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Explaining Socialism in Simplest Possible Terms

#Justice4Trayvon 629 BLOCKT CONS 2012/04/16 14:23:51

I was talking recently with a new friend who I’m just getting to know. She tends to be somewhat conservative, while I lean more toward the progressive side.

When our conversation drifted to politics, somehow the dreaded word “socialism” came up. My friend seemed totally shocked when I said “All socialism isn’t bad”. She became very serious and replied “So you want to take money away from the rich and give to the poor?” I smiled and said “No, not at all. Why do you think socialism mean taking money from the rich and giving to the poor?

“Well it is, isn’t it?” was her reply.

I explained to her that I rather liked something called Democratic Socialism, just as Senator Bernie Sanders, talk show host Thom Hartman, and many other people do. Democratic Socialism consists of a democratic form of government with a mix of socialism and capitalism. I proceeded to explain to her the actual meaning terms “democracy” and “socialism”.

Democracy is a form of government in which all citizens take part. It is government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Socialism is where we all put our resources together and work for the common good of us all and not just for our own benefit. In this sense, we are sharing the wealth within society.

Of course when people hear that term, “Share the wealth” they start screaming, “OMG you want to rob from the rich and give it all to the poor!” But that is NOT what Democratic Socialism means.

To a Democratic Socialist, sharing the wealth means pooling tax money together to design social programs that benefit ALL citizens of that country, city, state, etc.

The fire and police departments are both excellent examples of Democratic Socialism in America. Rather than leaving each individual responsible for protecting their own home from fire, everyone pools their money together, through taxes, to maintain a fire and police department. It’s operated under a non-profit status, and yes, your tax dollars pay for putting out other people’s fires. It would almost seem absurd to think of some corporation profiting from putting out fires. But it’s more efficient and far less expensive to have government run fire departments funded by tax dollars.

Similarly, public education is another social program in the USA. It benefits all of us to have a taxpayer supported, publicly run education system. Unfortunately, in America, the public education system ends with high school. Most of Europe now provides low cost or free college education for their citizens. This is because their citizens understand that an educated society is a safer, more productive and more prosperous society. Living in such a society, everyone benefits from public education.

When an American graduates from college, they usually hold burdensome debt in the form of student loans that may take 10 to even 30 years to pay off. Instead of being able to start a business or invest in their career, the college graduate has to send off monthly payments for years on end.

On the other hand, a new college graduate from a European country begins without the burdensome debt that an American is forced to take on. The young man or woman is freer to start up businesses, take an economic risk on a new venture, or invest more money in the economy, instead of spending their money paying off student loans to for-profit financial institutions. Of course this does not benefit wealthy corporations, but it does greatly benefit everyone in that society.

EXAMPLE American style capitalistic program for college: If you pay (average) $20,000 annually for four years of college, that will total $80,000 + interest for student loans. The interest you would owe could easily total or exceed the $80,000 you originally borrowed, which means your degree could cost in excess of $100,000.

EXAMPLE European style social program for college: Your college classes are paid for through government taxes. When you graduate from that college and begin your career, you also start paying an extra tax for fellow citizens to attend college.

Question - You might be thinking how is that fair? If you’re no longer attending college, why would you want to help everyone else pay for their college degree?

Answer - Every working citizen pays a tax that is equivalent to say, $20 monthly. If you work for 40 years and then retire, you will have paid $9,600 into the Social college program. So you could say that your degree ends up costing only $9,600. When everyone pools their money together and the program is non-profit, the price goes down tremendously. This allows you to keep more of your hard earned cash!

Health care is another example: If your employer does not provide health insurance, you must purchase a policy independently. The cost will be thousands of dollars annually, in addition to deductible and co-pays.

In Holland, an individual will pay around $35 monthly, period. Everyone pays into the system and this helps reduce the price for everyone, so they get to keep more of their hard earned cash.

In the United States we are told and frequently reminded that anything run by the government is bad and that everything should be operated by for-profit companies. Of course, with for-profit entities the cost to the consumer is much higher because they have corporate executives who expect compensation packages of tens of millions of dollars and shareholders who expect to be paid dividends, and so on.

This (and more) pushes up the price of everything, with much more money going to the already rich and powerful, which in turn, leaves the middle class with less spending money and creates greater class separation.

This economic framework makes it much more difficult for average Joes to ”lift themselves up by their bootstraps” and raise themselves to a higher economic standing.

So next time you hear the word “socialism” and “spreading the wealth” in the same breath, understand that this is a serious misconception.

Social programs require tax money and your taxes may be higher. But as you can see everyone benefits because other costs go down and, in the long run, you get to keep more of your hard earned cash!

Democratic Socialism does NOT mean taking from the rich and giving to the poor. It works to benefit everyone so the rich can no longer take advantage of the poor and middle class.

Read More: http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/04/15/explaining...

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  • Fire Starter 2012/05/04 03:14:40
    Fire Starter
    +1
    A good step in the direction of a governmental Egalitarianism.
  • Mejink 2012/05/03 23:16:12
    Mejink
    +1
    Well spoken.
  • #Justic... Mejink 2012/05/04 00:29:01
  • ehrhornp 2012/05/03 19:34:18
    ehrhornp
    +1
    Funny thing is the phony conservatives want to practice socialism for the rich where wealth will be transferred from the middle class to the rich. Perfect example of this is the republican desire to do away with the estate tax. The vast majority of estates are not subject to this. But if it is done away with, then these small estates will be subject to capital gains tax while the rich will become part of the elite. Not a good outcome.
  • #Justic... ehrhornp 2012/05/04 00:31:33
    #Justice4Trayvon 629 BLOCKT CONS
    +1
    I know, isn't it amazing? Do something to help hurting people & they scream socialism. Yet too many of them support socialism for the uber rich & protect it with every fiber of their being.
  • Dave0626 2012/04/19 17:10:07
    Dave0626
    +1
    A Democracy Gov't. is not much different than Socialism:

    The chief characteristic and distinguishing feature of a Democracy is: Rule by Omnipotent Majority. In a Democracy, The Individual, and any group of Individuals composing any Minority, have NO protection against the unlimited power of The Majority. It is a case of Majority-over-Man.

    ....Not what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

    A Republic...IS what the Founding Fathers DID have in mind:

    A Republic, on the other hand, has a very different purpose and an entirely different form, or system, of government. Its purpose is to control The Majority strictly, as well as all others among the people, primarily to protect The Individual’s God-given, unalienable rights and therefore for the protection of the rights of The Minority, of all minorities, and the liberties of people in general. The definition of a Republic is: a constitutionally limited government of the representative type, created by a written Constitution--adopted by the people and changeable (from its original meaning) by them only by its amendment--with its powers divided between three separate Branches: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. Here the term "the people" means, of course, the electorate.
  • emerson... Dave0626 2012/04/28 03:16:36
    emersonethan
    +4
    yeah there is no difference so why bother changing from democracy to sosialism?
  • Dave0626 emerson... 2012/04/28 03:42:34
    Dave0626
    The point being, the United States Government was never a Democracy. It was always a Republic....In the Pledge of Allegiance we all pledge allegiance to our Republic, not to a democracy. "Republic" is the proper description of our government, not "democracy."

    But, Democracy, true democracy, is a 30/70 blend of socialism and capitalism.
    Socialism: A leftist political ideology that emphasizes the principle of equality and usually prescribes a large role for government to intervene in society and the economy via taxation, regulation, redistribution, and public ownership.
    Capitalism: An economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and distribution of goods. Also promotes a free market regulated by supply and demand.

    And being as we are being denied the right to a 'free market'...we are now entering full Socialism.
  • #Justic... Dave0626 2012/05/01 21:39:57
    #Justice4Trayvon 629 BLOCKT CONS
    We saw how far your definition of "free market" got us in the meltdown that tanked the economy roughly 4 years ago. As long as GREED is in the hearts of people (especially in the financial realm) there is no way any person with an ounce of common sense can trust "the market" to do the right thing.

    We've been down this road before when my mother was a child. They called it The Great Depression!
  • Dave0626 #Justic... 2012/05/02 01:57:43
    Dave0626
    OK...so you think Socialism is the answer. It failed miserably after just 70 yrs. Like standing in bread lines every single day, like they did in the U.S.S.R.? ...go for it!
  • #Justic... Dave0626 2012/05/03 01:52:36
    #Justice4Trayvon 629 BLOCKT CONS
    +1
    PURE Socialism does not work. However, this country has what is called a "mixed economy" & has for close to a century. We have a mix of socialism & capitalism. Barack Obama did not usher it in either. I wasn't even a twinkle in my mother's eye when it came into being.

    We don't even have what y'all tout "free market capitalism." We are living with the results of crony capitalism.
  • Dave0626 #Justic... 2012/05/03 01:56:05 (edited)
    Dave0626
    +1
    'crony capitalism'...Agreed....crooks are a lot smarter since the invention of the Internet.
  • \V/ 2012/04/18 22:05:08
  • #Justic... \V/ 2012/04/18 23:38:15
    #Justice4Trayvon 629 BLOCKT CONS
    I've been saying the same thing for years. Especially the rate in affect during Eisenhower's reign.
  • \V/ #Justic... 2012/04/18 23:59:14
  • A Lionheart 2012/04/18 14:24:21
    A Lionheart
    +1
    Great post!
  • The_Infidel_Atheist 2012/04/17 04:04:55
    The_Infidel_Atheist
    +1
    Awesome post!
  • TheMadChameleon 2012/04/17 03:19:25
    TheMadChameleon
    Teehee!
  • wtw 2012/04/17 02:39:20
    wtw
    And where does the taxing stop. Let's make a tax for everyone to eat steak every day they want and then a tax to make sure you have car of a certain standard an d a tax to make sure criminals get to have a computer. Why not a 20.00 tax to make sure everyone gets a free house. On and on it goes! STOP the insanity! We are going to be over 20 trillion in debt because of government over spending in the next 4 years if Obama is re-elected. That wil mean more in 8 years of Obama than 200 years of all the presidents before him!
  • BabyBear wtw 2012/04/17 04:03:20
    BabyBear
    +1
    The taxation isn't the problem. It's frivolous spending. The government can't seem to do what my grandparents taught me, live within your means - don't spend more than what you have. We're spending trillions on a war going nowhere, billions on illegals that do not pay into the system, and billion (probably trillions ) on individual pet projects added into bills that only help out a small few (that particular congressmans home town).
  • #Justic... BabyBear 2012/04/17 13:59:44
    #Justice4Trayvon 629 BLOCKT CONS
    It's not just "frivolous" spending BabyBear. It also involves giving tax breaks to industries that don't need them. Let's look at the oil industry. I think in the beginning the breaks were intended for small companies who needed that extra help. Look who's getting them now & to the tune of billions of dollars in breaks when they are already making double-digit billions in PURE PROFIT.

    These same behemoth companies spend millions to lobby Congress to keep this same system in place. Imagine how much money could be applied to the debt if ALL the special loopholes were gotten rid of. There's a whole lot wrong with the system but as long as it's rigged to the powerful, monied interests this country will NEVER get back on sound financial footing.
  • 3003573 wtw 2012/04/17 14:01:58
  • #Justic... 3003573 2012/04/17 18:02:30
    #Justice4Trayvon 629 BLOCKT CONS
    +1
    Thank you for setting those claims straight. It really irks me when people swallow these lies as if they were the gospel coming straight from the lips of Jesus.
  • CAROLYN NTARWNJBS 2012/04/17 02:02:40
    CAROLYN NTARWNJBS
    +1
    Excellent A!
  • Willl 2012/04/17 01:51:54 (edited)
    Willl
    +1
    Simple way to explain socialism would be what Carl Marx described it.

    A step toward communism.

    In other words, if you are unable to make a revolution and turn the system upside-down, implement socialism for a much smoother transition to communism.

    If you still are looking for a definition of socialism, take Margaret Thatcher words directed to the leftist in English assembly.

    Paraphrasing; you much better see all the people poor than some to succeed.

    My take on socialism is:
    Socialism is - some must work to get something while others must be to get portion of what the working wants to have. Government will see to that..
  • Odinsown 2012/04/17 00:03:52
    Odinsown
    +2
    Interesting, I hadn't heard it put that way. Thanks for the info.
  • 3003573 2012/04/16 22:18:36
  • Ali ~ In My Heart I Trust ~ 2012/04/16 20:58:33
    Ali ~ In My Heart I Trust ~
    +4
    Our roads and highways are also Democratic Socialism at work, as is our military, our postal service, and our beautiful National Parks, Wilderness Areas, Monuments, and the state equivalents.

    I'm a fan.
  • CAROLYN... Ali ~ I... 2012/04/17 02:02:17
    CAROLYN NTARWNJBS
    +2
    Me too!
  • Raymond Allamby 2012/04/16 20:57:41
    Raymond Allamby
    +2
    i've said it before, but we definitely need something like the ark of truth from stargate sg1. something that when all right wingers see it, they immediately stop believing the lies.
  • Grace 2012/04/16 20:43:52
    Grace
    +2
    Great article and so true!
  • luvguins 2012/04/16 20:15:08
    luvguins
    +2
    It sure beats the corrupt crony capitalism that made TARP necessary, and is still going on at Wall St, at the banks, and in corporations across the country.
  • Ali ~ I... luvguins 2012/04/16 21:00:21
    Ali ~ In My Heart I Trust ~
    +1
    Yes it does. Bank of America is slowly being hauled over the coals but will it result in anything? I have my doubts.
  • luvguins Ali ~ I... 2012/04/16 21:14:34
    luvguins
    +3
    Bet these criminals have given a boatload of money to GOP SuperPACs to continue their corruption by trying to get Romney in the White House, another corrupt capitalist.
  • Ali ~ I... luvguins 2012/04/16 22:02:55
    Ali ~ In My Heart I Trust ~
    +1
    I know. I was just listening to a disheartening report on Crossroads, the SuperPAC headed by Karl Rove. They came into a congressional district here, in Cali, and pushed over half a million into the race to ensure Dan Lungren's re-election.

    It's not the big races that they affect so much as the little ones (relatively speaking). Half a mil here, half a mil there and you've pretty much bought your Congress.
  • luvguins Ali ~ I... 2012/04/16 22:08:59
    luvguins
    +2
    Exactly. That is how they got all those teabag neocons elected in 2010. I hope those who stayed home then and didn't vote learned a lesson.
  • Ali ~ I... luvguins 2012/04/16 22:59:51
    Ali ~ In My Heart I Trust ~
    +1
    Yup. And I hope they get their behinds in gear and start working to elect some decent representatives and senators.
  • luvguins Ali ~ I... 2012/04/16 23:14:50
    luvguins
    +2
    Some good candidates running against the neocons, and I hope people get out and vote them in.
  • #Justic... Ali ~ I... 2012/04/16 21:26:44
    #Justice4Trayvon 629 BLOCKT CONS
    +1
    BoA messed me over real bad. I better be compensated handsomely for their deceptive practices where they treated the bills I paid as if they were debited before the monetary credits were IN my account. I got hit with so many NSF fees because of their deceptive practices when I shouldn't have been since the money was ALREADY THERE.
  • Ali ~ I... #Justic... 2012/04/16 22:04:10
    Ali ~ In My Heart I Trust ~
    +1
    BofA = bad people. They have a terrible rep among those on the left in Cali. Not surprised to hear of their bad practices with clients.

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