I got some interesting feedback about my pseudo-defense of Obama against the accusation that he is a socialist. It was a faux defense because my goal was simply to point out that Obama is guilty of a different form of statism. For those interested in more information, Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism book is first rate (and he has a discontinued blog on the topic for those too impatient to wait for a book), and Steve Horowitz does a great job addressing this topic for the Freeman:
Talking the talk of “free markets” but proposing policies that mostly amount to collaborations between well-placed private-sector interests and the State is the hallmark of “corporatism,” or “state capitalism,” or even economic fascism. From the bailouts of the banking system to “green jobs” to health insurance “reform” to various pieces of the “stimulus,” the real winners from the Obama administration’s policies (and Bush’s before him) have been those in corporate world lucky enough to be in the favored industries and to have sufficient political connections to benefit from the changes. Rather than take over various industries, Obama seems to believe he can work with industry leaders and labor to negotiate and manage them collectively in the national interest. This is the essence of the “third way” of Italian Fascism. It is not socialism, as private ownership is nominally maintained, but it is not capitalism, since private owners are not fully allowed to make independent decisions based on perceived profitability. Those decisions must take a back seat to predetermined national priorities. Again, consider the health insurance package. It’s not a single-payer system, which would arguably be more truly socialist. Instead, we will have a system of nominally private insurance companies heavily regulated and controlled so that they serve political goals, such as trying to guarantee that everyone has insurance regardless of income or medical history.
Keep in mind, though, my point about it being foolish to call Obama a fascist since the term is now inextricably linked to racism and militarism. Far better to point out that he is a statist or a corporatist.