Okay, folks … I’ve about had enough of people yammering about something of which they know little or nothing. I’m speaking about the misuse of the word “socialism”. Here’s the short definition of the word: a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.
Now, apparently there are a good many people in this nation who have never bothered to read the definition of socialism, for they go ‘round spouting that this is now, or will become under the Biden administration, a socialist nation. Where the hell they are getting that notion is beyond me. What it may become, if Congress isn’t so badly broken that nothing can be accomplished, is a nation that actually cares about the people who live within its borders. It may become a nation that ensures every man, woman and child living here has access to health care, a good education including college, and the opportunity to live, rather than merely survive.
What about any of that indicates that the businesses in the U.S. would become cooperatives, owned by the community? NOTHING. Though frankly, over the past two decades or so, I have become disillusioned by the uber-capitalism in this nation, for it has caused the rich to become richer, while the rest of us have become poorer. One example, the minimum wage, which has not been raised since 2009, twelve years! Meanwhile, see how much the net worth of the CEOs of the big three automakers has increased, or of the fossil fuel barons.
A dollar today is worth $0.26 less than it was in 2009, so the minimum wage worker who was earning $7.25 in 2009 is, comparatively, only effectively earning $6.99 today. So, rather than any wage increases, that worker has taken a pay cut for doing the same work. Corporations keep the minimum wage under their thumbs by threatening layoffs or even plant closures if the have to take a cut in profits in order to pay their employees a living wage, but … it ain’t so. Those corporate bigwigs aren’t going to cut off their nose to spite their face, for even paying their minimum wage workers $15 an hour isn’t going to break their bank … they’ll still be earning millions each year, just maybe not quite as many million.
Small business owners, mom & pop grocery stores would, indeed, be hard-pressed to pay their workers $15 an hour, but an exemption could be built in for businesses with under a certain number of employees, or with net income below a certain level. But it is the large corporations run by billionaires that are complaining the loudest.
Then there’s the health care issue. The Affordable Care Act, passed under the Obama administration, helped ensure that every person in the U.S. would be able to receive medical treatment when they needed it. It wasn’t, for most people, free health care, but affordable health care. It meant the single mother who couldn’t otherwise afford to take her sick child to the doctor, could now do so, paying only what she could afford for her health insurance. But some called it socialist medicine and fought tooth and nail to have it repealed. They would rather keep a few extra dollars in their pockets than keep people who haven’t had the opportunities they have alive. ACA is not socialized medicine … it is a nation trying to take care of its people!
True socialism in theory ensures that nobody is ultra-wealthy and that nobody is ultra-poor. I say ‘in theory’ for socialism, much like communism, looks great on paper, but once you factor in human nature, there is no way it works. Human nature is a lot of things, some good, some not-so-good, and some downright evil. Human nature includes greed and arrogance in varying degrees, largely depending on a person’s birthright. One who is born into a well-to-do family is far more likely to be arrogant and greedy, believing that he or she is somehow entitled to the finer things in life, entitled to have a better life than others. Those who were born into poverty but through hard work and education have become business owners of some means, are more likely to take care of their staff, more likely to be generous to those with less than they have.
The opposite of socialism, for the purpose of this discussion, is plutocracy, a country governed by the wealthy. That is what the United States is fast becoming, for the wealthy buy members of Congress, largely Republicans, but a few Democrats here and there, in order that Congress will vote for such things as tax cuts for those who could most easily afford to pay taxes, and vote against such things as environmental regulations that would help all of the 7.8 billion people who live on this planet, but would force the wealthy coal and oil barons to turn their eye toward converting their plants to renewable energy, would force the agriculture and forestry industries to make changes that might reduce their profit margin but would save lives.
The burden in this country is on the poor and average income earners, for many of the wealthy use tax loopholes to the point of paying no taxes at all. As a result, we are in debt to the tune of $27.8 trillion! That boils down to $84,000 for every man, woman, and child in the nation. And it continues to grow every day. The wealthy propose that we reduce the debt by cutting spending on such things as programs that help with food, housing, and medical care for those who cannot survive without it. The sensible among us propose that the wealthy start paying their fair share in taxes, and that we cut back on military spending.
President Biden and the Democrats in Congress have a plan to ensure that no child goes to bed hungry, that nobody dies simply because they couldn’t afford to seek medical help, and that people who, through no fault of their own, do not have the opportunities the rest of us have, can help themselves to improve their lives by getting a college education. What in hell is ‘socialist’ about that? Nobody is suggesting we take General Motors away from Mary Barra, Mark Reuss and Dan Ammann and give it to the citizens of Detroit!
People in this country seem quite content to listen to the talking heads on Fox News or NewsMax who will feed them a line of bullshit, or to their Republican members of Congress who also will feed them a line, based on their loyalty and dedication to their wealthy donors. It’s time for the people of this nation to start using that thing that sits atop their neck, to start thinking for themselves, start reading instead of staying glued to that box in the living room.
Uber-capitalism, not socialism, is the third biggest problem this country has today, the first two being guns and the environment. Socialism is not, never has been, and never will be the problem as long as the U.S. Constitution is upheld.