The high costs of privatized government
By Jack E. Lohman
“Many Americans think Socialism is some totalitarian horror found in foreign countries, to be resisted at any cost. Socialism is not only alive and well in America, but our lives would be far less productive and enjoyable without it.” (1)
Indeed we should avoid too much of a good thing. Socialism ranges from 100% (communism) to 0% (Somalia et al). Sweden’s is only slightly higher than America’s, where they have both socialized health care and higher education. And they enjoy one of the highest living standards in the world.
We think total capitalism is superior, and it’s pretty good to an extent. If our population was 100% honest 100% of the time, we wouldn’t need laws or regulations at all. But it isn’t and we do, and most of us support a “regulated” free market.
What is already “socialized” in America?
Health care: The VA Medical System, Armed Forces medical systems, Medicaid, and to some extent Medicare (socialized insurance only, all other hospital and doctor services are private contractors).
Infrastructure: Army, Navy, Air Force, NASA, Border Patrol, National Guard, Public highways, Airports, Post Office, Public schools, Public Universities, Public parks, Public libraries, Police departments, Fire departments, disaster relief, and even the benefits we provide our congress members (that they don’t want to provide us) are all a form of Socialism. And let’s not forget Social Security, though G.W. Bush tried to privatize it by turning it over to the banks, some of which eventually became socialized because of mismanagement. Can you imagine had he succeeded?
Bailouts: General Motors, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and dozens of banks and financial institutions.
Okay, I didn’t support the bailouts and agree that they were bad. But that’s because we haven’t socialized the one thing this country needs most: our political campaigns. With a “privatized” congress we get exactly what we pay for; a group of smug and corrupt politicians doing what their funders want, not what the nation needs. If we want politicians working for the taxpayers, the taxpayers will have to fund their elections, and at $5 per taxpayer per year it’d be a bargain at 100 times the price.
Importantly, we taxpayers are not getting these campaigns for free. The companies add their political costs to the price of their product and we reimburse them at the cash register. So no matter how you cut it, the public is funding the elections anyway! PLUS we pay heavily for the extra costs involved in giving away taxpayer assets, usually about $3000 per taxpayer in subsidies and no-bid contracts and pork barrel projects.
With taxpayer-funded elections we would have fixed our healthcare system years ago. And it would have benefitted the nation, not the private insurance industry that helps fund the elections today.
(1) Gene Messick, Earthhome.us
— So Mercury Marine wants to leave the state no matter what re-votes the union does. And would have anyway regardless of the outcome. Does this tell us anything?
Like we should have passed a single-payer healthcare system that would have removed the 15% of wages that corporations currently spend on medical insurance premiums?
Like we should have eliminated corporate income taxes and made it up by reducing state pork-barrel spending?
— Yea, both would have been smart, but too many in our state have only themselves in mind. More jobs are on the line but we have a partsan divide.