Oct 23, 2018

White House report warns of socialist "comeback"

Mike Allen
Photo of  German Political Philosopher Karl Marx sitting, 1818-1883.

German political philosopher Karl Marx. Photo: Getty Images

A pre-election report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers asserts that socialism "is making a comeback in American political discourse."

The report — "Opportunity Costs of Socialism," which echoes an Oct. 12 op-ed by President Trump in USA Today that was strafed by fact checkers — is aimed at denigrating Democrats and bolstering Republicans ahead of the midterms.

From the executive summary, provided to Axios ahead of the report's release:

  • "Coincident with the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx’s birth [May, 1818], socialism is making a comeback in American political discourse. Detailed policy proposals ... are gaining support in Congress and among much of the electorate."
  • "The proposed solutions include single-payer systems, high tax rates ('from each according to his ability'), and public policies that hand out much of the Nation’s goods and services 'free' of charge ('to each according to his needs')."
  • If Medicare for All "were financed through higher taxes, GDP would fall by 9 percent, or about $7,000 per person in 2022."

Be smart: The report, which includes a passage about "Maoist China, Cuba, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)," should be read as political talking points rather than rigorous economic analysis.

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