Ok, i will begin this with a statement of where i fall politically. I am an anarchist/communist (yes, that works if you understand what both of those are, most people don't). If you are going to insist on any name calling, please use the appropriate terminology. there are several things in this thread which i disagree with, but in order to keep this reasonably short i am going to address only the last couple of pages, mostly Apollo.
The marketplace is the center of the capitalist system. It determines what will be produced, who will produce it, and how the rewards of the economic process will be distributed. From a political standpoint, the market system has two distinct advantages over other ways of organizing the economy: (a) no person or combination of persons can control the marketplace, which means that power cannot be monopolized by a certain party or a special interest group; (b) the market system tends to reward efficiency with profits and to punish inefficiency with losses. Economists often speak of capitalism as a free-market system ruled by competition.
This is almost entirely and totally false. First, there is a very, very long and unglamorous history of private actors exerting incredible and reckless control over the market. I suggest you look up the term "Robber Baron", or do some research on the era of the trust companies and monopolies in the 1890's. Further, it is in the interest of sellers within the market to dominate the market, because that is the most efficient way to generate profits. This in turn undermine the freedom of the market, since (other) sellers are no longer allowed to enter the market.
Second, when talking about the markets reward for "efficiency" we must ask efficiency at what? Traditionally, the market rewards short term profits and wealth centralization. However, both of these tend to be detrimental to the long term health of the market, as increased wealth centralization decreases demand because the majority of people no longer have disposable income, and focus on short term profits generally leaves one over exposed to longer term risk.
Socialism is a form of government where the right to property is vested in the government.
Again, this is incorrect. Centralist Communism (actually State Managed Corporatism) is a form of government where control over private property is vested in the government. Socialism is a series of economic policies implemented so as to ameliorate the self destructive tendencies of Corporatist Capitalism described above.
NOTE; it was a republican (oliver wendel homes) who said "Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society"
Communism is a system of governing where the government explicitly eliminates freedom of speech, and makes liberal use of propaganda designed to create allegiance to communism and hatred of other forms of government, especially capitalism.
Incorrect. This impression stems from the mistake most Americans make that what occurred in russia was communism. While this is understandable, as most people have 1) never studied what communism is and 2) been told their whole lives that what occurred in russia was communism.
Allow me to be clear; What occurred in russia had as much resemblance to communism as apartheid South Africa had to democracy. An appropriate title for what occurred in Russia would be "State Controlled Corporatism".
First, allow me to define Corporatism. Corporatism is an economic model where in the Units within the economy are arranged in such a manner as to resemble feudal states, that is, the internal arrangement of the actors comprising the majority of economic activity is fuedal. Within a single actor, you have a hierarchical structure, with decisions being made at the top and passed down through a series of middle managers to those at the bottom, who do the actual work. The people not at the top of the structure have little to no say in how decisions are made and are generally regarded as unfit to make them.
In this sense, Midevil England, Walmart, and Soviet Russia where exactly the same type of system, abet one is political, one is economic and one was both. If you actually take a careful look at the culture inside most American corporations, what you describe as "communism" is standard operating procedure. Managers at GM, Washington Mutual and AIG frequently gave overly positive reports, and dissenters where treated as alarmist or even traitors. If anyone remembers Enron the employees where told everything was fine right up until the press announcement of the bankruptcy.
An actual communist system would resemble economic democracy, and has never been implemented outside of a few communes in spain and france. Since these where almost imdedeatly squashed by varios armies, there is really no way to know whether communism would work or not.
Each actor (company) in the economy would function democratically, where workers would vote on decisions and either implement them directly or direct the management to implement them. The workers, not the investors would control the board of directors and have the voting shares of stock, and the profits would be divided among those who worked to earn them. Stock would be the equivalent of a bond issuance or loan, with an interest return on the investment until the investment is paid back.
Since this requires that the employees be informed actors, it should be obvious that the aforementioned freedoms are even more sacrosanct then in our current system.
As to Obama, socialists are probably more unhappy with him then anyone else. First, the majority of the debt we are staring at was incurred by Mr GW Bush. Nearly a trillion dollars in bailout money was handed out before obama was even elected, and another quarter trillion between then and when he was sworn in. Further, much of the budget is simply the war costs actually being in the budget, instead of done adhoc as part of other bills.
However, the bailout is not a socialist bailout. Note; where is the money going? The top. This is a Corporatist bailout. A socialist bailout would have resembled the following; The Treasury would have opened the loans window to the public, allowing anyone holding a mortgage to refinance it fixed at the fed rate. This would have 1) allowed those people with adjustable rate mortgages to refinance at a lower fixed rate. 2) removed all the bad (and good) mortgages from the banks balance sheets ( and control). 3) nullified all the Credit Default swaps, as the mortgages they where attached to now no longer exist.
Obviously, this was not what was done.