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2 minutes ago, The Jabbawookie said:

 

The definition of socialism is a state in which the workers control the means of production.

I don't consider myself a socialist.  I don't consider welfare state policies sufficient to make a state "socialist" either.

 

My initial points were:

Socialism or communism are not the only alternative to things being exactly the way they are (people in this thread have claimed otherwise.)

Condemnation of socialism as an inherently doomed or unstable system is unfair given the historical context in which you'd find examples.

I agree with you, but that's where this thread has gone awry. I don't think others agree with that definition. We can definitely discuss welfare state policies. The question is whether a welfare state policy is needed when small changes may suffice. Think of it from a change management perspective. If I change everything at once, what is my chance of success? Not great. I can make small steps, see the results, then make subsequent changes.

The only example I can think of that I would label "success" is Mondragon. You may get cooperatives to work sometimes, but on a large scale true socialism has not provided great results.

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41 minutes ago, The Jabbawookie said:

"We're not like Canada, Mexico, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Japan, Finland, Australia, France, Germany, Greece, Denmark, Italy, Spain, the UK, Israel, New Zealand or Ireland."

"The universal healthcare in Communist Ireland would never work here."

"We're just so quirky!"

Most, if not all, of those countries could afford government-sponsored healthcare because throughout the Cold War the US was spending its own money to be able to defend both itself and Europe. Also, all those countries have a smaller, less widespread, less diverse population. The population of Norway is half the population of Los Angeles County. And these countries have tax rates far higher than in the US.

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11 minutes ago, Tayloraj100 said:

Most, if not all, of those countries could afford government-sponsored healthcare because throughout the Cold War the US was spending its own money to be able to defend both itself and Europe. Also, all those countries have a smaller, less widespread, less diverse population. The population of Norway is half the population of Los Angeles County. And these countries have tax rates far higher than in the US.

They also dont all pay insurance companies for healthcare. 

Ah, hang on, that might be it. 

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12 minutes ago, The Jabbawookie said:

 

The definition of socialism is a state in which the workers control the means of production.

I don't consider myself a socialist.  I don't consider welfare state policies sufficient to make a state "socialist" either.

 

My initial points were:

Socialism or communism are not the only alternative to things being exactly the way they are (people in this thread have claimed otherwise.)

Condemnation of socialism as an inherently doomed or unstable system is unfair given the historical context in which you'd find examples.

The confusion occurs when people slap inaccurate labels onto whatever they don't like.  "Not capitalism" -> "socialism."  "Socialism" -> "communism," etc.

 

Very true. And I know I’ve slipped on my labels at least once. I want Social Democracy, I do not necessarily think the workers ought to own the means of production, though it could be an interesting experiment in some ways. 

For the most part, I’m for private property, and capitalist profit, but the wealth gap needs serious fixing. This system where the vast majority of the wealth is held by a tiny minority of the people is unhealthy and unsustainable, and will continue to breed instability, which is a threat to security.

Corporate interests need to immediately and substantially take a backseat to environmental and human concerns. Workers need protection from corporate caprice. Unions needs strengthening.

Maybe I’ll list some more things later. Starting points, though.

Edited by Cpt ObVus

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8 minutes ago, Cpt ObVus said:

It’s likely difficult to get a firm definition, because it isn’t like @>kkj and @Jabbawookie an I all have the same idea in mind. For my part, I want to see fairly applied taxes that to a limited degree, disproportionately remove wealth from corporations and the most wealthy individuals, and redistribute it to those individuals (and smaller businesses) in greatest need. Mostly in the form of health care and social safety nets for the underprivileged. This probably wouldn’t change much for the middle class, tax-wise. We could likely pay for everything I’d like to see simply by taxing the rich appropriately.

There’s a lot more I’d like to see done, too. But let’s start there.
 

Don't you think we need a good definition, though? Otherwise, we go in circles over what the bar is for socialist. The worker controlling the means of production is the best and most accepted definition. 

Here's the problem with the idea that this all doesn't affect the Middle class.... if I'm a company, I charge X. You tax me, and I charge X and a percentage. My customer is going to cover my taxes.

This was the same deal with the ACA. There would have been a tax on companies creating goods for health care. They add the tax. Hospitals charge you more. Now insurance goes up. The government has to make up the difference. It's a cycle that creates an impact on everyone's premium.

I understand everyone's intentions. I understand that it comes from a good place. You want to cover everyone with healthcare. The answer isn't simple, and the road to **** is paved with good intentions.

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15 minutes ago, The Jabbawookie said:

The confusion occurs when people slap inaccurate labels onto whatever they don't like.  "Not capitalism" -> "socialism."  "Socialism" -> "communism," etc.

 

^This. So much.

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2 minutes ago, BigPoppaPalpatine said:

Don't you think we need a good definition, though? Otherwise, we go in circles over what the bar is for socialist. The worker controlling the means of production is the best and most accepted definition. 

Here's the problem with the idea that this all doesn't affect the Middle class.... if I'm a company, I charge X. You tax me, and I charge X and a percentage. My customer is going to cover my taxes.

This was the same deal with the ACA. There would have been a tax on companies creating goods for health care. They add the tax. Hospitals charge you more. Now insurance goes up. The government has to make up the difference. It's a cycle that creates an impact on everyone's premium.

I understand everyone's intentions. I understand that it comes from a good place. You want to cover everyone with healthcare. The answer isn't simple, and the road to **** is paved with good intentions.

And that’s why government needs to enact consumer protections. Or they need to enact tax schemes that encourage corporations to not “pass those taxes on” to the consumer. 

The American government has fought against price gouging before, and they can do it again. But they lack the will to engage corporate America, because they’re all in bed together.

There are ways around these issues. But in America they don’t even get discussed seriously, because of the fact that the right has made terms like welfare and socialism into dirty words.

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10 minutes ago, Ginkapo said:

They also dont all pay insurance companies for healthcare. 

Ah, hang on, that might be it. 

Right, but I’d rather pay insurance companies for health insurance than pay the government for it. Not to say that the health insurance industry doesn’t need some changes, it certainly does. But my health care costs have sky-rocketed since the Affordable Healthcare Act. I thought tort reform would have been a better choice.

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15 minutes ago, Tayloraj100 said:

Most, if not all, of those countries could afford government-sponsored healthcare because throughout the Cold War the US was spending its own money to be able to defend both itself and Europe. Also, all those countries have a smaller, less widespread, less diverse population. The population of Norway is half the population of Los Angeles County. And these countries have tax rates far higher than in the US.

In order:

Cut our bloated military budget.  If the point of our military is to protect civilians, maybe we shouldn't be losing more Americans to disease than WWI, the Korean war and Vietnam combined.

We can agree that one way or another, everyone should have access to medical care, right?  Because if it needs to happen either way, we're going to need altruistic behavior: saving some lives isn't profitable.  But collectively we can pick up the slack when private companies either wouldn't, or would do so by lowering the quality of life for vulnerable groups.

Increase taxes for the wealthy, like we used to have back when we were building interstate highways and landing on the moon.

Assuming for whatever reason you don't have that money you were going to put towards private insurance.

Edited by The Jabbawookie

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1 minute ago, Tayloraj100 said:

Right, but I’d rather pay insurance companies for health insurance than pay the government for it. Not to say that the health insurance industry doesn’t need some changes, it certainly does. But my health care costs have sky-rocketed since the Affordable Healthcare Act. I thought tort reform would have been a better choice.

The ACA was a compromised half measure that didn’t nearly go far enough.

I work in a restaurant. I see chefs and dishwashers working 60-70 hour weeks to make enough money to live. They almost all fall into the category of having too much income for Medicaid, and not enough income to afford a good plan. I’ve seen a dishwasher literally break her middle finger on her dominant hand at her *second* job, then come to our place with her finger swollen to twice its size, and keep working. She did that for weeks, until it healed. It’s crooked AF. But she couldn’t afford to use the health plan she was paying for, and go to the ER. “That insurance is for my fibromyalgia, and for maybe if I get cancer,” she told me. 

This woman is 50+. Salt of the earth. Paying for her daughter’s college degree. Working overtime at two jobs with chronic health issues. And she can’t afford to fix a busted finger, or to take a week off.

I see stuff like that all the time, and it makes me think this country needs to do better. And we can.

It starts with finding the money. Donald Trump paid a combined $1500 in taxes over the past two years, by the way.

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23 minutes ago, BigPoppaPalpatine said:

I agree with you, but that's where this thread has gone awry. I don't think others agree with that definition. We can definitely discuss welfare state policies. The question is whether a welfare state policy is needed when small changes may suffice. Think of it from a change management perspective. If I change everything at once, what is my chance of success? Not great. I can make small steps, see the results, then make subsequent changes.

I sympathize with this.  People are right to be worried about change, because new systems bring new problems.

Smaller changes bring fewer new problems, but keep some of the old issues intact.  If you favor small steps, I can respect that.  I feel we're about 15 years too late for that and things are nearing a boiling point, but there's room for disagreement there.

 

The push for a more extreme change to our healthcare system than some might prefer has a few reasons to justify it beyond blind idealism:

The system we have is actively decaying.  Whatever we do or don't do carries instability.

We have a lot of guinea pig countries displaying generally positive results.  This concept is not new or unusual in the developed world.

A lot of the beauty of this country is in the ability to change our system internally when we find practices that work.  The arguments against universal healthcare sound a lot like arguments one could make against social security, but that tends not to be controversial enough to campaign on.  Lately we've had an issue of any progressive movement being not curbed by conservatism, but actively fought tooth and nail by regressive ideologies.

It prevents anything from getting done at all, let alone in a timely manner.

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1 hour ago, Cpt ObVus said:

disproportionately remove wealth from corporations and the most wealthy individuals, and redistribute it to those individuals (and smaller businesses) in greatest need.

Read The Next Millionaire Next Door, or any of them. They're really good reads and will help you see that these small businesses can succeed by themselves. 

Are all taxes fair? Probably not. But there are a bunch of people with lots of money who worked for it. 

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1 minute ago, Bravo Null said:

Are all taxes fair? Probably not. But there are a bunch of people with lots of money who worked for it. 

The higher you go, the fewer people you're dealing with and the less they worked proportionally to their income.

I know the book title probably isn't meant to be taken literally, but millionaires aren't "wealthy" in a relevant sense.  Even 10 million, 100 million isn't the focal point.

Billionaires, maybe.  But they didn't work 1,000 times harder than that millionaire, or 10,000 times harder than ObVus's dishwasher, because that would have physically killed them.

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8 hours ago, Bravo Null said:

Read The Next Millionaire Next Door, or any of them. They're really good reads and will help you see that these small businesses can succeed by themselves. 

Are all taxes fair? Probably not. But there are a bunch of people with lots of money who worked for it. 

That’s another problem with Americans. Too many of them have bought into the lie that anyone who works hard can become amazingly wealthy, and anyone who’s economically disadvantaged is probably lazy or stupid.

Most of the very wealthy did not work for it (or did not work very hard). And ALL of them, even those that did work hard, need to pay taxes. They benefit from the system, and reap the fruits of others’ labors, but don’t give back proportionally.

The truth is that most wealth is generational and inherited. The more you start with, the easier it is to accrue. Economic mobility is (and for most of human history, has been) very small. And in America it’s getting smaller all the time.

As for small businesses, I’m very well acquainted with many of the pressures they face. My grandfather started a light manufacturing business after WWII, and it became very successful. My father ran it from the 90’s into the 2010’s, and a combination of globalization and economic policies which favored larger corporations eventually led to him selling it to a massive conglomerate that had bought up a large portion of the other businesses that did what the family’s business did. I worked there for a time after college, but it was an irrevocably sinking ship by then (suited me okay, personally; I never wanted much to do with it... but it was a big blow to the local community when it finally got sold off and chopped up, and unfortunate to see my grandfather’s and father’s life’s works just sort of evaporate).

So I’m really not interested in reading how easy it is to own and operate a small to mid sized business in America. My lived experience has shown me that it tends to be a game rigged against the little guy.

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6 hours ago, Ling27 said:

Pyramid schemes have been around for a long time. People just got better at branding it as something new. Its just that the modern kings are not also the ones in charge of the country... well... sort of.

2. Feudal System - Medieval Europe

https://d3n817fwly711g.cloudfront.net/uploads/2014/07/Matrix-Structure-1024x725.png

You'll find that pyramid schemes are illegal..... wait.... hang on

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Sigh. The lie that CEOs are lazy again...

The average CEO works 60 hours a week. People like to think that if you aren't in the fields or a manufacturing plant that it's not work or that those jobs are as valuable as the CEO. Those jobs can be done by a large percentage of the population. This idea that all labor is equal is a lie. This idea that you have to "give them something back" is based on nothing other than your own jealousy. Labor at the higher levels is specialized. You can use anecdotes, but that doesn't indicate something for the general population. You can always find examples of the Peter principle. 

If you think economic mobility is something only a few can achieve, then spend some time in Miami. That city is likely the single greatest modern example of this in the US. US history is filled with immigrants from other countries creating their own wealth. Part of their right to their property is being able to hand that wealth to their offspring. Again, this idea that people in this country are entitled to the fruits of anothers stems from jealousy.

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15 hours ago, The Jabbawookie said:

The higher you go, the fewer people you're dealing with and the less they worked proportionally to their income.

I know the book title probably isn't meant to be taken literally, but millionaires aren't "wealthy" in a relevant sense.  Even 10 million, 100 million isn't the focal point.

Billionaires, maybe.  But they didn't work 1,000 times harder than that millionaire, or 10,000 times harder than ObVus's dishwasher, because that would have physically killed them.

@BigPoppaPalpatine Its not about all labour being equal or CEOs being lazy, its whether CEOs are worth THAT much more?

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2 hours ago, BigPoppaPalpatine said:

Sigh. The lie that CEOs are lazy again...

The average CEO works 60 hours a week. People like to think that if you aren't in the fields or a manufacturing plant that it's not work or that those jobs are as valuable as the CEO. Those jobs can be done by a large percentage of the population. This idea that all labor is equal is a lie. This idea that you have to "give them something back" is based on nothing other than your own jealousy. Labor at the higher levels is specialized. You can use anecdotes, but that doesn't indicate something for the general population. You can always find examples of the Peter principle. 

If you think economic mobility is something only a few can achieve, then spend some time in Miami. That city is likely the single greatest modern example of this in the US. US history is filled with immigrants from other countries creating their own wealth. Part of their right to their property is being able to hand that wealth to their offspring. Again, this idea that people in this country are entitled to the fruits of anothers stems from jealousy.

Trust me, it’s not jealousy. It’s about actually watching the real-time effects of the upward concentration of wealth and a vanishing middle class for decades now. 
 

And as @Ginkapo said, it’s also not about believing that CEOs are lazy. It’s about thinking they probably don’t deserve to make 300-400 times what their lowest-paid workers do. That is, in my estimation, absurd. And yet it’s a common enough practice that cities have begun to pass laws which increase the taxes on executives who make that much more money than their workers. I’d like to see it go farther, and have management hard-capped at say, 20 times more. So if a corporation’s average bottom-tier worker makes $20,000 per year, the CEO can’t make more than $400,000 per year. Doesn’t $400,000 seem like a very decent salary? And if that guy wants to pay himself more, then he simply needs to be willing to give all of his lowest tier a raise. So if he starts paying them  an average of $21,000, he can now pay himself $420,000. In this model, the rich are still getting far richer than the poor, but multiple people... maybe five people, maybe hundreds, depending on the size of the company and the corporate structure, got a substantial raise. The money moves around more, and that’s good.

Concentrating 90% or more of the wealth in the hands of 1% of the people is just not a sustainable model. Why enable a system which encourages such a vast disparity in wealth? Does it really feel right to you that a guy who works 60 hours a week sitting in an office and typing memos and having meetings and reviewing TPS reports ought to make 300 times what the guy digging in a coal mine for 60 hours a week ought to make? Now consider that the main indicators of which one would end up in the office and which one would end up in the mine have a lot more to do with their station at birth. One of them is born to wealthy suburbanites and goes to Cornell. The other is born to a diner waitress single mother, and can’t pay for school. So the guy who goes to Cornell gets to go home with 300 times the other guy’s annual salary? You’re okay with this? You think this makes a healthy society?

Edited by Cpt ObVus

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1 hour ago, Ginkapo said:

@BigPoppaPalpatine Its not about all labour being equal or CEOs being lazy, its whether CEOs are worth THAT much more?

Yes, they are worth that much more. Again, Amazon is a bookstore before Jeff Bezos, and now is a large corporation employing hundreds of thousands. Do you think the average worker makes that happen? No. Amazon would continue doing what it always did.

As for @Cpt ObVus, you are using stereotypes to prove your point. You are talking about TPS reports and memos... which what, you watched Office Space? Yep, that's proof right there. Take manufacturing any widget. A guy in an office designs a widget. Another guy an office creates an assembly plan to build that widget. A worker gets simplified instructions telling him/her what to do. The guys in the office hope the worker can follow those instructions. Are there specialized workers that do complicated assembly processes? Sure. But most are just following a step by step process laid out for them.

"Wealthy surbanites" and "single mothers"... you discount someone going to a good college as wealthy, and they couldn't have possibly worked hard to get there. It's this lie that no one in the upper class earned their place. Let's take someone who's parents earned wealth. If they earned that wealth, then they should pass it on as they see fit. You have no right to it. You have to create this victimhood to justify your ideals. 

It's jealousy. Just be honest for once.

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24 minutes ago, BigPoppaPalpatine said:

If they earned that wealth, then they should pass it on as they see fit.

How does that fit into your "you have to work yourself to get somewhere"-logic? Didn't you then do nothing except been born in the right family?

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