is a good example. At the turn of the 20th century, there were private for-profit fire companies. They sold fire protection. It did not work. If a house caught fire and did not subscribe to the fire protection, no one fought the fire. It spread to the houses that were protected. So cities took over fire fighting, and offered the service to everyone. The cost was paid by everyone through taxes.

People really do love socialized services -- public schools, public roads, national parks, police-fire-cou rts, socialized healthcare (medicare/Medic aid), public health regulations for water, air, food, and many other things.

Socialism is not about anyone getting something free.
+4 # soularddave 2019-02-09 20:18
Very good description. Thank you!

One could go on to mention HOW these socialized institutions are managed, and how the managers serve at the pleasure of those voters who choose/elect them through an democratic process.

Further, if some things are happening to raise the costs of service (for instance kids with fireworks are causing house fires), then the voters choose to curtail the sale of fireworks and enforce laws against their use around structures.

This will necessitate community engagement with the issues, but that's the idea in the first place - DEMOCRATIC Socialism.
+1 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-02-10 07:47
soul -- there is no guarantee that socialized production of goods and services will be managed well. But at least the socialized program are finally democratic. People can vote out officials who mis-manage programs. Trump is mis-managing all of the federal level socialized programs from the national parks to Obamacare. He will be voted out for that (not for some idiotic CIA/Mi6 covert op called Russiagate).

Private, capitalist, for-profit production of goods and services will almost always be managed so that the most profit accrue to the owners of the business. I don't call that mis-management; it is just reality. For example, private, for-profit healthcare really does not want to serve people who are too poor to pay the premiums or people who are chronically sick. It wants only wealthy and healthy people. So the for-profit system will never "serve" the society very well. That's not mis-management; it is just the nature of the means of production of this service.

finally, you are right. Socialism is INHERENTLY democratic. It serves all people equally. All people pay to support socialist programs.

The challenge of society is to find the right balance between socialized and capitalistic production of goods and services. That's also what politics is about.

All economies are mixed. The right balance of the mix is the key to a healthy society.
+2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-02-10 08:35
The socialist menace is driving the right wing mainstream media in the US crazy. Now they are reporting --

"Socialism on display: Starving Venezuelans resort to eating zoo animals"

Stories of socialism driving people to such hunger that they are eating zoo animals, pets, and wild animals are all over the US media. They are saying it is happening in Venezuela and it will happen in the US if Sanders is elected or AOC gains power in the democratic party.

What bullshit. This is total Fake News. I suspect that this story is a CIA black op. The photos and text were fed into the mediastream somehow. I have not seen any reports on the sources of this story. I'd be interested if anyone else has.

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