Alternatives to Capitalism: Socialism

JOHN FOLTZ

Socialism. A form of government that is criticized so often in the United States, without much information given to the public about its actual values and ideas. The government has been littering the minds of Americans since the Cold War about the dangers of communism. Trust me, I am no Communist. Socialism is very different, no matter what our parents, friends or leaders may tell us.

Socialism is an economic and political theory about the cooperation of the public as a whole. People work together as a community for their own benefit. Money that the society makes as a whole goes to the working class and the government. This is where the the anti-socialist ideas take root, that everyone pays a lot of money in taxes. It’s true. Some citizens in socialized countries such as Finland pay a maximum of 60% of their income to the government. After hearing this, people freak out. Because no matter how much money you have or what political party you belong to, Americans hate taxes. Americans have hated taxes since the literal birth of our country. But what if somebody told you that socialized taxes weren’t a bad thing? That when you pay more money more things become free, like health care, college, and in some cases housing. A social democracy, which is where these ideas grow from, is “a system in which the government aims to promote the public welfare through heavy taxation and spending, within the framework of a capitalist economy.” Taxes would increase, but so would the welfare of public possessions.

A lot of Americans are also ignorant to the fact that certain socialist ideas already exist in the United States. We have socialized education through the twelve grade, socialized transportation in the form of city buses, and socialized mail through the US Postal Service. In lots of places, you have to pay a small fee to ride a bus or train. Here in Corvallis, taking the bus is free. With your mail, a very small percent of your taxes go to the USPS, and you pay for your stamps so you can communicate with other people. One of the things that I personally believe in is the right to education, including college. In his presidential campaign, Bernie Sanders talked about free college, and taxing the wealthy to fund it. He also talked about socialized transportation, and making all bus fares free, by also taxing the wealthy to fund it. He talked about socialized medical care, where no matter if you’re pregnant, you just had a heart attack, or if you’re a miner suffering from pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, you can get your treatment for free. Once again, these prices would fall on those who could afford it. What I don’t personally understand is how people who are not in the top 2% and who wouldn’t be affected are opposed to this idea. You wouldn’t have to worry about health care, something that too many Americans can’t afford and suffer from. You wouldn’t have to worry about saving up your money for your kid’s college plan. An improved bus system with no fare would be an easy alternative to spending money on gas. Who can say no to that?        

Sources

Iacono, Corey. “The Myth of Scandinavian Socialism.” FEE Freeman Article. Foundation for Economic Education, 25 Feb. 2016. Web. 28 Dec. 2016. <https://fee.org/articles/the-myth-of-scandinavian-socialism/>.

“List of Countries by Tax Rates.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 28 Dec. 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_tax_rates&gt;.

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