|Out of the Closet Socialist|
The Nation: Opinion: Mike Konczal & Bryce Covert: The Real Solution to Wealth Inequality
This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger
Before I explain why I disagree with the wealth redistribution argument when it comes to the income and wealth gaps in America. I'm first going to be (excuse my American English) an asshole about socialism and the authors of this piece from The Nation. Granted The Nation is nothing if not provocative and for that is always worth reading. And thank God (well actually our Founding Fathers) for our First Amendment Freedom of Speech and that the state doesn't control our media. Even though some on the far-left have advocated for nationalizing the media this country.
But about this latest piece from The Nation from Mike Konczal and Bruce Covert. For you Seinfeld fans and people familiar with this show I'm going to take you back to season four of that series. The Gay Episode (for lack of a better term) when a college reporter overhears Jerry and George pretending to be gay (no offense) and pretending to be boyfriends. And Jerry and George finding out about this and confronting the reporter and strongly telling her " we are not gay! Not that there's anything wrong with that if that's who you are". Well that is how I feel about Socialists in this country and I'm going to explain that.
Even as late as 1993 when that Seinfeld episode went on the air there were plenty of Gay-Americans who were still in the closet for obvious reasons. Most of them having to do with bigotry and ignorance about homosexuality. Well then and now we probably have millions of Americans who are stuck in the Socialist closet because they are afraid to let Americans know they are Socialists. Because of all the negative stereotypes that still remain in this country about socialism. With it constantly being linked to communism and other authoritarian philosophies.
What too many Americans still do not understand even with the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union is that Socialists tend to be democratic. And if you look at Europe as well as America Socialists tend to believe in a certain level of capitalism and private enterprise to go along with a robust welfare state that they believe should provide the basic human necessities. The reason why Socialists get called Liberals or use the liberal label for themselves (which is an insult to me as a Liberal) or Progressives is because of how unpopular the word Socialist is still in America. So they constantly advocate for socialist policies and programs, but go with the liberal or progressive label instead.
Now as far as the piece on The Nation. Mike Konczal and Bryce Covert are essentially arguing for a social democratic or socialist economic system. Not state controls the means of production, which is different. Just most of the money that is produced by the private sector to finance their robust welfare state. That would be in charge of the pensions, health care, college financing and perhaps education in general. And taking those services out of the private sector completely to be controlled by the U.S. Government.
As I've argued many times before the problem with the American economy is not that we have too many rich people. But that we have too many poor people and lower middle class people that if they were out of work would qualify for public assistance because of their lack of savings. Where government can make a real contribution here is to empower the people at the bottom and near bottom to get themselves the skills that they need to get a better job and make more money and obtain economic security. You empower people to be able to take care of themselves and live in freedom, they generally will if they have strong character and strong core of values. Government doesn't need to do that for them.