Strange Bedfellows

When I hear the word Socialism, I cringe. Not because the word is that terrifying but because I have met people who have lived under that system. I have also known people who have visited Socialist countries and the stories are not pleasant. I will be the first to say that, on paper and in theory, Socialism looks good. It seems wonderful to have your basic needs met and be able to pursue your dreams. Guaranteed housing, food, and transportation sound like a good deal. In reality there are discrepancies. The housing is substandard, the food is limited, and the transportation is unreliable. There is no private ownership of property so people have to live where they are told by a government agency like a housing authority. In the old Soviet Union for instance, a family was lucky if they lived in an apartment by themselves, usually there were more than one family in an apartment sharing one bathroom . Most of the time there was a family assigned to each bedroom. Going to get groceries was also difficult. People had to go to a different store for each item and many times the selection was limited to a few things that had not spoiled yet. No one owned cars except the leaders so everyone had to take buses. The buses were old and in poor repair and often broke down. Most people just took to walking.

Under Socialism, everything is controlled by the central government, from the means of production to the distribution of goods. Today in America, a political movement called “Progressives” is pushing to have a Socialist system put in place here. Some of the most active voices are very wealthy people. One of the Progressive movement’s biggest supporters (no pun intended) is Michael Moore. Michael Moore has touted the benefits of Socialism over Capitalism for some time. Many people know him as a film maker but Mr. Moore stated on “The O’Reilly Factor” that Capitalism has done nothing for him. Remember, he makes his living by getting or spending capital (money) to produce films and then he takes those films to either a studio or direct to the theaters to distribute them. Once in the theaters, people buy tickets to watch the film. That is pure Capitalism!

While there are those who call themselves progressive, there are groups that are touting Socialism as a alternative to the US Capitalism. You can see one site here. The idea that Capitalism is a system where a few do well and the rest will serve the few is a flawed perspective. In true Capitalism those with ambition and drive can overcome circumstances and succeed through hard work and innovation. While there will always be those who cannot do for themselves as a result of physical or mental limitations, the majority of Americans can do well. There is a place for government to assist those who would otherwise be left without help.

While the Occupy Wall Street protest was under way, both Michael Moore and rapper Jay-Z along with a few other Hollywood elites addressed the crowd about the 1%. If you remember the OWS movement was against the Wall Street investors that make a lot of money. The irony was that both Jay-Z and Moore are also in the 1% group. Here is what the real question is. Do Michael Moore and Jay-Z really think that if they succeed in establishing Socialism in the US that their wealth will be protected?  Government does not have money to redistribute. It must first take that money through taxes or fees from the producers who have earned it. The OWS group wants to call for the redistribution of the wealth of the top 1%. Of course when the call comes out only the “enemies” will be targeted but soon the government will run out of that money so the next thing would be to target the rest of the rich. Socialism does not create equality by raising the poor up, but by bringing the rich down and the only people who benefit are the politicians in power.

 

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