Maybe I Really Am A Socialist
I never used to think of myself as a socialist. That was because I believed socialism involved the government owning all the means of production and distribution, and being in charge of all media and modes of transportation. That sort of thing. These days, however, now that Republicans have redefined “socialism” and “socialist,” I find that I actually do fit within their altered definitions. Here’s why:
I believe the rich should bear a larger share of the tax burden. More specifically, I believe the Bush-era tax breaks for people making more than $250,000 a year should be dropped, there should be a 3 percent surtax on people making more than a million a year, and the carried interest gimmick in the tax code that allows hedge fund managers making more than a billion a year (billion with a “b”) to pay taxes on this money at a lower rate than $25,000-a-year wage earners should be abolished. This makes me a socialist in present-day Republican parlance.
I believe that part of the additional taxes raised by these changes should go to reduce our national budget deficits. But most should go toward hiring new teachers because education is such an important national priority, and toward maintaining government programs for the poor and middle class because this generates more of the domestic consumption that is the basis of two-thirds of our national economy. This makes me a socialist in present-day Republican parlance.
I believe that the ACA, Obamacare, while deeply flawed and failing in far too many respects, is far better than the previously existing Rube Goldberg health system this country had slapped together over the years. And the fact that 31 million more Americans will be covered by the system, and most others of us will have access to better care, is worth the extra cost because…well, because generally speaking you have to pay for what you buy, and health care is a worthy national purchase. And also because a sickly population is not an overly happy or productive one. This makes me a socialist in present-day Republican parlance.
I believe that Wall Street requires a lot more regulation, including a retooled Glass-Steagall Act and a breakup of over-sized banks, as well as more regulation of the mega-trillion derivatives market (that’s trillions with a “t”). I believe this is not only necessary to prevent massive future bailouts of financial institutions that inevitably fail in self-regulating because of greed and arrogance, but because far too much of the capital needed to create jobs and overall prosperity is being churned and diverted into bogus and unnecessary faux-insurance and other outright gaming. This makes me a socialist in present-day Republican parlance.
I believe alternative energy is not just the long-term future but the near-term sensible alternative to meeting our national energy needs in a sane, secure, environmentally friendly and economically preferable manner. And I believe this future can best be realized not by the current Administration’s idiot attempt to play at being a venture capitalist, but through large direct government purchases and generous tax incentives for individual and company buyers. This emphasis, in my way of thinking, is smarter in every way than endless commitment to the carbon-sourced model.This makes me a socialist in present-day Republican parlance.
So there it is. Here I am. All out in the open. Out of the latter day socialist closet. Call me names.
But you know, this brand of socialism, if that’s what it is, just might be better than present-day Republican free market capitalism. Which is, of course, nothing of the sort. But actually coming more and more to resemble old-style national corporatism.