U.S. House Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.) (Getty Images)
(CNS News) — United States Representative Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.), who immigrated from socialist Ukraine, said President Joe Biden’s policies have mirrored and “underlined” the policies of the socialist system, a program that is “rotten from the inside.”
“When government makes the decision for you instead of you, you know, that is actually the definition of socialism,” Rep. Spartz told CNS News in an exclusive interview. “So a lot of his (President Biden’s) policy have underlined, you know, the policy of socialist system.”
In her July 28 interview with CNS News, the congresswoman from Indiana’s 5th district spoke about her experience living under communism and the socialistic trends she sees permeating America today.
For some background, the Ukraine was a republic of the Communist Soviet Union from 1922 to 1991; Spartz was born in the Ukraine in 1978 and immigrated to the U.S. in 2000. She lived under Communist rule for 13 years. Spartz became a U.S. citizen in 2006 at the age of 22. She is married and has two children.
The Ukraine today is a semi-presidential republic. There are constant tensions with Russia, however, and the Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula has been occupied by Russia since 2014.
“Life in a socialist country is not very easy,” she told CNS News on July 28. “When people talk about equality, it’s really equality in misery where you have a political elite and classes on top, and then everyone else is trying to be suppressed to be equally poor.”
Spartz recalled having to get baptized and praying in secret because the Communist-run Ukraine did not condone practicing religion, and simple products such as Pepsi and a TV were luxuries you might have “if you have good connections.”
There are two economic systems, she said, one of private enterprise where decisions are made by stakeholders in the market, and one of centralized power where decisions are made by the government.
“When government makes the decision for you instead of you, you know, that is actually the definition of socialism,” Rep. Spartz said. “So a lot of his (President Biden’s) policy have underlined, you know, the policy of socialist system.”
The congresswoman referenced countries like Venezuela and Cuba that have “resources” and “good people,” but that are nevertheless failing because socialism itself is a broken system.
Rep. Spartz serves on the House Education and Labor Committee and spoke to the growing presence of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in America’s schools, saying, “We need to have a healthy conversation about, you know, history and races, and how we can move forward and do better, how we can make sure that policies promote, you know, equality of opportunities and equality of rights.”
People talk before the start of a rally against “critical race theory” (CRT) being taught in schools at the Loudoun County Government center in Leesburg, Virginia on June 12, 2021. – “Are you ready to take back our schools?” Republican activist Patti Menders shouted at a rally opposing teaching that trains white children to see themselves as “oppressors.” (Getty Images)
However, “Dividing people into class and race,” as Karl Marx did and CRT does, is “a tactic to weaken the country,” she said.
“There is no difference, you know, where you came from, there is no difference if you’re male or female, there is no difference what race you are,” she said. “We are all individuals with strengths and weaknesses, and our own gifts given by God.”
She continued, “We’re all gifted in different things and we have to look, you know, and really try to have an education system that helps to advance in our gifts and desires and abilities so we can be successful.”
Rep. Spartz continued, “If you really want to strengthen and empower people, you don’t set the standard that they’re suppressed and they can follow a lower standard. You put the bar high and help people to achieve that bar.” Yet, CRT does the former and creates victims in order to divide the country.
The government’s growing control over education and healthcare is a threat to the preservation of our republic in Spartz’s view because, in any socialist country, the government always has these big systems under their control.
LVIV, UKRAINE, Nov. 25, 2006: People bury dozens of coffins during a day of remembrance for up to 10 million people who starved to death in the great famine of 1932-33, the direct result of communist policies ordered by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. (Getty Images)
“We probably have 80% of healthcare now controlled by the government and moving even further,” she said.
The growing “trends” of socialism in America are “dangerous,” as they put our rights protected in the Constitution under attack.
The 4th Amendment protects Americans’ rights to privacy and due process, but the FBI is surveilling U.S. citizens without a warrant and due process, she said.
“It’s never been authorized by the branch to do that, you know, so we have to look into this,” Rep. Spartz said. “A lot of amendments and our rights are infringed, so there are some very dangerous trends.”
When asked about the widespread “cancel culture” and censorship that is occurring in our country, the congresswoman said, “I think it’s a very, very dangerous trend because our 1st Amendment is first for a reason, right? Because this is the most important amendment. It’s not, you know, fourth or fifth or tenth, right? It’s the first because if you don’t have the freedom to express your views, you don’t have any freedoms.”
“It’s very dangerous right now when we are creating the dictatorship of opinion ー only one opinion is right,” said Spartz. “Our Western philosophy was actually built on debate and discussion and healthy disagreements where we want to come to agreement, but not a top-down approach … even if I might think your views are crazy. You know what? As long as you don’t harm other people, you are entitled to your views and ideas.”
She continued, “I can try to engage in debate and, hopefully, I can convince you at least a little bit, maybe to agree with me, you know, but I have no right to tell you what to do, especially the government.”
The popularity of socialism in America has particularly grown among young people, with socialist politicians such as Senators Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Elizabeth Warren promising “free” college. Rep. Spartz, however, called on the younger generations to be “freedom fighters” and engage in debate and discussion to prevent being “misguided” or “brainwashed.”
“I think in general, young people want to be free,” she said. “So I think we just have to be able to have a dialogue and discussion, and have a very constructive dialogue on issues, not just to have drama and not to have these, you know, talking points.”
The “fight for freedom is never easy … fight for freedom is never free,” the congresswoman said, but,“We are the greatest republic, the strongest republic that ever existed in the history of the world because people have the most freedoms to succeed.”
Rep. Spartz immigrated to America from Ukraine in 2000 and has since founded multiple businesses and served in several areas in the public sector, including as Chief Financial Officer for the Indiana Attorney General’s Office and Indiana State Senator. She has a Master of Professional Accountancy from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis, and she also completed the Harvard Business School Executive Education program on healthcare.
She now serves as the first Republican female immigrant in the U.S. House of Representatives. In the Republican Party, she is a strong voice for the freedom of the individual and against socialism.
CNS News correspondent Elisabeth Nieshalla: United States Congresswoman Victoria Spartz is here from the 5th District of Indiana. She immigrated to America from Ukraine and has since founded multiple businesses and served in several areas in the public sector, including as Chief Financial Officer for the Indiana Attorney General’s Office and Indiana State Senator. Congresswoman Spartz has a Master of Professional Accountancy from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis, and she also completed the Harvard Business School Executive Education program on healthcare. In the Republican party, she is a strong voice for the freedom of the individual and against socialism. Congresswoman Spartz, thank you very much for being here today.
Rep. Victoria Spartz: Thank you for having me.
CNS News: I want to first talk about your story and background a little bit. Now, you immigrated to the US in 2000 after spending much of your childhood in the Soviet-occupied Ukraine until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Would you give us some background on what life was like for you growing up there under the Soviet Union’s communist regime?
Rep. Victoria Spartz: Well, uh, life in a socialist country is not very easy. You know, it’s ー when people talk about equality, it’s really equality in misery where you have a political elite and classes on top and then everyone else is trying to be suppressed to be equally poor. Unfortunately, even a system like that ー even a country like the Soviet Union had a lot of resources ー don’t really, you know, don’t stay like that forever and run out of money because the system is very inefficient and people don’t like to be suppressed, you know, you can do it for so long. And, uh, it’s really no freedoms, governments tell you what to do and if you don’t listen to the government, you can be in jail. You know, I had to, my grandma was very religious, she wanted me to be baptized, so I had to be baptized secretly. You have to pray secretly, you cannot have a religion. You go to stores, you know, a lot of people don’t realize that coke, actually Pepsi, in the Soviet Union, and bananas were the luxury that you might have sometimes if you have good connections, and it is a very, very small selection of food. You have to wait for years to get a cow, a lot of people never had a cow or had a refrigerator or TV, you might wait for years to get a TV. So it was a not very fun life, but also when system fails it becomes very destructive and difficult, too and create around ー in post-Soviet times were very turbulent times. A lot of bandits and mafias controlling the country, so that was tough.
CNS News: So, here in America, you began as a bank teller and advanced “through the ranks” to become a successful accountant, business owner and professor, and now you are the first Republican female immigrant to hold the office of United States Representative. So, in many ways, you have lived the American dream. In what ways would your life be different had you not come to America?
Rep. Victoria Spartz: Well, I think, you know, in any country, you know, you have to work hard to become successful, but unfortunately in a lot of other countries, you know, you can work extremely hard but if you’re not connected to political leaders, not chosen by them or not born into a very wealthy family or anything else, it doesn’t matter how hard you work. You’re still going to be where they want you to be, equally poor. In our country ー it wasn’t easy, it’s never easy to come, you know, from the ground and start with nothing. I came with one suitcase which was lost, actually, in New York ー you know, but hard work pays off, and people appreciate it. You learn skill, you can advance, you can study businesses, you can do whatever you want, and we have all different ideas and desires and aspirations in life. Thank God we don’t want to do the same things so we don’t compete for the same things, and it’s a great thing. But see, this is what our country’s about. You know, you can decide as a human being what you want to pursue in life, and the government has a limited function to decide ー or to protect your rights to life, liberty and property. But going through this, you know, I started to notice as a bank teller and then became CPA, I work in public accounting, audited large companies, work in finances, then I have two young girls and my husband said, “You’re gonna be parenting as a single mom, you need to get back in town,” so I had to spend some more time with my family. And being a woman is not easy, you have to toughen up and really, you know, you have lots of responsibilities. So, then I, you know, came back in town, spent more time with my family, started by businesses and, uh, really tried to look at things ー what’s happening ー and I started realizing how much government we’re getting, how many rules and regulations and, you know, picking losers and winners our government is doing. How many systems, now are getting more and more centralized and controlled by federal, state, local governments with these excessive, you know, fees and taxes, and as a small business owner it’s very hard to afford. And that’s how government suppressing competition and creating these environments only the larger companies can survive. They’re struggling too, but they have a fancy CPAs and attorneys to help them. So that made me really get upset, and I said we have to do something about it, you know. And I’m awful at putting my money where my mouth is and, you know, got involved with politics.
CNS News: Wow, so switching to more current events happening today, “cancel culture” and censorship are hot topics that have drawn a lot of concern. Conservative voices, including the former President of the United States, have been silenced and the Biden Administration recently admitted that they are working with Facebook to suppress postings they consider to be vaccine misinformation. Considering your past experiences, do you see these actions as socialistic or fascistic, especially with the government/corporate censorship? And what are the potential ramifications of this?
Rep. Victoria Spartz: Well, I think it’s a very, very dangerous trend because our first amendment is first for a reason, right? Because this is the most important amendment. It’s not, you know, fourth or fifth or tenth, right? It’s the first because if you don’t have the freedom to express your views, you don’t have any freedoms. And this is how government tried to suppress you. That’s how totalitarian governments work, by suppressing your views and opinions, and I think it’s very dangerous right now when we are creating the dictatorship of opinion ー only one opinion is right. Our Western philosophy was actually built on debate and discussion and healthy disagreements where we want to come to agreement, but not a top-down approach, not a ー even if I might think your views are crazy. You know what? As long as you don’t harm other people, you are entitled to your views and ideas, and who I am to tell you if you’re right or wrong? I can try to engage in debate and hopefully I can convince you at least a little bit, maybe to agree with me, you know, but I have no right to tell you what to do, especially the government. So that is a very dangerous censorship and dictatorship of opinion done by the government in, really, in coherence with some of the bigger companies that may be afraid of the government? I’m not sure, maybe they have their own agenda. It’s unfortunate. That’s why we have to look at how we can protect people’s rights.
CNS News: Do you think President Joe Biden, in his policies, is a socialist? Or how would you describe his policies?
Rep. Victoria Spartz: Well, I think there are two ways, and, you know, people kind of use words, there are two economic systems, right, one system where the decision done by stakeholders in the market, by private enterprise, free enterprise system. We exchange transaction, and we decide, right, what you’re going to buy, and you decide what you’re going to pay and we come to an agreement. We have this arms-length transaction. Another system where decisions are more centralized and made by the government. You know, that is what socialist system is about. Government is intervenes in making a lot of decision and providing, you know, really, you know, the centralized, you know, power, accumulation of centralized power. So if you look about that, you know, I mean, great example, you know, all of the price controls, wage controls ー when the government decide what is gonna be paid in the market, when the government decide what prices are going to be, when the government start controlling assets and talking about public option insurance company, government owns assets. Actually, by pure definition of socialism by Karl Marx, when governments start owning assets and owning companies it is the definition of socialism. When government make this decision for you instead of you, you know, that is actually the definition of socialism. So a lot of his policy have underlined, you know, the policy of socialist system. You know, so I think it’s unfortunate that the system that failed in a lot of countries ー it took Soviet Union 70 years to fail ー you know, now is being promoted in our country because its centralized government and decision making never works out. You know, I think Margret Thatcher said until you run out of money it works, right? Because you do. And you see what’s happening in countries like Venezuela, you know, you can see what’s happening in countries like Cuba, you know. These are countries ー they have resources, you know, they have good people out there, the system is just rotten from inside, and it’s unfortunate that we promote some of them.
CNS News: Do you see parallels between what our government and some institutions are doing (i.e. schools, the media) with the Soviet occupation of Ukraine? And if so, what specifically? And what would you tell your fellow lawmakers and the American public?
Rep. Victoria Spartz: Well, I think, you know, sometimes, you know, when we think about it, you can control in the form, right, like by nationalizing industry, or in essence, right, by creating rules and regulations that really control the businesses. And maybe in the form the businesses still own the assets, you know, but in the form we tell them what to do and how to do business. So a lot of this expansion of rule and regulation and power of the government ー we decide what banks can lend, who they can lend, who cannot, what businesses they can lend and not, what kind of investment you should do, you know, what kind of industry you should invest in, what is good, what is bad, you know. We decided to control markets, you know, what markets are doing to do, what kind of financial markets, you know. They should be free, and they shouldn’t be decided by the government what I should be doing and what you should be doing. So I think it’s unfortunate that right now we do have a lot of, a lot of power that ー and people putting this power in elected officials, and to tell you the truth, there is nothing superior about these people sitting in these offices. I have to tell you, there’s a lot of them you probably wouldn’t even hire for 10 dollars an hour, you know. I always joke about that but there’s probably some truth to it. So there is nothing superior or different about elected officials, they’re the same human beings, you know, and when you give them more decision versus you making decision, you know, they’re going to be making decisions that may be biased for some reason, or, you know, because maybe because they don’t know, or maybe because they have some political lobby that’s pushing them to make decisions to help them to get reelected. So it’s very dangerous.
CNS News: Now, you currently serve on the House Education and Labor Committee and have spent some time in academia as an adjunct faculty member at Indiana University. Local school boards across the country, including in Indiana’s fifth district, have begun implementing Critical Race Theory and other progressive ideologies into classrooms, and we’ve seen lots of debate about this on the national level, as well. How do you see the surge of Critical Race Theory in schools impacting the future of free America?
Rep. Victoria Spartz: Well, any decisive theories are bad for the country. If you think about it, an average age of a republic is 250 years, right, and we’re reaching that, and most of them fell from within from division inside the country. So, that’s what Karl Marx did when he wanted to divide people into classes, so dividing people into class and race, that’s a tactic to weaken the country. So we need to have a healthy conversation about, you know, history and races and how we can move forward and do better, how we can make sure that policies promote, you know, equality of opportunities and equality of rights to make sure the people who are poor are not suppressed by criminal justice system because they don’t have enough money to hire a defence attorney, you know. We need to look at things like that, make sure that, you know, if you go to urban schools to have a good choice for education, the same as someone maybe who has the money to pay for school, so, you know, have worked with a child, whatever, you know, they can afford. So we have to discuss these things, but the divisions is very bad for the country, it weakens us as a country. And also, there is no difference, you know, where you came from, there is no difference if you’re male or female, there is no difference what race you are, you know, we are all individuals with strengths and weaknesses and our own gifts given by God. And all the gifts are different, otherwise, I said, we’d be competing for the same things, you know. Actually, I always say it’s a golden ratio. If you’re very good at mathematics like I am, you’re probably not very good at art, okay? I’m awful at art, okay? So I’m not going to be a famous painter, I can guarantee you, maybe like an expressionist someday. But I’m just saying, we have to be, you know, we’re all gifted in different things and we have to look, you know, and really try to have an education system that helps to advance in our gifts and desires and abilities so we can be successful, you know, versus just to have a system that forces us to do all the same and be the same because we’re not and we don’t want to do that, you know. And I think that is a healthy conversation we should have versus dividing the country, which is just not very good
CNS News: Sure, and you mentioned Karl Marx ー do you think Critical Race Theory, which breaks people into groups based on skin color, is a variant of Marxism, in that instead of putting people into classes – proletariat, bourgeois– people are grouped by skin color and their identity politics?
Rep. Victoria Spartz: Well, generally to divide people you need to create victims, you need to create this division, you know, and that’s how it’s been done, you know, and you can do it in a different way, but any divisive theory is always used to suppress people, you know. If you really want to strengthen and empower people, you don’t set the standard that they’re suppressed and they can follow a lower standard. You put the bar high and help people to achieve that bar. You know, I think Michaelangelo said, you know, “The biggest failure in life is to set your goals too low and actually achieve them.” You have to help, and we have some different challenges and different environments that we come from. It was very difficult for me to overcome even, you know, English was not my first language, right, so I have to work harder to be able to, you know, advance. I didn’t know the people, you know, I didn’t, you know, I come here and I didn’t know anyone, so you have to get to know the people and do different things and maybe help people with maybe some good mentors because not all of us are born into families that we can have someone give us good advice and mentors. And we have to help maybe some children to do the things, but we have to empower people, strengthen people from bottom up, not divide people, not separate them, and not just say there is no difference between us. You know, we are all, you know, strong individuals that want to pursue freedoms and happiness and sometimes maybe just help each other in this society, which is fine to do that, but I think these, you know, theories that divide people are bad and, you know, that’s what used really to separate people and take by one control by one group of people over another and use it as a pawn to advance agenda.
CNS News: How close is America to being considered a socialist state? Is America not already socialist in some ways, such as with the massive welfare state, much government control over healthcare and education, and redistributing tax dollars to favored political groups?
Rep. Victoria Spartz: Our country’s always, you know, it’s always moving in some direction, right? It’s about trend, we never stand still, but we have a lot of bad trends happening in our country, and if you look, you know, the biggest system like education or healthcare, every socialist country always had it controlled by the government, right? So we have a lot of control in education, we probably have 80 percent of healthcare now controlled by the government and moving even further, you know, and when people talk about, you know, government-controlled healthcare and single-payer system, you know, government can control prices, but it’s fatal to innovation. You don’t want to get sick when you go travel to some socialist countries, I can guarantee you. You don’t want to be in the hospital there, you know. So I think it’s very dangerous of trends, it’s very dangerous trends centralizing the powers, very dangerous trends when our government takes so much control of so many industries using gimmicks, you know, accounting and disclosure, it’s even happening right now. It’s very dangerous when government infringe on private property rights and very dangerous when government attacks first, second amendment, government attacks fourth amendment. We actually, you know, I’m sending a letter for FBI director, you know, to really see how can government surveil US citizen without warrant and proper due process, you know. We have a surveillance now of US citizens. It’s never been authorized by the branch to do that, you know, so we have to look into this. So a lot of amendments and our rights are infringed, so there are some very dangerous trends. But I believe, you know, we’re a tough country. This is not the first time, you know, that we have gone through challenges. But I believe, you know, we have to wake up and start thinking about it. And Karl Marx talk about socialism ー he says socialism is inevitable, you know, but Hayek and Friedman, if you look at what they had to say, well, socialistic trends are inevitable, but at some point people can wake up and start realizing we have to reverse them. So hopefully people will understand that, and hopefully young people, because there is a lot that’s at stake, you know, when we accumulate a lot of this debt, it limits opportunities for you guys to have a vibrant economy. When you have to raise your families, when you want to have this growth, vibrancy and opportunities for you, you are going to be, you know, burdened by these debt loads that are so immaterial that it will be hard to take lower, you know, to keep low tax environment, you know, keep that vibrancy on the economy because we’ll have to be dealing with that, you know. And a lot of this money is wasted, very wasteful spending. They don’t invest in assets with future returns. They, a lot, go to either good friends or political lobbyists and all these different things that make and, you know, create billionaires and millionaires, you know, all around there, that’s where most of them go, and people don’t understand that, and I think young people really need to start paying attention.
CNS News: You are well aware of and have spoken to the growing popularity of socialism in this country, specifically among young people. How do we counteract that, and what can students and young people in particular do to get involved in the effort against socialism in America?
Rep. Victoria Spartz: Well, I think we need to get into healthy debate and discussion with young people. I think young people were misguided, I think in some way maybe brainwashed, and some of the way, you know, maybe, you know, maybe intentionally maybe not. But I think in general young people want to be free. When you are young ー when I was, no one could tell me what to do, you know. So young people want to think about what’s going to happen with the future, with them and their children. They want to make sure, you know, that their children have an opportunity and have a good life. They want to make sure that, you know, they have a strong country because you have a lot of your life ahead of you, and it’s important for you ー what’s happening right now ー how it’s going to be affecting your future. So I think we just have to be able to have a dialogue and discussion and have a very constructive dialogue on issues, not just to have drama and not to have these, you know, talking points. So I think we have to engage, but fight for freedom is never easy, you know, fight for freedom is never free, and it’s something that you continually need to educate yourself and your children. And we as the parents need to do a better job engaging with our children and having discussion and conversations and really communicate to them that what is the greatest thing about the country because there is no difference between the people around the world. We’re all the same. The only difference is that we are the greatest republic, the strongest republic that ever existed in the history of the world because people have the most freedoms to succeed. That is the only thing that differentiates it from anyone else, and that’s why we are where we are and that’s why a lot of other countries are failing and what’s happening everywhere else. So we need to do a better job at communicating with our young people because you are our future, you’re going to be our freedom fighters. I told my young daughters, I said, you know, I, you know, do a lot of fights and have to fight some battles and win some wars, but I’m doing it for people who died for this republic and for the freedoms. You know, you guys are going to fight your own fights for freedom, so you better be ready and be strong.
Disclosure: CNS News’ Elisabeth Nieshalla is a resident of the 5th District in Indiana, represented by Rep. Victoria Spartz.