But temporary stimulus is not socialism, which at least one democratic socialist understands. Writing in Jacobin, Peter Frase critiqued the proposal from Republican Senator Mitt Romney to cut $1,000 checks for every American: “The fact that cutting checks is suddenly such a popular idea across the political spectrum demonstrates how much the Left has shifted what’s considered possible over the past decade. But it also shows us a ruling class and a political order that is desperately trying to find a stopgap measure to prevent social collapse, in the vain hope of returning to ‘normal’ in short order.”
Frase expressed hope that any such stimulus would provide a political opening to push for broadly socialistic proposals, including “free health care.” Many socialists are now insisting that the pandemic makes the case for single-payer open and shut. But it’s not. Despite Sanders’ claim that America is uniquely disadvantaged, at least two European single-payer countries—Italy and Spain—are being devastated by coronavirus; Italy’s death toll is at 3,400 and rising, and Spain just breached 1,000.