Archive for the ‘Socialist’ Category

Soft Capitalism (Capitalism 2.0)

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

How about this for a New Rule: Not everything in America has to make a profit. It used to be that there were some services and institutions so vital to our nation that they were exempt from market pressures. Some things we just didn’t do for money. The United States always defined capitalism, but it didn’t used to define us. But now it’s becoming all that we are.

Did you know, for example, that there was a time when being called a “war profiteer” was a bad thing? But now our war zones are dominated by private contractors and mercenaries who work for corporations. There are more private contractors in Iraq than American troops, and we pay them generous salaries to do jobs the troops used to do for themselves ­– like laundry. War is not supposed to turn a profit, but our wars have become boondoggles for weapons manufacturers and connected civilian contractors.

Prisons used to be a non-profit business, too. And for good reason –­ who the hell wants to own a prison? By definition you’re going to have trouble with the tenants. But now prisons are big business. A company called the Corrections Corporation of America is on the New York Stock Exchange, which is convenient since that’s where all the real crime is happening anyway. The CCA and similar corporations actually lobby Congress for stiffer sentencing laws so they can lock more people up and make more money. That’s why America has the world;s largest prison population ­– because actually rehabilitating people would have a negative impact on the bottom line.

Television news is another area that used to be roped off from the profit motive. When Walter Cronkite died last week, it was odd to see news anchor after news anchor talking about how much better the news coverage was back in Cronkite’s day. I thought, “Gee, if only you were in a position to do something about it.”

But maybe they aren’t. Because unlike in Cronkite’s day, today’s news has to make a profit like all the other divisions in a media conglomerate. That’s why it wasn’t surprising to see the CBS Evening News broadcast live from the Staples Center for two nights this month, just in case Michael Jackson came back to life and sold Iran nuclear weapons. In Uncle Walter’s time, the news division was a loss leader. Making money was the job of The Beverly Hillbillies. And now that we have reporters moving to Alaska to hang out with the Palin family, the news is The Beverly Hillbillies.

And finally, there’s health care. It wasn’t that long ago that when a kid broke his leg playing stickball, his parents took him to the local Catholic hospital, the nun put a thermometer in his mouth, the doctor slapped some plaster on his ankle and you were done. The bill was $1.50, plus you got to keep the thermometer.

But like everything else that’s good and noble in life, some Wall Street wizard decided that hospitals could be big business, so now they’re run by some bean counters in a corporate plaza in Charlotte. In the U.S. today, three giant for-profit conglomerates own close to 600 hospitals and other health care facilities. They’re not hospitals anymore; they’re Jiffy Lubes with bedpans. America’s largest hospital chain, HCA, was founded by the family of Bill Frist, who perfectly represents the Republican attitude toward health care: it’s not a right, it’s a racket. The more people who get sick and need medicine, the higher their profit margins. Which is why they’re always pushing the Jell-O.

Because medicine is now for-profit we have things like “recision,” where insurance companies hire people to figure out ways to deny you coverage when you get sick, even though you’ve been paying into your plan for years.

When did the profit motive become the only reason to do anything? When did that become the new patriotism? Ask not what you could do for your country, ask what’s in it for Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

If conservatives get to call universal health care “socialized medicine,” I get to call private health care “soulless vampires making money off human pain.” The problem with President Obama’s health care plan isn’t socialism, it’s capitalism.

And if medicine is for profit, and war, and the news, and the penal system, my question is: what’s wrong with firemen? Why don’t they charge? They must be commies. Oh my God! That explains the red trucks!

Bill Maher, host of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher
Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-maher/new-rule-not-everything-i_b_244050.html

Obama and Socialism

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

What Barack Obama is proposing is FAR from socialism. What he proposes is ensuring that ALL citizens abide by the current and long-held progressive tax code in our country. In a progressive tax code if you make more, you will pay more. That is common sense. The same is true when you go shopping. When you go to the store, if you buy 3 items that cost $1.00 each, your total will be $3 + tax. They tax you “x” amount, depending on your state, for each dollar. So, if you buy $3 worth of products, you will pay tax on three dollars. It is each dollar that is taxed. If you purchase $30 worth of products, you will pay tax on all thirty dollars. This is OUR PROGRESSIVE SALE TAX folks. This is the same way our income tax. This is NOT socialism.

The McCain campaign started this malarkey about Obama wanting Socialism in our country. This is ridiculous. This same campaign tried to paint him as an elitist. How can he be both an elitist and a socialist? They are polar opposites! I won’t even belabor the point of this $700+ billion dollar bailout for the banking industry which was corporate socialism led by a Republican Administration.
However, I digress. I think some of you misled, discouraged McCain supporters need a little lesson in socialism. Let me try to keep it simple for you, I know you don’t like to think.

Firstly, Socialism was thought to be the direct and natural outgrowth of Democracy (i.e. when the people got sick of the few who owned everything and used them as slave labor, getting richer by the people’s work and doing little for the people… then the people would revolt and thusly a revolution would begin by the people, for the people). Socialism starts with the workers or the majority of the people. It is not started by the President! This negates your very premise of Obama wanting to make the U.S. a socialist society. Just the fact that he ran for President negates the premise of socialism’s equal power amongst the people. Socialists believe that political power is not true power because by the very nature of having political power in a Democracy means having more access to wealth than others. In Socialism, EVERYONE IS EQUAL.

Moreover, Socialism is about ownership of the wealth. This has nothing to do with our tax system. Ensuring those who make $1 or over $250,000 or anywhere in between, pay their taxes is NOT socialism, it is lawful reasoning. It is fair. This doesn’t reward the slackers. If someone is a drunk, crack-addicted couch potato… which is a strange, unrealistic speculation in the first place, they won’t be making money either way. They won’t be getting any tax breaks. They won’t be getting any extra wealth. Neither will Richie Rich, who owns a multi-billion dollar company, be paying more than he is LEGALLY supposed to pay. Would you argue so adamantly if Richie Rich went to the grocery store and got $15,000 worth of groceries but didn’t want to pay as much tax as he owes on that $15,000? I mean it is the same context. Yes, when you look at the sales tax for $15,000 worth of groceries, it is going to be astronomical… probably even MORE than everyday people buy in groceries in a month or a few months but do you see how it is still necessary for him to pay it? OH! WELL! Then… can’t you see how it is still necessary for Richie Rich to pay his legal amount of income taxes, no matter how high it may appear?

I digress, yet again.

Socialism advocates public ownership of all major corporations, industries, schools, banks, transportation, insurance companies, manufacturing companies, energy, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies… even the media etc. So, in a socialist society all these industries and corporations make their money by the people and thus belong to the people. Obama has NOT in any way, shape or form proposed public ownership of corporations or hospitals or transportation or media or anything else. Ensuring all Americans have access to healthcare is not eliminating private insurance nor private medical practices or private hospitals or private pharmaceutical companies. It simply allots more of the taxes we pay into the government towards ensuring everyone has health insurance coverage.

Furthermore, socialism encourages only making what you need. In a socialist society you would go to the store and instead of seeing 200 different kinds of cereal, you would see 1 or 2 or maybe 3, the ones people had voted were their favorites. I know. I’ve been to a socialist country. No one is starving or homeless but choices are lacking. There is no need for 200 choices of cereals in a socialist society. They focus on making just what we need, not all that we want. Obama has not discouraged market competition, in fact, he is very much in favor of it. Did you listen to his ideas about science, technology and space? Did you hear his thoughts on innovative new green technology and how it can make us more competitive in the world market? That is NOT socialist talk, folks! That is Capitalism through and through.

Barack Obama is NOT going to bring socialism to the United States, not by any stretch of the imagination. Relax. Breathe. Sit down….read a book. I suggest the following reads:

Communist Manifesto
Socialism: A Very Short Introduction
http://users.comcen.com.au/~marcn/redflag/archive/harman/hmw/