Socialism – Facts about our semi-socialist and capitalist democracy
Responding to my recent “Charter Schools a Bad Alternative to Public Education”, a few readers who challenged my stance went so far as to accuse me and Democrats of “pushing Satanist ideas and behaviors”. with the recommendation that “a movement in a socialist country would correspond with my anti-American views. This raises the question, what do these individuals and Republicans in general think socialism really is? Obviously, it is become a well-worn condemnation regularly used to denounce and vilify Democrats, but why?
Let’s first look at capitalism, a driving force in this country for a long time and ardently promoted by the Republican Party. It is based on private ownership of resources and means of production in a free market economy. However, if left unchecked and unregulated, capitalism can lead to inequalities of wealth, power and exploitation of workers. Nowhere is this more evident than here in this country where the richest 10% of American households now own 70% of the national wealth. And today’s rapidly rising consumer prices are a prime example of capitalism and profiteering. Despite some COVID-related supply chain disruptions and rising wages, this current spike in inflation can be directly attributed to rampant and widespread corporate greed, aided by rampant monopolies. The result is that these corporate giants are raking in huge record profits while beleaguered consumers struggle to stay afloat.
So let’s look at socialism or democratic socialism as some prefer to call it. Besides the fact that it’s one of Fox News’ favorite despicable words, generally speaking, in this country it’s an economic system in which property and the means of production are held in common and generally controlled by the state or federal government. It is based on the theory that common or public ownership of resources and means of production leads to a more egalitarian society. Ultimately, socialism is the collective use of taxpayers’ funds for the benefit of society as a whole despite income, contributions, or ability to pay. Barely enough cause for the scurrilous insult that the mere mention of the word conjures up in the GOP.
So what are these social services that Republicans want to dismantle and/or eradicate?
- Military Defense and the GI Bill – The United States military is the largest and most funded socialist program in the world that runs on taxpayers’ money.
- Police, Fire, CIA, and FBI – These are all socialist, taxpayer-funded services that protect us from harm and threats from inside and outside the country.
- Postal Service – “Neither the rain, nor the snow, nor the heat, nor the darkness of the night prevent these couriers from quickly completing their appointed rounds.” Delivering mail to and from our door six days a week at minimal cost is another taxpayer funded service that none of us could do.
- Highways / Roads / Bridges / Dams – Funded entirely by your taxes, our National Highway System was created in 1956 at the behest of Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower, allowing traveling Americans to fully engage in our love of the automotive, travel and driving. -through restaurants.
- EPA – Also funded by taxpayers, the Environmental Protection Agency requires companies to follow environmental rules and regulations to prevent them from poisoning us and the environment.
- Social Security and Medicare – The largest and most effective of our socialist health and lifesaving programs designed to help keep older and disabled Americans from sliding into ill health, poverty, and homelessness.
- Public Schools and Free Lunch Programs – Paid for by state and federal taxes, the 14 of the Constitutionand The amendment guarantees all Americans the right to a free public education. The free lunch program provided by our public schools feeds those 1 in 4 children in Tennessee whose families live in poverty. This socialist education 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 the Tennessee school system through private charter schools.
- Jail/Jail/Judicial Systems – Taxpayer funded by federal and state governments, prisons in particular are yet another potential cash cow that Republicans seek to milk despite the fact that for-profit prisons such as CoreCivic inTennessee have historically far higher rates of violence, deaths, escapees and prosecutions than their state and federal counterparts.
- OSHA – Brought to you by US taxpayers, 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’s not forget the many other beneficiaries of our socialist system, especially elected and appointed government officials, from the Supreme Court to the President of the United States and down to the local level. Our taxes pay their salaries and benefits.
This is just a small, incomplete list of the many examples by which our government agencies strive to meet the needs, desires, and safety of all Americans; but with more or less 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