The greatest irony of Sen. Steve Daines’ latest howls against “socialism” — including his PR stunt on the U.S. Senate floor condemning socialism — is that Daines’ policies are leading to exactly that: Multinational corporate socialism. How so?
There is not simply one form of capitalism. There is a capitalism that is dynamic, fair and sustainable – the kind that built America's middle class after World War II. As well, there is a capitalism that undermines the country as a whole by giving corporations and billionaires dominion over public policy. This latter is Daines’ notion of capitalism — a system by, and for multinational corporations, special interests, and his major donors – not one for hard-working Montana families, individuals, and small- and medium-sized businesses.
Today, America faces some of the most daunting challenges in its history:
- Economic inequality has never been greater in the United States, eroding our democracy.
- Climate change, hardly a controversial topic in other nations, has been politicized in America.
- Multinational corporations and America’s wealthiest families, compared to teachers, truck drivers and small business owners, pay a much lower tax rate if they pay at all.
- Drug addiction and suicide rates are on the rise, indicative of a growing national hopelessness.
- The federal debt ($22 trillion) is now greater than our own gross domestic product ($20 trillion).
- Our nation’s infrastructure is not only far behind that in other modern nations, undermining our global competitiveness, it is collapsing.
- Our students are performing near the bottom of industrialized countries, hurting our global competitiveness.
- Our seniors increasingly need to choose between their prescription medications or food but can’t afford both.
These are solvable problems, but not by Senator Daines.
Daines just does not get it. Despite unprecedented economic inequality, Daines voted to give America’s wealthiest corporations and families massive tax breaks. He voted to add trillions of dollars to the national debt, without anything to show for it. Then, Daines voted to slash Medicare and Social Security, though our seniors are already struggling. Throughout his career in politics, Daines votes to take away health care from countless Montanans and Americans, in order to satiate his wealthy corporate political action committee donors who have already donated more than $535,000 to his re-election campaign.
He is just as bad on national security issues. Daines voted to support the installation of corporate lobbyists with extreme political views and conflicts of interest into governmental agencies. He supported America’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords and the Iranian Nuclear Deal, effectively doing the bidding of Saudi Arabia, which encouraged each. He supports a trade war without any end game and having frayed international alliances critical to effectively standing up to China, hurting Montana’s farmers and ranchers.
Daines’ record is that of one who does not favor a dynamic, fair, and sustainable capitalism, but rather an unsustainable socialism for the ultra-wealthy that quickly stuffs the pockets of the few while weakening our nation as a whole. After the middle class has — after consecutive decades of economic stress, uncertainty, and marginalization — finally succumbed to this perverse notion of capitalism, what would result?
Certainly not freedom.