It occurs to me that those who call our current leadership "socialist" are missing the big picture. Of the two major economic/political systems to come out of the Great Depression, the response to the current crisis looks more like fascism than socialism. The major difference is that in a socialist state, property is owned by the state. In a fascist state, property is owned by private corporations or individuals, but the economic policies are decided by the state, which then has the power to impose its will on businesses as if it owned them. The advantages of this system for the state are obvious: First, in return for being allowed to remain in business, large companies become donors to the dominant party. They also provide lucrative positions on their boards to those with influence within the party, as well as other perks. Chris Dodd's sweetheart loans and Tom Daschle's wife's employment history are obvious examples of how this works. Second, when the state's economic planning fails to improve economic conditions, instead of being held responsible, the government's bureaucrats can hold a hearing and attack the owners of the companies that followed the bureaucrats' orders, demand that they be fired and then have them replaced with their own cronies. This is what we saw with GM's CEO. Finally, the resulting policies allow government to choose winners and losers among competing firms, guaranteeing that those preferred companies are able to remain standing while their competitors stumble and fall, and the price for that favor is campaign contributions, graft, the aforemention no-show jobs and having huge corporate entities toe the line on government policies that have nothing to do with their bottom line (look at the various diversity advisors that now govern Human Resources departments at most large corporations, and picture the Soviet Army's parallel structure of commissars and commanders at each level). This is how Sun Microsystems was able to get the Clinton Justice Department to go after their competitor, Microsoft.
If we're going to criticize the economic policy of our government, we ought to use the right terminology. Hope, change and fascism are the watchwords of the day.