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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Barack Obama = Karl Marx With a Twist (UPDATED)

One of the more insightful analyses of Obama's latest gaffe came from Bill Kristol. Among many things that Kristol pointed out, he quoted this from Karl Marx...

Religious suffering is at the same time an expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the sentiment of a heartless world, and the soul of a soulless condition. It is the opium of the people.”

This quote is of course awfully reminiscent of Obama's own gaffe.

I don't want to be overly provocative and make leaps just for the sake of leaps. In fact, Obama's latest gaffe is just one piece of what I will show to be a fairly sophisticated puzzle that makes Obama's domestic agenda really nothing more than Marx updated for the 21st century. For instance, it has recently come to light that Obama's father wrote some economic theory that was itself quite Marxian. Still, trying to paint Obama with Marxist brush because of an offhanded comment and writings of his father is not only unfairly provocative, but simply unfair. In fact, the most evidence comes from Obama's own policy proposals.

Attacking capitalism comes first and foremost by attacking its roots: capital. Capital is the lifeblood of capitalism because it is the engine that drives the competition necessary to sustain capitalism. Capitalism is founded on the principle that ultimately competition benefits everyone. Competition is spawned by investment. The income that a company sees now is the fruit of years of investment of capital. Thus, in order to stunt capitalism you need to punish capital investment. Of course, in modern times the best way to do that is to tax it. Of course, one of Barack Obama's priorities is to raise the capital gains tax.

Barack Obama yesterday said he'd raise the capital-gains tax as president - but
softened his estimate on how much it would go up.

"I haven't given a firm number," Obama told CNBC's Maria Bartiromo, speaking of how much the levy would rise over the current rate of 15 percent. He "guessed" it would be "significantly lower than" the 28 percent it was under President Bill Clinton.

Another principle of Marxism is the consolidation of power in the hands of government, and by extension, the government creating economic wealth and growth rather than the private sector. So, let's look at his job's plan.

Democrat Barack Obama said Wednesday that as president he would spend $210 billion to create jobs in construction and environmental industries, as he tried to win over economically struggling voters. Obama's investment would be over 10 years as part of two programs. The larger is $150 billion to create 5 million so-called "green collar" jobs to develop more environmentally friendly energy sources.

Sixty billion would go to a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank to rebuild highways, bridges, airports and other public projects. Obama estimated that could generate nearly 2 million jobs, many of them in the construction industry that's been hit by the housing crisis.

Keep in mind that this government spending will be paid for by among other things, increasing capital gains taxes. In other words, Barack Obama would punish capital investment in order to create jobs through the consolidation of power in the central government. More government spending is a nice way of saying that a politician wants to consolidate more power in the hands of government.

Obama's consolidation of power in government only begins with his job's plan. His whole economic agenda has a plethora of new government regulations.

To renew our economy — and to ensure that we are not doomed to repeat a cycle of bubble and bust again and again — we need to address not only the immediate crisis in the housing market; we also need to create a 21st century regulatory framework, and pursue a bold opportunity agenda for the American people,” Obamasaid.

“We do American business — and the American people — no favors when we turn a blind eye to excessive leverage and dangerous risks,” he added.

Now, a "21st century regulatory framework" is another euphemism for more government regulations. Keep in mind that inherent in Marxism is a fear of capitalism and the free market. Marx believes that capitalism was doomed to failure and that it was government's job to not only manage it but frankly to control it. Obama also has an inherent fear of the free market because in every proposal he wants to manage and control it as well.

Nowhere is this more clear than in health care. Here, Obama simply wants to throw the free market away entirely in favor of socialized medicine. Clearly, he sees the deficiencies of our health care system being fixed not by the free market but by a health care system run and controlled by the government.

Also, Obama seems to have a knack for rhetoric that shows nothing but contempt for capitalistic principles and affinity for Marxist principles. Here are examples of each.

There have been over 400 health care mergers in the last 10 years, and just two companies dominate a full third of the national market.


In the interview, for example, he argued that his proposals on health care and the economy, which call for a stronger government role and more regulation, were really about what works.

Now anyone that thinks that stronger government role and more regulations are what works is someone that has roots in Marxism. Furthermore, anyone that sees mergers and acquisitions as inherently bad is someone that has a natural disdain for capitalism.

Then there is the inherent belief of Marxism. Marx believed that capitalism punished the working class while consolidating power in the bourgeoise, the wealthy. Marx envisioned a system in which the wealthy were punished in order to provide for the working class. That is exactly how Obama sees the world.

Sen. Barack Obama on Tuesday proposed overhauling the tax code to lower taxes for the poor and middle class, increase them for the rich

These so called targeted tax cuts are nothing more than Marxism updated for the 21st century. (for a great explanation of how targeted tax cuts are Marxist and other principles check out the book Conservative Comebacks to Liberal Lies) Obama's robin hood economic philosophy is really nothing more than an updated version of Marxist principles.

Finally, there is the twist: free trade. Marx was himself a big free trader.

The Repeal of the Corn Laws in England is the greatest triumph of free trade in the 19th century. In every country where manufacturers talk of free trade, they have in mind chiefly free trade in corn and raw materials in general. To impose protective duties on foreign corn is infamous, it is to speculate on the famine of peoples.

Cheap food, high wages, this is the sole aim for which English free-traders have spent millions, and their enthusiasm has already spread to their brethren on the Continent. Generally speaking, those who wish for free trade desire it in order to alleviate the condition of the working class.

But, strange to say, the people for whom cheap food is to be procured at all costs are very ungrateful. Cheap food is as ill-esteemed in England as cheap government is in France. The people see in these self-sacrificing gentlemen, in Bowring, Bright and Co., their worst enemies and the most shameless hypocrites.

That is an excerpt of a speech Marx gave on free trade. Marx saw free trade as giving to the working class. He saw free trade as providing the workers with cheaper goods.

Obama sees free trade as taking away from the working class. To Obama, free trade is an extension of another capitalistic ill...competition.

Thus, if Obama has his way, we wil have a society that punishes investment. It will be dependent on government. It will be a government that consolidates significant economic power and with it creates new regulations. Furthermore, we will have an economy isolated from the rest of the world. Like I said, Barack Obama is Karl Marx with a twist, a very troubling twist.


For more posts of Obama's Marxist and socialist leanings check out some other pieces, like this comparison between Barack Obama and the Socialist Party in America on the issues, his eloquent socialism, his use of class warfare politics, and finally here is the definitive dossier on his socialism


Anonymous said...

Most of Karl Marx's 19th century critique of capitalism was correct! His Manifesto (w/Engels) was flawed and the 20th century attempt to interpret it tragic and criminal. Those like the British who chose reform, faced up to the real problems and evils of capitalism, and survived. Americans put too much blind faith in capitalism and are paranoid, assume like McCarthy that criticism of free market economics and proposed social reforms will spiral out of control and turn the U.S. into the former Soviet Union. If we do not reform then we will have revolution, and that's a fact, whomever you attribute it to. Enough already with the McCarthy style denunciations thaat are all about fear and attempt to suppress the reality that our system is broken.

Anonymous said...


The downside of capitalism is the lack of humanity for those played by the rules but still lost.

mike volpe said...

Those are both patently ridiculous comments. If Marx was correct about capitalism, you need to provide specifics. You can't just say it. I didn't say that criticism of the free market makes you a Marxist. I put together an entire dossier of Obama beliefs and policy proposals and all of them, all of them, are Marxist. He doesn't have any free market proposals. It is one thing to criticize the free market.

It is quite another to propose tax hikes on capital gains, more government spending, more government regulations, and socialized medicince. That is something totally different.

Then, you give the red herring that anyone that dares to criticize Marx is a demagogue. That inherently allows Obama to say whatever he wants and insulates him from criticism.

By the way, the British economy has sputtered ever since they have bloated their government.

Anonymous said...

You Marxist's make me sick. You think government is the answer to everything. The last 20 years show it's the answer to nothing. Except higher taxes and less freedom. Your willing to give your freedom away for more security because you have no self respect and no confidance in your own abilities.

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with you people? Karl Marx was perhaps the worst economist in the history of the world. His ideas are baseless and can do nothing but harm an economy. It is not Americans putting blind faith in capitalism, ask any economist anywhere in the world and they will tell you what an idiot you are for criticizing a free market economy. Here is a suggestion, next time you want to sound intelligent and talk about economic issues actually try to do some research on the subject you uneducated moron.

mike volpe said...

While I agree with the sentiments of the last poster, there is no need for name calling. I think that defending Marx speaks for itself. If you defend Obama by defending Marx, that is in and of itself very revealing.

So far, I have only had a handful of defenders of Obama. None of them, though, have actually challenged any of the assertions of the piece. Each has tried to proclaim that my thesis, that free markets are the right way to go, is wrong. Neither has produced any evidence of why that is wrong. The first one proclaimed that Marx was generally right without saying how.

The manner in which Obama has been defended so far is revealing. Let that stand and the name calling is unnecessary.

Anonymous said...

I really wish you actually needed to know something about Capital Vols 1-3 (or even basic economic theory) before saying anything about Marxism - it would make people appear a lot less dumb. Marxism doesn't equate to "big government", it's a class analysis concerning the production process, specifically the appropriation and distribution of surplus. But whatever, people have been propagandized to think what they do.

By the way, Obama's economic advisors are Chicago school people, the most neoclassical institution in the country.

mike volpe said...

To the last anonymous commenter,

just because you use big intelligent sounding words and thoughts, that doesn't actually make you smart or intelligent. Intelligent sounding gibberish is still gibberish. If you are of the opinion that Marx' form of government didn't consolidate a huge amount of power in the central government you can think that but it will still be wrong.

As for Obama's advisors, I never even mentioned his advisors I don't think and thus they are irrelievant. I analyzed what he has said and what he has proposed. Period.

Unknown said...

I think most people will agree that our system is broken, but all will differ on what is wrong with it. Replacing our form of government with another system that has already failed is not the answer. The system is broken because the centralized government has become too strong. The fears of Patrick Henry and the other anti-federalists have come to fruition. Obama wants to increase the power of the central government, thus taking away the power of the American people. The answer is to go back to when our system was working and Americans knew how to provide for themselves, defend their freedoms, and were allowed to keep what they worked hard to earn. Marxism however you define it, will not work here in the great US of A.

Anonymous said...

big government is not the solution. People have to take care of themselves. Government should only intervene in extreme circumstances to help people.
Karl Marx believed in government controlling all the people and their activities. A good living example is Cuba. Anyone that has any doubts should go to Cuba and live there for a year, but not as a tourist with american dollars, but as a regular cuban professional that makes $20.00 per month (cuban pesos). Its a bankrupt system. As the old saying goes ,you cant grow the big tomato in a socialist society.

Anonymous said...

Capitalism has done more to raise the standard of living of more people around the world than all the liberal social programs combine. True, capitalism might hurt your feelings from time to time as you realize decisions YOU made during YOUR life put you at a disadvantage.

Liberals are famous for "making up" man's rights. Man has a right to health care.. At who's expense? Man has a right to a good paying job.. At who's expense?
Don't you realize that when you give yourself a right and by doing so, deny another person his "God given" rights, that is wrong. You are making that person a slave.

Anonymous said...

I think that it is not so much Capitalism which is into question here.
It is more the deviance of it represented by the Chicago school which is about a complete deregulation of the markets.
When you think of it, is it fair to have someone make 100000$ a month just by buying and selling stocks??
Sure hard work is a value that you american cherish more that some other countries and it is one of the reasons why you have have become this great power. But this is not about earning money from your hard work anymore, this is only about how much money you already have and how much you can invest.
Now there is something else,
when inequity increases above a certain level in a country, it is always a source of social troubles. What is the point in being one of the wealthiest country in the world on an average basis if you cannot provide your population with health care?? This has been done with success in many countries (In France for example) without destroying companies or jobs.

mike volpe said...

There is a lot of nonsense in your post, Alexis, with all due respect. First, you use one of the buzz words that turns Socialism into a euphimism and that is fair. Governments that promise "fairness" also promise Socialism, they just don't come out and call it that. Instead, they promise more fairness.

Let me let you in on a secret. If someone can't make an obscene amount of money trading stocks, they aren't going to invest. If we have no investment in stocks our country loses its wealth. Creating fairness also takes away all motivation for innovation.

Second of all, there is an obscene amount of regulation already. You every bought a property. You sign a hundred documents before you officially buy it and that's because of the obscene amount of regulation.

Frankly, your entire statement is Socialism only with euphimisms. We are a wealthy nation so that means that health care is now a right. It isn't the government's job to provide stuff for people that can't afford it themselves. That is Socialism. That's Marxism. Everything you just spewed is Marxism.

Anonymous said...

Yes. Lots of things about our government are broken, but the solution is not Communism. Democracy and Capitalism both work, but the fact is they are not being allowed to work.

Until Democrats and Republicans both stop taking bribes from lobbyists to vote in their favor, they never will work. In my view, a Representative or Senator selling their vote is treason, and it should be treated as such and carry the same penalty. This would at least make our servants more likely to vote on behalf of the people instead of in spite of the people.

Barrack Obama is in fact a Marxist, and a Communist. I truly fear for our freedom and our Democracy if he is elected. Perhaps it's time to enact what Thomas Jefferson wanted to people of this country to do when it becomes a corrupt institution. I think it's long overdue.

Anonymous said...

I can not believe what I am reading from anonymous. Karl Marx's philosophy was picked up by Lenin and the Soviet Union failed...

In my opinion what happened in the financial markets was partially caused by Democrats and Republicans alike, but this market failure (which can sometimes occur in free market systems) can be reapired. Socialism provides equity to the masses at the expense of growth. I.E. no one individual is poor, because we all are poor.

I saw the Obama infomercial and I felt sad watching the unemployed auto worker, but what is great about capitalism and free markets like the U.S. is that you have the FREEDOM and RESPONSIBILITY to make a better life for yourself and your family.

I am pursuing my M.B.A., because I want to have a wider array of marketable skills. I am sick and tired of people WHINING that they earned the right to be paid a high salary just because they were born here.

I feel for the auto worker and it is sad that the cost of what he does has been dragged down by foreign competition, but he could get a Stafford Loan and go back to school and earn a degree that would provide him a more marketable skill.

The farthest government should go is provide a hand up, not a hand out...

Anonymous said...

I think that there should be a 10% across the board income tax on all profit based income. This would allow legitimate business expenses to be written off and cut out bull crap loop holes. Also it would not stifle people from being more productive by making it futile if more was taken away. Additionally those on a lower income could still have the dignity of contributing to the system as a whole instead of just sucking from it. You could also have interest free or low interest loans available from the government for those who meet certain criteria educationally and experientially. For example training programs by the government to provide business education and apprenticeships that could benefit both the government and private sector. At the end of these internships when people have actually gained knowledge and skills to competently run a business they could get a loan to start a business in a field that they have shown themselves competent in. This is different from student loans in that the people aren't required to have any experience in what they study for and often don't use their education in a related field. many are defaulted on and the government picks up the tab with no perks (ie the internship at the end of training). Additionally if the government and not private sector robber baron banks like the Fed (Rockefeller and Rothchild owned)were to gain a nominal level of interest it would stimulate the economy and lower the need for raising taxes and they could actually build a backing for the currency. Rather than having all the money going to Fed based loans who have raped us for interest for years and bankrupt this country with giving our money away to other countries, financing their UN one world government plan, and operating their millitary industrial complex. But unfortunately most Americans would like to pretend that the New World Order doesn't exist, that RFID chips and a cashless society are a good idea to prevent identity theft keep track of children and undesireables, rather than what they really are, a way to completely own and control you.

Anonymous said...

Socialism is great until you run out of someone else money to spend.

Anonymous said...

I worked and went to school full time and my dad worked his whole life with only a few vacations(for the government) I have since been dx with leukemia, neuropathy and just recently 2 heart attacks. My big comkplaint is no cola on ss when every thing in the world is going up. I even went hungry 3 days at the end of the month so that my 77 year old mother could eat. I wish everyone in WASHINGTON COULD LIVE ON $948.00 A MONTH

ahmed said...

Honestly, you're an idiot.

You know nothing about capitalism, Marxism ditto.

What Obama was pointing out on mergers was the concentration of firms and the consequent reduction in capitalist competition in health care.

You seem to think oligopolies or monopolies are capitalism and a good thing. They are the worst form of capitalism and definitely bad for consumers.

Stop pretending you know about Marx and go and read some Adam Smith.

mike volpe said...

Obama favors single payer for health insurance. In other words, he wants to create a government run monopoly in health insurance. That's not really someone that's against monopolies. I think the term "idiot" is projected on to me.

Nathan said...


First of all...

"he wants to create a government run monopoly in health insurance"

A single-payer system is NOT a government run monopoly - a government run monopoly would be a fully socialized healthcare industry in which private enterprises are not allowed to do business. A single payer system is the government handling the paperwork while the insurance companies continue to operate and see profit. If you are innocently trying to make a point about Obama and Marxism, then why the disingenuous description? Certainly, it could be an inadequate system for the US, but you aren't helping your argument by being insincere (or perhaps you are just sincerely misinformed).

Other than that...

If your point is simply to say that Obama is 100% Marxist, then you have failed. If you're trying to point out that *some* of his policies have been *influenced* by Marx, then you've succeeded. But you could just as easily have pointed which of his policies were influenced by Smith, Keynes, or Mankiw... All of whom are just as obviously influential in the policies of politicians on the right. Proving an explanation to be correct/plausible is just as much about proving that explanation correct as it is about proving all of the alternative explanations incorrect/implausible, which you've failed to do or even try.

But then, pointing those things out would defeat what appears to be the actual purpose of this post: to connect Obama to Marx such that all the brainless cable news viewers and Tea Party crackpots out there will immediately think "Obama! Socialism! Evil!".

How a person can think that Socialism/Capitalism is necessarily good/evil (or necessarily better/worse than the alternatives no matter the situation) is beyond me - these things are ideas, and are necessarily morally neutral. Pure capitalism won't work any better than pure socialism - the country/world/universe is not black/white, and a black/white solution to our problems will always be inadequate.

Our political discourse is supposed to be about which policies can be implemented (and by whom) to create the greatest positive outcome for the largest amount of people (i.e. working towards the common/greater good). But sadly, as your post illustrates, many people in this country now think of politics as a war of ideas in which one side can eventually triumph over the other... Sadly, We The People will be casualties of this war if it doesn't end soon.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who believe in Marxist theories it's b/c (s)he doesn't know any other/better theory. Marx knew nothing of what he was talking about. He didn't work a single day of his life, and he was no "proletariat." His doctrine wasn't even embraced by the soviet union or any other "communist" regime although they used his rethoric to keep their people enslaved. Nothing Marx predicted happened, and his economic ideas has failed everywhere they have been implemented. Think about this: if someone else or the government is going to take care of me no matter what, I'm going to try to do as little as possible. Why work?



wolfe76 said...

State socialism is morally neutral huh? Even though it is by nature coercive in that implementation requires rapine? What morally ambiguous snake oil. By the way, the opposite can be said of pure capitalism. Verily, pure Capitalism (actual capitalism) is by nature free from third party coercion and is thus axiomatically superior. Capitalism in purity promotes human cooperation rather and recoils at largess.

To announce that these are just ideas, deserving of some amorphous equality is absurd in the extreme. These "ideas" have been tested time and again. Capitalism has provided "the greatest positive outcome" by leaps and bounds. Anyone who ignores this empirical fact is an intellectual coward who simply likes to sound really smart by trying to fog over the hard data so that shiftless, parasitical gloms can continue to drag the hard working down into their apathetic realms by training the states guns on the job producers and entrepreneurs pivot by pivot.

Spinoza rightly noted that "every determination is a negation." Out of this necessary conflict a better concept is born out, one which is truer than the first, both making finer discriminations and presenting a more complete picture of reality. Or as Ron Paul put it-"this should be a contentious issue, there is a lot at stake." In an educated soceity, Capitalism should triumph over socialism once and for all time, at every strategem, until any tincture of state collectivist influence is stomped out. As long as collectivism exists, coercion necessarily exists. This grand negation (epiphany) would happen if the majority of people out there had long range discernment both back (history) and front (the future). What happens instead is that centrist (which is just a euphemism for statist) lap dogs like you come skipping down the road injecting all these puerile ambiguities into the discourse whilst announcing your selves the brave and progressive ones in that you are so willing to consider both sides of the argument (not take a stand), as though you invented, rediscovered or reached further for critical thinking than all the rest. And those who take that hard stand against coercion (which is to say violence), you say, are just on a tangent, simple as that. Well great effort, but your perfidity and cowardice reeks.

wolfe76 said...

well said

wolfe76 said...

"No one is poor, because we are all poor"

Yup, that about summarizes the social vision of the collectivists.