Socialism – Facts about our Semisocialist, Capitalistic Democracy
Responding to my recent “Charter Schools a Bad Alternative to Public Education,” a couple of readers who took issue with my position went so far as to accuse me and Democrats of “pushing Satanistic ideas and behaviors” along with the recommendation that “a move to a Socialist country would fit my Anti-American views. This raises the question, what do these individuals and Republicans in general think that socialism actually is? Obviously it’s become a well-worn condemnation regularly used to denounce and vilify Democrats, but why is that?
First, let’s look at capitalism, long a driving force in this country and ardently promoted by the Republican Party. It’s based on private ownership of resources and means of production in a free market economy. However, left unchecked and unregulated, capitalism can result in inequalities in wealth, power, and worker exploitation. Nowhere is that more evident than here in this country where the top 10% of U.S. households now hold 70% of the nation’s wealth. And today’s rapidly rising consumer prices are a prime example of capitalism and profiteering run amuck. Despite some COVID-related supply line disruptions and increased wages, this current bout of soaring inflation can be directly attributed to rampant and widespread corporate greed aided by unrestrained monopolies. The result is that these corporate behemoths are raking in vast, record-breaking profits while beleaguered consumers struggle to stay afloat.
So let’s examine socialism or Democratic Socialism as some would prefer to call it. Besides the fact that it’s one of Fox News’ favorite despicable words, broadly speaking in this country it’s an economic system in which property and the means of production are owned in common and typically controlled by the state or federal government. It’s founded on the theory that common or public ownership of resources and the means of production lead to a more equal society. Bottom line, socialism is taxpayer funds being used collectively to benefit society as a whole despite income, contribution or ability to pay. Hardly sufficient cause for the vituperative abuse which mere mention of the word evokes among the GOP.
So what are these social services which Republicans wish to dismantle and/or eradicate?
- Military Defense and the G.I. Bill – The United States military is the largest and most funded socialist program in the world which operates on taxpayer dollars.
- Police, Fire Department, CIA, and FBI – These are all taxpayer funded socialistic services which protect us from harm and threats coming from inside and outside of the country.
- Postal Service – “Neither rain, nor snow, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Delivering mail to and from our doorstep six days a week at minimal expense is yet another taxpayer funded service that none of us could do
- Highways/Roads/Bridges/Dams – Completely funded by your tax dollars, our national highway system was created in 1956 at the behest of Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower thereby allowing itinerant Americans to fully engage in our love of automobiles, travel, and drive-thru restaurants.
- EPA – Also taxpayer funded, the Environmental Protection Agency requires corporations to follow environmental rules and regulations to prevent them from poisoning us and the environment.
- Social Security and Medicare – The greatest and most effective of our health and life-saving socialistic programs designed to help prevent senior citizens and disabled Americans from sinking into ill-health, poverty and homelessness.
- Public Schools and Free Lunch Programs – Paid by state and federal tax dollars, the Constitution’s 14th Amendment guarantees all Americans the right to free public education. The Free Lunch Program provided by our public schools feeds those 1 in 4 Tennessee children whose families live in poverty. This socialistic educational program is responsible for a nation where the majority of our citizens are literate and reasonably well educated. Unfortunately Governor Bill Lee is trying to politicize and monetize Tennessee’s school system by means of privately owned charter schools.
- Jail/Prison/Court Systems – Taxpayer funded by federal and state governments, prisons in particular are yet another potential cash cow which Republicans seek to milk despite the fact that for profit prisons such as CoreCivic inTennessee historically have far higher rates of violence, death, escapees, and lawsuits than their state and federally run counterparts.
- OSHA – Brought to you by the taxpayers of America, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration helps ensure a safe and healthy workplace for workers.
- FEMA – Using taxpayer dollars when natural disasters strike – which is becoming far too often in Tennessee - the Federal Emergency Management Agency provides disaster relief and literally helps us pick up the pieces.
- And let us not forget the many additional beneficiaries of our socialistic system, specifically those elected and appointed government officials from the Supreme Court to the President of the United States and on down to the local level. It’s our taxes that pay their salaries and benefits.
This is merely a small and incomplete list of the many examples by which our governmental agencies endeavor to address the needs, wants, and safety of all Americans; albeit with varying degrees of success. So the next time you blame socialism and Uncle Sam for wasting your hard-earned tax dollars, consider what the quality of your life would be without these essential public services.
Murfreesboro, TN 37128