No word strikes more fear into the heart of Fox News anchors. No four syllables shake the 1% to its’ core than SOCIALISM!
A political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.
There are many types of Socialists, but the main idea is that the rich and the powerful don’t get to call all the shots when it comes to the economy, but here’s the thing that no one will tell you. America is already Socialist.
This short video (with my rough transcript and a few added thoughts) lists 5 ways we’re already Socialist.
1. Americans work like Socialists. The weekend was never part of big business’ plan. It was fought for and won by the Labor Movement of the late 19th and early 20th Century — a movement that was full of Socialists. In 1938, Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act which established the 40-hour work-week, minimum wage, and eliminated child labor.
2. Some of the most remarkable Americans were Socialists, including Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, Jack London, Caesar Chavez, Helen Keller, Harry Houdini, Francis Bellamy (who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance) and Katherine Lee Bates, who wrote America the Beautiful. Her belief that social justice ought to be the goal of her country was expressed repeatedly in the stanza:
…And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea!
3. America runs on Socialism. Whenever you drive on a highway, drive across a bridge, get electricity from a dam, or go to a school or hospital, you’re probably partaking in American Socialism. To pull the country out of the Great Depression, over 30,000 public works programs were sponsored by the government under FDR’s administration. Infrastructure. Infrastructure that’s now crumbling even with President Obama’s 2009 stimulus package which tried to pull us out of the most recent Wall Street-induced meltdown.
The New Deal wasn’t labeled Socialism except by it’s critics. FDR defended it by saying “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have little. The New Deal also provided unemployment insurance and Social Security, making sure you can get back on your feet if you lose your job, and you’re taken care of when you get old.
4. The military — the one area of spending that no one would dare call Socialist, and yet, it’s largely funded by you — the taxpayer. Strange — for all the wars the U.S. has fought trying to stop Socialist ideas, you’d think that war was a Capitalist venture. Around 27% of your tax dollars goes to fund the biggest and most expensive military in the world, with a budget of 598.5 billion dollars. Compare that to spending on Social Security/Unemployment (29.1 billion); education (70 billion); science (29.7 billion); and infrastructure (96 billion.)
5. Corporations love Socialism. Welfare is one of those things that’s bad-mouthed for being Socialist because why take care of the needy? But what about corporate welfare? Since 2000, Uncle Sam has given 68 billion in business grants and tax credits, 2/3 of which has gone to large corporations. Transportation and energy are the biggest beneficiaries. Even some of the biggest corporations like WalMart encourage their employees to use food stamps and other government services because apparently the most profitable company in the world can’t afford to pay its’ employees a liveable wage. It’s almost like Socialism is fine if it helps the rich, but terrible if it helps everyone else.
At the end of the day Socialism is as American as apple pie. Bought at WalMart. With food stamps.
After Bernie gave his speech on what Democratic Socialism meant to him, The Young Turks had a segment on it and the woman who narrated the video above was a guest.
In this clip, they play part of the above video and discuss it and Bernie’s speech on Democratic Socialism.
One panelist makes the point that many people think you either have a Socialist economy or a Capitalist economy, but you actually have an economy that is the product of tens of thousands of competing influences — some of them more towards a free market, some of them more towards a controlled market, and some of them more towards a Fascistic market where government and corporations work against the common man. We have all these things at the same time and it shifts every year.
Another panelist gives an example of a Fascistic market where senior citizens would go across the border to get their medicine there because it was cheaper because Canada has socialized medicine. The pharmaceutical companies had to put a stop to that because they were losing money. So they gave the government some bribes (campaign contributions) and the government passed laws that made it illegal to get drugs overseas. So instead of the government working for the people so we could get cheaper drugs here, the government and the pharmaceutical companies are working together to screw over the American citizens.
If you’re pressed for time, here’s
a two-minute version where Bernie himself explains what Democratic Socialism means to him.