August 14, 1935, a date that shall live in infamy. That is the date that the United States of America became a socialist country. If one is an advocate of hypodescent–one drop of blood legally classifying any mixed-race person to their minority population–the Aug. 14, 1935 onset of Social Security, a mainstay of socialist doctrine, assigned the U.S. to the ranks of socialist country with our first drop of socialist legislation.
If you think hypodescent vanished for humans with the 13th Amendment, think again. We need look no further than Tiger Woods, Halle Berry, and Barack Obama. The most recent court decision was in 1985 when a woman was denied the right to claim Caucasian heritage on her passport due to a black great, great, great, great grandmother. Should we do the same with economic theory?
I’m just stirring the pot here. I don’t believe we are a socialist country and neither do I believe we are headed anywhere in that direction. Socialism calls for the government to control all production and services. I don’t see any interest in having a government agency take over Ben and Jerry’s, Nike, or even General Motors. They had their chance to do that with GM in 2008 but passed by offering only the bailout.
At the extreme, if we decided to go with the laissez faire theory of eighteenth-century Scottish economist, Adam Smith, we’d have Fed-Ex and UPS delivering mail to every house, every day–neither company is interested in doing so. We’d have the Franklin Mint coining our pennies and quarters, and Blackwater or the modern-day extension of German Hessians defending our shores and fighting our battles.
Capitalism is a wonderful economic theory. Theory is the key word here. Both capitalism and socialism are theories and neither works well when applied purely as doctrine. Capitalism works well for making ice cream, running shoes, and automobiles and trucks. Supply and demand can rule the market and job descriptions (safe/dangerous, highly skilled/basic labor, interesting-creative/rote-mundane) monitors the salary scale. Capitalism incentivizes invention and creation as well as offering a real-life glimpse of “making it”–the American Dream.
On the other side of the coin, socialism offers a much better solution to industries that are so critical and complicated that everyone in the country has a connection and need for the product. Socialism can relieve extreme cost burdens by eschewing the motive for profit that fuels capitalism. Socialistic services can be offered to every citizen fairly and evenly when issues of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are at stake.
The offering of healthcare is the prime example. I’m putting myself in jeopardy of my mother chastising me about everyone jumping off a bridge and my lemming-like tendency to follow with this argument, but–every other industrialized nation in the world offers government regulated; inexpensive, or even free healthcare to its citizenry. We shouldn’t follow suit just because everyone else is doing it, we should follow because it works. We know it is cheaper, we know it is more efficient, and we know it is fairer than our current privately-owned insurance programs that still focus on bottom-line profit more than being sure their product is of the highest quality. The only reason the United States of America does not have universal, single payer, Medicare-like health insurance is because it screams of socialism. There are vocal groups out there spreading fear that with every social domino that falls, it is most certainly a death knell for capitalism and a vote for government buying up all the ice cream makers. We are jeopardizing our country’s health and wealth out of a false fear of an imaginary snowball rolling downhill getting bigger and bigger.
Today, we have a ton of socialistic legislation and programs that meld nicely into our country’s economy. It is socialistic to have government regulations on business. Corporations don’t like those regulations, but without them, we’d be working six or seven-day, 80-hour weeks with no vacation time. The Trump administration is trying to appease business with regulation rollbacks, but a saner West Wing and more productive, thoughtful Congress will reinstate many to keep our air breathable and waters safe to drink. The base word of socialism is social–having an interest in doing good for the masses.
It isn’t just the United States Post Office (which would run quite nicely if other government agencies would quit raiding their coffers) or public mints coining and printing our cash. We have socialist jobs programs like the government ordering fighter jets to be made by private companies, supposedly for public defense, that neither the Navy nor the Air Force want or can use. Government creates a false demand so Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and friends can hire tons of people to assemble $77 billion of Raptor F-22 fighter jets that have never been flown, and $567 million for some two dozen C-27J Spartan cargo planes that go directly to the boneyard. Their only function is government creating jobs for citizens. That isn’t capitalism.
Get over any fear of creeping socialism. We are a capitalist country that is populous enough to necessitate taking advantage of the best that socialism has to offer.