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The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Is President-Elect Barack Obama the next JFK or a new FDR? Is he poised to create a 21st century New Deal, New Frontier, or Great Society? Will he be remembered with the fondness lavished on Ronald Reagan, or the ill will which dogged Jimmy Carter?

Various pundits have painted competing portraits of the President-to-be. Competing news magazine covers depict him as Franklin Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. The only common feature of the assorted renderings is that Obama emerges as a man of mystery. Some of cable TV’s talking heads swear he will govern from the center — even possibly right-of-center — while others predict that he will definitely tilt left.

The number-one issue in the minds of Americans right now is the economy. If Obama can get that right, chances are he’ll coast to another victory in 2012.

To find out where the truth really lies about Obama’s economic leanings, it might be helpful to examine two economic systems in the left-hand column— socialism and communism. Socialism is defined as the stage in Marxist-Leninist theory between capitalism and communism. Under the textbook definition of socialism, the proletariat has not yet achieved a dictatorship allowing for collective ownership of the economy.

Meanwhile, in communism, the economy is state-controlled and state-planned. An authoritarian party often calls the shots, promising a future utopia in which property will be shared equally by the people. Under the Communist model, workers put aside their selfishness for the improvement of all.

It’s no secret that Obama wants to spread the wealth around. However, he is neither a Socialist nor a Communist. Why? Because both of these economic theories are based on people working. Also, having such things as welfare, free public housing, and free health care—and making others work to provide them—isn’t socialism or communism. It’s Obama-economics.

If Obama truly wants to improve conditions in the U.S. for the average person, he will discard welfare, Section 8 housing (except for the mentally and physically challenged, which the church should really be doing), and illegal immigration. To be a truly historic figure, he would also need to change the mindset of the education system, which seems more interested in teacher benefits than basic reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Yes, we need radical change in Washington—but not the kind that Obama seems to espouse. To govern effectively, he will need to do a dramatic turnabout and embrace the conservative principles which many Americans still hold dear.

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