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Trump’s socialism report, Medicare for All: New boogeyman to get GOP to polls

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President Donald
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  • President Donald Trump is increasingly trying to link
    Democrats to socialism, possibly in an attempt to drive
    Republican voters to the polls.
  • Trump has pointed to the growing popularity of Bernie
    Sanders’ “Medicare for All” plan as evidence of socialist
    influence in the party.
  • Concurrent with this push, the White House Council of
    Economic Advisers released a 72-page report on “The Opportunity
    Costs of Socialism.”
  • The report attempted to tie policies like Medicare for
    All to the ideology of dictators like Vladimir Lenin and Mao
    Zedong.

In the stretch run before the
midterm election in November, President Donald Trump has begun to
rely on a new attack in an apparent effort to deter voters from
pulling the lever for Democrats.

Over the past few weeks, the
president has repeatedly used socialism as a political boogeyman
during rallies and speeches, warning voters that Democrats would
radically reshape the economic structure of the country if they
take control of Congress.

“Let me say… let’s get to
another subject: Fake News Democrats want to replace freedom with
socialism,” trump claimed at a rally with Texas Sen. Ted
Cruz.

“Democrats want to massively
raise your taxes, impose socialism on our country,” Trump said
Saturday at a Nevada rally. “We’ll be another Venezuela. They
want to take away your health care, destroy your Second
Amendment.”

The latest example came Tuesday
from Trump’s White House, where the Council of Economic Advisers
issued a report entitled 

“The Opportunity Costs of Socialism.”

The report, which CEA Chair Kevin
Hassett said on a call with reporters was necessary because
socialism is “in the news,” purports to show the economic
downside if the US were to shift to a more government-controlled
economy. It did so by modeling expected GDP under what it
portrayed as socialist systems, ranging from Venezuela to Nordic
countries.

The report even goes so far as to
compare single-payer healthcare, a system used currently by
countries like Canada and the UK, as analogous to the ideas of
dictators such as Vladimir Lenin and Mao Zedong.

“Modern journalists and analysts
routinely claim that single-payer programs are more efficient —
and thus are similar in spirit to Lenin and Mao, who justified
government takeovers on the basis of the virtues of single-payer
programs,” the report reads.

The major subject of attack appears to be Sen. Bernie
Sanders “Medicare for All” plan, which is
becoming more popular with Democratic candidates
. The plan,
which is also gaining
traction with many voters
, would expand the current
government-run Medicare program to all Americans.

In addition, a growing number of Democratic candidates in
the midterm have identified
as democratic socialists
, which generally
means the candidate is most stringently in favor
of a
stronger social safety net and stricter oversight of
corporations.

‘We will come dangerously closer to socialism in
America’

Hassett declined to answer when
asked how much the report cost to produce and deflected when
asked why previous Democratic presidents — Bill Clinton and
Barack Obama — did not turn the US into Venezuela.

“Certainly there are proposals on
the table — like the Medicare for All — that are very consistent
with the design of socialism,” he said. “And my role at the CEA
is not to be a politician, but to be an analyst.”

But Trump has in recent weeks extended his attacks to cover
a variety of Democratic policies that are not necessarily aligned
with socialist ideologies, such as gun safety legislation and
support for public schools.

If Democrats win control of Congress this November, we
will come dangerously closer to socialism in America,” Trump
wrote in a recent USA Today op-ed. “Government-run health care is
just the beginning. Democrats are also pushing massive government
control of education, private-sector businesses and other
major sectors of the US economy.”

Trump’s push comes as Republicans
look likely to lose control of the House
in November and as
Republicans try
to close the enthusiasm gap
with their base. 

More young people and Democrats,
in particular, have warmed to socialist ideologies — 51% of
people age 18 to 29 and 57% of Democrats have a positive view of
socialism, according
to a recent Gallup poll.
 But support among those groups
has not dramatically increased since polling on the topic began
in 2010.

Also, what Americans define as
socialism has changed dramatically.
According to Gallup
, a plurality (23%) of Americans consider
equate socialism with “equal standing for everybody, all
equal in rights, equal in distribution,” up from 
12%
in 1949. At the same time, 17% of people define socialism as
government control of industries, down from 34% in
1949. 

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