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GOP Communist? Republican Wishes US Had Centrally Planned Economy Like China

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This post first appeared on Open Left.

I never thought we'd see a Republican Communist - and certainly not one who is the nominee for U.S. Senate in a major swing-state. But as the Wisconsin State Journal shows, in these strange time, even that seeming oxymoron now exists:

U.S. Senate candidate Ron Johnson was on the Wisconsin Radio Network Monday, chatting about jobs and the economy. But after the host asked him about his free market philosophy, Johnson ended up kind-of praising the current business climate China instead...Johnson veered onto the topic of China, and how casino entrepreneur Steve Wynn has already started building businesses in Macau.

"He's also creating resorts in Macau in China, communist China. And his point is, the level of uncertainty, the climate for business investment is far more certain in communist China then it is in the U.S. here," Johnson said. "We've created such a high level of uncertainty in this economy because, quite honestly because of the agenda that Senator Feingold represents."

This is pretty explicit: Johnson is praising a communist Chinese government and its state central planning for (allegedly) creating laudable certainty in that nation's economy - all while criticizing America's economy for not being equally communist, state-planned and stable.

If you think I'm the only one who caught this, think again. As the Wisconsin State Journal notes, the host of the radio program "sounded a bit baffled" by Johnson:

"Ron...but Macau is in China. China is a socialist-planned economy," he said. "The level of uncertainty...isn't the level of uncertainty part of a side-effect, if you will, of our, of our democracy?"

The host, of course, is exactly right. In a republican democracy, where the people (via their governmental representatives) have some shred of control over economic policies, things can change from time to time. That's the whole friggin' point of democracy, after all - to give citizens some power over their own lives, society and economy.

By contrast, in an authortarian communism like China, citizens have little or no control over economic policies. While that may foster "certainty" for corporations in the form of no significant labor, environmental or human rights laws, it deprives citizens a lot of other things that makes a nation vibrant and admirable (like, say, a minimally acceptable standard of living).

But that's really the Republican vision when you strip it down to its core. The GOP, like the Chinese government, is about the fusing a corporate form of communism with total authoritarianism. They genuinely believe it would be better if corporations could use government power to get whatever they want in the name of "certainty" - and have no annoying elections or democratic institutions get in the way on behalf of the public.

We can thank Wisconsin Republican Senate nominee Ron Johnson for at least being honest about his party's extremist vision. While most Americans probably don't see Chinese communism as the way forward, Republicans clearly do - and we can thank them, at minimum, for letting us know how they see the world.