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Posts Tagged ‘Socialism’

During the debates of the Democratic presidential candidates last week, I heard a number of stupid things. If the Democrats want to win the next elections, they have to stop this.

Socialism

They need to stop talking about socialism. Yes, we currently have socialism. Our roads, our infrastructure, our educational system, our law enforcement, our fire protection system are all examples of socialism. We all pay for these services, whether we need them or not. We have rampant corporate socialism right now. We’re paying farmers not to grow certain crops. We’re propping up oil companies, and solar companies, and car companies. The problem we have right now with socialism is that the Trump Administration has directed the benefits of socialism to the 1%. The rich and corporations are now getting the benefits, and nobody seems to mind.

But socialism is a bad word in the United States. It has been cast as an undesirable system. The Democrats, and Bernie Sanders specifically, need to stop using the word. They can continue doing exactly what they are doing, but just stop using the s-word. It hurts. It does not benefit. It won’t win the election.

I am going to be facetious now for a moment: Why not call it “national socialism?” Get it? That’s what “Nazi” stands for. National Socialism. Stop using the word socialism!

Private Health Insurance

Most democratic candidates raised their hands when asked whether they would support ending private health insurance for an all-public system. That is an insane position for American presidential candidates to be in. It just won’t happen. There may be 30 million people who are uninsured who want to sign on to public insurance. But I happen to have health insurance, and I am happy with it. And so are 100 million other Americans.

This does not mean our healthcare system doesn’t need work. A lot of improvements are necessary.

But don’t mess with people’s lives! Let people make their own decisions. Standing up for removing all commercial health insurance is not going to get the Democrats elected.

Open Borders

This is Trump’s signature issue. Closing the borders and everything about it. He is elegantly advanced his rhetoric about this, and positioned the Democratic Party as one that wants “open borders” and nobody is fighting that term. I personally do not agree with the administration’s approach to border security and immigration.

Not. At. All.

However, I also don’t think we can have “open borders” in the United States. They have open borders in Europe. You can walk from Germany to France any time. And people do. They have the same currency in both countries. But in general, the French like being in France, and the Germans like being in Germany, so it’s not a big deal.

The southern border of the United states separates a very rich nation from a comparatively poor set of nations, and the inequality in the economies, as well as the social justice system and the presence of endemic crime in Central America has crated a situation where there is a massive pull for people to go north. The borders must be controlled, and immigration laws must be enforced. Otherwise, it would indeed be chaos. The problem is that we have a messed up immigration system, confusing control and enforcement, and we need a proper guest worker program. It’s all called “immigration reform” and we need it badly.

The atrocities the current administration is committing at the border are despicable. But neither side, the administration or the Congress are doing anything reasonable about it. We need to take this issue seriously and handle it. And don’t tell me we don’t have the money. We’re spending $700 billion on the military industrial complex and we’re sending unimaginable amounts of money to the Middle East for no good at all. A fraction of that money could solve our immigration issues for decades to come.

We do not have a problem with immigrants. We have a problem with national priorities. And we have a problem with a lack of morality in our current government.

The Democrats need to make that point and stop allowing the other side to just label them as “open border” advocates.

 

 

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I am on the board of a Homeowners Association (HOA). Recently we received the letter below from our landscaping contractor. I have redacted any identifying information for privacy. You can click on the letter to enlarge it.

This shows the effect of government-mandated minimum wage increases. The result is almost never what is intended. The additional costs are passed on to the consumer, and the whole process simply drives up inflation. We, the homeowners, are going to pay more for the landscaping, so the workers can get their higher minimum wage. This happens when there is nothing the company can do about it.

Other affected companies, like fast food restaurants, have choices, usually related to automation. We have seen more self-service kiosks spring up in fast food places, replacing the high school students behind the counter. Restaurants figure out how to make do with less human labor, not more. In that case, minimum wage incentivizes automation.

Recently I have seen Bernie Sanders attack Amazon and Jeff Bezos, who recently passed Bill Gates as the richest man in the world. Here is one of Bernie Sanders’ tweets:

Here is another one, where you can hear Bernie speak about the subject:

This is a complicated subject. Bernie wants to force Amazon, and other companies, to pay their workers a “living wage” that takes them out of the income range that qualifies for welfare.

Yes, you and I, with our tax dollars, pay for food stamps and other programs to help Amazon workers who can’t feed their families on the money they earn.

Sanders rages against Bezos, who has built the company into what it is today.

As cruel as it sounds, however, Bernie’s answer isn’t going to work. It’s not the government’s job to tell companies what they need to pay their workers. Companies pay their workers what they need to pay them to do the jobs they need done. It’s as simple as that.

If there are enough high school students who are willing to stand behind a counter at McDonald’s for $7.25 an hour, then that’s what McDonald’s will pay.

If Amazon workers don’t like their wage, why don’t they go to another company that pays more for the skills they have? Why don’t they all leave Amazon? If Amazon could not find workers to work for what they pay, they would raise that pay.

The problem is that the low-paying jobs are those that do not need a lot of skills, education, dedication or creativity. Go check out what Amazon pays its engineers! You’ll probably find $120,000 and above as the average. Why don’t the workers that don’t like the low wage become engineers so they can get paid high wages?

We also keep pointing out that the average CEO makes 312 times as much as the average worker. I just found this in Time Magazine today:

Here is what I say: If you like the pay of the CEO, why don’t you become the CEO of one of the top 350 publicly held companies in America?

The problem is that it’s hard to do that. It takes years of education, working at entry-level jobs, climbing through the ranks, working in stressful careers, doing 80 plus work weeks for years on fixed salaries, getting promoted to management, working 12 hour days 7 days a week in management. If you do all that, and you happen to choose an industry and career field with a future, and your company doesn’t go under as you work you butt off, and if you’re lucky and don’t get sick, and if the economic cycles align to your benefit, you might one day find yourself a CEO. And you make the big bucks.

After you have gone through that, you will know that the government had nothing to do with your overnight success and your phenomenal income.

You will also understand that minimum wage laws don’t work. All they do is force the working people to pay for those that don’t work, or don’t want to work, or can’t work, or don’t have the education needed to work.

This is what feeds Trumpism in the first place. This is why our country is divided. Trumpism does not work. But Bernie Sanders’ socialism also does not work.

Neither is the solution we need for a well-functioning society.

The real solution is education, and that is for another rant.

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Here is a hilarious article about If Socialism is Evil, Does that make Israel Bad?

Bernie Sanders calls himself a socialist, and according to a Gallup poll listing groups of people, socialists are the least trusted group in the United States in this chart:

Gallup Socialist and Atheist

We have been brainwashed into thinking that socialism is evil, or abhorrent. Socialism is definitely un-American. Yet, we have a lot of allies that are socialist countries. Go to Sweden, Denmark, Germany and talk to the people on the streets. They are proud of their countries, the social system, and they cannot understand all the fuss in the United States.

They are baffled that we choose not to provide healthcare coverage to everyone. They are in disbelief that our public universities are not free to all that qualify to attend them based on merit. They don’t understand how we can live without at least five weeks of paid vacation per year. They are mystified about our attitudes toward paid maternity leave.

Israel is basically a socialist country. Yet we send billions of our tax dollars to them every year to prop it up. That does not seem to bother us.

There are pros and cons regarding both systems. I chose to spend my life as an American citizen, and I like our system over that of Germany, for instance. That does not mean I couldn’t think of things we might want to tweak and improve.

But one thing I am sure about: Socialism is not EVIL. It’s just different.

Now let’s watch Bernie Sanders not get elected [sarcasm]. Perhaps if he professed to atheism, he might have a better chance.

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