Originally Answered: Are some posters here hopelessly stuck on stupid or what? What makes them think that Obama is a Socialist?
I hate answering questions where there are "arguments" made by people speaking different languages.
So, let me provide basic Econ 101, so the words will be defined the way economist define them, not the way altra-conservative Mark Levin does, or those who listen to other talk show commentators, or read from right-winged webpages.
Communism -- Government ownership of all the economic resources, especially of ownership, production, and distribution of private property, business, and means of creating economic capital. (In this system, the government may allow elections, but most examples in history have been dictatorships -- hardly no political freedom.)
Socialism - Government owns the key industries of a nation, but still allows private property. Government can be either a dictatorship, limited monarchy, or democracy.
Examples of this form exist throughout Europe, including England and France (although there is often a movement toward privitation during conservative governments).
Under "socialism" there is a difference between "economic freeedom" and "political freedom." Common people under socialist systems have a little MORE economic freedom, because they won't have to worry about high costs of some essentials for life, like their education, utilities, health care, or retirement. Government provides basic services at reduced costs, whereas capitalist would expect more profit.
Capitalist under socialism (those with wealth) get a little LESS economic freedom, because they cannot invest in, or make money from ownership of education, utliities, health care, or other 'industries" owned by the socialist government.
But, as far as political freedom, say in England, or France, THAT is not effected by a socialist government. There are multiple parties and free elections in these countries.
There IS another choice:
The USA, because of it's fear of both Communism and Socialism, has a MIXED ECONOMY.
When the government owns "education", or a utility, it does't forbid competition from private education, or private utilities.
So, we have BOTH private owned electric companies, and some city/public owned electric companies. We have public hospitals and private hospitals in a Mixed Economy.
In the USA, the turn we have taken since the New Deal of FDR was to "regulate" private industry, rather than own it. This regulation often "levels the playing field" such as when government sets a minimum wage, or mandates air-bags for all cars produced.
But, ultra-conservatives equate REGULATION with socialism, or even communism. But, they are not the same.
Ultra-conservatives equate environmental laws, and safety laws, or laws to help students go to school, as being socialism.
Ulta-Conservatives, support PURE Capitalism, under the control of the "invisible hand" of Adam Smith, who wrote "Wealth of Nations." But, even Adam Smith did not favor unregulated capitalism. He also wrote that capitalism needs to be regulated by compassion, and concern for the community.
Under Pure Capitalism (which our country never has been), there would be no laws controlling what a rich man could do with his property, or money. No zoning laws, no banking laws, we'd get something like all the fraud and scandals of the unregulated "sub-prime" housing loans.
Recently read where $300,000,000 of money supposed put into escrow for burial plans has been lost by the key holder of that equity. It was unregulated, and thus stolen by those who were trusted to hold it to pay for funerals. That's the result of an unregulated market.
Absolute power, leads to absolute corruption.
A mixed-economy, reduces corruption, if the "regulators" are not in the pockets of the producers, or capitalist exploiting the market.
So, when Obama suggests an alternative "single payer" insurance plan to help Americans pay for health problems, or doctor visits, conservatives yell "Socialism" when actually, at worse it's "mixed economy" whereby government plans compete with private plans.
The "single payer health insurance plans" that I've studied, use private insurance to manage health care, but UNDER government REGULATION. Again, big difference between socialist ownership, and government regulation.
If the "people", the electorate, can "regulate" then that actually gives us MORE political power and MORE economic power, than under capitalism, where only the rich can make key production decisions.
It is capitalism, UNRegulated, that brings us $4.00+ a gallon gas. If capitalist owned our water utilities, we'd be paying $4.00 a gallon for water.
Aren't we glad that most water utilities, are government owned?
A "thinking" voter, will weigh the consequences of continued profit making by capitalist, without regulation, against the interests of the public. Sometimes the public interests should take precedence over private profit.
IN SUMMARY: Obama and the Democratic Party supports a Mixed Economy, not Socialism.
In a mixed-economy, you do not have to fear loss of political freedom. But, under Unregulated capitalism, you do have to fear losing your life, and property to terrible forces of the market, as millions may be losing their homes as we speak.
And Unregulated capitalism doesn't care if millions cannot drive their cars, because market forces have put gasoline into the realm of luxury, not a necessity.
When market forces gett out of wack, Democrats are willing to regulate them, whereas George Bush and John McCain have not, and will not, being in pockets of conservaitve capitalists.
Regulation, I repeat is not socialism, when done inside a long-established Mix-Economy that the USA has prospered under.