Conservatives' new share-the-wealth plan to destroy capitalism and make you $5 richer.

Notes from the political sidelines.
June 22 2009 5:10 PM

It Can Happen Here

Conservatives' new share-the-wealth plan to destroy capitalism and make you $5 richer.

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As the only community-owned team in professional sports, the Packers are an unlikely role model for the once-proud party of free enterprise. When the Packers sold stock to the people of Green Bay, the prospectus warned, "It is virtually impossible for anyone to realize a profit on a purchase of common stock or even to recoup the amount initially paid to acquire such common stock." The Packers stock pays no dividend and the price is not supposed to go up—the same two criteria that forced the government to take over so much GM stock in the first place.

Of course, the real socialist threat may come not from Romney but from Rush Limbaugh, whose response to GM sounds dangerously anarcho-syndicalist. Limbaugh has called for a GM boycott to sabotage the government's plans. Now millions of law-abiding Americans who don't buy from GM because they don't like its cars have become unwitting partners in the most widespread anti-corporate conspiracy in history.

Who knows where Limbaugh will take this revolution next? He has gone out of his way to say the boycott isn't aimed at GM workers, and he insists they should feel solidarity for the cause: "The people angry are not angry at you. ... They don't want to patronize Obama. They don't want to do anything to make Obama's policies work!" It's only a matter of time before Limbaugh calls on workers to cast off their shackles and go on strike against their oppressors, the United States government.

Seventy-five years ago, in response to FDR's New Deal, two prominent political leaders held a celebrated debate on the topic: "Resolved, that capitalism is doomed and cannot be saved by redistribution of wealth." Back then, the man who (like Limbaugh) barnstormed the country to warn that capitalism was doomed was Socialist Party presidential candidate Norman Thomas. The leader who (like Romney) argued for massive redistribution of wealth was Huey Long.

Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber tried to warn us about the looming threat to capitalism. They just had us looking over the wrong shoulder for the wealth spreaders in our midst.

Bruce Reed, who was President Clinton's domestic policy adviser, is CEO of the Democratic Leadership Council and co-author with Rahm Emanuel of The Plan: Big Ideas for Change in America.E-mail him at thehasbeen@gmail.com. Read his disclosure here.