Americans Endorse Socialism, Again

A new ABC/Washington Post poll conducted recently has caused some pundits to focus on the reality that Republicans are having a terrible time convincing most non-Republicans (that’s about 75% of the country, according to this poll) that the GOP is looking out for middle-class interests.

Most folks know where the loyalties of the current  Republican Party lie, and it is not with most folks but mostly with folks with the most.

But as we start thinking about the year to come, and to put the ridiculousness that is the fiscal cliff in perspective, I want to focus on one part of the poll that I am sure will get overlooked by most popular media types: America, as I have argued many times before, has a jones for socialism.

The pollsters asked this question:

17. In order to strike a budget deal that avoids the so-called “fiscal cliff”, would you accept “cutting spending on Medicaid, which is the government health insurance program for the poor,” or is this something you would find unacceptable? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?

Now, it might surprise some of you, I know it did me, that only 28% of the respondents said it would be “acceptable” to cut spending on health insurance for the poor. And only 13% felt “strongly” that such cuts were acceptable. A whopping  68% (53% “strongly”) found such cuts “unacceptable.”

Wow.  Think about that.  With all the doom-talk, with all the talk about falling off cliffs, there is still an overwhelming majority of folks in America who refuse to solve our fiscal problems on the backs of poor people.

This holiday season I find that inspiring.

And lest you think I am drawing an untenable conclusion from that datum, a conclusion that concludes America has embraced a rather robust form of socialism, I submit to you another question asked by the pollsters:

17. In order to strike a budget deal that avoids the so-called “fiscal cliff”, would you accept “raising taxes on Americans with incomes over 250-thousand dollars per year,” or is this something you would find unacceptable? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?

A staggering 74% of respondents said it was acceptable—54% felt”strongly”about it—to raise taxes on affluent Americans while also saying that any fiscal cliff deal-making should not include the poor.

That, my friends, is an endorsement of income redistribution, of socialism, right here in what right-wingers think is a center-right America.

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15 Comments

  1. ansonburlingame

     /  December 26, 2012

    I only offer the following for consideration by liberals. I won’t even “check back” to engage further.

    Five sixths of my total monthly income comes from the federal government, a fixed income in its entirety other than government mandated cost of living inceases. It will be that way for the remainder of my lifetime. As well I no longer have a “nest egg” to draw upon for “emergencies” “wants”, etc. However I have said and continue to say repeatedly, that America cannot sustain such a manner of living by a large number of people.

    Why? Of course the reason is America cannot sustain the payments by some to support such a system in the future. Somehow we must change our various government systems to make them sustainable, financially.

    Liberals will say “Sweden does so why can’t we do so?” Size of the nation and diversity of the people within it is the compelling reason to me. Well Germany is a big nation so why can’t we act like Germans? Hmmmm? Have you ever been to Germany and met some REAL Germans. Or have you ever considered German history as compared to the histories of the “English speaking peoples”? Germans and Americans are different, culuturally, very different.

    A different set of questions could be asked in a “poll” for sure to which Americans would respond with a very different “tone”.

    About 100 years ago America replaced the British Empire as the voice for freedom and democracy around the world. America became very POWERFUL. Americans generally speaking loved American POWER, particularly the economic power of America. Ask any thinking American if they want to see America remain a “world power”? Ask yourself that question as well.

    Such different polls, testing the “tone” of America will show two distinct results wrapped up into one phrase. “Americans today want their cake and eat it too”! Americans want, demand, “need” all sorts of things. But Americans collectively cannot pay for all such things and have not done so for half a century.

    But if the majority demand socialism, America will deliver socialism. But when it does so, well America will have changed dramatically and we will never return to American power and influence of old. Think France, as only an example or even England, today.

    Hell’s bells, “you guys” cannot even pay for Medicare as we know it alone much less “socialism” in a much broader form!!!

    Anson

    Like

    • Anson,

      There are several things wrong with your post here, but since you said you “won’t even ‘check back’ to engage further,” why should I bother to engage you at all?

      Duane

      Like

    • hlgaskins

       /  December 28, 2012

      ” However I have said and continue to say repeatedly, that America cannot sustain such a manner of living by a large number of people.”

      Sure it can. The real problem is that certain members of our government don’t want to payback all their loans against it. If Social Security needs more money to survive then lets raise payroll taxes on those who can afford it. Most baby boomers won’t be around in 20 years (except possibly me) and the current ration of 16:1 is going to drop to 2:1. The problem with Social Security is largely a fantasy made up by republicans in their never ending effort to balance the budget on the backs of the poor while raising national debt to further enrich the rich. It’s all about the dominance of ones social group, the wealthy, over everyone else (hegemony).

      “Why? Of course the reason is America cannot sustain the payments by some to support such a system in the future.”

      Sure we can, but if you’re concerned about it, then get a job and stop accepting money from a program that you want to end for generations to come. If you can have it then why shouldn’t others? Think about how much worse your life would be if you didn’t have the benefits you’re receiving, and then think of our children’s children and ask yourself why they shouldn’t have the same benefits.

      “Liberals will say “Sweden does so why can’t we do so?” Size of the nation and diversity of the people within it is the compelling reason to me.”

      I believe that I’m the liberal Anson is referring to.

      Size is irrelevant, every thing is scaled to population and per-capita to GDP. Fewer people make for less consumption along with a smaller tax base. Smaller countries also have fewer natural resources. Where Sweden is killing us is in education but we don’t need to look at Sweden to find fault in conservative thinking. Just look at Canada, a country with a populations of around 35 million. There is no other country on earth (largely Anglo-Saxon) that is s culturally diverse yet similar to ours, and yet Canada suffered little as a result of the sub-prime meltdown. Canada has universal health care, higher minimum wage than the U.S, strict gun control laws, and most importantly they’re kicking the pants off of us in education.

      Consider that in 2010 of all OECD countries Canada’s student’s ranked 3rd in reading, 5th in math, and 5th in science or 3rd overall. The United States ranked 14th in reading, 25th in math, and 17th in science or 14th overall. The reality here is simple in that all of the high ranking countries have largely free or affordable subsidized education and strong social safety nets. Conservative thinking is the single greatest obstacle to our childrens future.

      “America became very POWERFUL. Americans generally speaking loved American POWER, particularly the economic power of America. Ask any thinking American if they want to see America remain a “world power”? Ask yourself that question as well.”

      Republicans see power in terms of who has the most bombs and guns, but in reality power lies in the country with best educated and stable culture. Large armies and guns and bombs were the power of the 20th century, but the 21st centuries power will be with those countries that lead in technology. All of our Aircraft Carriers and nuclear weapons will mean nothing to country that can thwart them with superior technology. HLG

      Like

      • Well said, HL. Is the rumor true that certain (shouting) commenters are secret liberals whose mission is to deliver commentary that serves as perfect foil for pointing out fallacies in common perceptions? Hmm. Seems like a possibility.

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  2. You have a thought-provoking post here, Duane. Based on the polling questions, Americans do indeed favor socialism. They accepted Social Security as a toe-in-the water small program advanced by FDR on the heels of the Great Depression in the 1930’s and grew over time to love it, fortified with the false notion that retirees’ contributions equalled or exceeded benefits. They accepted Medicaid in 1965 as a nominal add-on to Social Security, powered by the proper emotions and empathy behind the Civil Rights movement. And, they accepted EMTALA in 1986, possibly the largest unfunded social mandate ever passed in this country, again based on empathy for the unfortunate and disabled and without public awareness of the fiscal implications. All these things and more were accepted, but not as “socialism”, even though that is exactly what all those programs are. The body politic would have been horrified at the thought at those times, that they were abiding “socialism”, and it is no different today.

    It is all in the nomenclature and the context of the justification. The reality of course is that some socialism is highly desirable to buffer the swings of fortune for people in an industrialized society, and that’s because human nature does not sufficiently motivate most people to invest in insurance of various kinds (life, disability, and economic downswings for example), nor to save adequately for retirement. The principal reason for public dislike for ObamaCare is a case in point. It seems to me that, unlike the other programs and because of right-wing demagoguery, it is perceived as socialistic (even though it has only begun to be implemented and its real effects have not yet been felt). If Republicans really wanted to eliminate socialism they would be campaigning to repeal EMTALA, but don’t hold your breath for that to happen – that would reveal their real thinking on the subject: Pay up or die.

    I think the body politic prefers illusion to reality because the illusion doesn’t include making the hard choices for prioritizing how to pay for it. They allowed themselves to be frightened by 9/11 as the Bush administration threw away the budget for two unfunded wars, the prescription drug benefit, and promoted the unfettered rise of Top Secret America, and of course two unfunded and largely unnecessary wars. And, of course the voters are blinded to long-term solutions by the persistent meme, promoted by the Medical Industrial Complex and its lobbies, that the American system of healthcare delivers a product worthy of its cost when the reality is that it is bankrupting the country to the tune of 2 and 1/2 times the necessary cost.

    I wish I knew how to foster a public discourse that would change the perceptions and that would penetrate the demagoguery on the other side, but I don’t. So far slogans (“job-killing taxes”, “freedom-killing forced insurance”) are beating discourse.

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    • Jim,

      Your response is excellent. You wrote,

      I think the body politic prefers illusion to reality because the illusion doesn’t include making the hard choices for prioritizing how to pay for it.

      If there is one thing I can fault Democrats for it is in contributing to your “illusion.” What I mean can be seen in the current debate over taxes. As you know, I am not in favor of a permanent extension of all the tax cuts. I think taxes on everyone are too low, in terms of paying for what Americans say they want. Eventually, taxes have to go up on even middle class wage-earners (right now, though, the economy needs that money circulating in more direct ways).

      But Democrats, members of the party willing to defend the things government does, are in the position of supporting taxes that demonstrably are too low to cover government expenses. We can talk all day about the rich paying their fair share (and I think their fair share is even higher than what Democrats are now proposing), but in the end we need a broader taxpayer base to supply the revenue needed to keep the government from unruly deficits.

      Democrats contribute to the public illusion that we can have all this stuff–a world-protecting national defense budget; a robust social insurance system; infrastructure rehabilitation; education improvements; etc.–by not reminding even the middle class that they will have to pay a little more, when the economy comes roaring back. I fear that our side has cornered themselves by arguing for permanent extension of some very unwise tax cuts a decade or more ago.  I don’t see how we can ever argue for a more responsible tax system, one that would actually pay for the government we need going forward. (There is a possibility to get out of this corner, though, if we ever get to the point of actually reforming the tax system.)

      Duane

      Like

      • Your point about “reforming the tax system”, Duane, is too important to be merely a postscript. I haven’t read any recent analysis of the problem, but just from living in the system I sense it is terribly dysfunctional and that the underground economy, a.k.a. the black market economy, may be even bigger than anyone realizes. Off-the-books business is common, from hairdressers to lawn services to whatever. I know it is happening. Add that to the 20% to 30% of the administrative cost of the present system and you have enormous potential for improvement. Get a single-payer healthcare system and you have another 30% improvement. We are victims of our own intransigence.

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        • Jim,

          I am amazed at how any talk of single-payer health care has disappeared from the national conversation. I mean, it has completely disappeared. One would think that a few Democrats in Congress would be advancing the idea as a sensible way to combat deficit spending in the future, as baby boomers retire and get sick. But I don’t hear a thing about it. Amazing.

          Duane

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          • There’s only one conclusion to be had, Duane. The prejudice against single-payer healthcare is simply too embedded in the public consciousness and a campaign for it would be instantly demagogued by Faux News, et. al. It’s a damn shame, but I think that’s reality. Even ObamaCare will likely continue to be attacked.

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  3. As to polls, my guess is that most of the respondents, to the extent they truly represent the public at large, don’t have a clue what “fiscal cliff’ means. And since the poll itself doesn’t define it, respondents will have to focus on what they DO understand in the question. So, the question posed (see above) uses the word “poor.” And who doesn’t what to help the poor? Besides that, who knows what Medicaid is anyway?

    The vast majority of respondents, I’m guessing, do not educate themselves on current issues — social, economic, political, and otherwise — to the level of those of us who follow blogs like this one. Ergo, like all polls, this one needs to be taken with a grain or two or three of salt.

    Further, programs like Social Security and Medicare are not purely socialist. Because the beneficiaries of those programs have put in their own money via payroll taxes, they are really hybrids. They can be made sustainable, theoretically at least, by adjusting the FICA tax rates, whereas other social insurance programs like Medicaid have to be funded out of general revenues.

    Therefore, if you take out all the programs that are paid for in part or in total by the beneficiaries, including government employee and military pensions, you’re left with the true welfare programs; funded mainly be taxes. In 2010, the cost of those programs was $457.2 billion (the biggest being Medicaid at 291.3 billion.) So, when you break it down, these evil Socialist programs amount to a little over 12% of the total federal budget. Not an insignificant amount, but certainly not enough to justify calling us a socialist nation.

    On the other hand, if you consider all the tax breaks that go to corporations and the rich, the size of our military industrial complex, and the way money buys legislators (and legislation), a strong argument can be made that we are closer to a fascist country that a socialist one.

    In any case, what we have here is just a series of trigger words and phrases used to provoke a strong reaction — like gay marriage, abortion, atheist, socialist/socialism, fascist/fascism. gun control, fundamentalist/evangelical, American Taliban, etc. Surely, all of us are mature enough to look behind the words and tease out the real, intended meanings. And don’t call me Shirley!

    Herb

    Like

    • Good analysis, Shirley. 😉 Interestingly, I found myself looking up “fascism”, one of those words one throws about without actually reflecting on its precise meaning. You are right, Herb, that the Tea Party seems to be moving us toward just that. My dictionary includes this about fascism:

      “Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one national or ethnic group (e.g., Tea Party?), a contempt for democracy (e.g., manipulation of voter registration rules & gerrymandering), an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, (Grover Norquist?) and a strong demagogic approach (e.g., as in Sheldon Adelson’s ads).”

      (I find my desktop dictionary invaluable – available at a touch of the mouse.)

      BTW, enjoyed your op-ed piece in the Globe the other day. Good one.

      Like

    • Herb,

      1. I agree that a lot of people have no idea what is involved in the term “fiscal cliff.” Generally what they know is that their taxes are going to go up if no deal is made.

      2. I also agree that a lot of people don’t know exactly what Medicaid is, although the number is less than those who don’t understand “fiscal cliff.” But you will notice that the question in the poll actually defined Medicaid as “the government health insurance program for the poor.” Folks can understand that and they support the program and don’t want to cut it as part of a deal.

      3. I don’t argue that Americans fully embrace some kind of “purely socialist” schematic. There aren’t too many folks around arguing for the nationalization of industry. What we have, as you suggest, is a hybrid system that we can, depending on our preference, call socialism, in the sense that there is a collective component to it (Social Security) and that it rejects laissez-faire capitalism. Medicaid, however, is much closer to being a “purely socialist” program than the others. And my point in the piece is that Americans understand that well enough to endorse it and are not willing to cut it to solve our fiscal problems but are willing to require wealthy folks to pay more to keep it. I, for one, choose to call that socialism, American style.

      4. As for your Shirley-esque suggestion that,”a strong argument can be made that we are closer to a fascist country that a socialist one,” I’m afraid I have to reject it on many grounds, including the simple fact that the two groups you mention–corporations and the rich–are not uber-nationalists. If anything, these groups are supranationalists or internationalists, preferring making money over any profound sense of duty to the nation-state.

      Americans of all stripes, by the way, tend to reject the kind of totalitarian impulses necessary to pull off fascism (socialism, by the way, can be democratic in a way that fascism never could be). And thanks to the liberation of women and gays in our culture, the testosterone-crazed men who would bring us fascism have been, uh, sort of neutered.

      Secure in my manhood, you can call me Shirley,

      Duane

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  4. Duane

    Well, I’m down here in Marathon Key, FL, helping my sister celebrate her xx th birthday. But had a little time so thought I’d respond to your latest comment on my response to your . . . .

    First, I’d say what we’ve got here is a problem of semantics, not to mention unfounded hysteria. No person familiar with world history would ever claim that we here in the U.S. of A. have the Socialism or Fascism of the 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s. Those days are long gone. Thank you Lord.

    Instead what we do have, on the left, is the unrealistic goal of equality for all (e.g., it takes a village), plus the naive expectation of unlimited financial resources from government to fund various safety nets (e.g., entitlements.) On the right we have the equally unrealistic notion that if the government would just get out of the way, free market capitalism would cure all our ills (e.g., lift all boats), and that if individuals are not trying to step all over each other in the accumulation of wealth, then they are obviously irresponsible, lazy moochers (e.g., the 47%). Both extremes are wrong, of course.

    But a big part of these different political worldviews is based on ignorance of how an economy and governance and the social contract should interact for the benefit of all. I obviously can’t address all those issues here, but I can try to briefly illuminate some.

    Anson has previously posted, correctly, that under macroeconomic theory, spending equals income. This means, ceteris paribus, that if you cut spending, say, government spending, then you also cut income. When you cut income, you reduce demand for goods and services, which, in turn, lowers the GDP. The reverse is also true. When spending goes up, so does income and the GDP.

    The problem today of course is that government revenues, mainly taxes, are insufficient to pay current (and future) expenditures, thus producing annual deficits There are four ways to cover the shortfall: (1) cut spending, (2) raise taxes, (3) borrow money [hello, China], or (4) print more money [see hyperinflation], or, some combination thereof. All choices, as we have seen, are political nightmares.

    Then there is what economists call “the paradox of thrift.” This goes all the way back to ancient Greece and was resurrected during the 30’s as part of Keynesian economics. The paradox is that those who save are spending less, which, as I pointed out above, reduces demand thus lowering income and the GDP. (Economists still argue whether it was the increase in spending on infrastructure projects, the tripling of the tax rates on the highest income bracket, or the military industrial buildup to WWII that got us our of the depression.)

    And we can’t forget the related credit problem. Most consumer spending is provided by credit – mortgages, car loans, credit cards, etc. But when the housing bubble burst in 2008, home values dropped by 7 trillion, leaving homeowners with little or no or negative equity. The unemployment created by expatriating jobs overseas, and from the sharp decline in the construction industry left millions unemployed and/or underemployed. That has lead to the reduction in credit worthy borrowers, which then reduced spending, which then reduced demand for goods and services, which then reduced income, which then reduced GDP. (You may now take a breath.)

    It’s these issues, collectively, that make up the dilemma now facing Congress and the president after now having taken only a few steps backward from the fiscal cliff. (Happy New Year?). Yet, they continue to make their respective cases for what to do based on their respective worldviews described above. And, as noted, both are wrong. Even their proposed “solutions” are idiotic.

    Take the 1.2 trillion in spending cuts. That’s over a 10 year period, averaging 120 billion/year. With a 3.7 trillion annual budget, that “savings” amounts to a whopping 3% in the first year.

    And net tax revenues expected from the higher rate for those making over 300k and 350k would raise an estimated 70 billion. That gets us to 5% of the total budget; leaving 95% in place. Hardly the draconian changes we need to stop the trillion dollar annual bleeding of cash; i.e., ceteris paribus, adding about 10 trillion over the next ten years to the federal debt (assuming no more unnecessary wars.)

    That brings us back to the spending/income/GDP trifecta. Aggregate demand needs to grow substantially. That means restoring the middle class as the engine of the economy. More income means more spending means more taxes means higher growth in the GDP We need to restore our manufacturing base to turn us into a net exporting country, go after China with a vengeance for unfair trade practices, revise the tax code to encourage investment in this country and to expand the employment base and the availability of credit.

    For a great overview of these and other issues, check out “Who Stole the American Dream?” by Hedrick Smith. He presents a ten point plan that has been developed and agreed to by CEO’s, economists, union leaders, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and members of Congress, both parties. The problems are fixable. But, as usual, we have to have a functional, responsible Congress. Mmmm, hmmm.

    Herb

    Like

    • Herb,

      First of all, tell your sister happy xxth birthday.

      Now, to your points:

      1. I know of exactly no liberals who believe we can achieve perfect equality (see John Rawls). What we believe is that we should attempt to achieve it and get as close as we can, accepting that there are a lot of non-structural reasons for inequality that we can’t control.  You must hang around some really really wild-eyed lefties.

      2. I do, though, know right-wingers who have a conception of laissez-faire liberty very close to what you presented. And unfortunately for the country, some of these folks are wagging the Republican Party dog.

      3. You wrote,

      But a big part of these different political worldviews is based on ignorance of how an economy and governance and the social contract should interact for the benefit of all.

      Okay, buster, I’m going to defend the ignorant here. I have read a great deal of political and economic philosophy, probably more than a non-professional should, and I can tell you that the reason there is so much ignorance out there is because the people who write treatises on political and economic philosophy frequently and severely disagree with each other, not to mention that they accuse each other of “ignorance.”

      There isn’t a liberal textbook on anatomy and physiology, or a conservative book of physics and astronomy, because the hard sciences are, well, real science. But there are textbooks in political “science” and economic theory that have some rather stark differences in their public policy conclusions.

      And in the Internet world, you can go to, say, Paul Krugman’s blog (he won a Nobel prize, for God’s sake) and follow his defense of Keynesian economics against those Austrians and other free-market economists who think Krugman is nuts.

      I don’t blame the public, therefore, for being “ignorant” of how things work “for the benefit of all,” when it comes to “economy and governance.” What I really blame them for is not understanding that a 21st-century government is expensive and they are the ones who have to pay for most of it (some debt passed on to future generations is totally acceptable for both economic reasons and moral reasons).

      4. Having said that, then, I do agree with you that the (long term) problem is as you stated: “government revenues…are insufficient to pay current (and future) expenditures, thus producing annual deficits.”  But you also put your finger on why that is a problem at all, when you said at the end,

      The problems are fixable. But, as usual, we have to have a functional, responsible Congress. Mmmm, hmmm.

      Up until the recent fiscal cliff deal, in which Democrats blessed tax rate cuts for 99.3 of taxpayers, I would have vehemently disagreed with your assertion that it was “Congress” that was the problem. Up until a few days ago, I would have told you that it was one party—the Republican Party—that was to blame for insufficient revenues, since they were the party of irresponsible tax cuts.

      Now, though, I have to hand Democrats some blame as we go forward. They have embraced, essentially, the tax side of Republican economics and Republican political philosophy, if for different reasons. As I have argued, we need the stimulus that cuts in middle class tax cuts represent (for the reasons you adroitly laid out), but we can’t afford to permanently keep all of those cuts in place. Democrats should have made the cuts temporary, not permanent, waiting for the day when the economy was healthy enough to phase at least part of them in again.

      Unfortunately, they have lost that chance now. From now on, unless Obama is willing to do something radical like invoke the Fourteenth Amendment or issue that amazing trillion dollar coin, and unless he has a plan to use tax reform to get more revenue, we are playing on Republican turf, which means austerity and an insufficiently-sized government.

      5. All of which means we will continue to have the same fights we have had the last two years, with more cliffs and threats. And that’s only if Republicans pull back from the suicidal mission they now seem to be on. If they do endanger our  full faith and credit over the debt ceiling or sequester or budget resolution, and if they throw things around the world in economic turmoil, then all bets are off.

      Ceteris paribus will be a phrase used only in this context as a joke.

      Duane

       

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      • ansonburlingame

         /  January 5, 2013

        Herb and Duane,

        I encourage you both to consider http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/31/opinion/lets-give-up-on-the-constitution.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0. It is a NYT article/column written by a 40 year constitutional law professor at Georgetown that suggests our Constitution is dysfunctional and should be “trashed” or words to that effect. Why should we try to govern America today in the terms set forth bymen that live 235 years ago is his basic premise.

        Of course one must read between the lines of the article to see what the author believes should replace the Constitution, the foundation that provides the process to construct the “rule of law” in America. My reading of his view is that we should junk Congress as we know it and go to a single “house” elected by we the people every year or so and let that “body” decide how we govern and pay for that government each year based on the will of we the people.

        Given such a process today, I suspect that Paul Krugman economics would prevail and we would have a government unconstrained that worked hard to meet all the “needs” demanded by a majority of Americans and to hell with paying of all of it until………?

        Economics, and the society that results from such economics, must in the end be a balance between buyers and sellers. That is the bottom line of any economic system, buyers and sellers must agree on a “price” for any good or service. In a free society that “price” ultimately is agreed upon in each and every individual “trade”. Socialists and communists want government to dictate “price” to some degree, more dictation if you will in communism than socialism, but……

        What America is seeking it seems is some new form of government BETWEEN pure socialism and a total free market with government force (the will of the majority) being the ultimate “decider” where that new boundary might be. Liberals want the “new” form of economics to be closer to the socialist model and conservatives want one closer to the total free market. And that fight continues today in America with the clear majority now leaning, for now, in the liberal direction.

        Hello Europe in America if the majority continues to prevail. Then when the totalitarian masses from the “east” move “west”, well……. Did the world at large NOT learn that lesson during the 20th Century, the advance from the “east” (Germany during the first half and Russia during the second half of that century) against the “west”? Who ultimately stood in the path of that onslaught, beginning about 1914 and coming to a close around 1989, when the “wall” came down between east and west?

        There is still tremendous “energy” pent up to the “east” in Russia and China today. As well we must now keep a close eye to the “south” with lots of “masses” assemblying there to assualt the bastions of a “free society”. Consider Mexico, South America and the Middle East as the bulk of those “southern” masses.

        For the past 100 years America has been the ultimate “decider” when such has happened. Well who or what will stand against that onslaught in the future, the UN?

        But of course that is a very “long view” of the world at large and America’s role in the future. It has nothing to do with how we pay for the demands, today, of the majority wanting more and more from the federal government.

        Ultimately the argument is “simple”. Just how much can the federal government provide to the majority in America and how will it pay for it, sustainably? Today that “number”, financially, is about $3.8 Trillion (or so). Fine if that is what the majority demands in America. Now all we have to do is tax we the people to that level to pay for it on a sustainable basis, right?

        Now go figure out how to do that, raise federal revenues to pay for all demanded and sustain that level of payment sustainably in the future. In that economic system buyers dictate to sellers the ultimate “price”. Well how many “sellers” will continue to “sell” goods and services I wonder.

        Anson

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