trish6912

Jan 16, 2013

I know, it sounds like a losing battle, but.........

I was talking recently with a new friend who I’m just getting to know. She tends to be somewhat conservative, while I lean more toward the progressive side.

When our conversation drifted to politics, somehow the dreaded word “socialism” came up. My friend seemed totally shocked when I said “All socialism isn’t bad”.  She became very serious and replied “So you want to take money away from the rich and give to the poor?”  I smiled and said “No, not at all.  Why do you think socialism means taking money from the rich and giving to the poor?

“Well it is, isn’t it?” was her reply.

 

I explained to her that I rather liked something called Democratic Socialism, just as Senator Bernie Sanders, talk show host Thom Hartman, and many other people do. Democratic Socialism consists of a democratic form of government with a mix of socialism and capitalism. I proceeded to explain to her the actual meaning terms “democracy” and “socialism”.

Democracy is a form of government in which all citizens take part. It is government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Socialism is where we all put our resources together and work for the common good of us all and not just for our own benefit. In this sense, we are sharing the wealth within society.

Of course when people hear that term, “Share the wealth” they start screaming, “OMG you want to rob from the rich and give it all to the poor!”  But that is NOT what Democratic Socialism means.

To a Democratic Socialist, sharing the wealth means pooling tax money together to design social programs that benefit ALL citizens of that country, city, state, etc.

The fire and police departments are both excellent examples of Democratic Socialism in America.  Rather than leaving each individual responsible for protecting their own home from fire, everyone pools their money together, through taxes, to maintain a fire and police department. It’s operated under a non-profit status, and yes, your tax dollars pay for putting out other people’s fires. It would almost seem absurd to think of some corporation profiting from putting out fires.  But it’s more efficient and far less expensive to have government run fire departments funded by tax dollars.

Similarly, public education is another social program in the USA. It benefits all of us to have a taxpayer supported, publicly run education system. Unfortunately, in America, the public education system ends with high school.  Most of Europe now provides low cost or free college education for their citizens. This is because their citizens understand that an educated society is a safer, more productive and more prosperous society. Living in such a society, everyone benefits from public education.

When an American graduates from college, they usually hold burdensome debt in the form of student loans that may take 10 to even 30 years to pay off. Instead of being able to start a business or invest in their career, the college graduate has to send off monthly payments for years on end.

On the other hand, a new college graduate from a European country begins without the burdensome debt that an American is forced to take on. The young man or woman is freer to start up businesses, take an economic risk on a new venture, or invest more money in the economy, instead of spending their money paying off student loans to for-profit financial institutions.  Of course this does not benefit wealthy corporations, but it does greatly benefit everyone in that society.

EXAMPLE  American style capitalistic program for college: If you pay (average) $20,000 annually for four years of college, that will total $80,000 + interest for student loans. The interest you would owe could easily total or exceed the $80,000 you originally borrowed, which means your degree could cost in excess of $100,000.

EXAMPLE  European style social program for college: Your college classes are paid for through government taxes.  When you graduate from that college and begin your career, you also start paying an extra tax for fellow citizens to attend college.

Question - You might be thinking how is that fair? If you’re no longer attending college, why would you want to help everyone else pay for their college degree?

Answer - Every working citizen pays a tax that is equivalent to say, $20 monthly.  If you work for 40 years and then retire, you will have paid $9,600 into the Social college program.  So you could say that your degree ends up costing only $9,600. When everyone pools their money together and the program is non-profit, the price goes down tremendously. This allows you to keep more of your hard earned cash!

Health care is another example: If your employer does not provide health insurance, you must purchase a policy independently.  The cost will be thousands of dollars annually, in addition to deductible and co-pays.

In Holland, an individual will pay around $35 monthly, period.  Everyone pays into the system and this helps reduce the price for everyone, so they get to keep more of their hard earned cash.

In the United States we are told and frequently reminded that anything run by the government is bad and that everything should be operated by for-profit companies. Of course, with for-profit entities the cost to the consumer is much higher because they have corporate executives who expect compensation packages of tens of millions of dollars and shareholders who expect to be paid dividends, and so on.

This (and more) pushes up the price of everything, with much more money going to the already rich and powerful, which in turn, leaves the middle class with less spending money and creates greater class separation.

This economic framework makes it much more difficult for average Joes to ”lift themselves up by their bootstraps” and raise themselves to a higher economic standing.

So next time you hear the word “socialism” and “spreading the wealth” in the same breath, understand that this is a serious misconception.

Social programs require tax money and your taxes may be higher. But as you can see everyone benefits because other costs go down and, in the long run, you get to keep more of your hard earned cash!

Democratic Socialism does NOT mean taking from the rich and giving to the poor.  It works to benefit everyone so the rich can no longer take advantage of the poor and middle class.

hounddogeyes

Jan 16, 2013

Some very good points Trish. Nicely worded. :)

Side--Effect

Jan 16, 2013

Tl:dr. I stopped at the word socialism. I already know what it is and it's bad.

Oh, wait...

That wasn't even a good devil's advocate, just a typical one.

The world is full of good ideas and truths that we don't get to hear about enough because they don't make a profit for the right people.

rip59

Jan 16, 2013

Well written Trish.  Politically mis guided.  Respect is given to the OP but not the evil of euro-socialism.  

Socialism is defined as government ownwership of the means of production.  See webster/wik etc. We see this becoming more evident with Government Motors, Interest free loans to banks etc.  Corporate Welfare so to speak.  Probably worse than individual fiscal endenture to the beast.  Beside from being morally repugnant ; socialism just plain does not work.  Europe is now in demise.  Our future as well.

Regarding college , Trish, now more than ever we as parents are responsible for the outcome of our offspring.  I'm making plans to provide for my young later in life.  Shame on anyone not providing a legacy for their most prized posession.  

Tell ya what, Trish ; leave all this to the states.  You wish to live in France, go see Bernie in Vermont.  I'll stick with Rick Scott in the great tax free state of FL; thanks.

rip59

Jan 16, 2013

Yanno, Trish, I would encourage you to research the role of the "progressives" during the formation of the Constitution ; LOL.  Constitutional obstructionists of today have so much in common with their kool aid swilling , king george loyalists of revolutionary times.  

Side--Effect

Jan 16, 2013

Another tl;dr. If you had read it you would have read about a system very similar to the one we have already where we pool our money to build roads and runways, just slightly expanded. You would not have called it evil. Socialism does work, just look at India, China, Russia and especially France. Capitalism is a fail if you ask me.

If you had read it you may have noticed the link that indicates it was written by Nurse Pam who may or may not be Trish.

 

trish6912

Jan 16, 2013

Lol, I wish I was so smart. I only reposted it:)

Chaeddd

Jan 16, 2013

With socialism more things are paid for with income tax. Now someone with no income doesn't pay income tax, so the employed people are paying for stuff the unemployed people use.

With outsourcing and automation, eventually the majority will be unemployed, so the majority of voters will be in favor of more taxes on the rich.

pseupseudio

Jan 16, 2013

in the immediate, it is "tax the rich for the sake of the poor."

in the long term, it's a means by which those who have benefited from their citizenship to such a degree that they have become wealthy can be called upon to pay back their debt to society by investing in the future of its citizenry.

some of their gains, which they could not have achieved in a different economy and for which they should be grateful to the society which has facilitated their wealth, are levied as an investment in the future success of those who do not presently have wealth, in order to resolve issues such as the cost of health care and legislation which are obstacles to success for those without means.

the idea is that today's poor, given the benefit of this investment from society, will become tomorrow's well-to-do and thus be taxed in turn for the long-term good of the country.

Side--Effect

Jan 16, 2013

With socialism more things are paid for with income tax.

Could they not be paid with excise tax? Or capital gains tax? Or sales tax?

so the employed people are paying for stuff the unemployed people use.

And they are paying for stuff that employed people use. And stuff that wealthy people can buy and sell with walking around money.

With outsourcing and automation, eventually the majority will be unemployed, so the majority of voters will be in favor of more taxes on the rich.

There will always be work at the Kool-Aid factory washing Rush's cars or being his pool boy.

Camuscando

Jan 16, 2013

There will always be work at the Kool-Aid factory washing Rush's cars or being his pool boy.

 

If the libertarians can acknowledge the inevitability of class separation due to the genetic lottery (I'm talking about people who are unemployable due to congenital & acquired illness) and historical exploitation of the working class by those employing them, then it seems to me that a society that didn't provide for those at the bottom of the economic pyramid (regardless of their "worthiness") would quickly collapse as the size of that pyramid's base grew so large that it became unsustainable. I've accepted the benefits of capitalism, but I know that it will always have a substantial portion of the population that need to exploited for it to provide low-cost goods at a profit, so a safety net for the less fortunate is a fair trade for the rest of us being able to live it up in our McMansions, SUVs, and relative affluence. 

Side--Effect

Jan 16, 2013

Slight amendment:

There will always be work at the Kool-Aid factory washing Rush's cars or being his pool boy if you are willing to get paid less and do more than the guy you are replacing.

Camuscando

Jan 16, 2013

There will always be work at the Kool-Aid factory washing Rush's cars or being his pool boy if you are willing to get paid less and do more than the guy you are replacing.

 

No doubt.

rip59

Jan 16, 2013

Camuscando, what do you feel the limitations of government into the lives of the cognatavely impaired should be?  One of my x wives and I were discussing this the other day.  The safety net is present and we all pay a high social security tax essentially for the "net" of SSD.  This is one of the many tax increases that we must soon endure. I have never been exposed to anyone ever exploiting my daughter. Matter of fact,  certain business folks have been more than happy to assist her in pursuit of her craft.  

Camuscando

Jan 17, 2013

Camuscando, what do you feel the limitations of government into the lives of the cognatavely impaired should be?

Depends on how much help they need. If a cognitively impaired individual lacks family to help that person find appropriate housing, work, and care, then I don't mind my taxes helping to provide for that person's basic needs, as is the case right now. I'm not in favor of cutting taxes in the hopes that local private charities in every jurisdiction will just automatically pick up the slack and somehow effectively manage the giant bureaucracy of housing, healthcare, and education of thousands of individuals out of the goodness of their hearts, all while depending on donations that might drop in times of need. That libertarian dream sounds overly optimistic about the goodness and aptitude of mankind, while being overly pessimistic about government, as though government is just an abstract entity separate from the same human condition that produces good (and bad) businesses. 

I have never been exposed to anyone ever exploiting my daughter. Matter of fact,  certain business folks have been more than happy to assist her in pursuit of her craft.

I was mostly talking about the general exploitation of labor needed to maintain profits and concentrate revenues into the hands of the relatively few, despite the economic realities of our times. If we acknowledge that not everyone has the capacity to be a doctor or engineer, and some people are going to work minimum wage jobs for the rest of their lives and be happy doing so, while serving an important role in the economy, I don't think we ought to stack the deck of cards against him/her by making many essential things in life unaffordable or devastating (like major healthcare catastrophes).  I acknowledge my privilege in being raised in a district with great educational support, having a middle class family to raise me in a stable environment, and also my luck in being naturally gifted in the sciences, so I know that my successes in life were not solely the result of sheer determination and hard work. Some people get dealt a shittier hand and then are thrown into a world where everything is much harder because of that. I want those people to have the opportunities to work hard and be able to support themselves, but when people are constantly demonizing them and their "entitlements" as "freebies" any attempt at making the system fairer is seen as Big Government nanny-state interventions, I can see that only the benefits of capitalism are being highlighted, while ignoring the negative consequences of social darwinism.

smashingmayo

Jan 17, 2013

We should explain logic of anything over first grade level to a liberal, but that would be impossible for them to learn, as proven by their crazy programs which lsoe money when aiming to gain.

booksandbourbon

Jan 17, 2013

Socialism is defined as government ownwership of the means of production.

It's control of the means of production by the workers who manipulate those means.  Governments are only one type of body through which such control could be maintained.

rip59

Jan 17, 2013

Incorrect, Mr. bourban.  The situation you have described is a co-op.  

I don't disagree with anything Camuscando has written.  One point that makes Libertarian thought more generous is the fact that people simply give more when they are not coerced. 

pseupseudio

Jan 17, 2013

incorrect, you're drawing a difference without a distinction. socialism is collective ownership of production means and cooperative management of economy.

people do not give more when they are not coerced. people may give more when they are not coerced than they do when they are lightly coerced, but you cannot extrapolate a maxim from this.

if you coerce people to give all they have, they could not possibly give more than that if uncoerced.

pseupseudio

Jan 17, 2013

also, cap gains should not be treated differently than income.

and sales tax should be abolished. consumption taxes disproportionately burden the poor, which retards growth.

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