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Is the President a Socialist?

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There is a growing trend among critics of President Obama to call him a socialist. Is he a socialist? Socialism as an ideology promotes at the most basic level that the means of production should be publicly owned. The desired result is a classless society, meaning no upper class, middle class, or lower class. By observing President Obama’s political record and personal statements it will become clear if President Obama is or is not a socialist.

The Affordable Care Act

Often critics will point to the Affordable care act (ACA) as the primary example of President Obama promoting socialist programs. The ACA includes provisions that “are intended to expand access to insurance, increase consumer protections, emphasize prevention and wellness, improve quality and system performance, expand the health workforce, and curb rising healthcare costs”[1] The ACA does not however promote government ownership of the healthcare industry. In fact the ACA largely supports and relies on private ownership of the healthcare industry.

Michael Smeconish in an Op Ed for news day stated “The ACA program relies on private health insurance companies to manage health services… Under the ACA, health insurance in America is still being delivered by private practitioners and paid for by private insurers. In fact, the vast majority of Americans who receive their health insurance from employer-paid plans will see no discernible change in their coverage or delivery, and need not access the exchanges.”[2]

Dan Arel, a contributor to truth-out.org, reported that “The ACA is a gift to capitalists. It develops competition in each state between private insurance companies, a sort of textbook definition of capitalism.”[3]

Criticism for the ACA is widespread. Referring to it as socialistic is incorrect. People may have several valid criticisms of this law, and may disagree with its implementation. This however, does not justify calling the ACA something it is not.

From the Mouth of the President

President Obama speaking
President Obama while commenting on the economy of the U.S. said this, “Yes, business, and not government, will always be the primary generator of good jobs with incomes that lift people into the middle class and keep them there. But as a nation, we’ve always come together, through our government, to help create the conditions where both workers and businesses can succeed.”[4] 

This quote is very telling of the President’s personal views, especially when compared to socialism. He references business as being the primary generator of jobs, not the government. Remember, the structure of socialism is to have the means of production, or in other words, the business, owned by the  government. Why would President Obama talk about or promote a system where business' are separate from the government if as a socialist he would oppose this separation. It is simple, the ideals he is sharing are not socialistic.


It is quite clear both from the policies that President Obama has supported, and by his own words that he is not a socialist. Whether one supports the President or does not support him; calling him a socialist is a misnomer.

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Aug 13, 2014 9:13am
Billy Wharton, the co-chair of Socialist Party USA, wrote this in the Washington Post on March 15, 2009: "The funny thing, of course, that socialists know that Barack Obama is not one of us. Not only is he not a socialist, he may in fact not even be a liberal." You would think that would settle the argument, but of course it doesn't.
Aug 13, 2014 9:22am
Right! It is amazing how this is even a point of discussion. It seems so clear.
Aug 13, 2014 2:56pm
He's been a lot more liberal in his second term, but he's still no socialist - not unless there's a form of socialism where the top 1 percent have an insane amount of the nation's wealth.
Feb 25, 2015 4:45am
He is certainly the most liberal president we have ever had. I can't decide if he is a Muslim, socialist, communist or just someone who hates America.
Feb 25, 2015 11:10am
More liberal than FDR? He is not a Muslium, socialist, or communist.
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  1. "National Conference of State Legislatures The Affordable Care Act: A Brief Summary." www.ncsl.org. 4/08/2014 <Web >
  2. Michael Smerconish "Smerconish: 'Obamacare' is many things, but it's certainly not socialism." www.newsday.com. 4/08/2014 <Web >
  3. "The Affordable Care Act is Not Socialism ." www.truth-out.org. 4/08/2014 <Web >
  4. "Remarks by the President on the Economy in Osawatomie, Kansas." www.whitehouse.gov. 4/08/2014 <Web >

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