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Beavah

Do people know what socialism IS?

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Geez, China has considered itself to be communist ever since Mao took over.

 

So in the Scandanavian country where I lived, the government told stores that they had to close at certain times, that some businesses had to be open at certain times, they highly regulated the commerce, tried to keep foreign alcoholic beverages out with exorbitant taxes, controlled the public transportation system, etc. They are controlling the production in the country with laws. The tax rates when I was living there (~1979) went up to 98% but the wealthy hid their wealth and flew to NYC for their health care. There was an incompetent scrub nurse who surgeons asked to be re-assigned (not fired) which prompted government intervention punishing the doctors and keeping the nurse in surgery harming patients. Seems like socialism to me.

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To me socialism is the fact that in the first qtr of 2008 the unemployment taxes for my general contracting business were $1200,in the first qtr of 2011 they were $7000. How do I pass that on to customers? Whether it makes Obama a socialist or not I don't know but it does mean he sucks.

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Are not unemployment taxes a state item? If so, then please connect the dots for me.

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Vol: If it makes you feel any better, there are (where I live) plenty of private healthcare clinics and stores are able to set their own hours.

 

Also, using tariffs to keep out foreign goods is hardly unique to Europe. The United States has done this several times throughout our history. One good example is the Smoot-Hawley tariff which was signed into law by President Hoover (who is not widely described as a socialist).

 

I suppose if we want to get the government completely out of our lives, we should cut Medicare, Social Security, public schools, public safety (police, fire, EMS), military spending, public parks, public roads, and the national highway system. Then we can hire private security, buy fire protection, pay tuition for primary and secondary education, and so on. Sound good?

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The issue under discussion is what is socialism and that Europe is not socialist. It is not about whether tariffs are good or bad or even the merits of socialist programs. BTW, in my state many people pay for private fire departments because they are in rural areas. Also, many folks all across the country have their children in private schools for various reasons.

 

The point is that in the not so distant past, Europe was being touted as why we should become more socialist. Europe has all sorts of advantages because of socialism we were told. Now that over spending on socialist programs has strapped and bankrupt Europe and the US is plunging ahead on the same deadly course, we are told that Europe is not socialist. Ever since I got interested in politics and world affairs in the 1960's due mainly to the Vietnam war and the leftist movement in America, I have noted that left wing regimes are praised by the left until they are shown to be oppressive or fail economically. Then we are told that they were not really socialist or that the communist country is really right wing. It is utter nonsense. The problems with socialism and communism is that they do not work, have never worked for a country, and will never work because they are contrary to human nature which will always win.

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1) To quote you, vol_scouter: "Gotta love liberals, when their view of the world fails they simply say that was not what they were talking about." I feel like you just did the same thing here (though you are not a liberal).

 

If tariffs are not being discussed then why did you mention them when describing your Nordic country? You said the government "tried to keep foreign alcoholic beverages out with exorbitant taxes." That is the definition of a tariff: "a schedule of duties imposed by a government on imported or in some countries exported goods" (courtesy of m-w.com). However, when I mentioned that the United States used tariffs, it was suddenly off topic.

 

2) I know that we have some private fire departments and schools but I also know that the public underwrites many, many schools and "public safety" departments.

 

3) Since we are veering off topic, I'll go back to the main point. How do the posters here choose to define socialism? Perhaps having us define it will see how many in this debate (instead of just the general "people") know what socialism is. ;)

 

Personally, I do not see us as a "socialist" nation. We have publicly funded programs (education, public safety, highways, parks, etc) but the government does not control the means of production for products. There are still many private companies in manufacturing and other sectors that are producing products for consumption. Do we have a total laissez-faire economy? Absolutely not. Are current economic policies more liberal? Yes. Does that make us socialist? No. Unfortunately, the last two tend to be used interchangeably (but incorrectly).

 

This false dilemma of choosing extreme positions (precluding a middle ground or even moderate steps in either direction) is a major reason we are in our current state.(This message has been edited by Eagle707)

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@skeptic. Unemployment is handled by the state but they receive loans from the Feds because the Feds extended the time so much and the states have to repay the loans to the Feds. So ultimately the Feds are telling the states what to do with their money. States Rights.

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Eagle707,

 

I was not trying to say in any way that the US doesn't have tariffs, etc. but was trying to point out that the Scandanavian country where I lived meets the definition of socialist. The US is becoming socialist and Europe is largely there. If Europe or the US did not have so much obligated to social programs, the countries could easily weather this storm because taxes would be low and government expenditures would be far lower.

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Yah, hmmmm... seems like there's another thing I don't understand. Most of the time when yeh try to pin down one of these fellows to figure out what they're objecting to (like "socialism"), all yeh seem to get is chaff. It's like tryin' to see your way through air filled with confetti.

 

So let's see...

 

Europeans are socialists - False. Europeans are capitalists, with somewhat different government and societal priorities than our own.

 

European social programs caused the current Euro crisis - False. That was caused by irresponsible deregulation and "bubble banking" just like in the U.S.

 

Socialist programs are bankrupting countries - False. Iceland went bankrupt because of a banking crisis. Ireland went broke because they foolishly agreed to completely bail out their banks before they had figured out how much the banks owed. Greece, ah, Greece! Where to begin? It's a beautiful country except for the Greeks. :)

 

If there were no social programs, taxes were low, and spending was lower things would all be OK - False. Again, this is a banking and policy crisis. Da countries with the highest taxes and social spending in Europe that are outside of the Eurozone have done just fine. Countries with the lowest taxes on business (like Ireland) have been badly hurt. Countries that have dramatically cut spending (like Greece and Britain) have crashed as a result.

 

All da notions about "socialism" so far as I can tell are simply a fiction. So I'm left with da same conclusions I had in my first post.

 

 

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Socialism, socialized, socialist...we can go on about that for a long time.

 

However, it seems to me the biggest government factor contributing to the current financial mess here in Europe was governments officially lieing to one another!!! Governments were

knowingly submitting inaccurate or even absolutely false budgets to the EU.

 

The average German citizen is fed up, with everything. Just give him his DM back and take down all the EU flags.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Interestin', Nike.

 

About what I would have expected. Most of us back when da Euro first came about predicted it would never survive da first real economic downturn. I hate bein' right about that. :p

 

B

 

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Beavah,

 

The root dause of the economic problem is with banking and investing and that is not the argument. The argument has do with the capacity of socialist countries to have a method to raise funds to help to correct the problems. Since Europe requires pharmaceutical companies to sell drugs at cost, i.e. no profit, that is socialism and not capitalism. It is why the cost of drugs is higher in the US than Europe. European countries may not control every aspect of the economy but cradle to grave medical care is socialism. Controlling the pharmaceutical companies is socialism. The US and Europe do not have the ability to create new revenues to address their problems because they have too much money obligated. European countries have taxes too high to gain much there. The US could raise taxes somewhat but not enough to correct the financial woes. Throughout my youth and young adulthood, the left has touted European socialism but now that it is failing, it is not really socialism. That is ridiculous.

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Capitalism vs anyother type of econ system...

 

The banks (define?) do what they are suppose to do: Maximize their profits for the stockholders/owners by doing banking things, and "by the book" ultimately. The bank folks do what they are good at: Being creative in "playing the game" . Eventually, the realities of the world (if someone wins, that means alot of other folks have to lose....remember that WB game-that-shall-remain-nameless?) interfere, and the banks come close to failing. Oh, the CEOS and such don't fail, the BANK does...

In order to prevent a whole lot of other folks from starving and being homeless, the government creates programs that will "save the banks that are too big to fail", by loaning them money (created by selling government bonds) at REALLY low interest rates (nearly none). The banks, out of the goodness of their hearts (no doubt), loan the money BACK to the government at MARKET rates, (buying more Tbills?)and (surprise!) make alot of profit for their owners. GUESS WHO ultimately PAYS THE MARKET INTEREST RATES ?

Is the euro trouble any different?

 

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The thing is that liberals generally weren't the ones touting European "socialism." Perhaps, more accurately, some liberals were (and many still are) touting "social democracy," by which people typically mean that a society places more emphasis on collaborative problem solving and a strong social safety net. Social democracy tends to be more widely accepted in most - not all - European states than in the US. Then, of course, painting the varied political & economic systems of 30+ countries in an entire continent with the same brush ("European socialism!") is dangerous and prone to being wildly inaccurate. The differences between, say, the Swiss economy, the Danish economy, the French economy, the Polish economy, and the Greek economy are staggering. Same goes for their political systems. Those differences are more obvious, and more salient, these days.

 

Just goes back to Beavah's point, though.

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European countries may not control every aspect of the economy but cradle to grave medical care is socialism.

 

No, it isn't. And I reckon that's da problem I'm experiencing.

 

One group is either ill-informed or dishonest (because screamin' "socialist!" is good advertising copy for da ill-informed).

 

Yeh could say that da Federal Interstate Highway system is "socialist!" via da same logic. Heck, in some places people are saying it and are convincing nitwit legislators to sell off the roads or bridges in their town.

 

Da question is just a debate about what should be common infrastructure, like roads. In da U.S., we claim that "public education" should be common infrastructure, while in Europe and most of da rest of the world that's not the case. So in that way, we're more "socialist" if we keep throwin' that term around not knowing what it means. Da reality is that we just have different priorities and philosophies about what should be common infrastructure. Since WW2 we have also believed that basic research is a common infrastructure piece, though da tea party crowd no doubt considers that "socialist" too and would like to see you defunded in favor of only corporate and private research that can be kept as trade secrets or patents. :p

 

None of this has a thing to do with what Socialism really is or means. Nothing. Nobody is proposing that we nationalize the aircraft industry or the WalMart. We're having a debate about whether it makes sense for businesses to be driven to bankruptcy by medical costs because they happen to have an older workforce, or whether having ERs overrun by uninsured folks makes sense, or how we fund advances in medical care and drugs.

 

It's just a debate within various capitalist economies about what should be a road and what should be a building.

 

Beavah

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