Is socialism rising in the United States? Some recent headlines should give liberty-loving Americans concern.

New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated a 10-term incumbent Democrat by running on a socialist agenda, is making national headlines crisscrossing the country campaigning for other like-minded statists. Meanwhile, a new poll shows that 24 percent of American voters would support a socialist candidate. And in the City of Los Angeles, voters will consider whether to move forward with a public bank this fall.

Byron Schlomach of the 1889 Institute wrote about this trend in The Hill this week and cautions that politicians across America are already adopting “socialism lite” policies in the form of crony capitalist cash incentives and tax credits designed to lure companies to locate and expand to one city or state instead of another:

Our politicians like to claim, and might even believe, they are helping markets and growing the economy when they grant special economic privileges. They are actually cheating their constituents out of the benefits of free markets, distorting choices and interfering in decisions with unstable, arbitrary policymaking customized for the privileged elite. They are, on a more limited basis, doing what socialist leaders and bureaucracies have done everywhere socialism has been tried on a mass scale. And the negative results are the same, except that we have a huge economy, much of which is relatively unmolested, that mostly papers them over, at least until the last few decades.

Crony capitalism is socialism lite, and anti-free enterprise. Too many of our leaders, including some who call themselves Reagan Republicans, take part in it. But for those who see socialism as a counter to the elitism they see in capitalist economies, think again. History teaches that, due to socialism’s centralized nature, there is no place more replete with cronyism than one practicing socialism

The Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Government has long been a leader in fighting cronyism and unconstitutional government subsidies to private businesses and organizations. In the case of Rodgers v. Pima County, the Institute is challenging the constitutionality of a $15 million gift and loan of taxpayer funds to a private company that plans to offer luxury adventure tourism balloon rides. You can read more about the case here.

Liberty in the News

A bad decision for taxpayers: Would you rather have a government entity that’s been losing money for years or a respected private company run ambulance services in your town? Unfortunately for residents of Show Low, Arizona, a state official has made the wrong choice. Read more here.

Lack of information can be deadly. Yet the FDA is preventing patients and doctors from accessing the most up-to-date information about treatment options. Watch this new video on our In Defense of Liberty blog to learn more about it.

Challenge to Indian Child Welfare Act moves forward: A federal judge in Texas has ruled that a lawsuit brought by three states and several families challenging the constitutionality of the discriminatory Indian Child Welfare Act can proceed to trial. Timothy Sandefur, Vice President for Litigation at the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation, explains in a new article.