Socialism, Merits and Flaws

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Jedi Merkurian, Mar 20, 2009.

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  1. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    I believe people should pull themselves up by their bootstraps. But I believe they should have boots first.

    Nice line.

    The thing about socialism is that it is not, as JS suggested, Risin or Arsenic... if it was the UK would have combusted in 1965-75 at SOME point (and in fact it was booming in the 60s). As has been said many times before, there are dangers inherent in too much socialism... however what say, E_S would have classified as "just about too much socialism" would have been several points past the level by which most on the American right would have disowned thier country and ex-patriated themselves to... er, somewhere. Maybe England in the 1860s.

    The only thing that's at debate is what should have elements of the economy should have tenants of socialism in them, and what should not. And those are very, very few areas of the Market. Military/police force... Health Care... transportation infrastructure, energy production in some countries... basically, essential services.

    Most of what we know and deal with is not really up for debate... technology, financial services, entertainment of all stripes, urban and rural construction, funerary services, nearly all manufacturing (even clothing and food production).

    The noticible difference to the layman on rendering certain of these essential services socialist is negligable. If, for instance, a public option were to be introduced for United States Health Care, the average person is not going to see a change in the quality of heath service, and if so it will be for the better. The high-priced doctors who moved to the US to make more money for themselves are not going to move elsewhere: where are they going to move to? In comparison all the other nations are more socialist than the land they're already living in. If you have the money, you can still hire those doctors. They're not going to mass exodus to Saudi Arabia or something.
  2. Lady_Sami_J_Kenobi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2002
    star 6
    I'm going to chime in here with a few points about capitalism you guys have missed.

    One, in the US today, we do not have capitalism per se, what we have is oligarchies. We have the big five auto companies; we have the big five oil companies, etc.

    On competition to offer a better product at the lowest price, we have corporations shipping American jobs overseas so that they can pay the workers much, much less than they would pay American workers. I'm talking like $3 per day, rather than even $3 per hour. And no benefits, no unions looking over the company's shoulder to ensure worker's have rights, etc.

    Many of our corporations are multi-national as well, and do not hold allegience (sp?) to just one country.
  3. JediSmuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 1999
    star 5
    I have no problem with the federal government being involved in maintaining a military - that's its job per Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. Similarly, the federal government should be involve din infrastructure to a degree, since Article I, Section 8 does mention the maintenance of post offices and post roads.

    But there's no authorization in the Constitution for health care or a lot of the welfare programs that the federal government is currently engaged in. Between the non-authorization, and the Tenth Amendment, it is pretty clear that the federal government was never meant to carry out social welfare programs - and that includes health care. There is nothing that prohibits a state from having an expansive system, and if a state wants to do that, they are free to do so.

    But the federal government was given specific jobs - and those are jobs it does pretty well or could do very well if we weren't diverting resources into things it was never meant to do.

    But at the same time, socialism has had the effect of subsidizing poor choices - and penalizing those who have made good choices. That just doesn't make any sense.
  4. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    But there's no authorization in the Constitution for health care or a lot of the welfare programs that the federal government is currently engaged in. Between the non-authorization, and the Tenth Amendment, it is pretty clear that the federal government was never meant to carry out social welfare programs - and that includes health care. There is nothing that prohibits a state from having an expansive system, and if a state wants to do that, they are free to do so.

    I'm not sure how that carries through as an argument: there's a lot of things the state was never "meant" to carry out. There was never really "meant" to be a CIA.

    The key question should be if the nation benefits or if it does not. What is the cost of having health care programs and social welfare versus not having them, and do we get too carried away reacting to the direct costs of having them versus the "hidden" costs of not having them.

    That is, for instance, the city of Toronto, Canada has for many decades now balked at the costs of additions to its subway system (it has only 2 full lines, plus half of another one -- only 5 stops long... this is in comparison to say, London England, which has at least 11 lines). Subways are, of course, notoriously expensive and over the years there's been objections to extending it in one form or another as time has gone on. Most of the time it's been the government balking at fincancing such a huge effort, but at other times the public has been unwilling to pay taxes associated with that cost, or been unwilling to wait through the long effort of having major streets closed for years at a time. And then times passes and the roles reverse, etc. Rinse, Wash, Repeat.

    This has resulted in Toronto having saved specacualrly on the cost of their subway system: it has also resulted in Toronto having the worst traffic situation of any city north of Mexico in North America. Worse than LA, which for obvious earthquake-related reasons doesn't even have a subway system. This in itself costs the city money becuase of roadway maintenance and accidents over the years.

    When you add up the bottom line after 30-40 years, of having more subway versus not, which option comes out ahead financially? I'm thinking having the more extensive subway system.

    The same holds true for situations like Health Care. Yes, there's a price tag involved in having it. But the accumulated price tags in NOT having these things might actually be higher.


    But the federal government was given specific jobs - and those are jobs it does pretty well or could do very well if we weren't diverting resources into things it was never meant to do.

    I don't quite see how this is an ideal argument, with the government being meant to do certain things or not. I take this to mean that when the government was "meant" to do one thing or another, it was from the point of inception in the late 1700s. I don't see how those men could have possibly seen all ends, even in the logical start and end of government involvement. What was best in the 1700s is not necessarily what's best today -- and in fact might not have been best in the 1700s anyway, merely what was better than the other alternatives of the time period.

    Some of these men, for instance, might have balked at the cost of the current military infrastructure and say the state was never "meant" to subsidize anything so massive: remember that 1776 pre-dates Napoleon, and so pre-dates much of anything in the way of large standing armies -- the size of what Thomas Jefferson or John Adams thought was an acceptable standing government army in 1776 is probably a skeleton force compared to what was seen in Napoloenic terms, let alone those of the Civil War, WWI, WWII and the incredible nuclear and conventional infrastructures of the Cold War.

    That's the problem in having too much faith in a blueprint that is extremely old: the less flexible it is or the less flexible it is interpreted, the more likely it's not going to be able to adapt to changing times. Which is why I find the Parlimentary sy
  5. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Can't get involved in a drawn out discussion, as we're still waiting on the baby to arrive.
    You are missing one key part of what they established, though. Specifically, the amendment process outlined in Article V.

    No one has claimed that the Constitution is absolutely set in stone and unchangeable. What they have claimed is that it granted specific powers to the federal government, and no more than that. It's not a question about whether or not the nation benefits from something, but whether or not the government has the authority to do it.

    If the government doesn't have the authority, then it doesn't have the authority until the People grant it that authority by amending the Constitution. That applies whether it is related to an income tax (see also the 16th Amendment), health care, or any other program, regardless of the possible benefits it might provide.

    If you want to change what was established in the late 1700s, then you need to follow the process that they put forward to do so. It's not as though we haven't done it before (to the tune of 27 amendments to date).

    Kimball Kinnison
  6. DarthIktomi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2009
    star 4
    Well, the flaws of socialism as it's practiced in the United States are quite visible when one considers just how many companies don't really need subsidies but get them anyway. (Are oil companies really in trouble? Do pro athletes really need a bigger stadium?)

    In real life, no country is entirely capitalist or socialist. It's more on a sliding scale. But don't tell the John Birchers, or the Republicans who get elected by people who believe whatever Glenn Beck (who steals his talking points from the John Birchers) says, that.

    In America, if you want the government to make sure your food doesn't contain hydrocyanic acid, you're a socialist. If you want the possibility of help for those who can't get a job because the economy's so bad, you're a socialist. If you don't want to help subsidize an oil company or one of the big banks, you're a socialist.

    Game3525:
    Obama's a porn star? Maybe in Rush's fantasies. Certainly in Jeff Gannon's.

    I will say that there is nothing in the Constitution saying the government can't regulate commerce, and one particular clause requiring Congress to do so.
  7. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Except that particular clause says that Congress is only allowed to regulate certain types of commerce, namely between the states and with foreign nations or Indian tribes. If they had intended for Congress to be able to regulate all commerce, there would have been no reason to add those qualifiers to it.

    Kimball Kinnison
  8. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    I don't really see the need to subsidise things, either privatise them or nationalise them. A private company should be able to run on its own, if it can't it is a bad business and either the government needs to let it die, nationalise it, or let another company take over the job.

    An example of this is the UK Rail Network. The Conservative goverment of the 1990s rushed through a privatisation of the system and did it badly. Currently we have a system where the public pays for the massive upgrades to the network even though it is all run by a private company and we should only have to be paying fares. Banks own the trains and lease them to the rail companies who pay for them using the money from ticket fares. As a result they have little money left to upgrade trains and tracks and other things, so the government pays with tax money. If it needs money to do all the projects, why not just nationalise it and pay for the whole thing? I bet it would be run far more efficiently than it is now.
    If it needs public funds, it is not private.

    There was a book published some years ago I think called "the envy of the world" which was about the BBC and why it was the best example of how to run a large publicly funded company. The BBC is not what it was, but it still works extremely well with the money we give to it and remains good value.
  9. DarthIktomi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2009
    star 4
    Either way, the way Republicans talk, you'd think Congress had no right to govern the way megamultinationals conduct themselves within U.S. borders, which is of course silly; they are, after all, conducting business in all 50 states and with other countries.
  10. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    For those of you who don't know, sarin is a highly lethal nerve agent that can kill a human being even in doses as small as a tiny droplet. VX is another well-known agent that is lethal in tiny doses.

    This is exactly what is wrong with conservative thinking today. It's why Republicans are so insistent on labeling some fairly centrist and sensible policies with the much more extreme "socialism" term.
  11. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    A better analogy than sarin would be a vaccine. A little bit of something bad (paying money out to little to no immediate personal benefit) to inoculate a system against something worse.
  12. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    Socialism is not an extreme term. Fun fact of the day, did you know the head of the IMF is a member of the French socialist party? By parroting the line that it's an extreme term, you're actually helping them poison your public discourse.
  13. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    Most people are just afraid of what they don't understand. I would think many people especially in America are taught that Capitalism is the way of the free world and only truely great and free nations use that system. Therefore, opposing systems are bad and that leads to them being thrown around as accusatiopns towards ideas or people without a proper understanding of what those systems actually involve.

    The US had a Cold War for decades to destroy Communism, but how many citizens actually understood wht Communism was? All they got fed was "Communism is evil and is only done by bad countries so it = Evil". It seems now Islam is viewed in the same way, as is Socialism.
    I'm pretty sure if talked to many ordinary people in the street, most of them wouldn't understand what Socialism actually is. I'd be willing to bet though that most will say "it is bad" without actually knowing why.

    [image=http://images.sodahead.com/profiles/0/0/1/0/9/3/0/2/2/Communism-Card-11447333399.jpeg]
  14. DarthIktomi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2009
    star 4
    On the flip side:

    [image=http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/hitlercard2.jpg]
  15. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    Which is the biggest reason I started this thread [face_coffee] To examine whether or not it is bad.
  16. Raven Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6

    Something that strikes me about the US situation is that there isn't even any dialog regarding socialism. Democrats shrug and say "Hey, we already have socialized systems in place - Medicare, Medicaid, social security, government farm subsidies, etc. What's the big deal?" And Republicans say "Socialism is evil, like the malice of a giant gay Hitler robot made of pure insidious poison." I'm certain I've seen socialism compared to each of those things on these boards, though in all fairness probably not all at once.

    Since my earlier questions went unanswered, let me pose a new one: right wing types, do you favor the full elimination of socialist programs in your federal government? Potentially to be spun off into private enterprises as applicable.


    Also, some food for though: a Canadian article, regarding escalating legal fees and (gasp!) solutions that might either infringe on the free market economy or that would be straight out socialism. While they don't dwell on socialist solutions, the people in the discussion don't automatically reject them either, despite being right-wing (Canadians).
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