Gar Alperovitz and Thomas M. Hanna, writing in The New York Times argue that there’s a tradition of socialism in America.
“These days the mantra of public control in exchange for lower taxes has been embraced by a surprising quarter of the American political leadership: conservatives … The Alaska Permanent Fund, established by a Republican governor in 1976, combines not one, but two socialist principles: public ownership and the provision of a basic income for all residents.”
“Texas is another example of conservative socialism in practice. Almost 150 years ago the Texas Permanent School Fund took control of roughly half of all the land … Each year distributions from the fund go to support education.”
“Such ‘socialism, American style,’ can produce odd reversals of conservative-liberal political alignments. One of the largest ‘socialist’ enterprises in the nation is the Tennessee Valley Authority … In 2013 President Obama proposed privatizing the T.V.A., but local Republican politicians, concerned with the prospect of higher prices for consumers and less money for their states, successfully opposed the idea.”
“In one of the most conservative states, Nebraska, every single resident and business receives electricity from publicly owned utilities, cooperatives or public power districts. Partly as a result, Nebraskans pay one of the lowest rates for electricity in the nation.”
“It is possible that in the next big crisis, both sides might see the wisdom and practical benefits of public ownership, and embrace Joseph Schumpeter’s point even more boldly than they do today.”