One of the leaders honored by President Obama yesterday with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, is Dolores Huerta, an honorary chair of Democratic Socialists of America.
The Democratic Socialists Web site calls for "massive redistribution of income" and sharp cuts to defense spending.
The DSA Web site's "where we stand" section explains, "We are socialists because we reject an international economic order sustained by private profit, alienated labor, race and gender discrimination, environmental destruction, and brutality and violence in defense of the status quo....The capitalist market economy not only suppresses global living standards, but also means chronic underfunding of socially necessary public goods, from research and development to preventive health care and job training."
It goes on:
Social redistribution--the shift of wealth and resources from the rich to the rest of society--will require:
- massive redistribution of income from corporations and the wealthy to wage earners and the poor and the public sector, in order to provide the main source of new funds for social programs,income maintenance and infrastructure rehabilitation, and
- a massive shift of public resources from the military (the main user of existing discretionary funds) to civilian uses.
Obama and socialism together are a potent political combination, so much so that the president himself has repeatedly addressed the question, dismissively. "FDR was called a socialist when he passed Social Security," Mr. Obama objected in one interview. At another event, he said, "I don't remember Republicans accusing Ronald Reagan of being a socialist or engaging in class warfare, because he thought that everybody should do their fair share."
Ms. Huerta is not the only socialist getting the Medal of Freedom from Mr. Obama in this election year. Shimon Peres, the former Israeli prime minister who served as the vice president of the Socialist International, is reportedly to receive his medal at a White House dinner later this year.
Maybe Mr. Obama figures that anyone worried about socialism isn't going to vote for him anyway, or maybe he doesn't think he is going to get reelected, so he wants to get these medals out this year rather than waiting until after the election when he has more flexibility.