Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich educated former Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) on Wednesday night after she attacked universal healthcare and higher taxes on the wealthy in an effort to smear democratic socialism.
For weeks, President Donald Trump has been trying to brand Democrats as socialists to argue against public policies that would benefit all Americans such as Medicare For All, which would be paid for with higher marginal tax rates on the wealthy such as a 70 percent rate on all income above $10 million that has been proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).
Republicans like Love have since been trying to demonize Democrats as socialists despite an overwhelming majority of Americans supporting both higher taxes on the wealthy and universal healthcare.
Love appeared on CNN to warn Democrats against supporting the ideas, claiming that they are socialist ideas that will somehow result in government seizing private industry.
Reich chimed in by informing viewers that Trump and Republicans are employing the same tactic they have used for decades to attack policies that help Americans.
“This is not a new Republican tactic,” he said. “In 1935, Republicans accused Franklin Roosevelt of being a ‘socialist’ for proposing Social Security. In 1965, Republicans accused Lyndon Johnson of being a ‘socialist’ for proposing Medicare. Many Republicans accused Obama of being a ‘socialist’ for proposing the Affordable Care Act. This is a label Republicans have used for at least 80 years every time Democrats propose something that turns out to be remarkably popular and durable.”
Love responded by complaining that Democrats are not running away from the label, only to be confronted with videos of Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) doing exactly that. Her attack debunked, Love suggested that Americans should have to work three jobs to support their families in the name of capitalism.
“I am a product of my father who came to this country with absolutely nothing and he had three jobs in order to make ends meet,” she said. “What I’m afraid of is there’s going to be a point where you tax somebody so much that the people that don’t end up getting the jobs that they need are the ones that really want to help their families, the ones that need another leg up, those are the people that are going to get hurt.”
She is actually making the argument that higher taxes will result in rich people not creating jobs, which is a complete fallacy considering that argument has failed for decades since former President Ronald Reagan insisted in the 1980s that cutting taxes on the rich would result in benefits trickling down to the rest of the population. Instead, we’re still watching American companies shift production overseas even when they get massive tax cuts, something Reich pointed out in his rebuttal.
“Mia, nobody is talking about that,” he said. “The Democrats I know are not talking about increasing taxes on the middle class or the poor, they’re talking big about increasing taxes on the very wealthy, doing exactly the opposite that Donald Trump and the Republicans have done in terms of that $1.9 trillion tax cut.”
Reich also pointed out that polls show a majority of Americans support taxing the wealthy and support universal healthcare, which he went on to defend.
“Medicare For All is actually, a number of studies have shown, it’s cheaper than our current for-profit private Medicare system that tries to avoid sick people,” Reich said
Indeed, a conservative study shows that the proposal would save more money and cover more Americans than the current for-profit healthcare system does.
Here’s the video via YouTube.
The fact of the matter is that most Americans approve of these so-called “socialist” policies and most democratic nations in the world today are adopting them or have already adopted them. Several of our European allies have universal healthcare and free education because of high tax rates on the wealthy. There’s no reason why we can’t or shouldn’t do the same thing.
Furthermore, you never hear Republicans ask how we are going to pay the exorbitant costs for defense appropriations that have been passed over and over again without question since 9/11. The defense budget now stands at over $800 billion and we seem to be less safe than ever before while running up massive deficits and debts contributed to by Trump’s tax gift to the wealthy that deprives the government of tax revenues.
Taxing the wealthy would bring much-needed revenues. Combined with spending cuts to the defense budget, which would still be the largest in the world even if cut in half, we would have the resources to pay for these policies. We should not allow Republicans to scare us away from doing the right thing for our country just because they label it “socialist.”
If that had happened in 1935 and 1965, we would not have Social Security and Medicare, two of the most successful and popular government programs in the history of our nation, today. And our country would have been worse off for it.
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