(Editor’s note: This is another guest column by Ruston resident John Sachs, a Ruston High School classmate, a CPA and a personal friend.)
Socialism: Good or Bad?
By John Sachs
Is socialism good or bad? Let me give you something to think about. My answer to that question is this: it depends on who benefits from it.
There are those folks who say that socialism in any form is always bad because it is communism in its infancy.
Next, they say that almost all government programs should be privatized and administered by and for the benefit of a capitalistic, free enterprise system rather than for the general population.
Next, they say that any government regulation of free markets serves only to advance communism and that it restricts the effectiveness of any benefits to be derived from unfettered capitalism. Now hold on to that thought as I’m coming back to it.
Do you think that these folks really mean that all socialism is bad and even evil? Do you think that they really want government totally out of the free market system? The answer is a resounding NO! Then when do these same pure free enterprise advocates find themselves solidly in favor of socialism? When do they cry out FOR rather than against “socialist” programs?
We only have to look back to 2008 and the $700-billion-dollar bailout of Wall Street to see a perfect example of free enterprise advocates praising socialism. When we 300 million middle-class American citizens bailed out the greedy, incompetent, scions of Wall Street, none of them complained of socialism. Certainly not! When the masses of taxpayers were rescuing the financial industry from crushing losses created by the free enterprise system, that was just fine and dandy. Socialism, for that purpose worked perfectly—for the super wealthy.
Skip forward only one year to 2009 when Wall Street had been restored to comparatively good health by the massive infusion of government capital. What did Wall Street say and do then? They said for the government to get out of their way and let them manage their industry as they saw fit. In addition, (are you ready for this?) they paid themselves billions in bonuses with the taxpayer rescue funds as though they had done something to deserve it. That defies not only logic, but also defies understanding how the American public—Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike—could stand aside and allow this to happen.
How could 99 percent of American taxpayers accept this? How could our elected representatives be allowed to do this to us so they can get personal re-election donations from the super wealthy? Why haven’t we risen up en mass, recalled or impeached or better yet, imprisoned (in one of their own privatized hellhole prisons) each and every official responsible for allowing this to happen?
It just defies logic and understanding. Yet the unthinking American public buys into the lies we are fed as to why we should absorb capitalism’s losses and applaud those officials who caused it. To socialize Wall Street’s losses but privatize their gains just won’t cut it with me. Does it with you?
If Wall Street is too far away for you to relate to, look at Farmerville. $50 million rightfully belonging to Louisiana taxpayers went to bail out the private enterprise poultry plant there. And another $11 million in federal aid bailed out the chicken production folks. If this isn’t socialism, what is it?
The next time you hear or mistakenly think that socialism or socialistic programs or government-run programs are bad, remember the examples mentioned above. Your view of socialism as to whether it’s good or evil really depends on who benefits. That sword cuts both ways. Both the goose and the gander must be allowed or denied its benefits equally.
Do you think this topic is important? If not, then you had better ask yourself why the people of Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Iran, etc. are demanding back what is rightfully theirs but was stolen by their respective dictators and their top1 percent super-wealthy supporters. If by the use of purchased political favoritism and deceit, the super-wealthy top 1 percent of Americans continue to gain ownership of the assets rightfully belonging to the other 99 percent of us, then we in America are heading down the path that Egypt took.
In case you are wondering how close you are from being included in the top 1 percent super-wealthy in our country, understand If you don’t earn an average $2,700 per hour or $5.4 million per year, you aren’t there yet. Thus, when the federal government or a state governor and legislature sell national or state assets or privatize almost all public services, you are being robbed while at the same time you are paying for the “privilege.”
Join in demanding a stop to the privatizing of those assets that belong to you and the others of us in the 99 percent category.
Hurry! Congress is now in session and the Louisiana legislature convenes April 25.
So, are you against socialism? Is it inherently evil? Funny thing isn’t it that the answer is not a resounding YES. Your answer must depend upon whether or not YOU benefit. If your government gives you special benefits denied to the rest of us, then stop calling the government programs that help the rest of us “socialistic” or you are a hypocrite. The only solution is for you to refuse to accept any assistance of any kind from your local, state and federal governments. In my book, you’ll be an okay kind of guy. But a hypocrite? Not acceptable. Not at all.