It was with bitter irony that I pondered a recent promotional notice about an upcoming Republican event entitled, “Free Trade vs. Socialism.” Evidently the proponents were attempting to exploit their overused claim of being stalwart defenders of the former and reliable opponents of the latter.
But it doesn’t take much thinking to see through the propaganda. Considering the party’s support of Trump’s market-disrupting tariffs, there could hardly be more obvious violation of free-trade principles.
Unfortunately, the duplicity doesn’t stop there. As many well-informed policy observers have long noted, the U.S. government subsidizes corporate and business development activities to an extent that provides ample, irrefutable evidence of a kind of socialism – commonly known as corporate welfare.
Such subsidies include, at a minimum, an estimated $50 billion annually in support of the fossil-fuel industry. Similar government bail-outs are squandered in promoting a wide range of business ventures, often without any assurance of outcomes. Billions in tax-breaks, regulatory exemptions, grants, and loans have been offered to business despite failure to achieve promised results, such as decent-paying jobs and improved, healthy communities.
In defiance of an abundance of facts, the terminology used to promote certain political interests is being willfully manipulated, employing calculated efforts to mislead and misinform the unwary electorate.
Since the ill-considered imposition of tariffs is a fundamental disruption of “free trade,” and spending more taxpayer money on corporate bailouts than on education and food-stamps is undeniably “socialist,” there is a conspicuous lack of justification for making these shamefully devious, sanctimonious distinctions.
Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Center for a Sustainable Coast
Saint Simons Island