A primer on American Socialism

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.

Forget that Norway claims the most millionaires in the world and Western Europe Has Most Millionaires. What do they know?

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

Tidbits

— 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.

4 Responses to A primer on American Socialism

  1. JackOff says:

    Brilliant – we already have a litte of it that is causing us to go bankrupt – so lets do even more?

    Less power for government means less corruption – it’s just that simple.

    But, as always, you don’t know Jack.

  2. How very naive. So someone is just going to throw a switch and turn off this power our congressmen have taken upon themselves? Oh, I know, let’s just vote them out of power and replace them with someone else who is taking corporate bribes. Great idea!

    No, since we are paying for the elections anyway — at hundreds of times the actual costs — and we want our politicians working for us rather than corporate interests, let’s spend the $5 per taxpayer per year it would take to fund our electoral system.

    We’ve already seen what a corrupt government can do to a country, do we need more? How long do you believe we can go with corruption at the top before our citizens turn to rebellion and a violent takeover? What is it about money and payola do you not understand?

  3. John R. Peterson says:

    The single payer health care system in Canada is not what some have made it out to be. The lady who was featured in some ads (pro status quo) on U.S. networks has denounced the fact that she had been edited out of context and stated clearly that she supports the Canadian system regardless of its imperfections.

    In Canada the health care system is administered by the provinces and not by the federal government; the federal government only allocates funds to the provinces. It was the federal government which made it mandatory for the provinces to provide the service to all residents. Big government is no more popular up here than it is south of the 48th. I thought it worth mentioning.

    Personally I have paid for health insurance in the U.S. when I lived and worked there (I’m a US citizen) and have used it (was hospitalized once) when the cost was affordable to both individuals and employers. I am now living in Canada and can tell you that the $600CDN it costs for universal health care here nowadays, keeping in mind that universal means no denial of coverage period, makes a world of difference. You can make your own calculations; make sure you’re sitting down when you do.

    The peace of mind the universal system provides residents here also contributes to less stress, a significant health factor alone. I have been in surgery four times, two of which were life and death circumstances, and I could not get reasonably affordable coverage were I still residing in the U.S., if I were even able to get it.

    None of the people covered by this plan would consider changing for what our U.S. neighbors have. I have wealthy friends who can afford the cost of U.S. plans but they feel the same as everyone else. There is a shortage of physicians and nurses here just like in the U.S. so it’s not perfect; the system will pay for the rare cases of those who must seek services outside of Canada, but then US HMO’s have been reported to send some patients (pleased with the service) to India for treatment because the net cost of their treatment was prohibitive.

    CNN made a series of reports on health care systems in Europe and Canada this past summer, comparing them to the American one. The results debunked the notion that U.S. Health Care is the best and made it abundantly clear that it was the most costly. All the major industrial countries have figured out the cost issue and have opted for an affordable universal system. The voters in those countries have also chosen health care to be a right and I hope the US voters do the same.

    I read and observed that emergency rooms of hospitals are overwhelmed at times both here and in the US but I noticed that there is here, at least in Quebec though I trust it is the same in other provinces, a network of private and public clinics that goes a long way in alleviating the hospital’s emergency rooms situation. The state pays the private clinics which have physicians participating in the universal program but there are also completely private clinics with physicians who have opted out of the program, only a very few; the latter are paid solely by the patients.

    I have American friends who have also made their home here and they like the system; one of them has also resided and worked in France for years and would praise that system if asked.

  4. Thanks for your feedback, John. It’s very helpful to hear it directly from a Canadian resident rather than American special interests that want into our pocket… and you guys are standing in their way. The truth won’t help them so they make up lies.

    Yes, Canadians may have wait times, but that’s because they squeeze more out of their system than we do. And your fix is simply to spend more money than you do. Increase your spending by 10% and wait times will disappear. Our problem is far more serious.

    But maybe in the end, with all of the lies we spread, your politicians will be encouraged to spend those dollars and improve your system. The US may continue being the losers, but hopefully Canadians will win something from this.

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