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Sunstein: Economic crises could usher in socialism

Posted By Aaron Klein On 10/11/2009 @ 6:43 pm In Front Page | Comments Disabled


Cass Sunstein

TEL AVIV – Economic crises can be used to usher socialism into the U.S., argued President Obama’s newly confirmed regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein.

In his 2004 book “The Second Bill of Rights,” Sunstein used the precedent of the Great Depression to point out that historic economic crises “provided the most promising conditions for the emergence of socialism in the U.S.”

“With a little nudge or a slight change in emphasis, our culture could have gone, and could still go, in many different directions,” wrote Sunstein in his book, which was reviewed by WND.

Last week, WND reported Sunstein wrote in the same book the U.S. should move in the direction of socialism but the country’s “white majority” opposes welfare, since such programs largely would benefit minorities, especially blacks and Hispanics.

“The absence of a European-style social welfare state is certainly connected with the widespread perception among the white majority that the relevant programs would disproportionately benefit African Americans (and more recently Hispanics),” wrote Sunstein.

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In Sunstein’s book, the Obama appointee openly argues for bringing socialism to the U.S. and even lends support to communism.

“During the Cold War, the debate about [social welfare] guarantees took the form of pervasive disagreement between the United States and its communist adversaries. Americans emphasized the importance of civil and political liberties, above all free speech and freedom of religion, while communist nations stressed the right to a job, health care and a social minimum.”

Continued Sunstein: “I think this debate was unhelpful; it is most plausible to see the two sets of rights as mutually reinforcing, not antagonistic.”

Sunstein claims the “socialist movement” did not take hold in the U.S. in part because of a “smaller and weaker political left or lack of enthusiasm for redistributive programs.”

He laments, “In a variety of ways, subtle and less subtle, public and private actions have made it most difficult for socialism to have any traction in the United States.”

Sunstein wants to spread America’s wealth

WND first reported Sunstein penned a 2007 University of Chicago Law School paper in which he debated whether America should pay “justice” to the world by entering into a compensation agreement that would be a net financial loss for the U.S. He argues it is “desirable” to redistribute America’s wealth to poorer nations.

A prominent theme throughout Sunstein’s 39-page paper, entitled “Climate Change Justice” and reviewed by WND, maintains U.S. wealth should be redistributed to poorer nations. He uses terms such as “distributive justice” several times. The paper was written with fellow attorney Eric A. Posner.

“It is even possible that desirable redistribution is more likely to occur through climate change policy than otherwise, or to be accomplished more effectively through climate policy than through direct foreign aid,” wrote Sunstein.

He posited: “We agree that if the United States does spend a great deal on emissions reductions as part of an international agreement, and if the agreement does give particular help to disadvantaged people, considerations of distributive justice support its action, even if better redistributive mechanisms are imaginable.

“If the United States agrees to participate in a climate change agreement on terms that are not in the nation’s interest, but that help the world as a whole, there would be no reason for complaint, certainly if such participation is more helpful to poor nations than conventional foreign-aid alternatives,” he wrote.

Sunstein maintains: “If we care about social welfare, we should approve of a situation in which a wealthy nation is willing to engage in a degree of self-sacrifice when the world benefits more than that nation loses.”

Proposed ‘socialist’ bill of rights

In “The Second Bill of Rights,” WND also reported, Sunstein proposed a new “bill of rights” in which he advanced the radical notion that welfare rights, including some controversial inceptions, be granted by the state. Among his mandates:

  • The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
  • The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
  • The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
  • The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
  • The right of every family to a decent home;
  • The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
  • The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
  • The right to a good education.

On one page in his book, Sunstein claims he is “not seriously arguing” his bill of rights be “encompassed by anything in the Constitution,” but on the next page he states that “if the nation becomes committed to certain rights, they may migrate into the Constitution itself.”

Later in the book, Sunstein argues that “at a minimum, the second bill should be seen as part and parcel of America’s constitutive commitments.”

WND has learned that in April 2005, Sunstein opened up a conference at Yale Law School entitled “The Constitution in 2020,” which sought to change the nature and interpretation of the Constitution by that year.

Sunstein has been a main participant in the movement, which openly seeks to create a “progressive” consensus as to what the U.S. Constitution should provide for by the year 2020. It also suggests strategy for how liberal lawyers and judges might bring such a constitutional regime into being.

Just before his appearance at the conference, Sunstein wrote a blog entry in which he explained he “will be urging that it is important to resist, on democratic grounds, the idea that the document should be interpreted to reflect the view of the extreme right-wing of the Republican Party.”



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