To those of you who irrationally fear the US is turning into a Socialist state, I say unto thee: YOU ARE TOO LATE! We’ve already turned into a red nation of commies!

At least, that seems to be how some folks see it.  It is a quite a bit more accurate to describe the current circumstances: “The deep recession left the US with a highly elevated long-term unemployment rate;  There are lots of families who currently receive government aid so they can buy buy food for themselves and their children.”

Most Americans seem not to want to admit it, but we have fairly Socialist, rather Christian tendencies as a country. You know, things like charity, feeding the poor, broad government assistance to reduce senior and childhood poverty, etc.

Consider this WSJ headline today that blares out “1 in 7 Americans Receive Food Stamps.”  ONE IN SEVEN! That  is a huge amount of folks on the public dole. As the very red map shows, this varies greatly by state. Oregon and Michigan have 20% of the population on Food stamps, NY and Texas have over 15%, California less than 10%, Wyoming only 6.6%.

When you ask Americans if they support these social programs in the abstract, a high percentage will oppose them. But as you get more specific — “Do you support feeding families/children who are on the edge of starvation”– suddenly, we become downright European.

Don’t believe me — look at the WSJ map below!

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Click for interactive Map

Full data here

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Source:
About 1 in 7 Americans Receive Food Stamps
Real Time Economics May 3, 2011, 2:10 PM  http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2011/05/03/about-1-in-7-americans-receive-food-stamps/tab/interactive/

Category: Economy, Philosophy

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

55 Responses to “Welcome to Socialist America!”

  1. Fredex says:

    You are playing stupid word games. The reality of living in a true socialist state, like Cuba or the late unlamented East Germany, is brutal.

    ~~~

    BR: You seem to not understand the difference between totalitarian dictatorships and shared means of ownership!

  2. TraderMark says:

    I have advocated for those who decry the “socialism” of food stamps, that we end this program and see the fallout. The “rich” should be very happy we handout bread and circuses. Keep the masses distracted… last thing you want is tens of millions of hungry people invading gated communities. Desperation and the need to feed your family can lead to some very bad outcomes.

    But for social experiment purposes, I’d love to see the “capitalists” get their way, and end this damn “socialism”!

  3. foosion says:

    If we feed starving children, how will we be able to afford tax cuts? As the republicans say, who’s more productive, a starving child or a job creating taxpayer? The Citizens United decision will facilitate funding for the necessary education programs to clarify American thought. (Years ago this would have clearly been satire; it’s much less clear today.)

    Americans hate the idea of government and love specific programs. It accounts for much of the odd polling we see (e.g., Americans hate the deficit, but don’t want to cut named programs)

  4. Ny Stock Guy says:

    Funny how the conservative tea party states are the ones getting the most government cash.

  5. TraderMark says:

    Hmm, can’t seem to post my cool comment.

  6. TraderMark says:

    I have advocated for those who decry the ‘socialism’ of food stamps, that we end this program and see the fallout. The ‘rich’ should be very happy we handout bread and circuses. Keep the masses distracted… last thing you want is tens of millions of hungry people invading gated communities. Desperation and the need to feed your family can lead to some very bad outcomes.

    But for social experiment purposes, I’d love to see the “capitalists” get their way, and end this damn ‘socialism’!

  7. And many who declare the government as socialist, benefit from government programs and dont even know it.

    So when someone argues against government programs ask them which specific program they benefit from and if they are willing to give it up as a starting point.

    “Keep Your Government Hands Off My Government Programs!”
    http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/11/keep-your-government-hands-off-my-government-programs/

  8. dss says:

    It is all about the framing.

    Call those on taking such things as food stamps, and you can demonize them 50 ways to Sunday. Moochers, too lazy to work, parasites on our economic system, freeloaders, etc.

    Frame it as families trying to feed their children, pregnant mothers, the elderly and all of a sudden we have empathy – until the right wing starts calling you weak, enablers, socialists.

  9. wally says:

    The key word in your first sentence is a small one: “we”.
    Some people don’t see it that way; they see it as “us” and “them”.

  10. DeDude says:

    TraderMark; you probably used the “banned” word soci@list (spelled with an a), then your comment will have to await moderator intervention ;-)

  11. KJ Foehr says:

    They already know and hate this. That is why they want to turn back the clock to pre-Medicare and pre-New Deal, 1932 America. They think that would be better.

    For many reasons I believe life is much better for most people now than it was then. But, imo, they are not very concerned about most people.

  12. BennyProfane says:

    Just imagine how life in America post financial crash would be without food stamps, medicare, medicade, social security, UE insurance, pension insurance, and the feeble mechanisms in place to regulate and unwind bank disasters.

    Oh, yeah, can you say 1931?

  13. dave@davewentzel.com says:

    I don’t believe those stats. Fact is, many people receive government support who don’t want it. Case in point, my kid needed some extra reading help. The school district would not provide it unless I signed up the family for medicaid. Didn’t matter if I wanted to pay for it out of my own pocket, they would not provide any services without medicaid. So, my kid is on medicaid. This also means when he goes to the doctor my work ins pays everything except the copay, which medicaid picks up since he is “disabled.” I make 6 figures, yet my family participates in medicaid for the purpose of the stats. Crazy.

  14. lunartop says:

    I have found some American’s (particularly working class ones) attitude to health care quite puzzling – to quote Seth Meyer’s, “Stop using my tax dollars to take care of me!”

  15. Christopher says:

    Big Ag subsidies
    Big Oil subsidies
    Big Bank subsidies
    Big Insurance subsidies
    Big RE subsidies
    Big Defense subsidies

    ….and yet the food stamps=moochers….

    How very “Christian” of us.

  16. mathman says:

    Driving the future will be decreasing resources and increasing population along with Peak Oil and human-induced climate change (including sea-level rise, desertification in the southwestern U.S. and elsewhere, much stronger storms, hurricanes and tornadic activity, loss of arable land due to chaotic weather, diseases of plants, animals, birds and humans, etc.):

    http://climateprogress.org/2011/05/02/grantham-must-read-time-to-wake-up-days-of-abundant-resources-and-falling-prices-are-over-forever/#more-47861

  17. I of course am being facetious in my use of the term socialism

  18. Deviator says:

    Are Americans even capable of a serious discussion of the merits of socialism? Even a learned commetator like BR accepts the colloquial definition of the word. Yet socialism, as the OED defines it, contains “common ownership of the means of production.” Plainly that isn’t how the US economy is organised. Nor indeed are those so-called “socialist” European economies, save for some legacy nationalised industries in a few countries. What there IS on BOTH sides of the Atlantic is plenty of social democracy, where wealth is, to a greater or lesser degree, redistributed in order to ensure some basic standard of income for all citizens and some degree of guaranteed health care.

    Yet it seems that Americans genuinely cannot even SEE the social democracy that they live in, pay for and are, at times, upheld by. No wonder they cannot manage a sensible debate about how much they actually want to pay for it. And no wonder, profoundly cynical people may succeed in fooling Americans into giving up their social democracy. When that happens….. oh dear. I would be fascinated to know what BR makes of Tony Judt’s “Ill Fares the Land” A tremendous description of this phenomenon and what might be done to address it.
    http://www.amazon.com/Ill-Fares-Land-Tony-Judt/dp/1594202761

  19. Global Eyes says:

    There’s only 1 thing worse than socialism and that’s selective socialism!

  20. bell8865 says:

    Barry, are you saying that in general Christians are against these things?

    “You know, things like charity, feeding the poor, broad government assistance to reduce senior and childhood poverty, etc.”

    Please… Give me a break. Sometimes you get a little too high on your horse. As a little bit of a history for you, it used to be that Christians (and other religious organizations) provided a majority of these support systems. My church supports all of these at a grassroots level and I participate in them too. I would also argue other than extreme religious organizations, most religious organizations do these things because the almighty federal government doesn’t have all the answers as much as you like to believe.

  21. lunartop says:

    For a stark but optimistic view of coming economic challenges check out this RSA talk by Paul Gilding

    The Great Disruption: How humankind can thrive in the 21st Century

    http://www.thersa.org/events/audio-and-past-events/2011/the-great-disruption-how-humankind-can-thrive-in-the-21st-century

  22. derekce says:

    You are so right on this Barry.

  23. Andy T says:

    Soci@lism is an inevitability due to technological advancements. The cold hard reality is that as we become more efficient, we don’t need the same number of workers.

    IOW: It takes much less people to provide the basic services required to survive. (i.e. housing, food, clothing). We had to “blow various bubbles” to create fake jobs that served no useful purpose.

    In order for us to have a “good enonomy,” we need people to buy things/services they don’t need. The problem is we’re becoming even more efficient and providing the unnecessary services/products.

    The people who have jobs and earn money just need to get used to the fact that more of their money is going to be taken away (taxed) in order to support others (the disadvantaged).

  24. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    bell886:

    That’s bullshit. Churches are wealthy all over Christendom, yet poverty burgeons. Always has been that way. If the churches had done such a good job in the USA, why did the government run and sponsored social programs of the first half of the 20th century make a difference where the churches could, would, and/or did not? Churches are a way to wealth and political power for the organization and security for the clergy/conmen. They might give back some of the interest, in the name of good PR, but they never touch the principal.

    You should probably read Jesus’ lesson of the widow’s mite. It’s in your book. Twice.

    I’ll bet your church has a real nice building, and that the head man makes a sufficient, if not above average, income.

  25. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Andy T:

    We also view population growth as a contributor to prosperity, when it is anything but. We don’t need the number of people we have, but that won’t stop Rodney and Edna (who live in a trailer and collect food stamps), from popping a few more out. When the only entertainment you have is sex, lots of babies ensue

    Funny that those who want to ban birth control are the same group that want to cut funding for poor kids.

  26. VennData says:

    Finally, someone using the term “socialist” correctly. What would America do without this blog?

    Andy T, you assume this fallacy is accurate…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lump_of_labour_fallacy

    … it’s not. Technology creates more jobs.

  27. DeDude says:

    Andy T;

    I agree. What we need is a 2-3 year mandatory societal service program for 18-year olds (military, civil defense, inner city tutoring, making park trails, etc.). After those 2-3 years they have earned the right to survival stipends and basic services for the rest of their life. If they want more than the absolute basics they can get education and jobs earning salaries that they are taxed on (to fund the societies costs). A lot of right wing hate against these things would go away if they were earned rights, rather than hand-outs.

  28. Andy T says:

    “Just imagine how life in America post financial crash would be without food stamps, medicare, medicade, social security, UE insurance, pension insurance, and the feeble mechanisms in place to regulate and unwind bank disasters.

    Oh, yeah, can you say 1931?”

    Yeah, some people might have gone without the basic necessities like a cell phone, an ipod, Cable, Internet, Water that comes in a Bottle, Red Bull, the occasional AppleBee’s run ……. It would have been just like 1931 all over again.

  29. Thor says:

    The people who have jobs and earn money just need to get used to the fact that more of their money is going to be taken away (taxed) in order to support others (the disadvantaged).

    What a complete load of horse shit – We’ve been taking money away from the disadvantaged and giving it to people like Donald Trump, Warren Buffet, GE, and EXXON for decades. Take your right wing talking points somewhere else.

  30. Thor says:

    Oh, yeah, can you say 1931?”

    Adding Depression Era history to the things you know very little about.

    I’d suggest you do a little more reading on what life was really like for those in real need during the Depresion, Ever heard of Thistle Soup?

  31. Thor says:

    Start here –

    One Third of A Nation

    “Some of the best reports ever written on the state of America’s underprivileged.” — Sylvia Jukes Morris, Washington Post Book World “Hickok touches on every facet of the relationship between private misfortune and public relief efforts… The letters are written in a lively conversational style, full of anecdotes, wry asides, wicked characterizations of local politicians, and moving vignettes of enterprising and dedicated relief workers.” — Ann Banks, New York Times “Unlike the convoluted government documents one is accustomed to, Hickok’s reports are really letters: persuasive, immediate, fiery, and memorable. The fear and hopelessness of the times are still palpable. The people are still vivid. What Hickok gave to her letters was passion.” — Rhoda Lehrman, New Republic “Hickok’s lively writings, despite her biases, can serve as an informative and invaluable history of the early New Deal… Especially timely given current debates about the purpose and function of federally directed public welfare programs and services.” — John M. Herrick, Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare “[Hickok's] letters paint a graphic picture of life in America during that period of the early New Deal when relief efforts were sputtering. She describes a desperate, bewildered America. Hickok’s words provide an excellent understanding of how Americans felt about themselves and their country during this languid socioeconomic period… Her observations still provide uncommon perspicacity.” — Dennis Shockley, The Chronicles of Oklahoma ADVANCE PRAISE “Lorena Hickok was a singularly gifted witness to the calamity of the Great Depression. From one end of the country to the other, she stared long and hard into the human face of America’s greatest economic failure and social catastrophe. A seasoned reporter, she recorded her impressions in spare, muscular prose that still packs a punch. Eleanor Roosevelt told Hickok that her writing would come to be regarded in future years as ‘the best history of the Depression.’ Readers of this memorable volume will surely agree.” — David M. Kennedy, author of Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War

  32. Contrary to popular wisdom and many commentators, Socialism is not federal support; it is federal ownership. So all the food stamps, all the health insurance assistance, all the Medicaid, all the charity and all the federal support for the poor does not add up to Socialism. Now, if the federal government were to take over the banks, the schools and the home in which you live, that would be a giant step toward Socialism.

    Also, contrary to popular wisdom, federal taxes do not pay for federal spending. Whether taxes were to fall to $0 or rise to $100 trillion, would make no difference whatsoever in the federal government’s ability to spend. In short, taxpayers do not pay for federal spending. Therefore, it is not correct that we have been taking money from the poor and giving it to the rich, or vice versa. “We” don’t give anyone’s money to anyone.

    Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

  33. DrungoHazewood says:

    What’s the deal with Oregon, Maine and Washington? The % in the South would be much higher, but there is a powerful stigma against using food stamps. Oregon higher than Alabama and on par with Mississippi? Zounds!

  34. dss says:

    Yeah, some people might have gone without the basic necessities like a cell phone, an ipod, Cable, Internet, Water that comes in a Bottle, Red Bull, the occasional AppleBee’s run ……. It would have been just like 1931 all over again.

    It is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. – Mark Twain

  35. Andy T says:

    Thor@7.57

    Thanks for finally agreeing with me on something. I agree that that comment from BennyProfane@3.55PM was a bit silly (that’s who I was quoting).

    A comparison to 1931 was “off the mark” in many ways…..

    Glad we’re in agreement on something.

  36. Andy T says:

    dss@9.07

    “It is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” – Mark Twain

    Agreed. You should seriously consider his advice….

    Sometimes sarcasm doesn’t translate in the written world…I’ll try to annunciate more clearly for the “denser” folk next time.

  37. Andy T says:

    Apologies to the English Ph.Ds out there… annunciate = enunciate….

    “I’ll take homophones for $400, Alex.”

  38. Ducky62 says:

    What we need is a 2-3 year mandatory societal service program for 18-year olds (military, civil defense, inner city tutoring, making park trails, etc.).

    Leave it to DeDude to propose slavery. I’m never sure who is a True Believer and who is a troll persona (other than Franklin411) around here.

  39. dss says:

    Ducky62,

    Not so fast, we used to have such a system here in the US, it was called the draft. But only those without connections, endless student deferments, trumped up medical problems (Yes, the Donald fits into all three of those categories) had to go. Most members of congress fit into that category, too. Or they got to play war over Alabama with the National Guard. Most of elite America post WWII and Korea, never served. Mitt Romney’s five strapping sons never served. Democrats and Republicans never served.

    Was the draft slavery?

  40. Theravadin says:

    DrungoHazewood asks: why Oregon?

    I spent some time there last fall, around Ashland. The number of people I met there who had been middle class all their lives and were now on the street was amazing. Many of them were not from Oregon, but they seemed to find a level of tolerance and support there that drew them to the state. I’d suggest that that’s half the story. The other half might be the collapse of the forst industry in rural western Oregon with the collapse of the housing market.

  41. honeybadger says:

    @Ducky62

    Slavery?? Could you please explain? While explaining how a paid position (with huge benefits– 2 years for a lifetime minimum pension/health care) at an agency of your choice is slavery, could you also please comment on the current trend where college “students” pay to receive internships which do not lead to jobs or any other tangible or intangible benefit?

    Service to our country is MANDITORY in my family; this should be universally true.

  42. JasRas says:

    The interesting thing is trying to see how this all plays out. Tea Party and other conservatives are working their hardest at all levels of government to dismantle all discretionary budget items, including social safety nets. And while these groups see this as “tough medicine”, most don’t truly realize what they are messing with and how truly fragile the social fabric is in this country. The services they cut keep the hot water of social acrimony from reaching boiling point. There’s no doubt that some programs like the food stamp program carry a stigma. I remember a brief time after my parents divorce when my mom was on the program in the early 80′s and she was visibly embarrassed by having to get them out and use them. And if I was with her, I just wanted to disappear. Now, at least it is a little less of a branding because for those on it, they have a card similar to a debit or charge card. The benefit being some modicum of dignity and less of a branding. The downside being we (all of us in the U.S.) don’t see the pain. There are no breadlines as in the Great Depression. And there are people ahead of you at the grocery paying with Food Stamps.

    I live in a city that is in the top 15 in size in America. We have four seasons. Our main school district does its very best not to close due to bad weather (snow days, for those not familiar). Why? Not out of duty to educate (although it is surely a component), but because over 80% of the children attending qualify for free breakfast and lunch. And if they don’t attend school, they will likely miss one or two meals for the day. Now, you can say this is hyperbole, and that surely there is food at home… But if you talk to teachers and other educators, you would find it isn’t the case. Even with the programs, there are children who end up in class hungry either out of pride, parents that refuse to complete the necessary forms, or simply don’t care enough to do so.

    We are cutting our budgets to our schools. We passed a very large tax cut to businesses in our state. For a city our size, the condition of infrastructure is unacceptable. But there is no money in the budget.

    Conservatives have an agenda and it is largely fiscal. Everything is a dollar sign. But there is a tipping point where the cuts will be too much, and the social acrimony of people with their livelihoods taken, their homes lose, their dignity stripped, will become an issue. A dangerous man is one that has nothing left to lose and still needs to provide for a family.

    McDonalds hired 65,000 people into menial, hourly jobs paying minimum wage. Over 1,000,000 applied for those positions. That is 15 applicants for every job posted. And the initial hiring goal was 50,000. Someone out of pity raised it another 15k. What is the economic landscape that produces 15 applicants for every job opening at a fast food joint paying minimum wage?

    Politicians are playing with fire right now. There is no love for the Republican, the Democrat, the Tea Party, or veteran politicians of any sort. If there is a person less loved than bankers and Wall Street types, it is the politician. They are playing their fiddles as Rome burns.

    We live in a dangerous, volatile time. And while most are waiting for the other shoe to drop and looking to the markets for that shoe, the increasing likelihood is that the shoe will drop on Main Street, not Wall Street. And God help us if it looks like the Race Riots of the 70′s. We look at the flare ups in the Middle East and think “thank goodness we don’t have those problems”, but we do. We are just blind to them.

  43. honeybadger says:

    @ducky62

    To elaborate on our slavery comments. This is the current option:

    “Rather than offer traditional summer internships, Disney’s schedule is determined by the company’s manpower needs, requiring students to temporarily suspend their schooling or continue it on Disney property and on Disney terms. The interns work entirely at the company’s will without sick days or time off, without grievance procedures, without guarantees of workers’ compensation or protection against harassment or unfair treatment. Twelve-hour shifts are typical, many beginning at 6 a.m. or stretching past midnight. Interns sign up without knowing their assignments or their compensation, though it typically hovers near minimum wage.”

    from the OBL-free reading list
    http://www.guernicamag.com/features/2620/perlin_5_1_11/

    Yes, this is the kind of thing which can and will push a society over the edge.

    Manditory public service tends to promote social cohesion by providing shared experience and a shared sense of ownership. Does it set the start of your career back by 2 years? That is debatable, but even if we grant the point, the current trend is to extend the other end of the career by 5 years or more (retire at 70+).

  44. honeybadger says:

    More on the Disney slaves:

    “Mandatory communal housing, the cost of which is deducted from their paychecks,… living on company property, eating company food, and working when the company says so. … Regular searches of cars and rooms are conducted, with a policy of collective responsibility often applying: groups of interns can be “terminated” for the infraction of a single roommate.

    – same source

  45. dickmac999 says:

    Thirty years ago, I watched Gore Vidal tell Johnny Carson, on The Tonight Show: “Well, it’s obvious! In America we have socialism for the rich and free-enterprise for the poor.”

    He was so right-on in his critique of supply-side economics and the Reagan Administration’s plan to change the financial structure of the country.

  46. Greg0658 says:

    Ducky62 at 10:38pm .. LOL – oh you forgot a couple more round here – there are quite a few book talkers

    JasRas at 6:13am “Everything is a dollar sign. But there is a tipping point” .. agreed and why a balanced budget must always be attempted .. what do you do when the mon0poly boards last 2 players discover they are playing together alone and quickly see there is no way out for the friend? .. how do you start the real game over fairly?

    honeybadger at 6:49am “Manditory public service tends to promote social cohesion” .. fyi was an experience for me to FEEL s0cialism first hand* .. and see the benefits and issues of … interesting on Disney – didn’t realize they were running that type of plantation

    * coda – Army photographer

  47. Jessica6 says:

    I’ve been to Cuba. People are bored (partly because they see their gorgeous beaches every day and aren’t interested in them – they might change their minds after a grey winter in Toronto) and very poor but it’s hardly East Germany or North Korea.

    There’s nowhere I’ve been in Cuba that comes close to that horrifying Big Brother feel I got when I was in a Post Office in Prague not long after the Wall fell. Cuba’s also not nearly as bad as Guyana was when I lived there post-Jonestown (with a gov’t backed by the US and UK).

    It’s dreadfully poor thanks in large part to US trade sanctions which probably won’t lift until Cuba agrees to turn themselves back into the Batista-era Mafia-Casino haven, it isn’t really about ‘freedom’ at all.

    As for the map, these numbers are truly horrifying.

    I actually agree with Conservatives when it comes to weak families being one of the major causes and obviously a welfare state supporting single mums just seems to produce more of them.

    However, on the flip side, the lack of secure, jobs that pay a living wage and the expectation of increasing social mobility for the sake of employment are also massive contributors to destabilizing the family unit that many conservatives seem to just ignore…

  48. DeDude says:

    honeybadger;

    I agree it would set your career back 2 years, but if it did so for everyone, then nobody would have any relative loss. On the bright side it would give everybody 2 years more of maturation before they had to make decisions about what direction to go after high school. For many, that by itself could earn back a few years.

  49. Julia Chestnut says:

    Was it here, BR, that I saw a discussion of “civilized” cultures as those that put a premium on human dignity? That the biggest difference between the European cultures and ours is that they don’t require that people sacrifice their dignity to get help – they don’t require that you are ashamed of needing help. Their goal is to support people in maintaining their dignity through a variety of situations that might otherwise strip it.

    Here, it seems to me, we place no value on human dignity – instead, we tend to degrade and denigrate people as a price of giving them assistance of any sort. We see the poor as undeserving, rather than seeing the possibility that they did nothing wrong to be where they are.

    I wish more of my taxes went to feeding old ladies and kids and the working poor and less went to killing people. You will notice that the deficit warriors are not suggesting fewer guns – just no more butter.

  50. jbo5112 says:

    Since when is it Christian to steal (take by threat) money from productive people and pay people to be unproductive? The Christian thing to do would be to give your own money, not steal someone else’s. Or did you miss that whole “Thou shalt not steal” thing.

  51. jsp9999 says:

    Exactly what I have been telling people and of course nobody believes. Look, we have the biggest social medicine, Medicare and Medicade by individual states, biggest social entitlement including social security, food stamps, unemployment benefit, etc in the entire world. Can people honestly tell me we are a capitalist country by the way we spend money? America is a capitalist country ONLY half of the part and the other half is socialism at the finest. Why is it so hard to admit that we are a socialist country? Stop mentioning Cuba, N. Korea, etc. These are perfected dictatorship, using socialism as a marketing tool for the dictators themselves.

  52. DeDude says:

    jbo5112;

    It’s not your money in the first place. The only reason your can “make” that boatload of money is that “we the people” have provided you with a civilized society structured that allow individuals to “make” and keep money. In Zimbabwe you would not even survive, let alone make anything close to the kind of dough you make here. The prize for this is a membership fee called taxes – if you think it is to high I am sure there are lots of Zimabweans who would switch with you in the blink of an eye. Stop all that spoiled little brad cry-baby crap.

  53. JasRas says:

    Man, there are some very simple view of the world being spewed here (I guess always…) First, we have never been a purely capitalist society here in America. We have never been purely Democratic, either. In fact, the founders of our government thought the general public was not smart/wise enough to be entrusted with the true vote for our President, hence they invented the electoral system which places a layer of real voters between “the people” and “the President”. It seems they were correct in their assessment of the public’s intelligence level—even 200+ years later.

    Second, the government doesn’t steal your money. YOU voted them into office and invited them to make decisions on how to run the country. That branch of government YOU do have direct control of—and it isn’t working out so well! And if you haven’t been voting, you’ve got no say! No one is forcing you to stay in America. Last I checked, it’s an open door policy to exit. All you have to do is leave and renounce your citizenship. Easy peasy…

    Third, Christianity as Christ (the main dude, the Big Kahuna, the man with his name found in the name of the religion) preached that the least among you will have an easier time getting into heaven. He preached the poor and downtrodden were to be lifted up. He preached caring and helping your fellow man. Or did you miss the general point of his message and that of the New Testament? Oh, did you think he came down here to be your “sorry” man so you could be absolved of your crappy attitude? And did you figure you’d take care of yourself first and not give as that plate is passed around during Church? Maybe if more people gave to whatever religion they are, and/or gave to some charities more often, the government wouldn’t have to do it for us!

    Lastly, I have no problem with working towards a balanced budget and deficit reduction, but there are a lot bigger areas on the Federal Budget sheet than discretionary, that have a lot more fat to trim. It’s time to talk about the untouchables; Military, Social Security, and Medicare/Medicaid.

    And will someone intelligent float the idea out there to the politicians that the only way to “fix” rising healthcare costs is to remove the duel mandates that most healthcare companies have–keeping a healthy, productive population up and running; and maintaining near double digit revenue and earnings growing. Those mandates are diametrically opposed to one another. Not one of the solutions that is currently in existence addresses the root of the problem, which are these mandates. Either yield to the demand for strong earnings and revenue growth and let an increasingly larger swath of the population fall out of the system and/or bankrupt our country, or focus on the health objectives and neuter the profit growth mandates. It really isn’t rocket science to see this—but it is a very difficult, and politically suicidal topic to broach. But, truly, anything else is a joke wrapped in lies.

  54. victor says:

    Jessica6: you write:
    It’s dreadfully poor thanks in large part to US trade sanctions which probably won’t lift until Cuba agrees to turn themselves back into the Batista-era Mafia-Casino haven, it isn’t really about ‘freedom’ at all

    But hasn’t Castro said over and over gain that all ills of small countries in Latin America come from relations to bad US of A? So, dream come true? Even so Cuba now imports a large % of her food/agricultural products from USA (#1 on the list). I also read that prostitution and gambling (dollars only please, no pesos) have reached new highs in this little workers paradise, just talk to informed people in Florida’s not so small Cuban community.

    BR: for people like me who actually lived in a socialist country, socialism as was taught to us innumerable classes of “Scientific Socialism” is but a bridge between the wretched Capitalism and the shining Communism. While living there I never imagined that a country such as Sweden could be called Socialist, I always thought of it as a Capitalist country with elaborate, generous social safety nets AS VOTED BY HER CITIZENS IN FREE ELECTIONS.

    One more point: I read that the benefits to low income families from shopping at Walmart exceed the US Dept. of Agriculture food stamp program by a factor of 2 or more?