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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

We the People: 75 Ways Socialism has Improved, Saved, and Shaped America


Socialism.

There is nothing more feared and hated in America.

The word alone sends shivers down the spine of the American people.

Those three syllables conger up images of Big Brother Government ruling over us all, telling us what to eat, wear, buy, and think. Our children in national uniform being indoctrinated with propaganda in government education camps that use to be schools, turning them into little slaves. While their parents work twelve hour shifts in the concentration camp that slaughters rich successful billionaires, as the poor and needy get a million dollars a month in welfare. A murderous government waging a war against freedom and liberty to gain complete control over everyone and everything.

You know, the way things were under that socialist Bill Clinton. And the way things are now under that socialist Barack Obama.

They imagine the USSR and how Democrats are turning America into it because our government will give money to poor people so they don't starve to death. (Giving money to billion dollar corporations is NOT socialism somehow. You would be a communist and a hippie to think otherwise.)

This is scary stuff!

And it's about to get scarier, because I have some terrifying news for you....

Socialism is alive and well in America and it has been here for a very long time!

Oh, that's not all. it gets much worse! I hope your sitting down...

As it turns out, You love socialism and you use it everyday, and you may not even know it! It may have even saved your life. I know, this is bad...

Now relax and breath. It's going to be okay! We are going to get through this.

You see, we are still a capitalist nation. In America, you can still make a billion dollars, get a giant tax cut, and pay your employees barely enough to survive while you sail in your yacht to escape any guilt that might inconvenience you. So don't freak out just yet!

The thing is, socialism is all over America and people actually like it. Even you... Yes you!

I know, I know. You're a conservative that believes in freedom and the constitution. You hate handouts and believe in hard work and the individual. You think government should get out of the way and let you live your lives and allow you to prosper on your own. You know that all rich people must have worked hard and all poor people are lazy. There is no other reason why they could be poor considering life is completely fair and all people are born into situations and environments that allow them to have all the opportunities and blessings that you had. There is no fathomable way they could have 2 or 3 jobs they work very hard at but still can't make ends meet. You got it all figured out.

But still, even you get your kicks from a little socialism every now and then.

Don't think of this as an intervention, think of it as a coming out of the closet party. We know you are a closet socialist. It's okay, you are amongst friends and we support you. Besides, we always knew...

Socialism is taxpayer funds being used collectively to benefit society as a whole, despite income, contribution, or ability.

Sounds horrible, huh?

Well I hate to be the one to tell you, but Socialism, which you have been told to fear all your life, is responsible for all this...

1. The Military/Defense - The United States military is the largest and most funded socialist program in the world.  It operates thanks to our taxpayer dollars and protects the country as a whole. From the richest citizens to the homeless who sleep under the bridge. We are all protected by our military whether we pay taxes or not. This is complete socialism.



2. Highways/Roads - Those roads and highways you drive on every single day are completely taxpayer funded. Your tax dollars are used to maintain, expand, and preserve our highways and roads for every one's use. President Eisenhower was inspired by Germany's autobahn and implemented the idea right here in America. That's right, a republican president created our taxpayer funded, national highway system. This was a different time, before the republican party came down with a vicious case of rabies that never went away.



3. Public Libraries - Yes. That place where you go to check out books from conservative authors telling you how horrible socialism is, is in fact socialism. Libraries are taxpayer funded. You pay a few bucks to get a library card and you can read books for free for the rest of your life.



4. Police - Ever had a situation where you had to call the police? Then you have used a taxpayer funded socialist program. Anyone can call the police whether they pay taxes or not. They are there to protect and serve the community, not individuals. This is complete socialism on a state level, but still socialism all the same. Would you rather have to swipe your credit card before the police will help you?



5. Fire Dept. - Hopefully you have never had a fire in your home. But if you have, you probably called your local taxpayer-funded fire department to put the fire out. Like police, this is state socialism. You tax dollars are used to rescue your entire community in case of a fire. It use to be set up where you would pay a fee every month to the fire dept. for their service. If you didn't pay, they let your house burn down. Sadly, a man from Tennessee had this exact situation happen to him in 2011 because he didn't pay his $75.00 fee. I guess that small town in Tennessee would rather let people's houses burn down that resort to evil socialism. So don't take for granted the fact that you have a 24/7 fire dept. to put out your burning home thanks to socialism.



6. Postal Service - Like having mail delivered directly to your front door and paying next to nothing to send mail anywhere you want? Well it's all made possible by socialism.



7. Student Loans and Grants - Did you go to College? If you did, you family might not have been rich enough to pay your way through. So you got your education anyway through student loans and grants from the federal government at taxpayer expense. Of course you have to pay back the loans, but if not the government, did you know anyone else who was going to lend you tens of thousands of dollars? Probably not. So the taxpayers lent you the money and you paid it back with slight interest. The government grants you accepted were gifts from the taxpayer and the federal government that you did not have to pay back. Socialism got you through school.



8. Bridges - Along with our highways, our government used your taxpayer dollars to build bridges. This allows the public to travel across rivers without having to sail or swim.



9. Garbage Collection - Like having your garbage collected once a week instead of having to drive it to the landfill yourself? Thank socialism.



10. Public Landfills - Taxpayer dollars are used to have places to dump all of our garbage that is collected by taxpayer funded garbage men.

11. War - That's right! War would not be possible without socialism. Your tax dollars are used to fight wars for your country. This is Big Government at it's biggest. Private companies don't attack other countries, at least not yet. Government is the only entity in America that can defend us from foreign enemies and our tax dollars are used for every second of it. Socialism has brought down Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, and Bin Laden. War may very well be the most socialist thing on this list.



12. Farm Subsidies - Our government uses taxpayer funds to pay farmers and businesses to provide their income and keep them growing food for the public.



13. CIA - The Central Intelligence Agency is vital to America's security. The CIA is completely taxpayer funded to protect the public from enemies.

14. FBI - The Federal bureau of investigations is a taxpayer funded government agency.



15. Congressional Health Care - As Republicans in congress warn us of the evils of government-run health care, most of them are covered by taxpayer-funded government-run health care. You literally pay for their health care while they tell you that paying for your neighbors health care through a public option or single-payer system is socialism. They are 100% correct, it is socialism. They're just not telling you that they like their socialist health care, they just don't think you should have it. They are afraid you might like it better than the private insurance you have now that funds their campaigns and gives them money to push what is best for them and not for you. Members of congress are free to opt out of their evil government health care, but most of them don't because deep down, they like socialism too.



16. Polio Vaccine - In the 1950's polio ravaged the United States. Until Dr. Jonas Salk invented a cure, finally ridding America of this terrible disease. Dr. Salk could have sold his vaccine in the free market and made millions and millions of dollars. Instead he gave it to the federal government to begin eradicating polio. He said that he made plenty of money as a scientist and felt it was too important to try and profit from or create a business around.



17. EPA - Republicans hate this taxpayer-funded government program because they have the nerve to tell corporations that they may have to follow environmental rules ad regulations for the greater good of the earth and the people who live on it. But if you don't like breathing mercury, drinking dirty water, and breathing in chemicals, you should like this example of socialism working for the people.



18. Social Security - You pay a tax to help ensure that our grandparents and senior citizens of America have money to live off of when they are retired or too elderly to work. I love hearing rich people bitch about this one because the truth is that they do not pay a social security tax, like most payroll taxes. This little piece of socialism helps prevent our senior citizens from sinking into poverty and starving to death.



19. Museums - Many museums are privately owned by organizations and groups, but many are also taxpayer-funded state, national, and federal museums.

20. Public Schools - Can't afford to send your children to an expensive private school? Thanks to socialism and government, you child can still get an education. Public education has been under attack for decades in this country by the radical right because public schools don't teach Christianity to your children and it enables people like Barack Obama to work hard, gain scholarships, and eventually become President of the United States.



21. Jail/Prison System - Many murders and criminals are behind bars right now and not out on the streets because of our taxpayer-funded, federal and state run jails and prisons. Taxpayer money is collected and used to help protect all of society from murders, molesters, rapist, etc. I know there's a lot of disagreement and controversy about how to handle our prison system, but I think we can all agree that serial killers should not be freed into society. There are also many private prisons in the United States. However, they have a higher escape rate than their socialist counterpart. Besides, don't you see the bad incentives in having a private prison system that profits from having people in prison? Since a business's  top goal is to make more money than the year before, the only feasible agenda would be to get everyone in prison.

22. Corporate/Business Subsidies - This is the type of socialism that is acceptable in the Republican party. You tax dollars are given to big corporations to do things they should be doing anyway out of morals and ethics. Like not sending jobs overseas and hiring people. Wouldn't you like a nice big check just for not breaking the law? To be fair though, many businesses do earn their subsidies by advancing green technology and practice, donating to charity, helping communities, etc. They aren't all bad. People just get mad when big billionaire oil companies get billions of their taxpayer dollars while they're paying $4 at the pump. For the corporations that don't earn their subsidies other than donating to their very own political party, it's merely welfare. Though however you look at it, it is socialism.



23. Veteran's (VA) Health Care - Our soldiers bravely go to foreign countries and risk their lives at the request of their government and the American people. For those who survive, we as a country feel committed and obligated to ensure that they have everything they need for the rest of their lives for their service to us in which we could never fully repay. So we the taxpayers fund their health care in a government-run single-payer system for veterans. Many soldiers return with mental and/or physical health issues that would cost them thousands in a private health care plan. Socialism funds the military, the overall war, and also takes care of our troops when they return home.



24. Public Parks - Like going to the park on a sunny day? Just being able to walk right in, or at the worse pay a small fee? This is once again the work of socialism. If it were private, it wouldn't be a park, it would be someones back yard. That small or non-existent fee will turn into a $15 fee faster than you can say "No Trespassing".



25. All Elected Government Officials - From the Supreme Court, to the President of the United States and all the way down to the County Dog Catcher, taxpayers pay their salary and provide the funding for them to do their job. We pay for every aspect of their job. So in a sense, I guess you could say our whole country is run on socialism.



26. Food Stamps - Republicans fill with bitter contempt knowing that our government at the expense of the taxpayer is giving poor people money to buy food they couldn't otherwise afford. This, like welfare, is what the right thinks socialism is all about, along with mass murder. However, just like corporate welfare, welfare is socialism. I'll just end this one with a quick story. I have been down and out in periods of my life and sought assistance via food stamps. Even though I was what anyone would consider poor, I was not poor enough to get food stamps. Which means people who do get them, must really, really need them. As far as my personal experience, they weren't thrown around like candy the way the right would have you believe.

27. Sewer System - Do you like having a sewer system to remove waste and prevent pollution and disease from seeping into our environment? Thank the taxpayers of America and the socialist system it operates in.



28. Medicare - Medicare is one of the most liked socialist programs in America. Most of us don't mind paying taxes to provide our senior citizens with health care and hope the next generation will do the same for us. If you don't believe me, just look at almost any poll. Most seniors would not be able to afford private health care. So this form of socialism is a life saver for this nation's grandparents and senior citizens.



29. Court System - Whether it's the murder trial of the century or a case in a small claims court, the taxpayers of America fully fund our courts and legal process. You may pay for your own lawyer, but the courtroom, judge, and jury is paid for through socialist means.



30. Bird Flu Vaccine - You don't have bird flu right now and probably aren't worried about it because our federal government used taxpayer funds to pump vaccines all over America.

31. G.I. Bill - The G.I. bill allows veterans to pursue an education by using taxpayer dollars to help them pay for most of their schooling. It also helps them with loans, savings, and unemployment benefits.

32. Hoover Dam - Remember when our country use to build things? Our government built the Hoover Dam using taxpayer funds. It is now a vital source of power for the west coast.



33. State/City Zoos - American families have been going to the zoo for generations. A place where kids and adults can have fun seeing creatures and animals from all over the world and learn at the same time. Many zoos are ran by the state and/or city, using taxpayer funds to operate and even bring the animals to the zoo.



34. IRS - I know, the IRS is about as popular and well liked in America as a hemorrhoid, but think about it. The IRS is the reason that we have anything. The IRS collects taxpayer funds for the federal government. The government then dispenses these funds to our military, states, and social programs. If there is no one collecting taxes, no one will pay them. If no one pays taxes, our country shuts down. Without money to operate, nothing operates. This may sound like a good thing to some radical republicans, but for those of us with sense, we know this means anarchy in the USA. The IRS gets a bad rap because if you don't pay your taxes or owe them money, they can be ruthless. Like everything else, the IRS is not perfect, but without them we literally have no country or no means to run it.



35. Free Lunch Program - Some children are living in poverty by no fault of their own. I'm not saying it is even their parents fault, but you surely cannot blame a child for the situation they are born into. In most if not all states, there are programs where children who live in poor households can receive school lunch for free. The taxpayers of the state pay for this. Sounds like socialism to me, and also the moral and Christian thing to do.



36. The Pentagon - Our defense system in America is a socialist system from top to bottom. We as taxpayers fund the pentagon completely.



37. Medicaid - Our government uses taxpayer funds to provide health care for low-income people. Republicans, the compassionate Christians that they are, absolutely hate this program. What they fail to understand is that when people can't afford to pay their outrageous medical bills, they don't. This bill does not disappear. The loss that the insurance company, doctor's office, or hospital takes gets passed down to everyone else. So covering people and giving them a low-income option reduces costs for them and everyone else. This is the main argument behind a health care mandate. It's not to force you to buy health care out of cruelty. If everyone is covered, costs drop for everyone. If you have no compassion for the uninsured, you can at least understand the rational in a selfish sense.

38. FDA - The Food and Drug Administration is far from perfect. It is infested with corporate corruption and they have been wrong many, many times. Countless times they have approved things that they later have to apologize for and have banned things that would have helped people. However, they have also stopped many harmful foods and products from being sold to the public and protect us everyday from poisons being disguised as products. While not perfect, they are needed to prevent harmful food and drugs from being sold to you and you family. Without them, corporations can send whatever they want to your supermarkets and drug stores without any testing or evaluation. I don't mind my taxes going towards a middle man to inspect the safety of the products we are being sold everyday.

39. Health Care for 9/11 Rescue Workers - After beating back GOP obstruction, Democrats finally passed a bill last year to allow government to help 9/11 rescue worker's with their health care after many came down with horrible lung diseases from the toxins they breathed in rescuing people from smoldering buildings. These brave citizens risked their lives and health to help complete strangers. They deserve more, but covering their health care is a good start.



40. Swine Flu Vaccine -  Do you have swine flu right now? Then thank government and the socialist structure.

41. Disability Insurance (SSDI) - For those who are disabled and cannot work, our government provides an income for them via taxpayer dollars as opposed to the other option of letting them starve to death.



42. Town/State Run Beaches - Like going to the beach? Like it when the beach is clean and safe? Like having lifeguards on staff in case of an emergency? Then once again, thank the taxpayers and the socialist structure that makes it all possible.



43. Corporate Bailouts/Welfare - The whole point of this post is to prove that we ALL use, benefit from, and like socialism. This example is a form of socialism that the republicans not only like, but fight tooth and nail for. They don't like it when socialism is used for working/poor people, but when it's for millionaires and their corporate donors, socialism becomes as American as apple pie. The middle/working class who are the majority of taxpayers pay for welfare for corporations and people who have more money than all of us combined. When our government bails out a bank or gives a subsidy to a billion dollar corporation, you are paying for it.



44. State Construction - Ever see those construction workers in your town fixing potholes, erecting buildings, repaving highways and roads, and fixing things all over town? They themselves and the work they do is taxpayer-funded state socialism.



45. Unemployment Insurance - All your working life, you pay payroll taxes. Some of these taxes go toward a program that temporarily provides for people who lost their jobs until they can find another one.   You pay for others, others pay for you. Especially these days, you never know when you might lose your job. You may need temporary assistance until you get back on your feet. The government recognizes this. UI also keeps the economy moving in times of recession because people still have some money in their pockets to buy goods and promote demand.

46. City/Metro Buses - If you lack transportation, you can catch a city bus. Taxpayer funds and the fee you pay to take the bus make it possible for millions of people to go to work.



47. WIC - WIC is a federally funded program to assist women, infants, and children. WIC helps low-income families by providing funding for nutrition, education, and health care for children.



48.  State Snow Removal - Even though sometimes it may take them longer than you like to get to your street, do you like having snow plow service to clear our roads and highways in the winter? This is a state socialist taxpayer-funded service.



49. PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) - PBS operates on donations and government funding. The provide non-partisan news and information to the public. They are the home of Sesame Street, Masterpiece Theater, and The Antiques Roadshow. Surveys show that they are literally the most trusted name in news. I wonder how Fox feels about that?



50. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - The CDC helps promote and enact the health and safety of the public along with helping to prevent and control illness and disease. The CDC is a government program that operates on taxpayer funding.



51. Welfare - Is there anything the republicans hate more? Of course I'm talking about the welfare that goes to poor people. Corporate welfare is not only accepted in the republican Kabul, but it's mandatory that we give our tax dollars to billionaires and not question the logic of it. Though if you look at it realistically and not through the red scare glasses in which the right sees the world, welfare helps the economy. As I've said many times, when poor people have money in their pocket, they buy things made and sold by companies. This creates a demand. To keep up with demand, businesses must hire to keep up. If you yanked everyone who is on welfare off of it tomorrow, the economy would take a blow and lose jobs due to the down tick in consumer demand because we just took what little money they had away.



52. Public Street Lighting - Like being able to see at night when you walk or drive? Thank Socialism.



53. FEMA - If Disaster strikes, FEMA is there to help pick up the pieces. As a part of homeland security and an agency of the federal government, they use taxpayer dollars to help cities, states, and towns recover and rebuild. I don't know to many private companies that could assist in disaster relief and ask nothing in return. Thank God for socialism.

54. Public Defenders - Ever been in trouble and couldn't afford a lawyer? Well the taxpayers and the government make sure you still get representation.



55. S-CHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program) - S-CHIP is a program that matches funds to states for health insurance for children in families that cannot afford insurance but make too much to qualify for Medicaid. Your tax dollars go towards covering uninsured children, is that so wrong?



56. Amtrak - Amtrak transports tens of millions of passengers a year in 46 states and three Canadian Providences. It is owned by the federal government and your tax dollars are used to fund it. All aboard!!



57. NPR - National Public Radio operates on private and federal funding along with public donations. NPR has been one of the most trusted news sources in America for over 40 years.



58. The Department of Homeland Security - Created after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, this heavily federally funded department of the U.S. government helps protect us from future terrorist attacks. This is the third largest department within the United States government.

59. OSHA - Do you have a safe and healthy workplace that provides training, outreach, education, and assistance? Thank OSHA! Brought to you by the taxpayers of America and socialism.



60. State and National Monuments - The Lincoln Memorial. Mount Rushmore. The D.C. National Mall. All brought to you and maintained with your tax dollars. Socialism is patriotic?



61. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) - The USDA enforces regulations on the farming, agriculture, and food industries to ensure food safety, natural resources, and hunger worldwide and in the United States. Your tax dollars are used to help keep what you are eating safe and even feed those who are not eating.

62. Government Scholarships - if you work hard in school and show true potential, our government will give you a scholarship towards college so you can advance your education. Your tax dollars have been used to send future doctors, lawyers, scientists, and even presidents of the United States to college.



63. Department of Health and Human Service - The overall goal of HHS is to promote, implement, and ensure the health of the American people. Your tax dollars are used to do this. Government looking out for the well being of it's people, imagine that!

64. Census Bureau  - Every ten years, our government collects data about our people and economy, to better serve and represent us. From the forms that are sent to your home for you to fill out and send back in and to the census worker who shows up and kindly asks you to fill out the form if you don't send it in, all taxpayer funded socialism. The information collected is used to better understand the economic situation and population in your area. Not to enslave you in a FEMA camp.

65. Department of Energy - This taxpayer funded cabinet of the federal government oversees nuclear weapons, nuclear reactors, energy conservation, radioactive waste disposal, and energy production. To those of you who care about our environment and would rather not witness a nuclear holocaust might consider this money well spent.



66. Customs and Border Protection  - the CBP is the largest law enforcement agency in America. This is big government that republicans actually do like because they don't like Mexicans immigrating to our country like our ancestors did. However, this taxpayer funded, socialist agency of the federal government regulates trade, imports, and immigration.

67. Department of Education - This cabinet of the federal government is actually the smallest. They administer and oversee federal assistance to education. They also collect data and enforce federal laws and regulations involving education. Even though the right thinks that this department is indoctrinating your children, they actually have no control over curriculum or standards.

68. Secret Service - Your tax dollars are used to provide highly-trained, skilled professional bodyguards to protect the President of the United States.



69. Peace Corps - The Peace Corps is a volunteer program run by the government that helps people outside of the US to understand our culture as well as helping us learn about other cultures. However they are more well known for their work with economic and social development in less-fortunate countries. Sounds very Christian for being a socialist program, huh?

70. Department of Justice - The DOJ is responsible for enforcing the law. Socialism keeps our civilization intact.

71. National Weather Service - Like knowing when a storm, tornado, earthquake, or snow is coming? Socialism makes this possible and available to everyone.



72. The White House - Our taxpayer dollars through a socialist means pays for the house that the president and his family live in during a presidents time in office.



73. Government - Like it or not, our country would not be a country without a government. Every single day, government on state and local levels serve us in ways we simply take for granted. Government as an entity operates and functions on our tax dollars through a socialist structured funding system. From the military down to the county dog catcher, socialism turns the wheels that make our society function.



74. Law - Laws and rules make our democracy possible. Remove these laws and you have sheer anarchy. Laws do not appear out of thin air. To have law, you need a government. You need elected lawmakers to make the laws and a government to implement and enforce them. Socialism is responsible for every law in this country. Without our government and lawmakers which exist thanks to socialism, there would be no laws. So the laws themselves, are enforced and implemented thanks to socialism.



75. Civilization - As an American citizen, you enjoy freedoms that many in other countries do not. Like anything else in this world, our government is not perfect, but you should be thankful everyday that your country has a government that feels an obligation to serve the people and protect their rights and freedoms. This is completely possible because of government, taxes, and socialism. Do you think the private sector would do a better job of governing our country? Do you think corporations would enact laws to help protect and serve you and your family or them and their profits? The reason you can read this blog and the reason I can write it whether you agree with it or not is because of the freedoms we have here in America enforced and protected through socialist means. Our entire civilization depends on us being a people united. Socialism is a glue that binds us together and makes possible the things that we could not accomplish as individuals working against each other.




I don't care who you are.

Rich or poor. Teaparty Republican or Liberal Socialist.

You benefit from at least one or more of these 75 American Government-Run, Taxpayer funded Socialist programs, agencies, and laws.

My overall argument is not for a completely socialist nation. This would not work. A completely capitalist nation would not work either.

I'm just simply saying that I, as a Democratic Socialist, feel that the two can co-exist. I know this because they always have. Socialism and capitalism have always co-existed in America.

I also believe in freedom. I believe options are a form of freedom.

Right now in the United States of America, I can send mail through the public postal service or I can choose a private option like FedEx. I can send my kids to public school or private school.

As liberals, we don't want a government takeover, we want options. We think we should have the freedom to be able to choose to have government health care if we don't like our private plan.

If we are 18-64, we have no options or freedom over our own health care. I don't understand why this isn't viewed as a corporate takeover of health care.

Socialism is not a bad thing. It is a foundation in this country of ours. Claiming socialism is bad because of radical and non-factual comparisons to Hitler and Stalin is like saying all guns are bad because of the Columbine killers and Jared Loughner.

National socialism and communism are very, very different from Democratic Socialism here in America. I'd explain further but this topic is for another post, this one is long enough. Besides, socialism defeated Hitler.

So let's just stop the madness and have a serious discussion about socialism and the role it plays in America.

"Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a president and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country" - FDR

30 comments:

  1. Yay! I really like this list, not just because of S-word, but it's also a nice list of all the things that tax money actually, you know, goes to. The way the Conservative rhetoric goes, you would think that all taxes just go to lazy poor people to get fat off of, watch tv on their HD tv's all day and drive around in phat expensive cars.

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  2. What a load of inaccurate preoccupation with trying to repaint socialism as simply the existence of public restrooms, roads, etc. Your definition seems to clash wildly with the working definition regimes that proclaim themselves as socialist operate under. Ya think maybe that's why some people are wary of what gets pushed under the banner of "Socialist" or simply "in the public interest".
    Rewrapping oppression and corruption in a "don't fear it" label SHOULD trip an internal flag.

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  3. "Socialist!" by Roy Zimmerman
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMLgEnDGkG4

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  4. How about all of those state operated rest areas along the federal interstate highways?

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  5. Bravo! Well done. I didn't see Workman's Compensation. Did I miss it? http://tempibones.blogspot.com

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  6. socialism and freedom go hand in hand. excellent blog post. confound the reactionaries.

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  7. In all fairness, the definition of socialism that you are using is not the definition of socialism that is commonly accepted and used.

    Most others define Socialism as "an economic system in which the means of production and distribution are commonly owned and controlled co-operatively, or a political philosophy advocating such a system." Many of the programs you listed don't match the common definition of socialism that is commonly accepted, as only a few of them are "owned by everybody."

    Your definition was this: Socialism is taxpayer funds being used collectively to benefit society as a whole, despite income, contribution, or ability. Many of the programs you listed aren't even socialist according to your definition.

    For example, usage of the post office, amtrak, buses, national parks (most of the time), garbage and landfills (most of the time) and others are based on your ability to pay. Therefore they do not match the "regardless of contribution" part of your definition.

    Many others are only available to people who make under a certain amount of money: food stamps, wic, student loans & grants, welfare, etc. Therefore they fail the "regardless of income" part of your definition.

    Others fail because they are not available to everybody or they do not benefit society as a whole. For example farm subsidies only benefit certain farmers with land. Also, many scholarships are based on race, gender, and other limiting criteria, like ability.

    It seems like a weak argument for you to redefine the term "socialism" to mean everything any government ever does.

    That being said, each of those programs do deserve to be looked at and debated and should stand or fall based on their own merits regardless of what label anybody puts on them. I think some of them are great (police, fire dept...), and I think some of them are dumb (corporate bailouts, congressional health care plan...).

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  8. Bryce, the Oxford English dictionary defines socialism as you do, but then adds, "Now also: any of various systems of liberal social democracy which retain a commitment to social justice and social reform, or feature some degree of state intervention in the running of the economy," which fits fairly well with the definition used in this post. In the US, this second definition is probably the most commonly understood meaning of "socialism."

    The spirit of socialism is summed up well in the phrase: "From each according to his ability to each according to his need." In a democratically governed country one way each can provide according to their ability and each can receive according to their need is through taxes and government services, respectively.

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  9. Hm, interesting.

    I consider your phrase "From each according to his ability to each according to his need" to be the spirit of humanitarianism and philanthropy.

    In my mind the spirit of socialism seems to be "From each according to his ability to each according to his need - as mandated & controlled by a government."

    As far as the welfare related programs go - I don't see taking care of others to be a bad thing at all. I think we all have a moral obligation to care for each other. And when I say that, I put my money where my mouth is. I donate a good chunk of every paycheck (and I'm not counting taxes here... :) ) and a portion of my time to charitable organizations and service work. I just don't like being forced to pay for the programs I find horribly inefficient or even damaging to society.

    I think the bulk of people in the US do want to take care of the needy. We just differ on how it should be done.

    And as to the non-welfare related programs (police, fire, school, mail,state parks & monuments), well, that's a discussion for another day.

    Aside -

    From what I can tell, our elected officials on both sides of the political isle are the generally the least qualified folks around to set up the rules any kind of fair and efficient system. Not that many of them write the laws anymore, anyway. Lobbyists write 'em and the senators just sign their name and assume authorship.

    The only thing we know congresscritters are good at is getting elected.

    And just to add some flavor, here's a little trolling-

    Democracy is a horrible idea. Just put a sheep in a room full of wolves and ask them to vote on what's for dinner.

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  10. Great post and a great commentary exchange.

    Try this for the true origins of Marxism.
    http://thebookofcletis.blogspot.com/2011/02/workers-of-world-dig-in.html

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  11. Very nice post, although I too would have disagreed with your definition of socialism. I had no idea that socialism had gotten a new definition. Interesting. And, as Ari pointed out, this gives people a much better idea of what their taxes go to.

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  12. America has a healthy combination of capitalism and socialism. They are not just coexisting, but need each other. In some doctrines socialism supposedly "evolves" into communism. Unfortunately they earned a bad name due to abuses, corruption and propaganda during the Soviet era. When appropriate "checks and balances" exist, there should be no problem. If anything, these programs need to be improved and trim-lined, modernized, but never eliminated.

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  13. Excellent writing. Your definition and use of the term socialism fits perfectly with the way the Right uses it: they claim raising taxes is socialism, a market-based reform to health care, etc. Anything the government does to intervene in the market is socialism. Well the interventions you mentioned are major ones and simply demonstrate the value of socializing costs and benefits. If these aren't examples of socialism, then what is capitalism because many areas of the economy and society are not privately run and operated.

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  14. Thank you for this great work of unbiased journalism.
    Hate and bigotry are insidious saboteurs of authentic democratic process. Your writing shines a light on the truth. Keep writing and I will keep reading!

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  15. Here's another helpful link about socialism and all the talk about Obama being one.

    http://www.examiner.com/orange-county-populist-in-anaheim/president-obama-and-socialism

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  16. I agree with Joe that this author is using Socialism in the sense that the Conservative/Tea Party uses it. In the most basic sense, it seems to mean that the government is taking an active approach in caring for the citizens. If the "free market" worked so well, there would be no need for the programs. The problem is that human need without money demand doesn't factor into the calculus of actual demand. The market ONLY recognizes money demand. If humans have little or no money, then their basic needs will not be considered as legitimate, even though they arise from laws of nature. The free market, despite what you are told, is not a natural law. People pretend it is value-less, but that is not the case. It's driving principle is the maximization of money accumulation, regardless of consequence, environmental and/or social. Socialism is an attempt to correct this unnatural economic structure by ensuring, at least minimally, access to necessary resources to survive.
    This posting is about unpacking labels and our culturally-conditioned responses to certain words.

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    1. The logical fallacy you provided in your argument is that we do not have a "free market." Instead, we have a largely corporatist market where government coercion is used to support an inneficient, dinosaur, select elite amount of corporations. Have you heard of any recent technological patent lawsuits? Ever wonder why you have a shitty selection for phone and cable services in your area? Well, then, there is no free market, but instead a market dominetated by government agression being used to tailor special interest groups.

      Your anger is not with the free market, but instead with corporatism.

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    2. There is a difference between capitalism and corporatism. Many get the 2 confused..

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  17. This is an excellent article and it is important to realize that the free market does not work for everything; if I live in a city that never has a crime or a fire, I still want cops and firefighters on hand just in case. I may never use 10 percent of the highway system but I still pay for it. I may not live to reach the qualifying Medicare but I have no problem paying for other seniors to use it. My biggest medical crisis may be a broken leg while someone else's is a serious car accidents. We all put in and we all benefit in some way.

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  18. Bryce B, wrote, "I put my money where my mouth is. I donate a good chunk of every paycheck (and I'm not counting taxes here... :) ) and a portion of my time to charitable organizations and service work. I just don't like being forced to pay for the programs I find horribly inefficient or even damaging to society.

    I think the bulk of people in the US do want to take care of the needy. We just differ on how it should be done."

    I'm please to see that you support charities. I help in a charity that feeds over 800 families a month. we supply about 2-3 boxes of food that supplies about one week for each family. Food Stamps supply the rest. I take from your comment that you feel the government (your tax dollars) should stop helping the poor and allow charity to do the rest and TRUST that out of the kindness your your heart you will toss a dollar or two at your local food bank once in a while. If you don't mind, I would rather TRUST THE GOVERNMENT in this case. I've been helping feed the poor for eleven years now and its my opinion that we should TAX the rich and do more such as double food stamps benefits and provide a public option to health care, etc, etc, etc. The greed of Wall Street has sucked more cash from the tax paying Americans in the past year then every food stamp recipient in the history of the program. Bank of America, etc is the ultimate Welfare Mothers of them all.

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  19. I agree that this is not the literal definition of Socialism, but has come to be associated with it. This is more what we Libertarians refer to as Statism or Nanny-statism, and I do not like it. Most of these items would be better off privatized imho. These have been created and supported by the left as much as the right. I would like a government who's role is mainly the protection of property rights. All else flows out of this.

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  20. "That's right! War would not be possible without socialism."-Well thank you for making the Libertarian argument against socialism.

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  21. I like the list and the point you are making. I think it could be corrected a bit, though.
    #6 - The United States Post Office is self-funded, it does not run on tax dollars.
    (#9 - garbage collection- as pointed out by another commenter, often fee-based)
    #21 - private prisons ARE funded through taxpayer money
    #23 - health care for veterans - "For those who survive, we as a country feel committed and obligated to ensure that they have everything they need for the rest of their lives for their service to us in which we could never fully repay." You may feel that we SHOULD "ensure they have everything they need for the rest of their lives", but it is not what we in fact do, otherwise there would be no homeless or unemployed vets. We offer healthcare, discounted home loans, discounted college education, preferential points for some gov jobs, and a few other benefits. That's a lot less than everything anyone would need for the rest of his/her life.
    #27 sewer system - fee-based in the jurisdictions where I have seen a water bill
    #45 unemployment insurance - employers pay this tax, employees don't (at least that's how it is in California)
    #62 (gov't scholarships) sounds like it belongs within #7 (student loans and grants)

    Also, this statement is not true: "If we are 18-64, we have no options or freedom over our own health care." Of course we have options (and freedom), just not as many/the kind you may want.

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    1. Sorry, but I beg to differ on the private prisons being funded by taxpayers. It is my understanding that the few private prisons we have are funded by corporations and stock holders. Not at all by the private sector tax payer in general as the federal prison are..

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  22. Socialism is the worst thing that exists on planet earth. But there is no persuading you to end the misery.

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    1. Then you've been conditioned, programed and brainwashed well..

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  23. These are apportioned taxes.I see the benefits when I call the police. I use the roads.I may even use a public rest room.I see the benefits.When one man sits on his ass and takes my labour. That is an un-aportioned tax.When the Federal Reserve taxes my labour to pay the interest on money my corrupt government borrows for its illegal wars, that is an un-apportioned tax .I and we see no benefit. Forced philanthropy is illegal.As a matter of fact the same people that force me to pay for charity are they last ones to dip in to their own paycheck.NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION.Once again you loose the debate.Our country was not designed for Karl Marx.If you claim Diversity with your equality let us have our country back and Europe can freeload off other peoples labour while we live independent of government.Now that’s diverse.

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  24. You forgot to mention the Internet.

    It was developed by DARPA, and that was pure tax-payer funding. In the process, government contractors made big bucks, then this publicly funded research endeavor was handed to private companies to vendor out to the public for a fee.

    Public expense to develop, private profit to reap. Now they want complete control over it, and the ability to use it for monopolisitc practices in competition.

    Space travel was also tax payer funded, and is now being auctioned off to private enterprise, so we can pay, and probably take out more debt, to be flown to colonies on Mars and the moon, to work of our debt we went into to get there.

    Private capital is risk averse. It is never good business to spend huge amounts to develop new technologies, and take the risk that they might not make you a profit. So it falls to the government to develop cutting edge stuff, to make huge leaps forward, because only the government has an interest other than making a profit.

    Not that that's all so great either, because government can and often is lobbied and corrupted into trying to make a profit anyway. Take student loans for instance -- in many countries secondary education is free. In the US, we can only feel its justified if the "taxpayers make a profit". I don't remember the last time I recieved a dividend check on my share of that interest from student loans, but if I did, it would probably pay off the student loans I owe anyway.

    And those loans are ust "backed" by the government, often. The subsidized ones at least. The unsubsidized ones, of which there is far more money being offered, are just examples of the government contracting-out that service to private entities, to "lend education" in their name.

    So much for socialism there. Maybe its a socialism hybrid, but it should be called something else at that point.

    *drum roll* *everybody laugh*

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  26. #18 Social Security
    "I love hearing rich people bitch about this one because the truth is that they do not pay a social security tax."

    Can you give me a source for this assertion?
    Thanks! This Blog is FANTASTIC!

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