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Socialist State of America?


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#1 Artaban

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 06:09 AM

So, everyone from conservative radio hosts to liberals at Newsweek and the (formerly?) socialist citizens of Russia have been saying it...  We're not living in the Republic of the United States of America, but in the Socialist States (or State--singular--if the federal government bails out the bankrupt state gov'ts) of America.  Do you believe this is true, and what are the implications? 

I'll provide some statistics and research in a bit.  If you want to do your own research, you could consult Glenn Beck's frequent "March to Socialism" segments, Newsweeks February 9th, 2009 issue (pictured below), or the editorial from the Russsian Magazine, Pravda, which was entitled, "American Capitalism Gone with a Whimper". 

 

Newsweek



#2 Stag Lord

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 07:20 AM

We ceratinly have implemented some socialist policies and themes - but we have been doing so for a long time. since FDR and social security really. So...I'm not sure any alarms are really necessary.

i am fine with most fo the decisiosn that have been made (as I always have skewed slightly to the more activist model fo government philsophically) and i don't run away form the lable. we are far, far from having a state planned economy or a loss of private ownership, but if we cna take some of the best ideas of socialism and implement them, I am fine with that.

I always was a big fan of Eugene v Debs (as sonofstarfall could attest to, if he was still around).



#3 dormouse

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 11:22 AM

 *sigh*

Glen Beck? Really?

I could care less what the economic system of this nation  is if it actually allows me to live an enjoyable life without stepping on my Constitutional rights... And for the record none of of the "socialist" policies put into place by he Bush Administration and those maintained and followed through by the Obama Administration are contrary to a Republic/Democractic form of government... though if you disagree please give me examples and explain how they are at odds.


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#4 LiquidIce

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 04:14 PM

Stag is wise, as ever. Pretty well every advanced economy has elements in common with parts of socialist theory. But the core tent of socialism is government control of the means of production so the US is definitively not socialist. The bailouts could be read as a nudge in that direction but the government can't possibly aquire more than a tiny share of overall production with its limited resources, and what it already has is intended to be on-sold once the recession passes. The use of the overly simplistic "socialist" label says more about the aforementioned partisan media sources than it does about the actual nature of the US economy.

Maybe in another 50 years... but probably not. I would say that energy dependence is the overwhelming issue for the US economy, not reds under the beds.



#5 Artaban

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 05:53 PM

LiquidIce said:

Stag is wise, as ever. Pretty well every advanced economy has elements in common with parts of socialist theory. But the core tent of socialism is government control of the means of production so the US is definitively not socialist. The bailouts could be read as a nudge in that direction but the government can't possibly aquire more than a tiny share of overall production with its limited resources, and what it already has is intended to be on-sold once the recession passes. The use of the overly simplistic "socialist" label says more about the aforementioned partisan media sources than it does about the actual nature of the US economy.

Maybe in another 50 years... but probably not. I would say that energy dependence is the overwhelming issue for the US economy, not reds under the beds.

LiquidIce, we agree on a working definition of socialism being "government control of the means of production."  However, I've been doing some number crunching, using figures from CNBC, the U.S. Department of Labor, and other sources, and I disagree that the bailouts are 1) a mere "nudge in that {socialist} direction", and that 2) "the government can't possibly acquire more than a share of overall production". 

I'll really lay down the facts, figures, and sources tomorrow, but consider that even before the bailouts, the US Dept. of Labor's figures show that government jobs already account for 16% of all total employed adults.  By simple calculation, figuring in the 6 million jobs lost in the last six months brings the number of employable adults on the government payroll to 22% of the labor force. 

And that's just the tip of the iceberg, as I'll soon show...



#6 dormouse

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 06:53 PM

 Actually it has nothing to do with capital, most countries that really have earned the true socialist label nationalize corporations and industries with little to no regard for their worth.

I think the claims of us moving towards being a socialist nation are either paranoia by conspiracy theorists or poor attempts of framing by patisan hacks. Are we possibly becoming less of an Ayn Rand style capitalist "free-market" nation? God I hope so.


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#7 LiquidIce

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 08:11 PM

I'll read with interest, Art. But be careful not to conflate government employment with government control of the means of production. All governments employ people so if we define that as socialism then the word is meaningless. If we call it socialism whenever governments employ over x% of the workforce (where x = an arbitrary amount deemed appropriate for all governments in all cases) then that also strikes me as meaningless, but YMMV.

(I agree that government employment blowing out is usually bad, but calling it socialism gunks up the point you're trying to make).



#8 Artaban

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 09:51 PM

dormouse said:



 Actually it has nothing to do with capital, most countries that really have earned the true socialist label nationalize corporations and industries with little to no regard for their worth.



Umm, where have you been the last 10 months?

Let's talk about nationalization (and just to neutralize your inane ad hominem ranting about "partisan paranoia and conspiracy theorists", I'll use liberal media sources).

"Nationalizing Banks, AIG, Carmakers: The News and What It Means"

Source #1:
  http://www.huffingto...c_n_169388.html

The part about the government owning around "40% of Citibank" is interesting, as well as the statement from New York Times reporting about the government owning 80% of AIG, and the cash infusions still not being enough.

Here's some more Huffington Post commentary [Source #2] on ABC's show with George Stephanopoulous:

"Bank Nationalization: As American as Apple Pie"

http://www.huffingto...a_n_168948.html

In this one, nobel-prize winning economist (and liberal) Paul Krugman actually said, "We have nationalized 14 banks already this year. We don't call it that but there were 14 banks, two a week, that the FDIC seized because they didn't have enough assets to pay their depositors. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation says, 'ok, we are taking over. We are cleaning out the stockholders.' We are going to do exactly, as Nouriel said, we should be doing for some major banks. So actually nationalization as properly understood is probably as American as apple pie."

What was your definition of the "true socialist label" again, dormouse?  Hmmm....

In a lengthy recent Newsweek interview, Krugman actually stated his belief that the Obama administration hasn't gone far enough with nationalization--a claim that has won him the ire and scorn of several other economists.

But wait, we're not done yet boys and girls. On the same episode, economist Nouriel Rabini proclaimed, "There are some banks that are so insolvent, their assets are well below their liabilities. We have already put a huge amount of money as a government into these banks. This is not any more even a partisan issue, when you have Alan Greenspan, [Sen.] Lindsey Graham and others saying we want a temporary nationalization..."  

 "Insolvent", ehh?  For a minute there I thought he was talking about the current state of Medicare and Social Security, or all that business with government entities Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and bad real estate, not banks.  What was that you said about nationalizing something of little or no worth?

Conservative George Will on Bank of America, "With credit now treated essentially as a public utility, the difference between what we have and what nationalization would be is marginal. One number: the market capitalization of Bank of America is $19 billion. Since October they have received $45 billion in public funds. So what's the difference?"

I don't even need to provide a Source #4, as the GM news is so recent.  Auto expert Harvey Finkelstein (radio show host for "Auto Talk") is one of many who've been claiming the Big Three and their supply and distribution chains account for 1 of every 10 U.S. jobs.  Now the government owns 60% of GM.  Let's see, 60% of 10% of the total labor force works out to be 7.8 million workers that just got "nationalized" and added to the 16% of original gov't employees--but wait, I haven't added AIG and all the nationalized banks....damn.  

Obama may talk about not wanting to be in the auto business, but we've heard those words before, from Richard Nixon.  The year was 1971, the industry that got "nationalized"?  Amtrak and the rail companies.  They're still on the government payroll, to the tune of $2 billion annually, and still, for many senators (*cough* special interests) that's not enough money.  Once government gets its fingers into something, it only rarely gets out. 

Another example: Education.  Well, it's already mostly run by the government anyway, but the second largest school system in the country is run by the Catholic church.  Turns out that the economic crisis, frivolous lawsuits, and government protected monopoly are hitting them pretty hard.  Doesn't matter that their students score higher on a broad spectrum of achievement measures compared to their average public counterpart, nor that that achievement is managed at about 60% of the cost of educating a student in the public system.  212 Catholic schools closed in 2007 (when many endowments--based on the Stock Market--failed to pay).  Numbers for 2008 and 2009 aren't in yet, but as I know the administrators in the Archdiocese of St. Louis (and was an assistant principal myself before one of our schools closed), I know that 20 were in danger of closing this year, and three already have. 

Now the main problem with the dissolution of the private schools, from the perspective of the publics is this:  They don't get any extra money for taking them (they were already getting those tax funds), so now they have new expenses without new revenue.  I know public administrators that wanted us to remain open. 

Source #5:  Obama's Universal Healthcare Plan.  National Healthcare spending in 2008 came to represent 17% of the annual GDP.  Obama and the Dems want to add services for the 46 million uninsured in America.  How many extra government employed healthcare workers do you think that'll take?  There are already 10.38 million of the 130 million labor force employed in healthcare.  And I haven't mentioned the "Value Added Tax" proposed in order to fund that government program.  A twenty to twenty-five percent sales tax on top of our existing taxes.  Even if it's only half of the labor force that's working for the government (directly nationalized), the rest of us will be working for them at least a quarter to half of our time, just to pay for the social programs. 

If you don't think that's socialism, I've got some more facts and figures, but those'll have to wait. 

 



#9 SiddGames

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 10:59 AM

I'm just a simple cave man. Your modern ways frighten and confuse me. But, what do banks and investment institutions have to do with "government control of the means of production?" Banks don't actually produce anything... yeah, sure, capital, but I'd prefer a tighter definition of socialism for the purposes of the discussion, then.

Hi all, long time no see. I don't know why I'm spouting off in here again, I can't check on these forums nearly as often as I used to Any way, good to see the usual reasonable debates are alive and well in the ol' Off Topic area...



#10 dormouse

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 09:11 PM

Erm... did you miss the point? The government seizing assets of banks they insured is not the same thing as nationalizing the oil industry were all means of pumping, refining, and transporting oil now officially belong to the government, thank you Chevron for all your work. In countries where the nationalization takes place at the will of the people there is a certain amount of cents on the dollar that Chevron would be reimbursed, where "Socialization" is being forced on the nation it is just taken.

The seizing of control for inability to pay debts, depositors, etc. as we see in the case of some banks is no different than what we have seen and done a couple of times in our history. What has happened in the past is the banks are set back on their feet and then sold, at a profit, and the bank's customers, the government, and the financial investors all win. The only losers in this scenario are the yahoo's who over saw the bank and their investors who let them rn the ship aground.

Socialization as a means of economic recovery has a long history in the Western World, including our own nation. You aren't going to find much tread with shouting of Socialist amongst most of America... in case you hadn't noticed. The only thing that is pissing people off about all of this is that the individual citizens who are in economic crisis because of corporate greed and deregulation aren't getting bailed out. I'm giving the GOP about another 3 months before they realize it hasn't gained any traction and abandon it for something else (6 if the DNC doesn't get coordinated in the push back that most of this was started under Bush and Obama is simply following through with what a significant number of economists see as a necessary evil).

All that President Obama is doing is following the precepts of the capitalist mixed economy which is pretty much what we've had for most of the last 150 years.


"words are like arrows, once loosened you cannot call them back"


#11 Advent

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 11:01 PM

Artaban said:

So, everyone from conservative radio hosts to liberals at Newsweek and the (formerly?) socialist citizens of Russia have been saying it...  We're not living in the Republic of the United States of America, but in the Socialist States (or State--singular--if the federal government bails out the bankrupt state gov'ts) of America.  Do you believe this is true, and what are the implications? 

I'll provide some statistics and research in a bit.  If you want to do your own research, you could consult Glenn Beck's frequent "March to Socialism" segments, Newsweeks February 9th, 2009 issue (pictured below), or the editorial from the Russsian Magazine, Pravda, which was entitled, "American Capitalism Gone with a Whimper". 

 

Newsweek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'm a bit confused...what exactly is the threshold that  we cross over from capitalist to socialist? All the gov't bailouts? The take over of Gm? It seems to me, that we would need a clear definition of socialism to truly judge this (as others have said).

Yes and no, I believe it's true - certainly we have socialistic tendencies like Medicare and such but, I wouldn't go as far to say we are exactly socialists. It seems the best economic system would have a little bit of both mixed together and then some.



#12 Artaban

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 10:40 AM

~Oh, you're right dormouse, there is no traction out there concerning fears of socialism.  We'll just forget about the 1.5+ million that turned out for the TEA parties across the nation on a weekday night (no, I was not one of them).  However you feel about Glenn Beck (yes, I think some of his stuff is way off base), he does have the third largest radio audience in America. 

I guess we'll just see with the next election cycle, won't we?  If Obama and the Dems are doing right, many of those 59.948 million who voted for McCain will switch parties, won't they?

I'd urge you to check out this video from CNN, that gives more weight to my fears that government expansion and spending will kill the economy. 

"That (3.9% increase) brought the average paycheck for a federal worker up to a little more than $72,000 (per year) versus about $38,000 for the private sector."

It's interesting that Dobb's reaction to the story was to say, "That's the stuff of revolutions, I believe."

What are your thoughts on that?



#13 dormouse

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 10:53 AM

 As long as we have anything resembling Social Security, subsidies, public education, welfare, FDIC, and Federal grants and guaranteed loans for college, we will always have socialism mixed with our capitalism. The far right wing has tried to get rid of some or all of the above and have been pushed back at every turn, not by the left but by the American people. The average American on the coasts, or in the south in the midwest does not want to give up on any of those programs.

Even the GOP don't want to give up on a lot of socialist tools we've put in place from the Civil War on. Without the socialist controls we have in place the average Republican would find themselves in a laissez-faire capitalist Ayn Rand wetdream where corporoations would run amuck, and rue the day. Enron and Worldcom would look like a game of three-card monty in comparison.


"words are like arrows, once loosened you cannot call them back"


#14 Lars

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 10:56 AM

Why does it matter? are we not past the evil socialist anyway?

If the 'fear' is that socialism doesn't work and we are becoming socialist...well, regardless if we have gone too far or not, there is nothing wrong with incorporating elements of socialism into our government too. Remember Rome fell as well (and burned a number of times too).



#15 Kennon

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 12:46 PM

Artaban said:

I guess we'll just see with the next election cycle, won't we?  If Obama and the Dems are doing right, many of those 59.948 million who voted for McCain will switch parties, won't they?

 

What about those not really happy with either, and desperately looking for a viable alternative?



#16 bloodycelt

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 02:39 PM

In this case the goverment has to step in or let everyone suffer because of the greed and stupidity of the finnancial system. Because Socialism is assoicated often with the failed systems of the USSR and the PRC, we are afraid of it. The Swiss Goverment took control of thier banking system at one time, and I would hardly compare Switzerland with Stalin.

 

If you want to gripe about a Political Trend in America, there is growing federal centrilization that started since the 1860's. Think about the National Guard, it started as a collection of state militia's, now the Governor is no longer the commander in chief, they're little more than a branch of the Army. The Second Amendment is almost a joke now. Local Militia is a better safeguard for local interests to balance national interests, not only in disaster relief and tense sitautions (that Police cannot handle).

The Patriot Act and the DMCA gave another slew of rights away in the name of Terrorism and Piracy. Similar to how the UK is taking rights away to protect the children... I don't mind socialism, but I think we also need to step back from the giving our rights away to feel safe. Sure there are terrorists out there but one should consider the cost of freedom, I'd rather have more privacy and less police state and get blown up, then be safe but without privacy. This isn't dismissive of those who have been victims of 9/11 or Oklahoma, etc. But think about the people who died for our independence, died taking down facist govermnents, people who have died for other people's freedom. Don't you think one should be willing to take a risk for your own freedom?

Just my opinion, I hope I didn't offend anyone, and I won't be offended if you disagree.



#17 SiddGames

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 07:12 PM

bloodycelt said:

I don't mind socialism, but I think we also need to step back from the giving our rights away to feel safe. Sure there are terrorists out there but one should consider the cost of freedom, I'd rather have more privacy and less police state and get blown up, then be safe but without privacy. This isn't dismissive of those who have been victims of 9/11 or Oklahoma, etc. But think about the people who died for our independence, died taking down facist govermnents, people who have died for other people's freedom. Don't you think one should be willing to take a risk for your own freedom?

+1

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

- Benjamin Franklin



#18 dormouse

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 02:15 PM

Artaban said:

~Oh, you're right dormouse, there is no traction out there concerning fears of socialism.  We'll just forget about the 1.5+ million that turned out for the TEA parties across the nation on a weekday night (no, I was not one of them).  However you feel about Glenn Beck (yes, I think some of his stuff is way off base), he does have the third largest radio audience in America. [/quote]

Having a large audience in no way means he is correct about anything, nor does it even imply that his entire audience agrees with him. As to the Tea Bagging Parties... those were nominally about opposing paying taxes... which is hysterical since the taxes people were opposing paying were Bush's taxes. 1.5 million people protesting against the wrong side for the wrong thing deserve little more than contempt. If they don't want to pay taxes they are welcome to go to a third-world country and instead pay for everything through the free-market. Isn't that the general attitude of people like Beck. America, love it or leave it? Taxes are what you pay in order to enjoy the rights and services of this nation. Reagan the "paragon of conservatism" had higher taxes than we currently have, for every class of person and for a large number of businesses. President Obama isn't even talking about going back to those level of taxes.

As to "socialism" those same people were demanding government intervention in foreclosures in interviews. So it isn't xsocialism they are opposing, it is them not being the immediate beneficiary of sad socialist policies.

[quote]I guess we'll just see with the next election cycle, won't we?  If Obama and the Dems are doing right, many of those 59.948 million who voted for McCain will switch parties, won't they?[/quote]

Quite possibly. Though honestly I'd consider it a major blow to the Republican party if the DNC just maintains current levels. They are struggling against so much detritus left over from the Bush Administration that there is going to be little in the way obvious improvement in the day to day person's quality of life.

[quote]I'd urge you to check out this video from CNN, that gives more weight to my fears that government expansion and spending will kill the economy. 

"That (3.9% increase) brought the average paycheck for a federal worker up to a little more than $72,000 (per year) versus about $38,000 for the private sector."

It's interesting that Dobb's reaction to the story was to say, "That's the stuff of revolutions, I believe."

What are your thoughts on that?

Good lord it is a study by the Cato Institute. You'll also notice they are discussing average wages, and even show a checker at a register. We are talking about including the HS drop outs that work at Mc Donalds as well as the President of the United States. Let's stop and consider the fairness of a report that does not do private versus public sector comparisons of the same jobs. I mean how much does the president earn in comparsion to a Corporate CEO? How much does a Vice President at a fortune 500 company make compared to a Congress person? You'll also notice that they are including benefits such as healthcare and pension plans in that. There was a time when every major company in the US had excellent benefits and a significant number of smaller businesses provided benefits for their full time employees, versus companies like Walmart which will not let non-management work enough hours to qualify as full time in order to not have to provide benefits at all.

I think a credible argument could be made that the public sector has fallen behind as corporate greed has risen, not that public sector jobs have ballooned.


"words are like arrows, once loosened you cannot call them back"


#19 dormouse

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 02:56 PM

Artaban said:

~Oh, you're right dormouse, there is no traction out there concerning fears of socialism.  We'll just forget about the 1.5+ million that turned out for the TEA parties across the nation on a weekday night (no, I was not one of them). 

Um, FiveThirtyEight researched a bit into the numbers of the events in all 50 states and came up with a very different figure. 311,460 . This fits with the general consensus of police estimates, unaffiliated reporters, etc. rather  than on event organizers who have an obvious reason to over state the actual numbers.

I seemed to have accidently left out the rest of my first statement about the Tea Bag Parties. I addressed my thought about taxes, but did not properly address the othe rissues and upon reading my last post it appears that I'm saying taxes were the sole reason the parties happened. My bad. But they were asking for reduction in some of the taxes that existed before Obama's Adminsitration, against the raising of taxes in the future, but also wanting to invest money in energy, infrastructure, power-grids, air-traffic control systems, etc. Basically, we don't want new taxes, we want less taxes, but more services, and we don't care that you aren't responsible for the situation we are in but we are going to blame you anyway.

Seriouslythe crowds were schizophrenic in there protests. I guess this is what happens when Fox News tries to organize a protest in the guise of a grassroots event rather than letting the voters actually come together on their own with a unified cause.

I don't want to pay more taxes. I want to pay less taxes. I want more services for less money. I don't want to bail out companies for their own studpidity and greed... but I'm an adult and I realize I can't always get what I want. I can take a far view and see that there is a definite need for the government to interveen and that at some point that taxes will have to be raised on some portion of our population. I'm willing to experiement a little and see how much and who, and recognize that letting the Bush tax cuts end is the most logical way of starting this process. If that doesn't work I recognize that I may very well end up paying more taxes, but that is the cost of living in what I feel is the best country on Earth (and of course I'm biased).


"words are like arrows, once loosened you cannot call them back"


#20 Artaban

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 08:50 AM

SiddGames said:



I'm just a simple cave man. Your modern ways frighten and confuse me. But, what do banks and investment institutions have to do with "government control of the means of production?" Banks don't actually produce anything... yeah, sure, capital, but I'd prefer a tighter definition of socialism for the purposes of the discussion, then.



Siddgames, I'm assuming this statement was sarcasm, but minus our ~ I wonder.  Do you really need/want an explanation of the role of banks and capital in private enterprise and production?

There's a lot I'd like to respond to from subsequent posts, and I'll have to be piecemeal in doing so...

As for a tighter definition of socialism, there are a number of ways one could go about defining it.  One could look at how it expressed itself in the PRC, USSR, and elsewhere, and see if there is congruence with what is happening now in the US.  When I have an opportunity to visit my parents' place and ransack some of my old textbooks from my days at Vanderbilt U., I'll give you some sources you can consult yourself to make such comparisons.

I'd point out two of the hallmarks of socialism in the USSR and PRC were government run healthcare and transfer of wealth to the government worker/party member.  The report from CNN about government salaries (which I will show as credible in spite of dormouse's objections--in my next post) I feel is evidence of a strong move in that very same direction.  Socialism/Marxism sought to end class struggle and disparity in wages, but every time it's been attempted it has merely resulted in a government class replacing the previous class of wealthy individuals.  They concentrate wealth and power in their hands, and the people spend the next twenty to sixty years trying to get out from under their oppression.

Government elitism is vastly more dangerous than having a wealthy group of business owners for several reasons.  The privately wealthy have often become so by contributing to society in some way (Bill Gates with the personal computer, private philanthropy, etc.).   Additionally, personal business rivalries lead to those independent individuals serving as rivals, and therefore checks and balances against each other (think Microsoft vs. Apple).  Government elitism tends far more towards monopoly/collusion and exploitation, and results in a fewer liberties and more lasting and entrenched oppression.

There seems to be consensus on this board that there are many aspects of our current government and society that are socialist--the point of contention being whether their measure and scope is such that they make us “socialists”.  Just as important as defining socialism is knowing where the “tipping point” is...when is the momentum such, the rapidity of changes so great, that there is no stopping the course of things, no matter how much we may want to reverse course.  When is it too late to undo the changes and the subsequent  damage?  I think we’re getting there, if we aren’t there already.  

But I digress...how to define socialism and the “means of production”...

It seems to me there are at least four ways to define “means of production”:

1) Capital (money+credit) is the “means of production”, as it determines what gets bought, whether a would-be entrepreneur can secure the backing to make his product or innovation a reality, etc.   Government involvement (think Fed. and interest rates) doesn’t necessarily constitute control, but over-involvement would.   Given the controlling interest government now possesses in major banking institutions (see my earlier post on page 1), by this definition the argument can be made we’re socialists or nearly thus.

2) The labor force is the “means of production”, as people (rather than robots) are still the entity causing the actual creation of goods and services.  The more people doing government jobs, the fewer in private enterprise, the fewer innovating.  In the past ten months we've crossed the threshold of having 25% of the total labor pool employed by the government.  Several bills up for voting would appropriate even more people for government work (Obama's “tax-loophole” legislation would call for 800+ new IRS officials, the FBI is hiring 3,000 to deal with the extra work caused by the bailouts, and any Universal Healthcare would add a million+).  

When do we become “socialists”?  Only when everyone is employed by the government?  I think it comes far sooner.  When the government is the single largest employer in the nation?  That happened a while ago.  When the 50/50 split has been reached?  

3)  Logged work-time is the “means of production”.  This definition is admittedly the fuzziest, but is somewhat easily measured by determining your tax bracket.  If you are in the 25% and work a 40 hour week, you spend ten hours a week effectively working for the government.  Ironically, those in higher tax brackets spend more time working for the government (so when people want to argue government pay shouldn’t be compared to private pay because of what CEOs make, they forget those CEOs spend a third or more of their time effectively working for the government).  

 

I'm not for abolishing taxes--a citizen who benefits from the fruits of his or her society should contribute to it in the form of some sort of taxes.  But when taxes become overbearing (just wait for my post on "Stealth Taxes"), well, that caused our Founding Fathers to revolt, didn't it?

4)  Finally, one can measure whether a country is socialist if the GDP of said country is essentially committed to paying government debt.  By this measure, there is absolutely no doubt that we live in a socialist nation, because, as reported by CNBC, in Q3 of 2008 debt stood at 95.09% of our annual GDP.   Source:  http://www.cnbc.com/id/30308959/ 

Hell, according to this chart, government spending (without accounting for debt) alone has already exceeded 40% of our GDP.  Examine what's happened to countries that've persisted on that route.  I don't see any shining economic powers on that list.  There is a reason China's rate of GDP growth corresponded to their adoption of capitalist and free market principles. 

The above is actually a tame estimation of our debt, as using more comprehensive economic measurements has led many economists to rate our debt much higher.     

Here’s an excerpt from “Economics: Principles, Applications, and Tools, 5th edition” (2007, by O’Sullivan, Sheffrin, and Perez)
“ Economists have developed a more comprehensive measure of a nation’s indebtedness. The method includes estimating the present value of the gap between ?the government’s revenues and expenditures and adding it to the current national debt.  The “fiscal imbalance” was calculated in 2003 to be approximately $44 trillion, or four times GDP.

During World War II, government debt was only 1.2 times GDP.

Problem:  No one will lend the U.S. government that amount of money.  Economists estimate that about 80 percent of the fiscal imbalance will stem from Medicare.”

 






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