Dragged, Kicking and Screaming—Socialism in America
It’s been said many times, but things said many times are often
true: Socialism for the rich, democracy for the poor. Too big to fail
infers that the small are the natural inheritors of that tiresome chore.
Yet things said many times are
often not true, even by very wise men: “The inherent vice of
capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of
socialism is the equal sharing of miseries”—Winston Churchill
And yet another: “The law, in
its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under
bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread”—Anatole France
These were of course the quotes of wealthy and well regarded
men, but we Americans are already socialists and our most cherished
institutions are socialistic to their core.
Would anyone seriously undo the Eisenhower
interstate highway system and its ubiquitous opportunity to dine on fast-food
at every junction?
Are social security, the national power grid,
public schools and the world’s largest military a bore?
Unless you are a worker, perhaps you would fancy worker’s
compensation laws abolished and retirement programs for teachers, police officers,
and fire fighters done away with as well.
And although the national fury on
the right is directed at our less fortunate, the homeless and mentally ill
continue to pile up. Coronavirus will no doubt clear the streets of some and they
will no doubt look upon that as a victory.
And yet…government subsidies—welfare—abounds for big
business, with total silence from the righteous right. Time and space limit us
to but a peek at the top performers…
8. Nike — $2.03 Billion, paid
less in 2017 than it did six years before, even though its profits doubled to
$4.2 billion. To accomplish that extraordinary decrease, Nike funneled $12.2
billion in earnings offshore and out of the reach of the U.S. tax man.
7. Royal Dutch Shell — $2.04
Billion, paid no U.S. taxes.
6. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
— $2.06 Billion and paid no U.S. taxes.
5. Ford — $2.52 Billion, paid
U.S. tax only 3 of the past 10 years.
4. General Motors — $3.58
Billion, hasn’t paid U.S. taxes in decades.
3. Intel — $3.87 Billion, paid
no federal income taxes.
2. Alcoa — $5.64 Billion, no
1. Boeing — $13.18 Billion, earned
$5.2 billion last year, but got an $82 million tax refund…
…but in some minds the homeless and
the jobless and the students and whoever is unfortunate enough to be poor in America
are the real enemy.
Which of course poses the obvious questions…
…why did the Elizabeth Warren and
Bernie Sanders campaigns fall apart and leave the Democratic Party with a nice
enough guy whose only credentials were being Barack OBama’s vice president? And
why do Democrats think voting for a comfort-food-candidate is a progressive way
forward for the country?
Was Bernie’s definition of
socialism that far out?—"Democratic socialism means that we must create
an economy that works for all, not just the very wealthy.”
Did Liz Warren scare you to death
when she said, “You built a factory out there, good for you. But I want to
be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads that the rest of us paid
for. You hired workers that the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in
your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid
I don’t want to be unkind, or radical, or over-the-top with
an opinion, but with our economic and environmental and (now) medical
challenges across the globe, Joe Biden thinking isn’t going to get us out of
If you yearn for the good old days,
I’m sorry—more sorry than I can put into words—but they are gone. And if Joe,
by some miracle should win against Trump, we’re going to be faced with a nation
so deeply split that anarchy is not beyond possibility.
Liz and Bernie are dedicated to
healing the same wounded Americans that Trump brought to his side. His
supporters are not idiots and not radical and not wrong—they
are very badly wounded and scared to death, with good reason.
America is always slow to react, but with economic chaos, environmental disaster and a looming pandemic, capitalist socialism is
where the future resides.
It has so much to offer—a Green New
Deal to employ the frightened and wounded at union wages, environmental
progress and an electric-powered future, desalinization and a reconfigured
agricultural system before Monsanto poisons the planet into silence.
still time for optimism.
We must not let it slip.