A Socialist's Perspective on America

This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," February 18, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GLENN BECK, HOST: All right. You know, I actually have respect for our next guest because he's one of the few in America that just doesn't mince words. He is a socialist. And I respect that much more than other people pretending that they're not. Frank Llewellyn, director of the Democratic Socialists of America.

How are you, sir?


BECK: I feel you like me already.

LLEWELLYN: Well, I like you as an individual.

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BECK: Would you like an M&M?

LLEWELLYN: No, thank you.

BECK: I'll share them.

LLEWELLYN: I'm already too large.

BECK: No, no, no. Look at me. I'll share them and you know why? Because I choose to share them. Not because somebody tells me to share them.

LLEWELLYN: Well, that's, you know, that's your right as long as you have the ownership of those.

BECK: But is that the deal with socialism, I don't have ownership of my M&Ms or my land or my business?

LLEWELLYN: Socialists generally believe that democracy needs to be extended into more spheres of society and especially the economy. And so, you know, we look to build institutions that will do that — cooperative institutions, unions. We look to restructure power relationships...

BECK: Right.

LLEWELLYN: ... so that we don't have the same mis-managers with the same misplaced priorities, destroying the economy as they've recently done.

BECK: All right. Do you think the Fed and the government have done a good job?


BECK: No. You know — see, we're building bridges here. Capitalists and socialists building bridges. They stink on ice. Now, I've read — this is a copy of your magazine.

LLEWELLYN: Yes, it is.

BECK: And I just noticed here that there are some good reading in here, but there's also —here is the United Steelworkers Union, an ad there, a full-page ad. This is the nurses union ad, and this the administrative employees ad, another union. The unions like socialism?


LLEWELLYN: Some people in the union movement are — you know, like socialism. Some people don't.

BECK: Well, I mean, they're spending — I print a magazine, and I don't have any union money coming into my magazine.

LLEWELLYN: I'm sure you have other people that support your magazines. You know, we're very happy that we have labor support, and we would like to have more labor support than we do.


LLEWELLYN: But we'll take an ad from you, too.

BECK: Right. No, I don't think I would. I mean, unless somebody will force me to buy an ad.

LLEWELLYN: Well, you know, that's one way to think about how to democratize the support for the publications, is if you have ads drawn by lotteries and they go to publications.

BECK: So, in other words...

LLEWELLYN: That would be — you know, there has been talk of that in some places, but that's not in the United States.

BECK: Wait. So, in other words, I would just say, it would be my turn to advertise in your magazine?


BECK: That would be fantastic. So, what do you think of the bailout bill — not enough, I'm guessing?

LLEWELLYN: The bill that was just signed in lately?

BECK: The stimulus bill — yes.

LLEWELLYN: Yes, we think that's a down payment. It's not large enough, in our judgment, to have as much of an impact as it should. I mean, we have a huge economy. The package represents only a couple of percentage points of the economy. It is stretched over a year and a half in terms of its spending.

So, in my judgment, you know, a package of more like $1 trillion a year would be...

BECK: Every year?

LLEWELLYN: You know, would be, it's necessary...


BECK: Where are you going to get the money because I know you don't believe in profits?

LLEWELLYN: Well, that's what taxation is for. If you — if you grow the economy and have a fair system of taxation...

BECK: Right.

LLEWELLYN: ... then you'll be able to repay the money. You know, one thing that was shown in the Clinton administration is — they were able to pay down a huge portion of the national debt. We were on the road to actually having that whole debt paid down until the Bush administration spent all the money.


LLEWELLYN: And they didn't even have a fair tax.

BECK: I know. You know what's really amazing about that? They also slashed the back-snot (ph) out of welfare. Isn't that weird?

LLEWELLYN: They did, you know, change the support systems.

BECK: Yes.

LLEWELLYN: Yes, they did.

BECK: So, we might — we might have also been spending a lot less, and we would have been less socialist during the Clinton administration than we are today under Obama.

LLEWELLYN: I wouldn't describe the Clinton administration as...

BECK: Less socialist — as less socialist as what we are now?

LLEWELLYN: ... as socialist at all.

BECK: Come on, we're socialist like — look, Frank .

LLEWELLYN: America is blessed with having the two most capitalist political parties in the world. The idea...

BECK: You got to be kidding me?


BECK: They're both socialist. Listen — here's the thing, here's the thing — really, I will share them. They are mine. I purchased them and I'll share them willingly.

LLEWELLYN: I'm sure. That's — OK, I'll have one though.

BECK: All right. Here's the thing — the only debate that I think we need to have in America is this road to socialism — will you agree we're on the road to socialism?

LLEWELLYN: Actually, I would hope that that were the case, but if you talk about what's being proposed generally — no, they're not socialist programs.

BECK: Really?

LLEWELLYN: They're programs that are stimulative. They're Keynesian economic programs but they're not socialist, they don't change power relationships.

BECK: That thing that didn't — the union card check they're trying to push through?

LLEWELLYN: Those are not — union card, the Employee Free Choice Act will strengthen unions in the United States.


LLEWELLYN: That's a good thing — that's a good thing, because it will improve .

BECK: All right.

LLEWELLYN: ...the size of the middle class.

BECK: Right.

LLEWELLYN: And that's something that we — that we support, but it is not inherently socialist.

BECK: Two things...

LLEWELLYN: That's used in other countries.

BECK: Socialist countries. All right. Listen, here's the thing — here's the thing.

LLEWELLYN: Do you think Canada is a socialist country?

BECK: Yes, their policies are socialist.


BECK: Universal healthcare, socialized medicine. It's got "socialized" in it. I mean...

LLEWELLYN: Well, most countries in the world have that and they have been...

BECK: And (ph) most countries.

LLEWELLYN: ...administered by parties of the left and parties of the right.

BECK: I'll tell you what? I'm going to do — I'm going to do...

LLEWELLYN: And we're very much for that and we hope we can have that here.

BECK: OK. Here's the thing, Frank, all I want, and this is the reason I brought Frank on today, is all I want is if we're going to be a socialist nation, we should have this debate. We shouldn't be hiding behind the Democrats or the Republicans or anything else. If we want to be a socialist nation, has anybody asked you — "Newsweek" magazine prints on the big title, "We're All Socialists Now."

Well, nobody has asked me. I don't want to be a socialist. If America decides to be socialist, then Americans should decide to be socialists, but that's not what we're doing. We're not having a conversation. I haven't seen actual socialists on television talking about how great socialism is.

LLEWELLYN: No, and most of the people who are writing about socialism don't know anything about it either. You know, the discussion that emerged in the campaign was — you know, very surreal. It didn't — it wasn't based on facts. It was more like name-calling.

I mean, if you want to be honest, and you want to take who of the four people running for national office was actually the most socialistic, it was Sarah Palin — because she administered a state that says that the oil revenues are collectively owned...

BECK: Right.

LLEWELLYN: ... and she used her position as governor to force the oil companies to pay the state more money, which they then redistributed to the people. Now, I have a feeling that that's what Chavez does in Venezuela, that people like you criticize him for. So, you know, that would, at least, be a more serious discussion .

BECK: Right.

LLEWELLYN: ... than the type of discussion that's appeared in magazines and whatever.

BECK: OK, Frank...

LLEWELLYN: If people want to learn about socialism, they should go to our Web site...


LLEWELLYN: ... which is www.dsausa.org.

BECK: There you. And more and more — more and more students, more and more college students, more and more people that are young are signing right up to be a Marxist and a socialist. Everybody should be aware of what that means.

Thank you very much, Frank. I appreciate it.

LLEWELLYN: Not all Marxists are socialists. Most socialists are not Marxists.

BECK: I know. That's fantastic. And I'll have the red tie.

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