America and media misinterpretation about socialism continue to fuel misconceptions about President Barack Obama’s administration
Dr. Thomas Jorsch, Ferris State University history instructor, gave a speech entitled “Why Barack Obama is not a Socialist”.
Humanities Department Colloquium series put on the speech to educate the campus about media misconceptions of President Barack Obama and socialism. Jorsch’s speech on Oct. 22 compared and contrasted the Obama administration with socialist views.
Socialism can be defined as an economic organization advocating public or direct worker ownership, administration of means of production and resource allocation. Socialist societies are characterized by equal access to resources for all individuals with a method of compensation based on the amount of labor expended, while democracy is defined as a system in which governing is carried out by either the people or an elected representitive.
Although Jorsch claims that Obama is not a socialist, he believes that democracy and socialism are closely related.
“Socialism is democracy, there is no distinction,” said Jorsch. “But Obama is a liberal who hopes to use government to regulate the abuses of capitalism.”
Obama’s auto and bank bailouts were one of Jorsch’s comparisons. Jorsch said that Obama’s actions do not add up to socialism because socialism would not have given money to private business owners; rather, it would put the power into the workers’ hands.
“Socialism is the public running business for the benefit of the public, not the benefit of private entities,” said Jorsch.
Healthcare reform was another issue that Jorsch discussed. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Obama’s reform plan will create more security for those with health care, make health care affordable, create coverage for the uninsured and reduce the profit of insurance companies.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau statistics from 2008, there are 47 million uninsured Americans. 18,000 people die yearly because they cannot afford medical bills. Jorsch believes that Obama’s healthcare tactics mirror his predecessors, Presidents Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt, more than socialism.
Jorsch, who considers himself a socialist, believes that America could operate efficentily under a socialist regime.
“Our present capitalistic system is based on greed,” said Jorsch. “What we need to do is demolish that system and create one based on cooperation.”
Socialism may appear to create utopian societies; however, some people think that America could fall under such a system. Many audience members question the incentives for individuals to excel when everyone is considered equal.