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4 reasons why “democratic socialism” is gaining popularity in the US
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4 reasons why “democratic socialism” is gaining popularity in the US

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NEW YORK – March 26, 2019

Most US democrats do not like capitalism anymore - about 60% of them have a positive attitude towards socialism. This is evidenced by the results of a new public opinion poll conducted by Gallup.

Among Democrats and those close to them, the proportion of people who have a positive attitude to socialism is now 57%. Over the past two years, the proportion of people in this group who feel positive about capitalism has fallen from 56% to 47%.

The success of the self-proclaimed socialist Senator Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries and the victory of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over Congressman Joe Crawley in the New York primaries are often cited as evidence of this shift.

President Trump warned members of the Republican Party against socialism in the country. "America will never be a socialist country," Trump said at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

He called the measures called for by the members of the Democratic Party participating in the election race for the presidency in 2020 a “radical program.”

The steps they are proposing to combat global warming and on issues related to health care will require a “tremendous increase in taxes” and “completely destroy the economy” of the US, he emphasized.

“We believe in the American dream, not the socialist nightmare,” Trump added.

However, experts note that there are a number of reasons for a positive view of socialism in the US.

Income inequality

In the US, the election race on the eve of the 2020 elections is gaining momentum, and the issue of income inequality will be one of the key topics.

According to analysts, the ultra-rich citizens of America have never before in history had so much wealth as they have today. Experts note that the increased concentration of wealth in the hands of a limited group of citizens is a reality not only in the US, but also in China, Russia, France, and the United Kingdom, though on a smaller scale than in the US.

At the same time, many politicians and experts associate this state of affairs with capitalism.

On the other hand, a number of experts associate rising income inequality in America not with capitalism, but with the Fed’s interventions, which are at odds with the principles of capitalism.

Student debt growth

The Fed recently published an analysis of debt, particularly student loans, that revealed that in the period from 2005 to 2014 the size of student debts among young people aged 24 to 32 increased from $5,000 to $10,000.

The same report noted that the level of ownership of housing fell by 9% for the same age group over the same period. At the same time, this level for all age groups decreased by 4%.

According to a 2018 study, the size of the average student debt for young people aged 18 to 34 was $36,000.

At the same time, the average debt of people who belong to the so-called “Generation X,” that is, those who were born from 1961 to 1975, is $39,000, and those who were born from 1946 to 1960, have $36,000 in debt.

Experts note that this situation negatively affects not only the personal well-being of these people, but also the economy as a whole. The fact is that people have less money to spend on goods and services, especially on expensive purchases, such as cars and houses.

Reaction to Trump

The Democratic Party is undoubtedly becoming more “left,” and experts believe that this is a reaction to Trump and his policies.

However, analysts emphasize that when Democrats talk about their commitment to socialism, their ideas have little in common with the ideas that Marx and Engels had put out.

In particular, these politicians admire the model of the North European countries in which the population pays high taxes for public services.

At the same time, experts note that when young Americans talk about socialism, they primarily think about high debts for student loans, low wages when applying for a job, reducing opportunities to improve the welfare, and the growth of inequality in the country.

And since new elections are approaching, this factor also plays a role in attracting the electorate.

Reduced access to medical services

The US is the only industrialized nation that does not guarantee its citizens a universal and comprehensive health insurance system. Despite the impressive success of American health care and medical services, they are unavailable to millions of Americans because of the tremendous cost increases.

The current medical system is characterized by the unresolved interaction between the public and private sectors of the economy. Despite the fact that the state allocates huge sums to the industry, it does not have effective levers of control over prices and costs of services and drugs.

The relatively recent health care reform carried out by Barack Obama in 2009 made medicine relatively free. However, it was free only for the poor with an income of less than $10,000 per year, and pensioners.

Everyone else has to pay for health insurance. Without insurance, the doctor will not be able to write a prescription, and many medicines in the country are sold only with a prescription.

Speaking to the US Congress, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell noted that the US spends about 17% on health care, while obtaining “fairly average” results, while other developed countries spend about 10% on medicine.

That's a trillion dollars or so per year that the US spends on medical needs that they could spend on other items, Powell stressed.

“The point is not that the payments themselves are too generous, but that we provide them in extremely inefficient ways,” the Fed chairman explained

Data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development shows that Powell’s assessment is correct: The United States spends much more on health than other developed countries.

At the same time, the Democratic Socialists of America recently passed the Medicare for All Act 2019 in which they developed a proposal to provide medical services to all citizens of the country. The system will include the provision of all necessary medical services, including long-term treatment and reproductive health services, the website says.

Author: USA Really