Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Obama misperceived as a socialist


If you listen to right wing news, it would be easy to think that President Barack Obama is the most liberal president this country has ever had. He’s commonly labeled as a socialist and “un-American” by conservative pundits. However, if one actually looks at his record, they’ll see that not only is he far more capitalistic than other leaders in the Western world, but his policies are more similar to his right wing opponents than to those of the United States’ allies.

The first proof of this is in health care. “Obamacare” was viewed by many as an attack on freedom. A quote from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin that sums up Republican reactions to many of Obama’s policies was “Obama lies; freedom dies.” So, according to Palin, the ability for every citizen to receive health care means that the country is not truly free. But if that were really the case, what could be said about every nation that has universal health care?  The United States is one of the only first-world countries that does not have universal health care, despite the fact that it has the largest national economy in the world.

Then, of course, there is the ironic fact that Obama modeled his health care plan after that of none other than Massachusetts’ own former governor, Mitt Romney. One of the explanations Romney gives as to why he disapproved of Obamacare even though he had a similar health care plan while serving as the governor was that he made it through compromise with the very Democratic Massachusetts state Legislature.

Doesn’t the fact that Romney called his own program a bipartisan compromise prove that Obamacare isn’t as radical as some may think?

The other thing that makes Obama a socialist, according to some right wingers, is that taxes are too high and he’s trying to eliminate any chance for hard working people to become successful. One problem with this logic is that 67 percent of Americans who earn $250,000 or more approve of paying higher taxes, according to a poll from American Express Publishing and The Harrison Group.  If even top earners say that their taxes should be higher, then ours is very clearly a capitalist country.

Many may still believe that by suggesting we tax the rich at a higher rate, Obama is trying to eliminate that idea that America embraces: That hard work in this country, no matter what your background is, pays off. Now it has become more difficult for hardworking people to become wealthy and not just middle class.

However, the divide between the rich and the poor is greater than it’s ever been. America’s income inequality is higher than that of many other countries. According to an article in The Atlantic, countries with comparable levels of income inequality include Ecuador, Rwanda and Uganda.
None of this is to argue that socialism is better than capitalism or vice versa. It’s true that America became the most powerful country in the world thanks to its capitalistic ways, and there are some legitimate arguments that call for a trickle-down approach to economics. However, since the recession, unrestrained capitalism has come under serious fire. Nor is this meant to argue whether or not Obama has been a good president. However, if Obama truly were a socialist, as some of his critics claim, then there are very few genuine capitalists in the world.

Zack Tobin is a Collegian contributor. He can be reached at [email protected].


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    BenMar 4, 2013 at 7:35 am

    This was a very poorly written article. It’s just one cliche after another. It relies on “conservatives say this” and “some say that.”

    Tighten it up, Zack.