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Marco Rubio Doesn’t Know What a ‘Socialist’ Is, But He Knows Biden Is One.

The Florida Republican gives a master class in philosophy.

Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer; Photo: Saul Loeb/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Marco Rubio is an expert on socialism. The foundation of Rubio’s political career is his family story about parents who fled communism in Cuba. (Reporters discovered they actually fled several years in advance of the Cuban revolution, but never mind.) Rubio has frequently applied his insights about the evils of socialism to American politics. But it is his ideological analysis of the Marxist and socialist underpinnings of President Biden’s domestic policy that have truly reached brain-genius levels of philosophical sophistication.

Several weeks ago, Rubio proclaimed, “The $3.5 trillion Biden plan isn’t socialism, it’s marxism.”

Now, “Marxism” and, especially, “socialism” are both terms with a fair amount of definitional latitude. Still, any working definition of a Marxist program would include the following elements: a workers’ revolution to overthrow the state, followed by a dictatorship of the proletariat. Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan contains neither of these features, though perhaps he has merely neglected to include the funding for it.

In the weeks that have followed, conservative Democrats have made it clear that Biden’s $3.5 trillion social-spending agenda — roughly one percent of gross domestic product over that time period — is too far left for their tastes, and have negotiated down the price to somewhere around half that level. Rubio today clarifies that the reduced version is just as bad as the bigger one:

So, Rubio has instructed us that the $3.5 trillion plan was not socialism, it was Marxism. The $1.5 trillion plan is socialism. However, it is just as bad.

Two conclusions follow: First, socialism is just as bad as Marxism. This conclusion would perplex anybody who has spent time in both, say, Sweden and North Korea.

Second, more confusingly, $1.5 trillion is just as bad as $3.5 trillion. This statement would confuse anybody familiar with the transitive property. To state that $1.5 trillion is just as bad as $3.5 trillion is tantamount to saying $3.5 trillion is no worse than $1.5 trillion. And if we can double the size of Biden’s plan without any increase in the badness, then perhaps Biden could go even higher.

Rubio has already equated $3.5 trillion with Marxism, so a spending bill of around $6 trillion (the level proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders) would probably be Marxism-Leninism. The spending level necessary to achieve Full Stalinism can probably be set around $10 trillion over a decade, or roughly 3 percent of GDP. But these are only guesses, and I will leave the final word to Professor Rubio.

In the meantime, Biden can honestly say that even Marco Rubio admits, “The $3.5 trillion Biden plan isn’t socialism.”

Rubio Doesn’t Know What’s a Socialist, But Knows Biden’s One