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'Socialism' Made America Great

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/11/socialism-made-america-great

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C’mon people, put your thinking caps on.

It use to be, everyone paid taxes, allowing the government to build things that everyone could use, like, roads and bridges, and schools and the like.

Now, the rich and the corporations pay a fraction of what they use to pay, if anything, and they get huge tax breaks and the masses are forced to pay it all.

What’s changed?

Yeah, the rich have taken over our government and industry and changed the laws to protect themselves from paying their fair share.

What have we done about it?

Well, 95% of us keep voting and supporting the rich?

Why do they do that?

When you figure it out, tell me please

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Direct U.S. Government investment, socialism, has a long history: The Louisiana Purchase, the Erie Canal, the Transcontinental Railroad, the Homestead Act, the construction from New Deal projects (WPA and PWA and the Reconstruction Finance Corporation that rescued capitalism during the 1930s and coordinated and financed military spending during WWII), the G.I. Bill, the National Science Foundation. Even the creation of public schools is an example of government direct action creating a non-profit institution that uplifted the quality of life. Bold Endeavors is the Felix Rohatyn book on such activities. Now we have a need for equally large and transformative government investment. With the grave inequality we have created, and with the sequestration of wealth by the super-wealthy and the merely very wealthy – 40% of savings is in the hands of 1%, 80% in the hands of 10% – there’s no alternative but to tax the assets of the well-off – high taxation is needed, even if they regard taxation as confiscation. We could finance the improvements by printing money, but that would lead to an inflationary environment. Most financial assets are unused capital, wasted is the way to put it – they lie idle without productive purpose. The country cannot passively wait for “free market capitalism” and the “profit motive” to effect change. Never will the plutocrats, and absurdly rich invest unless they expect to enlarge their personal fortunes. Social investments are seldom personally profitable. Massive wealth serves a pack-rat mentality of accumulation without plan or purpose, it’s an insurance for rich kids. Moderate wealth is not thievery, but super-wealth is hoarding and thievery. It’s anti-social waste. We have to put it to intelligent, constructive use – socialism. It’s a dual crisis – economic inequality and ecological, global atmospheric heating leading to catastrophe. Our out-of-balance economy needs a re-balancing of income and wealth to serve its social function. – my blog, http://benL88.blogspot.com

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Right again (in the sense of “left”). There have been very few pure capitalist economies, and they didn’t last long; likewise few genuinely socialist economies. Most economies have always been “mixed” (as we economists say). As BL8 points out, there must be balance for an economy to be healthy, and none of the largest ones currently have much of it, though few of those are as skewed (skwewed?) as ours.

Personally I favor a balance heavily skewed toward the collective commonwealth, with the owned-in-common (by some means) producers actually taking their guidance from regular polls of the consuming public. Small-scale for-profit businesses are not a problem, and there are a few areas that may actually work better when privately owned, although I can’t think of any at the moment. But the canard that only competition moves society forward is total BS (not to mention the havoc it almost always wreaks), and there is a lot of room for a little “inefficiency” when a big chunk of the margin doesn’t go to passive owners who have done nothing to earn it.

How many people understand that the sale and purchase of stocks and bonds has nothing to do with investment in the economic sense of new plant and equipment and infrastructure except when the paper is sold for the first time (IPO)? From then on it really is just a casino, hawking bets on bets on debts.

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Here in Milwaukee we had Socialist mayors most of the first half of the last century. They earned the nickname “sewer socialists” (https://truthout.org/video/greta-thunberg-says-its-time-to-wake-the-adults-up/) ! Frank Zeidler (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Zeidler) was the last one, 1948 - 1960.

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This coming election, the citizens will be chasing the pipe dream of medicare for all.
They believe If the right democrat gets nominated for president, we’ll get medicare for all. … and so the charade of voting continues.

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“Today the TVA is a federally-owned corporation with assets worth over $34 trillion, according to the SEC”

Somebody miscounted the zeroes. Last SEC staetemnt i found online says $34,520 millions. The yearly GDP of the US is about $20 trillion. Total wealth in the US is about $98 trillion.

But hey, i guess that’s close enough by government standards and most people have no idea what a trillion is anyway.

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This nation will never achieve real change like Medicare-For-All through either of of the two corporate political parties.

A Sea Change of thought processes in the voting electorate must take place first, once they realize that progress will never come through the Duopoly, and then, the emergence of a powerful People’s Party will usher in a period of equal representation and new laws protecting the rights of everyone.

Sounds like a pipedream, doesn’t it?

Well, at my age, I’m not sure I’ll see it, but one can always fight for what’s right.

Right?

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Hi PonyBoy:
I wonder the same thing. If corporations are “people,” then they need to pay taxes the way that the DNA people do-------based on their income.

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Yes, 1,000 millions = 1 billion, 34,000 millions = 34 billions. Most people do NOT know the difference. The SEC, a part of “the government,” does and states it correctly. The error is that of the author of the article.

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Well, he does seem to be a fan of Socialism (whatever he thinks Socialism is anyway) and those guys do not really have the concept of money and value in general.

Just as the libertarian right erroneously defines any government action as socialism, so does this author.

So we must now include Otto von Bismarck, Germany’s iron chancellor, as a pioneer socialist.

Engels explained in Socialism, Utopian and Scientific:
“But of late, since Bismarck went in for state ownership of nationalised industrial establishments, a kind of spurious Socialism has arisen, degenerating now and again into something of a flunkeyism, that without more ado declares all state ownership, even of the Bismarckian sort, to be socialistic.” (Socialism, Utopian and Scientific)

Engels went on to point out that state ownership “does not do away with the capitalist nature of the productive forces…The workers remain wage-workers – proletarians. The capitalist relation is not done away with.”

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I commend your good intentions but what you suggest is that socialism can be the same thing as being half-pregnant.

“Small-scale for-profit businesses are not a problem, and there are a few areas that may actually work better when privately owned,”

How did any big corporation start out? Walmart, a mom and pop business, Bank of America, a small neighborhood bank for Italian immigrants.

The problem is not the size of an enterprise but that our society is based on an exchange economy of buying and selling where things are produced to make a profit. This was what Marx’s Capital is all about.

As for stocks and shares, it is all about ownership and the return that dividends offer. Marx discusses what was then a totally new development from private personal ownership and was called Joint Stock Companies - now commonly referred to as corporations where the collective capitalists having bought bits of the company on the stock exchange, “employ” a CEO to run the business empire.

Bonds usually refer to the means that governments borrow money.

The project should be called lateral. The lateral economy is each building unit as its own power source feeding back into the grid. A lateral energy grid that is a matter of national security, flattens the carbon footprint, contributes new jobs. The socialist part could be construction programs that offer a leg up for lower income households. The construction business is already healthy and moving in a lateral energy direction.

Even Grandma can build a solar panel.

Gawd, by this guy’s definition of socialism the police, the FBI, CIA and the NSA would be socialist! (Institutions created to destroy those which might challenge capitalist rule.) It wasn’t socialism that made America great, it was an organized and militant working class - which we no longer have. The capitalists have worked for decades to ensure that.

EO Wilson said we evolved “with a ridiculously easy indoctrinability.” That might be part of the reason you seek.

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The lie that “our taxes pay for everything gov does” was made up in order to steer policy in favor of imperialism. Endless amounts of money for military conquest and ever shrinking money for social programs. Government is in charge of creating money and spending it into the economy and government decides where that money is spent. Government, such as it is now where “it’s all about the Benjamins” and corporate lobbyist write policy is the problem.

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Not the Number 1 cause, but the Democratic Party has played a major role here.

It may seem ironic to some, but in many ways, the Dems have done more damage, on several levels, than the Republicans have. Certainly a different kind affecting the population which should most have had to benefit from a progressive agenda.

As both parties of the oligarchic Duopoly are funded from similar sources, where they differ is largely in their target audiences they have been assigned by the plutocrats.

The Democrats specifically were designed to appeal to more liberal and working class people and minorities. Their message, of course, differed from that of Republicans, though they both shared similar long-range goals for the “empire”.

But what makes the Democrats significant in the rejection or destruction of socialistic concepts, is that THEIR job was to LOOK like they supported the working class, though it was all done within a capitalistic marketplace perspective.

Essentially, their goal was to INCLUDE, but co-opt and SILENCE true progressives and any type of citizen or worker empowerment, disguising it as “protecting” America from “communist” influences.

The result is what we’ve got.

Just how many years, nay DECADES, has the party core fought against union and/or leftish influences?

Oh, there might be occasional progressive “victories”, but in general all the progressive organizing efforts … have been in vain.

Just the AiFLD (American Institute for Free Labor Development) alone, a government program which Dems helped spread across Latin America, shows who they really were, who they worked for, and how far-flung their roots and influences have been.

That battle — CLEARLY — still goes on today. The last election cycles should contain proof enough for those with opened eyes, of how far they are willing to go to silence or hide efforts and people of whom their leaders disapprove. Even stealing elections might be possible.

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The systems of ALL western democracies are a combination of part representative democracy, part capitalist economy, and part socialist economy. They always have been and become awful places to live when the nation stops looking out for the common good through a strong socialist part of the economy–(cops, firefighters, court systems, Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, public parks, public libraries, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, FDA, EPA, food stamps, national parks, roads, bridges). Moreover, the representative democracy and socialist parts of our government can prevent the massive inequality we see today (which is created by capitalist forces but creates a vast range of social dysfunctions for individuals and families while corrupting our democracy). We need the socialistic parts of our government to be much more robust, not to keep strangling them.

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