What Kind of Socialist Is Barack Obama? Jonah Goldberg What Kind of Socialist is Barack Obama? "Fourteen months into his presidency, in March 2010, Obama succeeded in muscling through Congress a partial government takeover of the national health-care system. That legislative accomplishment followed Obamas decision a year earlier, without congressional approval, to nationalize two of the countrys Big Three automobile companies. In the intervening months, he had also imposed specific wage ceilings on employees at banks that had taken federal bailout moneythe first such federal wage controls since an ill-fated experiment by Richard Nixon in 1971. Obama also made the federal government the direct provider of student loans, and did so by putting that significant change in American policy inside the larger health-care bill. In a September 2009 press conference, Obama suggested that a publicly funded health-care system might help avoid some of the overhead that gets eaten up at private companies by profits and excessive administrative coststhus mistaking the act of making money, the foundational cornerstone of capitalism itself, with the generation of unnecessary expenses. in a May 2009 interview, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham mocked the presidents critics for considering Obama to be a crypto-socialist. Only four months before Meachams mockery of conservatives, he co-authored a cover story for his magazine titled Were All Socialists Now, in which he and Newsweeks Evan Thomas (grandson of the six-time Socialist-party presidential candidate Norman Thomas) argued that the growth of government was making us like a European, i.e. socialist, country. At the same time, a host of Left-liberal writers, most prominently E.J. Dionne and Harold Meyerson of the Washington Post, were floating the idea that the new president was ushering in a new age of social democracy. The left-wing activist-blogger Matthew Yglesias, echoing the Obama White House view that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste, said the Wall Street meltdown offered a real opportunity for massive socialism. Surely if fans of President Obamas program feel free to call it socialist, critics may be permitted to do likewise. In an April 2009 essay published in Foreign Policy, John Judis modestly called prescient a prediction he himself had made in the mid-1990s: Once the sordid memory of Soviet communism is laid to rest and the fervor of anti-government hysteria abates, he had written in a symposium in the American Enterprise, politicians and intellectuals of the next century will once again draw openly upon the legacy of socialism. In his Foreign Policy piece, Judis claimed vindication in the age of Obama: Socialism, once banished from polite conversation, has made a startling comeback. But is it correct, as an objective matter, to call Obamas agenda socialist? [T]he only meaning sure to garner consensus is an assertive statism applied in the larger cause of equality, usually through redistributive economic policies that involve a bias toward taking an intrusive and domineering role in the workings of the private sector. One might also apply another yardstick: an ambivalence, even antipathy, for democracy when democracy proves inconvenient.1 With this understanding as a vague guideline, the answer is certainly, Yes, Obamas agenda is socialist in a broad sense." Please consider reading the full article if you have an interest in political history.