Socialism As A Means To A Brighter Future

We've all been Socialists once and we will likely all be Socialists again. Socialism is an ideology focused on helping the masses. And after a global pandemic where millions have been hurt through no fault of their own, Socialism could rise again in popularity again.

When we were growing up, we had to depend on our parents to survive. They redistributed their wealth to care for us helpless kids. In a way, we were Socialists depending on others.

Therefore, it's with great dismay when I see kids and teenagers disrespecting their parents. Without them, they'd be nowhere. Kids need to listen to their parents, thank them for all they've done and give back when they can.

Instead, I see more adult children rely on their parents for everything nowadays. I'm talking getting their parents to pay for their car, a 20% down payment on a house, and so forth.

Socialism Helps Take Care Of Us In Retirement

When we retire, we depend on government through Medicare and dependable Social Security to take care of us. The reason is, most American haven't saved or invested enough to care for our own.

You'd think it would be rational to save a good percentage of your money every year, so that after 30 years you'll have millions of dollars. However, example after example says otherwise. The retirement balance by age in America demonstrates millions must rely on the government.

The government redistributes wealth from the richer working population who likely won't need Medicare and Social Security and funnels their income to the rest.

Therefore, it also dismays me when people who receive support from the government debase the rich for not paying their fair share. They are paying for you as money doesn't come out of thin air.

Socialism Allows For Better Equality

There's nothing wrong with being a Socialist and believing in the ideals of Socialism so long as we're the ones benefiting. It's only logical to want to promote Socialism if you don't have the constant drive to outperform. The decline in merit-based reward is a nod toward Socialism.

Not everybody is Superman, and nor should they be. Socialism provides a comfort that we will always be taken care of, no matter how little we try. 

Imagine getting 60 months of unemployment through my Shock & Awe Yeah program instead of only 99 weeks, how much better work would be. Or what about the $600/week in enhanced unemployment benefits during the pandemic? I spoke to several people who made more while unemployed than while working.

By eliminating the constant stress of competition and survival, we become happier. We focus our attention on more important things such as family, friends, and living the good life. Comparing ourselves to others and always trying to surpass the Jones is a straight route to unhappiness.

Socialism For A Better Healthcare System

Socialism is why Universal Healthcare, also known as the Affordable Care Act is critical to the promotion of a better America. Genetic diseases do not discriminate between the poor or rich. Millionaires can even get healthcare subsidies if they have income equal to 400% or less of the latest Federal Poverty Limits by household number.

Getting wealthy is relatively easy with effort and time. Sooner or later, we'll all become 401k millionaires with enough time. However, no matter how healthy you eat and how often you work out, if you are genetically destined to get cancer, you will get it, and may likely die.

You shouldn't be denied health-care just because you are poor and cannot afford it.  You shouldn't have to go bankrupt just because of an illness. In a country as rich as ours, every US citizen deserves a health-care safety net.

It's easy to shoot down Socialism because of the belief that it breeds laziness. Why should I work hard if someone else doesn't and gets paid the same?

Socialism isn't about that. It's about making sure everybody has a minimal standard quality of living. The below story is something to ponder.

A Parable About Socialism

A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many her age, she considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat and very much in favor of higher taxes to redistribute wealth to support more government programs that help others such as herself.

She was deeply ashamed of her staunch Republican father, a feeling she openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his and not share it with the rest of society.

One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the need for more government programs. He responded by asking how she was doing in school.

Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn't even have time for a boyfriend, and didn't really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying.

Her father listened and then asked, ‘How is your friend Audrey doing?' She replied, ‘Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies, and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus; college for her is a blast. She's always invited to all the parties and lots of times she doesn't even show up for classes because she's too hung over.'

Her selfish father asked his daughter, ‘Why don't you go to the Dean's office and ask him to deduct 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA.'

The daughter, visibly shocked by her father's suggestion, angrily fired back, ‘That's a crazy idea, how would that be fair! I've worked really hard for my grades! I've invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my tail off!'

The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, ‘Welcome to the conservative's philosophy.'

A Father And Socialism

Now that I'm a father of two, it's interesting to read the parable about Socialism. I want my children to work hard and do well. At the same time, I understand the world is a brutally competitive place.

Due to extreme competition, I'm noticing some really depressed and lonely kids. There are even annual stories about kids committing suicide due to so much school pressure. That is absolutely terrible.

With a more Socialist culture, kids can enjoy their youth more. The pressure to get straight As and a high SAT or ACT score dissipates. Doing so much to get into Harvard to only end up a nobody is pointless.

Parents just want their kids to be happy. If their kids can do something meaningful with their lives and find someone who loves them, that's all a parent really wants.

There Will Be War Without Socialism 

Some of us believe that grades don't matter because we think we are all special. Hard work is for those who aren't smart enough to work smarter. What matters is that we eliminate the classes by narrowing the ever increasing gap between the rich and poor.

It's unbelievable how wealthy some have become over the past couple decades. Meanwhile, the middle-to-lower income people continually get squeezed. Jeff Bezos has donated less than 3% of his fortune, yet he's worth over $150B before his divorce. Who can spend it all?

It's not right, and I know everybody knows this.

One day, a random hoodlum started barking at me on the subway. My golf clubs were taking too much space in a half-empty cart. How disconcerting.

When they call you curse words you take out your driver, wield it with a crazy look in your eye and ask, “What the fuck is your problem punk?!” You have to stand up for yourself and fight back in this world of Capitalism. You might get beat up, or they might cower away, apologize and ask you to forget about it like they did after I was about to start swinging.

In Socialist society, the punk kid may have less anxiety and rage to lash out against someone who was minding their own business on the subway.

All his fears about living a low class life forever would melt away because he knew he'd be guaranteed a decent standard of living under Socialism.

With Capitalism, there's immediate tension thanks to class warfare. Class warfare is why it's important to adopt Stealth Wealth if you've seen your fortune grow over the years.

There's resentment against anybody, whether true or false who might have it better than you. That's no good for happiness.

Accept & Embrace Socialism

We need to embrace Socialism for the foreseeable future. This is where our society is heading and there's no point fighting it. I've seen the future and it looks much like many European countries. And you know what? Many of its citizens are happy!

Joe Biden is now the President of the United States who will be expanding our social safety net. Rockstars in Congress like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have risen to power due to the desire for Democratic Socialism. Although she attended $70,000 a year Boston University, she’s a socialist!

Read the room. The people want change

Keep your head down and do not brag about your successes. Always try and keep as low a profile as you can. We are in this economic fight together. Let's help out our comrades today.

If you've been thinking about retiring or are close to retiring, I think retiring with Joe Biden as President is a good idea. I retired in 2012 when Obama was President. I plan to retire again in 2023. I'm burned out and need a break from Capitalism.

Related Posts:

The New Three-Legged Retirement Stool: You, You, And You

Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Gives Rich Private School Graduates Hope And Pride

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About The Author

144 thoughts on “Socialism As A Means To A Brighter Future”

  1. I really enjoy reading this article, you are not biased or leaning against one side, but take a very rational approach to view the topic from different perspective.

    I do believe we should provide people the basic living standard(food, house, medical and education) while strike the balance of still encourage the rest of people who are more competitive to stay competitive, bcz to the end, that’s what keeps the society moving forward.

    Personally I live in san jose and work in tech industry with relative high income, and i am paying extra taxes to support obama care from my pay check. every year, my tax is going up, property tax, local tax, here and there, as i said i don’t mind contributing, my only concern is how efficiently the government is doing it’s job?! I doubt big government because they are running very inefficiently and wasted tax payers money left and right. some easy examples: terrible BART systems here in SF though they increase budget and fund every year; the famous bullet train program they spent over billions and got canceled.

  2. It’s no coincidence that social democracies have a high degree of correlation with top spots on the happiness index. The common ground that capitalists and socialists can agree on is the need to maintain motivation (read: economic productivity) while increasing standards of living for all (and particularly for the more marginalized segments of society). This is not utopian thinking, as certain societies are finding this balance. A good example would be to keep competition in the labor force through certain policies (e.g., giving employers power to hiring and firing procedures), but also to make sure that those in the labor force who fall into unemployment can gain quick re-entry into the workplace within the same tier at which they exited. This can be done through policies which encourage training. This has worked and is working, and it’s difficult to argue with history. It’s much easier to debate the theory. Here, sociologists and anthropologists would add much to the conversation. For example, it is much easier for social democracy to work in smaller, more homogenous societies than in larger, diverse societies, such as the US.

    As the saying goes… If you want to pursue the American dream, move to Denmark. =)

  3. Pingback: Social Security Will Make Us All Millionaires In Retirement | Financial Samurai

  4. What you are talking about isn’t socialism, it’s welfarism. According to you the rich really earned everything they have, even if they just inherited it from their parents. The ridiculous notion that hard work must automatically lead to wealth and high status and therefore those who are poor must be lazy. Are migrant farm workers lazy, are janitors lazy? How about the children in third world countries making our clothes for less than a dollar a day? Many of the homeless and the poor in this country are people who were injured while doing hard physical labor. Having lost the ability to produce for those hard working CEOS and shareholders in their private jets, phoning in to “work” from the Hamptons they are cast off like garbage. I don’t even have the energy to really get into this discussion. It is amazing how much people in America have been brainwashed.

    1. right on Tyler. Speak truth brother. I would add that the inherited wealth was likely stolen in the first place (colonialism, imperialism, etc.) then the stolen wealth was protected by the state which is what we now call modern “capitalism” or what we might call an emergent 21st century feudalism where the new royals are inherited wealth holders – almost ALL billionaires.

      1. The new royals are not inherited wealth holders in their majority, and most billionaires don’t inherit their wealth. This is flat-out false.

  5. I don’t know if Anyone mentioned this but the parable about grades and conservatism is erroneous: in the college scenario, All Students have equal access to school resources while, in the economic scenario alluded to by the notion of conservatism-versus-higher-taxes, not Everyone has access to the same economic resources. The other points You make I think are quite good, though.

  6. A society that chooses between capitalism and socialism does not choose between two social systems; it chooses between social cooperation and the disintegration of society. Socialism is not an alternative to capitalism; it is an alternative to any system under which men can live as human beings.

    There are many socialists who have never come to grips in any way with the problems of economics, and who have made no attempt at all to form for themselves any clear conception of the conditions which determine the character of human society.

    Socialism knows no freedom of choice in occupation. Everyone has to do what he is told to do and to go where he is sent.

    Socialism… is not the pioneer of a better and finer world, but the spoiler of what thousands of years of civilization have created. It does not build; it destroys. For destruction is the essence of it. It produces nothing, it only consumes what the social order based on private ownership in the means of production has created.

    Socialism is unrealizable as an economic system because a socialist society would not have any possibility of resorting to economic calculation. This is why it cannot be considered as a system of society’s economic organization. It is a means to disintegrate social cooperation and to bring about poverty and chaos.

    The socialists of Eastern Germany, the self-styled German Democratic Republic, spectacularly admitted the bankruptcy of the Marxian dreams when they built a wall to prevent their comrades from fleeing into the non-socialist part of Germany.

      1. It really is necessary to distinguish between different “veins” of “socialism”. The Scandinavian economies are very free-market economies. Corporate taxes in Sweden are actually very reasonable, and most people pay around 1/3 of their income in taxes while employers also pay pretty hefty payroll tax. Perhaps the most interest things about the Scandinavian economies is that EVERYONE IS FREAKING WORKING! Labor rate participation in all Scandinavian countries (democratic socialism supported by a free-market economy with strong unions) is significantly higher than in the US. It actually makes sense for women to stay in the workforce because they make more than what they are paying in childcare. Free-market capitalism and strong social systems can absolutely co-exist, and don’t have to lead to these apocolyptic outocomes that Machoman evokes. However, it should be underlined that not all is perfect in Europe: it’s true that wages are generally lower at the top, taxes can be crippling in some cases, though in others they aren’t actually much higher than in the US and you get way more for it, less venture capital and more regulation generally leads to less innovation, and, perhaps the most significant problem is higher taxes leading to less disposable income and higher unemployment, while house prices continue to climb. For a long period, the US had the good fortune of having 1° Nearly full employment, 2° Very low house price to income ratio, 3° High disposable income for the middle class and up. Some European countries are still achieving this; others much less so. The Scandinavian systems do seem to be the best “socialist”-type systems in Europe, along with the Netherlands, while Spain, Italy and Greece are just basket cases. The only leg up these three places have on the US is health care and the fact that you can buy a pile of stones for 1€ and call it a house.

  7. The problem he identified was not lack of motivation on the part of planners. Instead, the cause of socialism’s irrationality is that those highly motivated and competent civil servants have no rational mechanism to guide their productive efforts and thus any decisions they make are necessarily arbitrary. Their position is akin to that of the captain of a ship in the midst of the ocean without a compass. No matter how able he is, any efforts he makes to set the course of his ship are doomed from the outset.

    Although Mises’ analysis is purely economic, it illustrates the effects of an abstract philosophic principle in an economic practical context. That principle is that capitalism is the only economic system based on reason, while socialism rests on arbitrary whim. While capitalism cannot be effectively defended solely on economic grounds, Mises’ exposition is of tremendous value to philosophical defenders of capitalism.

    Mises’ conclusion can be combined with the defense of capitalism on the basis of the rational moral code defined by Ayn Rand (in “The Virtue of Selfishness” and “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal”). In a brilliant demonstration of the power of integration, the philosophy of reason and sound economic theory concur to uphold the rationality of capitalism and expose the patent irrationality of socialism.

    The truth of Mises’ analysis was confirmed by historical experience. The irrationality of socialism was revealed in the fate of all socialist experiments conducted throughout the twentieth century. Stalin’s Ukraine famine, the widespread starvation brought about by Mao’s “Great Leap Forward,” the decadent misery that is a daily fact of life in North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Cuba, and all other socialist utopias is writ large for the full slate of the practical manifestations of Mises’ conclusion that “Socialism is the renunciation of rational economy.”

    Now if only the economic professors at Yale and Harvard could grasp this fact.

  8. Two articles that describe the coming disaster that is Nobamascare.

    lastly, from one of the great Economic Minds of our time, why Socialism will always be an “Epic Fail”. Socialism is Flawed and always will be.

    “Without calculation, economic activity is impossible. Since under Socialism economic calculation is impossible, under Socialism there can be no economic activity in our sense of the word … All economic change, therefore, would involve operations the value of which could neither be predicted beforehand nor ascertained after they had taken place. Everything would be a leap in the dark. Socialism is the renunciation of rational economy.” — Ludwig von Mises, Socialism, 1981, pp. 103-105.

    sorry, had to end all the irrational thinking in this grand imaginary utopia world of sunshines and rainbows where unicorns shoot magic colorful rainbows out of their horns and pixies fly around spreading pixie dust. Welcome back to reality and history.

    1. It is sunshine and rainbows. My financial nut is providing a good return as the real estate and stock market match to record highs and I no longer have to work for a living as a result. Doesn’t that sound good to you?

  9. Paul Fernhout

    On the GPA sharing analogy, see Alfie Kohn (“Punished by Rewards”) or Dan Pink for studies have shown that reward generally decreases performance on intellectual tasks requiring creativity. Search especially for an YouTube video featuring Dan Pink called “RSA Animate – Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us”. That is not to say we don’t need money in this society, or that money does not correlate with happiness up to around US$75K a year for most people. Alfie Kohn has an essay called “From Degrading to De-Grading” on why grades decrease the quality of academic classes and student cooperation to help each other learn.

    Another spin on the GPA situation might be asking the woman to tutor her friend in academics, while her friend tutors her in social skills? Or maybe that the friend kept the woman from OD-ing once related to academic stress or a breakup with a boyfriend. What if her friend brings her fresh veggies to eat at study breaks to keep the woman in top health? What if her friend was involved with lobbying the university President to keep the department the woman is studying in from being shut down? Most people contribute to society in various ways that even if they may not be compensated monetarily. What if her friend was the reasons some person felt better about himself from a kind word and so did not do something horrible on campus as with some tragedies? Would it be better if such a friend had been expelled earlier for a low GPA, before the kind word was said?

    As I see it, discussed on my site, there are at least five different types of transactions that form different sub-economies: subsistence, gift, exchange, planned, and theft. A society has some balance of all of these based on its culture and history — and that balance can change as technology or culture changes. A healthy society probably has a lot of all of the first four, and little of the last. In the case of exchange, since there are fundamental reasons “the rich get richer”. Studies show that societies with high inequality are unhappier — even for the wealthy there. The money-based exchange market only hears the needs of those with money, which is why people can starve next to full grain silos.

    Something like a “basic income” (as social security for all from birth) can soften the exchange economy so it works better to avoid people being left out by increasing economic equality somewhat. That can also replace all other forms of need-based public assistance like welfare or food stamps or unemployment insurance, as well as things like minimum wage laws and employment discrimination laws and such, perhaps even public education as well. A basic income as a human right in an advanced technological society includes acknowledging all the unpaid volunteer labor that goes into a real society — including parenting, being a good neighbor, being an informed citizen, and so on. It also acknowledges a claim on the productive commons where the land and patents and copyrights have “enclosed” so much productive capacity that individuals can not do subsistence production even if they wanted to.

    Paul Krugman, along with previously several other Nobel-prize winning economists (see the Wikipedia page on “basic income” and also “social credit”), recent endorsed something like a basic income as probably the only answer to increasing technological unemployment in the 21st century. Search on “Sympathy for the Luddites”. Something like a basic income passed the US House around 1970 under Nixon, and almost passed the US Senate. There is a growing movement for it in Germany.

    To get back to the GPA example, imagine if was the partying lesser-academically-inclined friend had the 4.0 GPA because her parents were friends with the Dean, and because she had lots of “tutors” who did her homework for her, and that the woman who worked her butt off was getting a 2.0 GPA being graded on a curve. That is more like what we have in the USA today for most people — many of which work long hours at minimum wage jobs, with various reasons in their history or current family circumstances why they can’t do better financially.

    For more ideas, search also on “Economics for the Rest of Us: Debunking the Science that Makes Life Dismal” and “The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger” and “The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future”. I also wrote a related essay called “Basic income from a millionaire’s perspective?” listing reasons why most wealthy people and their families would ultimately benefit from a basic income.

  10. Leventi Beria

    The following is from a 2012 article by Economist Walter williams ” the horrors committed by the communists in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the People’s Republic of China. Between 1917 and 1987, Vladimir Lenin, Josef Stalin and their successors murdered and were otherwise responsible for the deaths of 62 million of their own people. Between 1949 and 1987, China’s communists, led by Mao Zedong and his successors, murdered and were otherwise responsible for the deaths of 76 million Chinese. The most authoritative tally of history’s most murderous regimes is documented on University of Hawaii Professor Rudolph J. Rummel’s website, at, and in his book “Death by Government.”

    How much hunting down and punishment have there been for these communist murderers? To the contrary, it’s acceptable both in Europe and in the U.S. to hoist and march under the former USSR’s red flag emblazoned with a hammer and sickle. Mao Zedong has been long admired by academics and leftists across our country, as they often marched around singing the praises of Mao and waving his little red book, “Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-tung.” President Barack Obama’s communications director, Anita Dunn, in her June 2009 commencement address to St. Andrews Episcopal High School at Washington National Cathedral, said Mao was one of her heroes.

    Whether it’s the academic community, the media elite, stalwarts of the Democratic Party or organizations such as the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, Green for All, the Sierra Club and the Children’s Defense Fund, there is a great tolerance for the ideas of socialism — a system that has caused more deaths and human misery than all other systems combined.

    Today’s leftists, socialists and progressives would bristle at the suggestion that their agenda differs little from those of Nazi, Soviet and Maoist mass murderers. One does not have to be in favor of death camps or wars of conquest to be a tyrant. The only requirement is that one has to believe in the primacy of the state over individual rights.

    The unspeakable horrors of Nazism didn’t happen overnight. They were simply the end result of a long evolution of ideas leading to consolidation of power in central government in the quest for “social justice.” It was decent but misguided earlier generations of Germans — who would have cringed at the thought of genocide — who created the Trojan horse for Hitler’s ascendancy. Today’s Americans are similarly accepting the massive consolidation of power in Washington in the name of social justice.

  11. Is This Real

    I’m confused by this post…unless it is meant to be sheer sarcasm. From all of your other blog entries, it seems like you are a hard-core economic conservative who is clearly against socialism and heavier taxes on the rich; I believe you even support a FLAT TAX!

    Anyway, if this post is actually something beyond sarcasm, then I’d certainly be interested in hearing you elaborate on this topic; I find it very intriguing to see an economic conservative defend socialism (if you haven’t guessed already, I am a socialist for all intents and purposes).

  12. It is not the governments job to provide for people, it is the individuals responsibility to take care of himself and his family. If an individual is incapable of helping himself, it is the responsibility of that persons family and/or community to take care of him, not the government. I am for equal rights, but that means I have the same rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Everyone has those rights in a Capitalistic society, in a Socialistic society more people have less rights. Remember this, the bigger the government, the smaller the individual.

  13. Socialism is just a word and we should not be afraid of it. America is not truely a capitalist society anyways. Our school, police, military and fire services are all government funded, to name a few. Imagine if we lived in a world where you had to negotiate a price with the fire company for their services to put out the fire that is burning down your house (actually this used to be how fire companies functioned in the 1900s).

    Nor do we truely have free and open markets which are the cornerstone of a Capitalist society. Instead we highly regulate our economy (this is a good thing as it provides stability) and even bail out failing corporations, this doesn’t sound like Capitalism to me. I remember one of my professors in college said that we could live in a world of plenty if everyone just worked 16 hours a week, that is all that is needed to keep society moving.

    I agree with you Sam that the US is moving more towards a socialist society and that it is nothing to be worried about so long as we live in a society where education, individualism and freedom of speech is celebrated.

    1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Are you joking? Do you really think as we move more and more toward socialism that individualism is still going to be kept alive? NOPE! Say bye to it and say hello to collectivism. Do you know how much of a tyranny socialism really is? Having the government fund police, fire, military and post office is one thing but you need to do mroe studying on it. Also look at the past failures there are some good examples like USSR. Look at all these heavily socialist countries today. They suck and there poor. Look at all the heavily capitalist countries. There the best on earth.

      You should really be ashamed of yourself. I really wouldn’t call yourself an American. The founding fathers wanted a limited government not a big one that regulates a persons every move. They were strongly against tyranny and that is what a heavily socialist society is.

        1. Financial Samurai, I really wouldn’t say America voted for huge government. Do you know not even half of Americans vote! In the 2012 presidential election only around 125 million total people voted and America’s population is around 300 million. Out of those 125 million voters 51% voted for Obama. And not everyone who votes for Obama means they support big government.

          If you look at public opinion polls on sites like the Pew Research Center and Gallup they show you what America’s ideological leanings have been for the last 10 or 20 years. All these sites show very similar results. America’s ideological leanings have been very consistent over time. America is around 36% conservative, 37% moderate and 22% liberal. America is a center-right nation. We lean just a tad right from the center.

      1. Justin, some of the happiest people on this planet come from heavily government subsidized societies as Sam has touched on in previous posts. There is no link between socialism and tyranny, that is a complete falsity with no academic correlation and using the USSR as a data point is like using North Korea or Italy under Mussolini’s rule as an example and doesn’t represent the true nature of a socialist society.

        I take major offense to your comment “You should really be ashamed of yourself. I really wouldn’t call yourself an American.” because I am exercising my write to free speech and individuality. Its one thing to have a disagreement about something but to say someone should feel ashamed for exercising that right is representative of censorship and a tyrannical mindset.

        1. San Diego, I just find it really really funny that you say moving more and more towards a socialist society in the US is nothing to worry about as long as individualism is celebrated. I find it really funny because individualism is the antithesis of socialism! Haven’t you ever seen all these people who advocate socialism and talk badly about capitalism and individualism? Look it up on the internet. Socialists hate individualism and love collectivism. Capitalism=individualism. Socialism=collectivism.

          You are correct that America does not have a true capitalist society in fact many scholars believe a true capitalist society has never existed. America has a mixed economy which is a mix of capitalism and socialism. Now the ratio of capitalism and socialism in America swings more towards capitalism but as America moves more and more towards socialism individualism will die and collectivism will rise and the government will become bigger and more intrusive economic freedoms will start to suffer and the tyranny begins.

          The reason you should feel ashamed of yourself and anti-American is because the Founding Fathers of this country were supportive of a small limited government so people could have complete freedom because they knew big government can be oppressive! They were supportive of a capitalist economy that was setup by the 1st Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton. Socialism is the opposite of this. American socialists spit in the faces of the Founding Fathers. Go to a protest in America that is a bunch of socialists and tell me how many American flags you see these socialists holding? You’ll see barely any American flags in fact some of them may burn the flag. Now go to a Tea Party protest and tell me how many American flags you see? You’ll see a ton because Tea Partiers support capitalism, freedom and a small limited government like the Founding Fathers.

        2. Justin you are making broad and sweeping statements with no merit to them.

          Most of what you said has no academic evidence to support it. Academic evidence is something that our founding fathers, being wise men, would have valued.

          The only statement you made I found truth in, beyond some mundane details, was the following, “America has a mixed economy which is a mix of capitalism and socialism. Now the ratio of capitalism and socialism in America swings more towards capitalism…” However, there is no evidence for the conclusion of that statement, “but as America moves more and more towards socialism individualism will die and collectivism will rise and the government will become bigger and more intrusive economic freedoms will start to suffer and the tyranny begins.” There is no evidence to support that statement. Your bias and the fear of what you don’t understand makes you cling to what you have obviously been misinformed about.

          You went off on some pretty offensive tangents about something about party protests as well and I am not sure that I completely understood what you meant at times during your ramblings.

          I am proud to be an American and respect your right to criticism but bigotry is never tolerated in any format.

  14. Ohh, a seemingly old but relevant post…

    “You shouldn’t be denied health-care just because you are poor and cannot afford it.”

    Even worse – having to choose treatment options that are known to be less effective. A choice due to cost. I am at that juncture now – I can’t pay $15,000 every 8 weeks so I’ll probably pay with surgery later in life. I’m 26 and recently diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. I’ll be okay – it’s just frustrating to know that being fit, eating well, taking care of myself and having zero family history for this didn’t matter.

    Previously I was on track to hitting financial independence on a 12-15 year time horizon. That just changed to 25-35 years assuming health insurance can be acquired at quitting time and no more visits to the emergency room. Talk about dream crushing. A lot can change in 25 years (politically, economically, etc.) – hope isn’t lost.

    I would go further to say – it’s not about guaranteeing a minimum standard of living. It’s about a minimum quality of life.

  15. It will be really interesting to see how things pan out with Hollande. I just read that he wants to implement a 75-percent income tax on the rich. Whew that’s a lot! I wonder if other EU countries will follow suit and elect other socialist leaders if France has good results with Hollande.

  16. So when Audrey gets the same job and making the same wage as the young woman in your story, and has all those great party stories to tell her new co-workers, while the young woman keeps her nose to the grindstone, but doesn’t have the “networking” abilities, who would you rather be? And who will end up more “successful”?

  17. You have really missed the boat. You have written the article from a collectivist assumption – that everyone has a right to all wealth that is created. This is terribly wrong. The constitution was written from the perspective that one has the right to the work of their hands. We own what we say, do and are. It is our individual property. What I choose to do with the work of my hands is my choice. No one has the right to it. It is mine. It is mine to create, it is mine to use, and it is mine to choose to give away. Any form of socialism is stealing. If you didn’t build it or create it, what right to you have to it? Am I selfish? No, this is just the fundamental fact of life. You must start from this point. It is absolute. But here is the trick. Since I own the work of my hands, then I have something to give. If I do not own the work of my hands, I have nothing to give. Socialism robs me of my right to be benevolent. There is no personal morality in paying taxes to support welfare. There is no compassion in that. I am forced to do it, I have no choice. I’m amazed how the liberal mind misses this. The liberal mind believes they are compassionate by taking someone else’s money and giving it to those in need. How sad that they do not give of themselves.
    And what is with the statement about Obamacare. It was sold as a means to reduce healthcare costs. But we all know by experience that government control is incapable of reducing costs or regulating cost. Government has never been able to effectively regulate anything. Using the government to provide minimal coverage won’t work. Government has no motivation to be efficient. If you don’t believe that, look at our educational system. Costs are high, and the results are marginal at best. Compare public education to private, where the costs are much less, and the results are much better.

    1. If I have missed the boat, then why did the American people elect President Obama? Why will he win again in 2012? And why is there this big “We Are The 99%” uprising if we aren’t fighting for Socialism?

      1. “We Are The 99%” is simply a fight against Wall Street it’s not necessarily a bunch of socialists! Do you know most “We Are The 99%” and Occupy Wall Street people opposed the bank bailouts which were socialist. I guarantee a lot of them also oppose corporate welfare which is also socialism. A decent amount of these people on Occupy Wall Street were Ron Paul supporters and Ron Paul is big on capitalism.

  18. Dumber for Reading This


    He says that to scare you and the rest of the voting electorate. “Socialism” is a buzzword used by Republicans to scare the voters into thinking change is actually happening.

    Notice how in his response, he says “big government spending” (I guess we were a Socialist Nation when we recovered from the Great Depression), “Socialist Programs” (He doesn’t name any, not really shocking), “99 weeks of Unemployment” (Wouldn’t that fit in one of the other two, unless he was just adding on to seem smarter), and the tax comment, which you addressed, he just glosses over because he knows he has no answer.

    This is just some Republican wanker who espouses conservative talking points in a way in which he thinks he is smarter than everyone else, but can’t respond when someone posts a legitimate counterpoint.

    He also uses the word “comrade” in a mocking way since the term has been used by Communists and Socialists in the past.

    It’s really sad that some people use blogs as scholarly works. It’s part of the reason why the country is fucked.

    1. I think practically everybody I know offline is doing real well. Have you seen what Facebook, Apple, Google have done over the past five years? I’m sorry if you’re in a rut. Just try harder and get more education. Trust me, work ethic, perseverance, and education will set you free!

  19. The stupid example you use is the the punk in the subway would magically turn into a nice person if I gave him more. That is where you are wrong Comrade, the more you give people the lazier they get, ie-people on welfare are dirty people in general versus blue collar hard working people. The more you give the less motivitated the creators are in a society. My parable: The ant worked hard all summer collecting food and preparing his home for winter. The grass hopper played all summer not doing any work. When winter came the grasshopper had no food. No worries, the grasshopper elected a socialist leader that took away 40 percent of the ants food and gave it to the grasshopper. The next year the ant decided that the new government would take care of him the same way so he played all summer too, as did all the other hard working producing ants. When winter came, there was no food and they all starved to death.

  20. Sam, I don’t understand why you say we are “heading towards” Socialism when the highest marginal tax rate is only 35%, a relatively very low rate historically speaking. From 1932 – 1986 it ranged between 50% and 92%. During most of the Reagan years it was 50-70% until 1987 when it was lowered to 38.5%. Were we a Socialist country all that time?? The rich are getting richer in the U.S., and the ranks of the people struggling to survive is increasing. Is that Socialism??

    1. We weren’t heading towards Socialism, but now with all the big government spending, socialist programs, 99 weeks of unemployment, universal healthcare, desire to increase taxes on those who pay all the taxes anyway, we are certainly heading towards Socialism. And I’m fine with that, as I write in the post.

      I don’t want to pay taxes, and am happy to have other people pay for my well being. I’m on board!

  21. Hi there,

    I thought I’d offer my two cents worth. Okay?

    I’ve found that folks who master the plight of poverty are able to master the other challenges of life (and evolution smiles). I developed a keen sense of self-faith when I overcame my fear of poverty and my fear of failure. This is the greatest feeling! It means: “If it is to be, it is up to me.” I love knowing that I am capable of achieving whatever I set my heart to; such a feeling of security. Can this ultimate feeling of security from a socialist environment?

    My concern with socialism is that it can stand in the way of human progress. All human beings go through testing periods in their lives; these testing periods force us to use the greatest gift we have – the mind. Many penalties come with neglecting to use the mind (evolution won’t have it).

    When a man does not live from his own scenes of success, but from mental pictures handed to him by government, these mental pictures can rule and ruin his life. Perhaps he has food on the table and a great health plan (perhaps?), but his inner spirit (that part of him that values growth and development will send him a powerful message: “get big government out of your life and get yourself into your life”). I believe that’s where our power lies; it lies within us. you cannot sense the awesomely powerful being you came here to experience when you rely on others (that’s why we can’t wait to get out of home and out on our own in our teens.

    I believe we came here to have breakthrough after breakthrough into higher and higher experiences of the unlimited side of us. Does socialism supports this kind of life?

    Maybe it’s just me that thinks this way. Are we being selfish when we make ‘winning at the game of life’ our main aim? When t a specific government philosophy or economic system claims it has all the answers – dare to inquire deeper. “No matter how thin you slice it, there will always be two sides.” Baruch Spinoza.


    1. Well said mate. Perhaps the majority of America doesn’t follow in this ideal though because we voted for politicians who employ big government to permeate through every facet of our lives to take care of us.

      We are heading towards Socialism in America, and it’s really hard to see anything different.

  22. When I first studied Socialism in college, I thought is was the greatest. The reality is that in practice socialism is not much like theory. I liked the analogy about the college student with the 4.0.

  23. You forgot to mention the reason why Social Security and Medicare came about – because people transitioned away from their families, who no longer wanted to care for them. It used to be that parents would live with their children and be cared for. However, the elderly didn’t like this, and neither did the children. As a result, the states were having to step in.

    Now, instead of bearing the personal burden for caring for the elderly, we just have it deducted from our paychecks through wealth transfer taxes.

  24. The basic problem I see with the Western world is that everyone wants more from the government than they are willing to contribute. That is why all western governments are deeply in debt.

  25. So much wrong with this article. You are forced to pay the government to save for you, so those social security benefits and medicaid are paid by you, not via redistribution of wealth. Moreover, the reason liberals bitch about the unfair taxation of the rich is because of the loopholes in the tax code that disproportionately favor the wealthy, for example capital gains tax rates being much more favorable than most middle class income tax rates. It’s not about redistribution of wealth, as conservatives want you to believe, it’s about an unfair tax code that favors the wealthy and keeps the poor and middle class at an unfair disadvantage. It helps when you really understand what you’re talking about. Then again, I was once as naive as the author, so I can’t blame them.

    1. Comrade, thank you for your comment. We need to get them rich to pay more for sure to help us who don’t pay much Federal taxes at all. It’s not fair and they are keepng us down. We must fight and unite!

  26. Srinivas Rao


    I waited a few days to comment on this one because I really needed to digest it. I still don’t think my comments will do the article justice. You had asked me what I thought about this in light of the current situation I”m facing, unemployment. As strange is it might be I can’t say I necessarily see a completely socialist way of living as ideal. Sure there are benefits like healthcare, and more equitable distribution of wealth. But I think where it would fall short is in terms of motivation of people. How would people have incentives to innovate and move us forward as a society? Maybe we’re headed into a future of socialism, but I think that it;s going to have to be a system that we can mess with a bit until we get the formula right.

    1. In a Socialist society, you will be taken care of Srini. Just think of healthcare, let’s say goodness forbid you get in a really nasty accident. It might very well wipe out all your savings. With universal health care, you are protected from disaster scenarios.

      Let’s say after 5 years of trying to build your “media empire” as you call it, you’re still only pulling in $35,000-$65,000 a year. Instead, you could be guaranteed a $50,000 a year job, and work 70% less and go surfing all day! Not bad right? We don’t need much to survive, and not everybody can be a “success.”


      1. So, where is the money coming from for the $50k/yr job with 70% less effort and for the cost of your healthcare?

  27. World of Finance

    Unfortunately, Corporate America (American Greed) has taken capitalism to a whole new level…. it’s sad to see how corrupt the healthcare, insurance, and auto industries are. I know many people from Europe and have learned to see the good in Socialism as well.

  28. Look north. Canada has a pretty good balance between capitalism and socialism. Sure some are poorer than others, some have more toys – but we all enjoy things like health care sans insurance and an education system that is still kind of affordable (compared to some of the scary numbers I see in the U.S. for tuition etc). Balance is the key.

  29. lamengineer

    Susan, I just wanted to point out that there are plenty of Haitians in Cuba – so much so that Creole is the second most spoken language in Cuba. Estimates are that there are about 300,000 Haitian aliens in Cuba – and 100,000 in the US (based on the Earthquake exemption). Those numbers are always elusive and hard to count…

    It’s not a fair comparison, however – even before the Earthquake – Haiti was broken. Some might say we get raped with taxes… That’s a far cry better than getting raped by a soldier or dying of treatable disease.

    My take is…
    Cuba (among others) guarantees Success – dying of treatable disease is not Success – opportunity is not guaranteed
    USA (among others) guarantees Opportunity – Success can be huge but not guaranteed

    The above two statements are generalized, but hopefully the point is clear.

  30. Good example! But who said we are the Evil Capitalist Empire? The people of America have voted for more Socialism, so shouldn’t we embrace it more with our big Government programs and intervention? Why fight the People and Government when you can just join em and benefit.

  31. The socialist regards himself as fully entitled to force his values on other people.

    Socialists advocate the general use of force against their fellow humans to achieve the socialist view of a better society. Force is the essence of socialism.

    There are only two fundamental ways of organizing human society and economy — voluntary cooperation ..OR.. compulsion (force & violence) by some against others. Socialists blindly choose compulsion.

    Socialists favor force & violence, but of course ignore/downplay the actual need for police, prisons, clubs, guns, shackles, and hangmen. Of course, socialists vaguely perceive such violence to only be a very last resort to… “persuade” any reluctant citizens who were slow to recognize the wonders of centrally planned economics and lives.

    The 20th Century is a stark monument to the billions of humans enslaved, and hundreds of millions killed by the ‘noble’ goals of collectivism in its various sub-forms– socialism, progressivism, fascism, Marxism, Leninism, communism, etc.

    Starry-eyed socialists today still see only utopian dreams of a better society… unaware of the realities & brutal history– and false promises of collectivism/socialism.

    1. “Force is the essence of Socialism”…. really? The essence of Socialism is creating a minimum quality standard of living for all.

      In the US, we are becoming more Socialist with big government and Policies and we haven’t started using force yet.

      1. Trip @ Where the Cash Flows

        The US has been moving towards Socialism since before World War II. Vought’s main point is correct. The eventual danger of Socialism is that as the government takes a greater role in day to day life, the use of force to apply the government’s will on the people becomes a requirement. Read “The Road to Serfdom” by FA Hayek, one of the world’s preeminent economists of the Austrian School. The book was written from 1940–1943, which drew upon Hayek’s experience of living through the rise of Nazi Germany.

        “In the US, we are becoming more Socialist with big government and Policies and we haven’t started using force yet.” Before the rise of the Nazi state, the German economic and political models were the envy of the Western world. The idea that the Germans would devolve into a police state was so far from anyone’s mind in the 1930’s, until it happened.

        Interestingly enough in Hayek’s book, he does say that access to basic healthcare is something that should be assured to all in these “modern times.” Remember, this was published back in 1944!

        1. Hmmm, scary stuff on the Nazi example. Are you saying that the Obama administration, if in power long enough, will start using force against the people who revolt and don’t accept Big Government policy? It’s hard to imagine. But, this is what the people want right, otherwise he wouldn’t be in office.

  32. Sunil from The Extra Money Blog

    i agree with Sam. c’mon everyone – (music starts) heal the world – make it a better place . . . . for you and for me and the entire . . . . join me, wave your hands from left to right

  33. The universal health care would be nice. Right now I have one of the best company plans in the US (no copays, nearly everything is 100% covered) and I still would rather have universal health care.
    To make the system more “fair” to those of us who are lucky* and have worked hard** and want to keep our money, one should always have the option to buy better. Your value to society (money is the only measurement we really have) should allow you a few little privileges.

    *Someone with a very low IQ is unlucky, as is someone with abusive parents who kept them from school – you can only make up for so much of your background in a lifetime. Do you deserve to die because of it?
    **If the left-leaning daughter in the story had partied hard and had a 4.0, she would still have minded giving some of it away.

    1. Why not just employ a hybrid healthcare system of safety net + option to choose by paying more if we want more?

      As for costs, given we are Socialists, we should all pitch in and pay by broadening the tax base yes? All for one, one for all!

  34. Hunter

    Socialism is completely inefficient. The parent-child example was perfect. The parent (motivated to be successful) gives to the child (someone that is less motivated or not at all). This leaves the “child” even less likely to do something knowing that he can watch tv all day. While the “parent” can’t allocate as much of his/her money to expanding his/her business to create jobs.

  35. In general, most critiques I see of socialism that I do not particularly agree with tend to either exaggerate socialism and focus only on the most extreme varieties, or mistake it for implying only communism and then argue against communism, which is essentially a strawman argument. The GPA parable, and a few comments I see, are regarding communism, not socialism as a whole.

    There are a variety of forms of socialism, ranging from authoritarian socialism to decentralized democratic socialism that still includes a primarily free market to social democracies. Social democracies that incorporate elements of socialism, in particular, have some of the highest levels of wealth, and the highest standards of living (in terms of education, longevity, infant mortality, access to health care, etc) in the world.

    Communism has failed, to my knowledge, every time it has been attempted. Forced equalization does not work, nor should anyone expect it to. But there have been large numbers of examples of nations that have effectively distributed wealth- not to make everyone equal- but to provide robust education systems, provide workers rights, safeguard the environment when the free market decides it’s not profitable to do so, keep health care costs down while simultaneously keeping health care extremely effective, and so forth.

    A society can only last so long if the wealth keeps becoming more and more concentrated. There are a number of ways to stabilize things, but without adequate stabilization, a society is bound to fail.

    1. Thanks for sharing your perspective. Do you mind highlighting the main differences between Socialism and Communism that tend to be blurred for our readers sake?

      What about specific examples of Social Democracies?


      1. To answer the first question, socialism, in the most basic premise, is just that workers own the means of production. How it is that they come to own and maintain the means of production, and to what degree, determines the type of socialism it is. Socialism typically implies a degree of wealth distribution as well. It can range from authoritarian to stateless and cooperative, and it’s not surprising that most of the success stories are moderate and democratic.

        The relationship between socialism and communism can be thought of as a superset/subset relationship. Communism is a rather extreme form of socialism, where everyone owns the means of production, and wages and personal property are abolished. In more moderate forms of socialism, such as market socialism and social democracy, there are still people that are significantly more wealthy and successful than others.

        All developed countries have a degree of socialism. It could be as simple as imposing property taxes on a community, and then taking part of those taxes to build a free public school. The majority of developed countries, and Europe in particular, tend to have more socialist elements than the US currently does.

        For the second question, examples of social democracies can include many developed countries, but the Nordic model of the northern Europe countries is probably the best example. They’re not all the same, and the system won’t necessarily work everywhere (a common element those countries share is a relatively small homogenous population), but when it comes to most rankings (longevity, infant mortality, affordable and available health care, ease of doing business, per-capita GDP, education quality, personal freedoms, etc.) they are a among the highest ranked.

        An example of Norway’s partial socialism is that they partially own the petroleum industry in their nation. Norway is particularly fortunate in their natural resources. They took the profits from their business, and took revenues from taxes on the rest of the petroleum industry, and collected it over years into two sovereign wealth funds. These funds, valued at over $500 billion, consist of stocks and bonds from around the world, and are still growing.

        1. Thanks for your explanation. Anything in extreme eg Communism is always not ideal IMO.

          Do you think the US is heading towards Socialism with higher taxes, 99 weeks of unemployment, universal healthcare, and so forth? It is what the people want right? Otherwise, we wouldn’t have voted for our politicians in this way.

        2. Over the last 30 years, the US has largely headed in the opposite direction of socialism. Top tax rates have been reduced and financial systems have been deregulated, and wealth has concentrated.

          Even if, say, Bush-era tax cuts were to expire, we’d still have lower individual tax rates than most of the developed world and our top marginal rates would still be lower than in previous generations (but higher corporates than most of the world, which doesn’t make sense, imo).

          As for what people want, well, I’m not sure what the people want and I’m not sure if they know what they want. Public opinion seems to swing often due to dissatisfaction with the status quo, whatever it is at the time, and various polls I’ve seen show that people want conflicting things from their government.

          It would be preferable to fix the sources of problems rather than to throw money at the symptoms.

          1. So if we’ve been moving away from Socialism, and the economy has prospered, perhaps it’s because not as many people have prospered, or people are angry at how much a minority have really prospered. Therefore, we need to head back towards socialism and narrow the wealth gap. Makes sense right?

            If we can tank the markets and thereby hurt the wealthy more, we become more equal.

        3. Depends on what one means by prospered. Economic growth was pretty good before the 1980s, and beginning at around the 1980s is when our country really began accumulating public debt.

          Tanking markets and hurting wealthy is a situation that no reasonable person would want.

          But, discarding environmental health and allowing many forms of labor to move to other countries doesn’t seem to be a particularly sustainable path to me.

    2. Invest It Wisely

      I agree there are areas where institutions are not adequately developed and people`s actions lead to harm. Free market deciding it`s not profitable to do something is ultimately the customers deciding the same, but in many countries companies can get away with abuses because the legal institutions are not well-developed or the politicians are corrupt and take bribes to look the other way. This is definitely a good argument to have good and fair legal institutions.

      Re: wealth inequality I personally wonder how things would be different if we didn`t have a monopoly producer of money and the excessive credit expansions that seem to muck things up every now and then, while providing great short-term opportunities for some. Wonder how things are going in that parallel universe. ;)

      1. Actually, my daughter wasn’t home for the parable, but I told my two sons and my husband. The school my kids go to has a tendency to lean socialist, and my son wants to share the story. I told him to be careful that he doesn’t get beaten up by the mean socialists. :)

        My husband loved the parable. I think he was going to share it at work!

  36. i am unsuscribing due to this POS post. First off, you’re opening analogy is invalid. As a kid, you have to depend on you’re parents because you’re too young and immature to work. However, once you are an adult, you and only you should be responsible for yourself. If you don’t save enough money to retire, tough shit. Thats you’re damn fault. Rich people should not be punished because you were to dumb or lazy to save. With socialism, there is no incentive to work harder than your neighbor. We will no longer be the most powerful country in the nation and the “land of opportunity” where dreams come true. Instead, people will be forced to live a life of mediocrity. If you really want to live in a socialistic society, move to europe. Don’t try to ruin the greatest country in the world (although obama is doing a pretty good job at doing just that). Peace

      1. Invest It Wisely

        Haha. The reality of US is far from the image and in some ways I prefer Europe`s style of socialism to the US`s style of socialism; at least Europe`s socialism arguably helps more people as opposed to only propping up big businesses or perpetuating expensive wars.

        I suppose in some places like Silicon Valley you still have a dynamism that is rare elsewhere.

  37. Money Reasons

    This post reminded me of the classic book “When Atlas Shrugged” that I just listened to (I recently finished to the audiobook version) .

    As a middle income guy, I don’t like socialism because it gives me less of a reason to try. Without hope and the belief of the possibility of getting ahead, why try for greatness?

    Mediocrity sucks, and with socialism, that’s exactly what we get. Great things are invented and made possible by great men and women, not by folks encouraged to just jog through life…

    Ironically, China who had a socialist state, has become more capitalistic lately (relatively) and is doing great. Why would we adapt their old unsuccessful model?

    Besides, doesn’t socialism fight against nature, via Pareto Principle…

    1. Are we by definition not mostly average, middle income, and mediocre? This is the classic bell curve at work. If most of us are hugging a tight band of sameness, shall we not make everybody the same and cut off the tails?

      I’ll have to check out the “When Atlas Shrugged” book.


      1. Invest It Wisely

        It`s a huge book. ;) I think Ayn Rand went too far in some ways but she lived through the Russian Revolution so gotta understand where some of it comes from.

        Socialism sounds nice on the surface; people are greedy and selfish so let`s forceably take from the richer ones to give to the poorer ones and make everyone better off. It`s a crude ideology, and if you vest all power in the state you don`t get a `dictatorship of the proles`, you get a dictatorship pure and simple. Who is ensuring the state itself doesn`t get greedy and selfish with its growing power?

        1. Money Reasons

          I agree with your assessment of the book. There were some parts that sounded like a lecture rather than a story… Still, great points.

      2. Money Reasons

        I think to cut off the pointy end of the stick would mean that we don’t improve and because stagnant. I’m not an Apple convert, but without Steve Jobs those cool ipod touches and iPads wouldn’t exist… Shoot, computers might not even exist, at least PCs…

  38. Some basic Socialist policies are fine in my books (somewhat-subsidized education for example), but the problem arises when policies create too much of a negative incentive for people to work hard. It’s like Sam’s constant example about unemployment pay, or the numerous examples pointed out in Freakonomics. If you penalize people too much for working really hard and reward people too much for taking extended leaves of unemployment, being career students, trying to milk injuries, etc, then you create a really bad momentum for your overall economy. The negative incentives simply become too strong!

    1. It is a tough balance indeed creating the right about of positive and negative incentives.

      I know that if I had 5 years of unemployment instead of just 2 years as our system currently provides, I’d take a TON more risks at my current job and hopefully flourish.

  39. I agree, closing loopholes, simplifying everything, letting the bush tax cuts expire, and cutting some of the fat off of all the huge government programs (a couple trillion over 10 years shouldn’t be too bad) should be the common sense solution to the whole deal!

  40. The problem with universal health care is there is no cost containment. They just added features or benefits. As far as treating everyone equally, I believe everyone should get equal chance for an education or a job. If a man and woman have equal skills they should be paid equally for the same job. Treating people equally does not automatically mean redistribution of wealth.

    1. Invest It Wisely

      Healthcare is a touchy subject, but there`s no such thing as free healthcare or free anything. All that it means is that you put the responsibility in the hands of the state, but there`s absolutely no guarantee that this means more efficient use of resources or even that the quality of healthcare provided is anywhere near adequate.

      In Canada, people mainly pay through time, waiting lines, queues, poor service, and in other various myriad ways, yet costs still grow at 6%/year IIRC. This sort of growth is unsustainable. Ultimately the desire to help other people must also meet with the reality that a monopoly usually charges higher costs and provides less service, and that ultimately resources are limited.

      I`m completely for insurance in the realm of major accidents and such, and I even think that the costs might even be completely manageable if we only monopolized this section of the health industry. We don`t have insurance for oil changes. It`s the practice of putting all the power in the hands of the insurers, whether that insurer is the government directly or government-endorsed private companies, that helps to drive up costs.

      Ironically, as hard as the less-developed countries have it in some areas, in other areas such as the medical industry service is FAR superior. Even in Korea which is a modern economy (which has a public/private medical industry) service is far superior. It`s certainly worth looking at alternatives and reducing the use of insurance to those areas where there is actually risk to insure (instead of just routing all money through the insurance company for all payments) while recognizing where it does make sense to have minimum coverage so that people don`t fall through the cracks.

  41. The government should provide basic healthcare. It’s a good investment. Wouldn’t it be better for the whole country if a person is healthy and productive? Other than healthcare, I think we need to tone down the socialist state. 99 weeks of unemployment is just too long.
    What about the wars we waged over the last 10 years? We get tax cuts and nobody care about the wars. If we all have to pay for the wars, I bet more people would be against it.

    1. Yes, it is better if people are healthy and productive. However, sometimes, no amount of healthcare is good enough to cure something so horrible in you. However, accidents and such, absolutely. No one should go bankrupt b/c they can’t afford to get care for an accident that was through no fault of their own.

  42. Oh, and by the way, the whole “Canada/UK/France/Europe/etc.” is a socialist state thing is crap. We’re not socialist societies, and haven’t been for a long time. We just believe in a common good. :)

    1. Invest It Wisely

      I think the issue behind the problem with socialism has nothing to do with people wanting to help each other with not, but rather with the reality that obligating people to pay into a central fund introduces a lot of inefficiences as well as creating power inbalances. Taken to an excess, socialism destroys society.

      Certainly nothing wrong with wanting to help others, and I do my part where I can. I do certainly disagree with many of the uses of my tax dollars quand meme ;)

      1. Yah I definitely agree. I donate a lot of time and money to organizations I see results from. My problem is that government bureaucracy is so inefficient at everything. Huge programs just don’t have the detail-oriented oversight that private business does. There is simply too much room for waste and inefficiency.

  43. This is a great post! Thanks for sharing. I’m from Canada, and so often I see American touting the “American Dream” speech, much like the parable, about working hard and taking care of yourself. It’s good to see there are some people that can see beyond that.

    The thing about the parable that I totally disagree with is that it’s not an adequate analogy to social programs. If I work hard and earn $20, I sure as hell am not going to turn around and give $10 to my neighbour who didn’t work at all, just so it can be equal. That’s not socialism, that’s stupidity. But, of that $20, I’m happy to contribute, say, $2 to a common pot so that both myself and my neighbour can enjoy social programs and healthcare and things that are to be considered basic necessities. That’s a no brainer. And a high GPA isn’t a basic necessity that you’re entitled to.

    The thing is, it’s all well and good to say, “Work hard, and take care of yourself,” but the reality is that working hard isn’t a one-way ticket to being able to take care of yourself. Don’t you think the guy who flips burgers at McDonald’s works hard, and yet struggles to get by. NOW, he could go to university, get a business degree, and work hard in a way that would earn him lots of money, but the burgers at McDonald’s still need flipping, so there’s still going to be someone out there that needs just a little bit of help.

    1. IF the guy that flips burgers at McDonalds works a little overtime for a couple years, doesn’t inflate his lifestyle, and then moves up to manager they could do fine in life. No student loans, immediate investing opportunities, and some room for promotion if you can prove you deserve it (I bet McDonald’s has courses available etc), should be a fine goal for many people. No one needs to spend thousands of dollars on luxuries, instead take responsible for making sure you don’t NEED so much government help. If it is there then it is a great bonus! A person who makes a career at McD’s likely makes more than 90% of the world (pulling that number out of nowhere, but it sounds about right).

      1. I completely agree with you that no one needs to spend money on luxuries, and that McD’s can create a good living, especially in certain parts of the country. (In Toronto, not to much!) My only point was that, if his burger flipping salary isn’t enough for adequate health insurance, or enough food to put on the table, or to put his kids in daycare, then it’s society’s responsibility to kick in the difference, be it with subsidies, or with a more reasonable minimum wage. Because that guy going on welfare isn’t going to benefit ANYONE. Just my two cents. :)

    2. I used to flip burgers for 6-8 hours a day at $3.12 an hour. It kind of sucked because our manager was a tyrant. I would hate to be stuck at McDonald’s earning $8-10/hour today if I had no other way.

      Despite 40% tax rates in Canada, it’s the price to pay for universal healthcare I guess. In the US, we pay 35% Federal and 10% state taxes at the highest levels, yet we’re still fooked and with no universal healthcare.

      1. Just for the record, the 40%–45% tax rates are only for the richest, and only apply to any income earned over $128k. For someone flipping burgers, or for a poor journalist such as myself, the tax rate (federal and provincial combined) is more like 20%. :)

        1. Gotcha. So 128K is the highest marginal income level vs $380K here in the US. What’s the average provincial tax rate? In the US, we have 7 states with 0%, and the rest averaging around 8%, with the highest at 10.2% like California.

      2. Invest It Wisely

        Universal healthcare isn`t all it`s cracked up to be anymore than a guaranteed minimum grade of D would be. It might be preferable to the current US system, I don`t know, but it does have significant flaws.

        1. The point is to prevent disaster case scenarios that would cause bankruptcy. If it costs $10,000 to have emergency surgery, but you only have $5,000 and no health care…. and the choice is between life and death… you’ve got to spend and borrow, and then you’ll be wiped out.

  44. I’ve never known Sam to write an entire post in jest. Could this be the exception?

    America is a great country because people have incentive to work hard. The more disincentive you give the highest earners to keep sustaining profitable businesses, the more our economy shrinks and then we are all poor instead of just the poor of today

    1. Comrade Kevin, you miss the meaning of this post, which is that we cant all be Superman and therefore we should all have a minimum decent standard of living in a country as rich as ours.

    2. Because there is less incentive to play Monopoly, you really think people will stop playing Monopoly? At what income level would you feel “rich”? That’s to be able to buy what you want when you want, do what you want when you want and take care of who you want. Most people say $1M, probably because it’s a nice round number and it’s out of most people’s grasp. My next question is: after attaining $1M and being totally self-sufficient, what is the point in making more? Let me answer that for you…to play Monopoly. That’s right, it’s just a game. An unfortunate game where people wallow in uninspired lives at the bottom, struggling to pay bills and keep a job in the middle and decadence at the top.

      Socialism: The theory is not flawed, the people who run it are. If I hire you to hang a painting in my drywalled living room, and you bring a drywall SCREW and a HAMMER, who do I fault for my picture falling? The theory that the screw was the best thing to use, the tool used to implement the theory or the one using the wrong tool to implement the theory?
      Socialism in this country does not inspire, it only hobbles. It takes the responsibility away from the recipient. It teaches nothing. It makes people dependent. In a proper socialist community, those who can do, those who can’t teach. In ours both do nothing. Yes I’m being very general, and I know there are exceptions to every rule, but let’s face it…in a heavily commercialized economy there is more money spent per capita on de-educating than there is educating.
      Commercial adds hit each one of us from the time we can understand there are things that we do not have that others do, till the time we are involuntarily crapping our pants. And it’s broadcast, meaning the cost person is minimal. Education on the other hand is roughly $17K per child (that’s all levels of government spending) per year for 12 years. Then let’s add about $20K per year for a bachelor’s degree. That comes to a grand total of $284K spent on education. Now compare that to the $10B+ spend a YEAR on advertising and maybe you can see why people spend $100+ for shoes that cost $1 to make. So for those rich people that got rich legitimately, I want you socialists out there to realize, they got that way because WE paid them.

      I know my thoughts are convoluted, so let me sum up how I feel. Capitalism it perfect for growth and advancement, but it does nothing for sustaining. Unchecked and corrupt capitalism will eventually draw stark contrasts between classes. Socialism is great for sustaining, but does little for growth and advancement. Like the U.S. government being bicameral, a properly instituted Capitalist/Socialist economy can sustain and promote growth through checks and balances that will slow the effects of corruption.

      1. To quote you: Socialism: “The theory is not flawed, the people who run it are.”

        Where do you expect to find these magical people who can run a socialist society without being corrupt? Candyland? It’s a theory that sounds good on paper and has never even been close to working in a real life situation.

        1. Yes, because Capitalism is working so well in regards to corruption. The point was all social theories are great on paper, but all are also susceptible to human flaws. Just with capitalism, it’s easier to hide. Do you even realize what happens as profit margins increase? Money gets concentrated at the top much quicker. What happens to a house if you take more and more from the foundation to add to the roof? It will fall.

        2. Aussie Viking

          In Sweden! That place works. I’ve worked / lived in 50 plus countries and Sweden’s model – while it hurts when getting taxed – actually works. Takes a non-consumer centric population to pull it off though….

          Props to FS for having the testicular fortitude to stick behind his beliefs, I salute you Comrade!

  45. I love that example about the daughter and father and the grades! It really puts a fresh perspective on things. I busted my butt in college to get B’s and the occasional A and wouldn’t want to away part of my GPA either! It can be discouraging to see how much in taxes gets stripped out of our paychecks for inefficient programs that we don’t benefit from.

    1. Kinda sucks indeed that our government is so inefficient with our tax dollars. If only they could lead by example with their finances, then maybe, not so many people would want to evade taxes because they see a return on their money.

  46. Invest It Wisely

    @Darwin’s Money
    Indeed, I am currently in Ethiopia which is yet another country that suffered greatly a couple of decades ago due to extreme socialism. The country is turning things around, but they could be a lot further than where they are.

    1. Wow, you’ll have to write about your experiences in Ethiopia when you return! What a trip!

      Perhaps a story about with socialism failed there. You write the word “extreme” though…. and anything in extreme is usually horrible.

      1. Invest It Wisely

        True, but would you argue that `moderately` beating up is good? It`s only less bad.

        I don`t normally make such analogies because people tend to value the ideals of socialism, and actually I do, too. It`s just that socialism itself is a crude ideology that doesn`t lead to the results it espouses. That doesn`t mean there`s no role at all for the state, but that role may be much smaller than it is today.

        Ethiopia is a very interesting place to be! The government is introducing taxes left and right but you see people begging in the streets because the government does nothing to help them. Many things here are better than they were in the past and I`m definitely grateful to have had the chance to visit here; it`s been humbling in many ways. Ultimately I do prefer to pay my 40% tax and live in Canada, but doesn`t mean that we`ve reached paradise and there`s absolutely no room for improvement. A couple hundred years ago I`m sure people thought that monarchies were the pinnacle of civilization.

        1. Hmmm, interesting that there is so much poverty. Perhaps it’s because birth rates are too high, and it overwhelms the amount of revenue collection and support the gov’t can give.

  47. Invest It Wisely

    The thing about socialism is it leads to the opposite of what it claims; instead of less wealth inequality you get more, instead of a richer society you get a poorer one, instead of better morals you have worse morals, and instead of a fair government you get a corrupt one where politicians call all the shots.

    The extreme of the idea that the collective is more important than the individual is manifest in the famines and mass deaths and executions of Stalin and Mao`s forced collectivization. The Nazis are not commonly associated with the socialists, but they too had an idea that the collective, and a certain collective at that, was more important.

    A less-extreme result can be seen in the rising indebtedness of the Western world.

    Voluntary trade, on the other hand, is how you actually get the benefits of what socialism claims to bring about. I am reluctant to call this capitalism because of how the term has been perverted to mean the U.S. economy and political system, which is decidely not only about voluntary trade. Basic rule of law which punishes theft, fraud, and abuse of force and an open and free system which allows people to voluntarily trade with each other is how you get a prosperous and just society. When people start to feel entitled and when the system becomes corrupt, rewarding some groups over others, this all starts to go to hell.

  48. I got into a heated discussion with my guy this weekend about what it takes to decrease the deficit in the U.S. I’m pretty callous.

    We both agreed on the elimination of the Head Start program, significant reductions to federal funds going to state governments (hey, the states need to fend for themselves more than they are), deep cuts in SNAP (Americans are too fat as it is), and providing Section 8 to only the neediest and incapable individuals. That’s where he and I agreed, but I didn’t stop there. I went after Social Security. People are just living too long these days. I’m okay with increasing the amount of income on which we’re subject to Social Security tax, but those depending heavily on the program need to make sacrifices too.

    The middle class that’s too precious to have their taxes increased need to pay more for the benefits they’re receiving. Higher income folks are already paying more than their fair share. Forget what you’ve heard. It ain’t true.

    When it comes to healthcare, although I don’t think it’s a right, I believe a base level of care should be provided by the government of which EVERYONE contributes. If you want more than that, you can always pay for it with cash or continue to purchase health insurance from a private company.

    1. That’s rough Shawanda! But alas, in our state of budget crisis, we must cut, and cut quickly. It all points to the fact that we should really depend on ourselves more and not on others.

  49. Darwin's Money

    Socialism cannot and will not work over any long period of time. It never has in history and in an increasingly flat world, socialist societies are doomed to fail. There’s no GDP growth, no innovation, no investment. Just take a look at the fact that no country has ever successfully existed under this philosophy.

    1. Steve Katulka

      It could, but nobody has ever adopted the appropriate system. Most socialist societies have in the past been either barely socialist, or totalitarian socialists. Neither works. What you need is a middle ground where a central authority exists (the government) to provide softening of the borders between the classes. The current US government is attempting to do that, but the problem is that EVERYBODY is resisting the change out of fear. The rich fear that the lower class isn’t paying their share, the lower class feels the rich are dodging paying THEIR fair share, the middle class is perceived to have disappeared because they are keeping their heads down to avoid being drawn into the crossfire. The best ideal of socialism isn’t that everybody gets the same thing, it’s that everybody works together to make everybody’s standard better. Perhaps instead of ‘socialism’ people should adopt the term ‘collectivism’. We’re all in it together, and we all need to make sure that all the parts are working, because they’re OUR parts. Rich or poor, we can all do little and big things to improve the standard of living. Some of that may be monetary, some of it may be social awareness, some of it may be supporting the government and creating positive public opinion. Capitalism isn’t wrong. Selfishness is the problem, not Capitalism. Finding the slim line where people are driven to progress and succeed, versus driven to get what they can and give nothing back. The wealthiest people in america pay the largest part of the income tax; the TRULY wealthy who generate most of their income via investing pay more capital gains tax than income tax, but the wealthiest people also encourage each other to be socially conscious; they give enormous sums of money to charities, to drive the arts, to pursue scientific research… When the poor give the same percentage of their incomes each year to charities, then we’ll talk about income taxes.

      Socialism should be less about how much money people make and more about everybody taking personal responsibility for doing what they can to contribute to the welfare of society as a whole, whether that’s financially, socially, politically, or morally.

      1. I think many would argue that contributing 0 in federal taxes is contributing 0 to the economic welfare of the country no? Hope these 0 contributors can contribute with their time.

        1. Hardly anyone contributes 0 in federal taxes. Even people who pay $0 in federal income taxes for some or many years pay gobs of taxes over their lives. The real sin is the Apples and Walmarts paying very little taxes and paying such low wages and benefits that Walmart is the largest American welfare queen.

          Minimizing taxable income is a very wise decision that many early retirees, pacifists who object to American war spending, part-time or seasonal workers, and other strategists choose.

          For anything under about $60-$100k, depending on where and how you live, it can be a lot better strategy to earn and live on ~$20k or less, with an AGI of $0, and pay no income tax. It’s kinda like “shooting the moon” in hearts. If you can’t make big enough bucks, make small enough income that you don’t pay tax at all.

          Personally, I hate the idea of income tax. Taxes suppress and discourage behaviors, and income is a good thing. Income should be encouraged!

          Another important definition that wrongly screws over labor is “income”. Taxable income in a business is net income, revenues minus cost of sales. For some insane reason I cannot comprehend, and have always been bothered by, the American laws consider hours of labor “income”. This is false. Each person has a given number of healthy hours per year that they can TRADE in labor. They don’t “receive” those hours. Therefore those hours are not income. They are assets that are traded for dollars. Every other time someone trades assets for dollars or other assets, they are taxed on NET, not GROSS. There must be a value ascribed to labor hours, and tax may only be assessed on profit or “extra” value when those labor hours are traded for dollars.

          For example, if I have $100k worth of healthy hours of my time to trade this year, and I trade them for $60k, I owe no income tax, because I lost $40k by trading my time for money. If I sold $100k of healthy labor hours for $200k, fine, $100k of taxable “income” was received, and tax is owed. It really grinds my gears that labor is assigned $0 value, whereas every other asset has value in calculating taxable income.

  50. Couldn’t agree more. But why stop at sharing money–that ugly, nasty cause of all the world’s problems.
    We should share opportunities.
    Why should George Clooney and Julia Roberts get all those cool movie roles when there are so many starving actors out there?
    How many hit songs must U2 produce to be happy? There are plenty of garage bands out there who would die to have a hit.
    Since 99.9 percent of the people in the entertainment industry are progressive socialist-types, they will have no trouble adopting this proposal. They can lead the way into our bright socialist future!

      1. Beauty is a bourgeois sentiment and unneeded to progress to our glorious socialist future.
        The fact that you mention it means you are soft, FS, and susceptible to capitalist leanings.
        You may need reeducated.

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