America is Now Democratic Socialist

The Failure of Neoliberal Free Enterprise

Take careful notice – as of March 2020, the United States is operating as a more than strict Democratic Socialist system. The government is regulating aspects of American life — economic, social, and medical. The Federal Reserve is printing money and making it available to financial and commercial industries and the public. Americans are being told what to do, what to produce and where they can go.

The Covid-19 epidemic has proven the final test for the capitalist system, which had a temporary rescue by neoliberal free enterprise. After the Reagan administration changed the economic landscape so that budget deficits drove the economy and Capitalism ran on debt, the neoliberal system chugged through several recessions and one major recession, reached its peak, and now has met its fate by a microscopic bug. The capitalist system could not respond to the crisis and fell apart in all its formations — economy dropped precipitously, shortages of medical equipment appeared, health institutions did not know where to obtain supplies, workers were stranded, industry did not know how to proceed, and the Republican government reacted too slow and too uncoordinated.

Briefly reviewing the real history of the development of the crisis, which is much different than presented by President Donald Trump, we learn the extent of the failure of the present system in its duty to the American people.

Data gathered from World Health Organization, archived Peoples Daily Online, British Broadcasting Report, United States newspaper reports.

On December 30, 2019, Chinese doctor Li Wenliang noticed seven cases of a virus that resembled SARS. He informed some of his associates that an unusual number of pneumonia cases were occurring in Wuhan.

The next day, December 31, the Chinese government informed the World Health Organization (WHO) in Beijing of the appearance of a possible new virus.

On January 1, the local government closed the food market in Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, and performed environmental sanitation and disinfection. WHO requested further information from China.

Because the virus had leaped from animal to human, it was unknown if the virus could be transmitted by human contact.

To prevent panic, and stall people from leaving Wuhan and possibly spread the disease, the Wuhan Public Security Force (not the central government) accused the doctor of disturbing the public order and prevented him from speaking further on the matter.

On January 7, Chinese scientists announced the identification of a new virus that, like SARS and the common cold, belonged to the coronavirus family

On January 11, China reported the first known death from the coronavirus, a 61-year-old man who bought food at the Wuhan market. WHO received “detailed information” from Chinese authorities that there is “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission” linked to these coronavirus cases.

On January 15, Wuhan’s health commission, in a reply to WHO, released a statement: “The possibility of limited human-to-human transmission cannot be ruled out.”

On January 20, Chinese officials confirmed cases of human-to-human transmission, with two patients in Guangdong catching the virus from infected family members and medical staff also testing positive for the virus.

On January 24, a week before travel restrictions, the Center for disease control (CDC) confirmed two cases of the novel coronavirus in the U.S. from people who had returned from Wuhan, China.

On January 31, the Secretary of Health and Human Services declared the novel coronavirus to be a public health emergency. Due to a quirk in federal law, anyone wanting to test for the coronavirus first needed to seek approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

On January 31, travel restrictions prohibited non-U.S. citizens, other than the immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who had traveled to China within the previous two weeks, from entering the United States. Americans returning from China were allowed into the country, but faced screening at select ports of entry and were required to undertake 14 days of self-screening to ensure they did not pose a health risk. Those returning from Hubei province, the center of the outbreak, were subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine. Note that this was not a total travel ban between the U.S. and China.

On February 29, the FDA allowed other labs that met certain prior regulatory requirements to use their own tests before they had received explicit approval from the FDA.

On March 23, President Trump, announced, “May soon loosen federal guidelines for social distancing and encourage shuttered businesses to reopen,” which differs from worldwide approach to the epidemic and contradicts China’s successful methods in containing the virus. Rather than let the economy fail, Americans must sacrifice themselves.

In a Democratic Socialist system, the economic emergency only means a delay in production. No matter how long a crisis lasts, in a Democratic Socialist society the community’s basic needs are provided and citizens are secure in knowing full employment is eventually guaranteed.

For neoliberal free enterprise, in which production and GDP are dependent on debt, the economic emergency means a drastic decline in revenue that prevents many from meeting credit payments, a prelude to bankruptcies of industries, financial sectors, small businesses, and individuals. Recovery will be punishing, and, for many, unemployment will be high and insecurity prevalent. The dollar will fall, inflation will increase as import prices increase, and much of U.S. export market will be lost to those — China, Japan, Korea — whose industries revive quicker from the catastrophe.

The Federal Reserve rushes to provide free money and prevent the calamity, but cannot entirely accomplish the task. Trump administration economist Larry Kudlow has said a stimulus package “would include $4 trillion in lending power for the Federal Reserve as well as a $2 trillion of aid.” Similar, to the General Motors bailout, the government offers a Democratic Socialist method ─ taking a stake in falling corporations ─ an offer that Boeing chief executive Dave Calhoun said he is not willing to accept.

A misshaped socioeconomic system, compounded by a misshaped U.S. president, failed to contain the ultra-damaging health and economic effects of Covid-19. Another failure is that of inaction by the Democratic Socialists.

Disappointing and mystifying that the Democratic Socialist organizations, socialized community leaders, and the entire progressive community failed to capitalize on this significant historical moment, which has shown a desperate need for Democratic Socialism. Nowhere, in speeches, articles, discussions, agendas, and meetings are there loud expressions to arouse the public into understanding the urgency and importance to the American community of a socialized economy that could have met this challenge and would meet future challenges — climate change that modifies coastlines and arable lands; greenhouse gas emissions that heat the atmosphere and petition a handover from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources; robotics and artificial intelligence that change the factory floor, its administration, and the composition of the workforce; possibility of nuclear war in an atmosphere of intense international hostility and growing arms races; pandemics from new disease microbes that replicate quickly, defy conventional medicine, and spread beyond borders; security enhancements due to internal conflicts and external hostilities; political, economic and social polarizations that have stimulated populist movements; and population migrations that cause cultural conflicts and reassignment of resources.

National leaders with the reputation of past social figures — Eugene Debs, Norman Thomas, Franklin Roosevelt, Henry Wallace — are not here to energize the crowds and move the electorate, and a slowly fading Bernie Sanders is not taking advantage of the opportunity now available to him.

The only way that Sanders could win was to answer critics who viewed his plans as being misaligned with American public leanings and history. In this endeavor, his campaign and progressive backers have not effectively characterized the Democratic Social programs and neglected to show that, because the present administration could not respond to the pandemic by conventional means, it is using Democratic Socialist policies to resolve the crisis.

A lost opportunity is lost forever.

The revolution is not in the streets. The revolution is in the locked homes.

Dan Lieberman is Editor of Alternative Insight, a monthly web based newsletter and author of the book A Third Party Can Succeed in America. He can be reached at: alternativeinsight@earthlink.net. Read other articles by Dan.