Socialism has proven its place among economic systems by providing balance and sustainability – even in the United States.
Socialism occurs when government interferes with free market processes, either by providing a service to its citizens or issuing boundaries to keep markets balanced. (See Redefining Socialism: A Fresh Concept to a Stale Interpretation for further reading, if you wish.)
Without a doubt, our biggest socialist venture in the United States is our military. We pay our taxes to the government, the government pays our soldiers to keep our borders safe. Over half of our tax dollars are used by the government to provide this necessary service to us. But, we aren’t socializing our public and national safety these days. Instead we are socializing (paying for…) military and contractor fraud to the tune of billions of dollars.
A Slate article published today, “The Fraud of War: U.S. troups in Iraq and Afghanistan have stolen tens of millions through bribery, theft, and rigged contracts,” describes this particular kind of socialism in a grim read. The article discusses the recent conviction of a U.S. soldier who was involved in a fuel-theft ring: “Troops were selling the U.S. military’s fuel to Afghan locals on the side, and pocketing the proceeds,” and goes on to explain that this is a common issue in the current war arena.
So. We pay our taxes for the service of national defense. Our government uses those taxes to pay soldiers serving in war-torn nations. Our soldiers are finding ways of illegally using the service to line their own pockets. We have successfully socialized war and fraud.
From just a slightly different perspective, we have also socialized the Financialization Revolution. Privatization plays a significant role in The Financialization Revolution (you can read more here) and our leaders have allowed many war services to be conducted by private corporations instead of our own soldiers. Chalmers Johnson does a great job discussing the way our Pentagon has parceled out military operations to private contractors in “Sorrows of the Empire.” He states:
“Cheney is the author of the idea that the military’s logistical operations should be privatized. He was trying not so much to increase efficiency as to reward the private sector. He basically asked how private companies could assist the army in cutting hundreds of thousands of jobs.”
Our tax dollars no longer pay our soldiers, instead they pay private contractors. This is what it means to socialize The Financialization Revolution. (Many of these private contractors somehow end up ‘losing’ billions of our dollars with no accountability whatsoever – Our Tax Dollars At Work kids.)
There’s little evidence that this form of socialization will end soon. We are stuck in the mire over there indefinitely, having opened a can of worms that may never get closed again. More importantly, the oligarchy is doing its damnedest to keep further investigations from happening. The Center for Public Integrity reports:
But auditors working for Sopko’s agency face increasing restrictions in Afghanistan. Military officials have told Sopko’s agency they would only provide civilian investigators access to areas within a one-hour round trip of an advanced medical facility, so that the U.S. government can provide them “adequate security and rapid emergency medical support,” according to a report Sopko’s agency issued in 2013. As a result, in 2014, Sopko’s investigators were only able to access one-fifth of the country.
Our nation is winding up for another election. We will choose between two people. We will choose between two paths for our country. Will we choose a leader who will continue to socialize war and fraud and The Financialization Revolution? Or will we choose someone who is willing to stand up to the oligarchy and stop the Revolution?