With one presidential candidate blatantly owning socialism as a way of re-directing our nation, it’s extremely important to understand exactly what socialism is, and more importantly to realize we are already a socialist nation.
A quick vocabulary discussion concerning socialism: it is merely an economic system wherein the government owns and operates production of goods. It can also be loosely defined as government interference of any kind in an other-wise (ostensibly) ‘free market’. There’s a vast difference between government owned and operated goods and government owned an operated services. The former absolutely leads to economic ruin, the latter absolutely leads to balanced, healthy economic systems. History has born this out.
Candidate Sanders’ brand of socialism deals in service related provisions – and we already have many of those in place now. Our military, providers of national defense, takes up over half of our tax dollars. Our education system is free from pre-school to twelfth grade. Our congress is paid some $170k + per year, from the national coffers, as a means to reimburse them for the service they provide of legislating (or not). Every single community in our nation has the privilege of free law enforcement and fire protection. These are socialist provided services: we provide the monies through our property taxes and local governments utilize those funds to give the entire community these important provisions.
There are other ways in which we socialize certain things in the US. The Wall Street bailout money came out of the national bankroll, full of taxpayer dollars. The Department of Defense is having a difficult time explaining how billions of our dollars can be wasted or simply go missing. Several corporations are excused from paying federal income tax – guess who has to make up the difference in the national budget?
From a foundation of paid legislators to Wall Street rescuing, the US is and has been a socialist nation.
Mr. Sanders also touts reigning in Wall Street by imposing certain regulations. The ‘free-market’ isn’t really as free as some would have us think – it’s a euphemism in corporate terms that means “refusal to accept government boundaries so that we can do whatever we want to make a buck, or millions of them really”. Check out some of the stories concerning artificially inflated mortgages, fixed interest rates, and manipulated foreign exchange rates. These are not ‘free-market’ activities but rigged, masterminded, and executed without regard to societal impact. Wall Street tentacles even reach to actual legislation and verbiage protecting their dubious activity has been signed into law. Oligarchy is a real, viable thing in the US. I would submit that socialism in the form of regulations brings imperative balance to Wall Street’s destructive tendencies. (We humans can be selfish bastards, there’s no reason to impose boundaries on that selfishness.)
Socialism is already part of the fabric of our nation, as much as is capitalism (Jamestown was founded on capitalistic ideals). Time to accept the notion, understand its positive role in our economic system, and realize that ‘free-market’ is really an illusion one way or the other.
*I could have spent the time to link to everything I’ve mentioned here, however I’ve done the research for previous articles and I’d rather be out hiking with my dog honestly. I am certain that a quick Google search will bring up enough certifiable references for support. If you can’t find something, let me know.