Archive for February, 2020

Commie Video Backfires with Info Backing Bernie

February 27, 2020

Please watch, https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=K2d3DMC6qyg, which convinced me how CONSERVATIVE BERNIE really is!

The one thing that is misrepresented in the video is that Bernie wants to nationalize healthcare, but actually he just wants to nationalize how it’s paid for. This informative video shows Bernie is aware of the successes and failures of socialism in different countries under different regimes, under different time frames. We need the best of both worlds to keep what we do here that’s working and to ONLY borrow  what WORKED in other countries.

If the United States as a superpower house can’t do a capitalism plus, then nobody can.

The oligarchy that we have here is not what the American people want, but it’s what the rich, elite billionaires need to stay in power…this video helps us with getting a revolution in understanding the pitfalls and the risks.

 

We are not poor like the countries in this video. If this is as bad as it gets for people wanting to scare people I’m not scared. Bernie still has my full support after this video because it shows he has done his homework over the decades.

One of my musical friends I have met through and Open Mic who teaches philosophy at a local University commented below it is worth the read…“We’re of course biased, Kim, but I too think he comes off well in this mini-documentary, especially if one knows about the relevant history. The history of US involvement in Latin American, for example, is a story of human rights violations on a colossal scale! This does not excuse Castro or Ortega, of course, for their own such violations, but any reasonable estimate puts the US and US-backed right-wing forces well ahead of any left-wing government in Latin America in terms of body counts and repression. 

The US has systematically backed the hindering or outright overthrow of even moderate leftist governments (e.g., Allende in Chile) all over the region since the end of WWII; it supported regimes that ended the free press and other civil liberties from the 60s to the 80s (notably in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Brazil).  And up to today, the US government is very selective in the human rights violations it pays attention to and those it ignores.  For example, it is vocal about Venezuela’s and nearly silent about Saudi Arabia’s, though the latter’s far exceed the former’s in scope, systematicity, and horror.  Any estimate of how well “socialism has done in the countries in which it has been tried” has, with the complicated exception of China, to factor in the extent to which the largest military and economic power in the world has interfered (the long, absurd embargo against Cuba being only the most well known example).

We absolutely do not have a clean experiment to look at, so the claim that “socialism has been shown not to work” is so fraught with ambiguity that it is pretty hard to assess. 

What we do have, though, are plenty of countries (e.g., Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and Western Europe, and the US itself to a considerable extent (esp. from 1945-1980)) that incorporated various social democratic/welfare state policies (universal healthcare (not in the US obviously), public infrastructure projects, publicly funded higher education, pensions, protections for workers, paid vacations, maternity and paternity leave, and so on) shielding these socially essential things from the vicissitudes of the market and its well known failures and tendencies to produce inefficiencies and to create perverse incentives. 

Otherwise, yes, let the (non-crony-capitalist, non-oligopolized, non-monopolized) competitive market thrive. There is no need for the government to take over the provision of beer, wine, sandwiches, or guitars, Cadillacs and hillbilly music!  (I boldfaced for emphasis)

The video is right that there are (and have been) some Scandinavian politicians and economists who would like to reduce the extent of their welfare states, but this is hardly a hugely popular position in those counties (though the video provides very little information about why the center-right government of Finland resigned in 2019, making it sound like there must be some serious growing dissatisfaction with its healthcare system–that is not the case, nor are such resignations in a parliamentary government like Finland’s as dramatic as they sound, given our home political context). 

Indeed, the video is right, the Scandinavian systems have a large, successful capitalist sector, but their social democratic “welfare state” components are what have made them such desirable places to live.  Capitalism alone can only do that in the fever dreams of people who have read too much Ayn Rand or Milton Friedman. 

Bernie is not advocating a fully planned economy; he’s not advocating the nationalization of the main sectors of the economy.  The video is generally right about these points, though at one point it seems a bit ambiguous, and at another it wrongly says he is for the nationalization of the healthcare system–he is not: he is only for the “nationalization” of how it is paid for. 

The nationalization of medical insurance is not the nationalization of hospitals, pharmaceuticals, and medical equipment manufacturing; and it does not make doctors and nurses into government employees (no more that Bell Helicopter, etc., employees are government employees, even though so much of their money comes from government contracts).  (Moreover, to comfort our rich friends, we might note that Bernie is not talking about banning private healthcare insurance for elective procedures or banning the private practice of doctors who prefer to be paid more (than the government pays) by rich clientele for the very same procedures.) 

So it does seem to get Bernie roughly right and not to be hateful in its presentation :  he’s against authoritarian socialism; he’s pro-democracy; he’s pro-civil liberties; he’s not calling for abolishing all private property; he’s not advocating an entirely planned economy; his model is Scandinavian social democracy (which has been very successful and has never devolved into either Venezuelan hyper-inflation or into Stalinism; yes, the tax rates are higher; but you get a hell of a lot for that). 

The argument of the video seems to be that even Scandinavian-style social democracy is bad because it puts a brake on the innovation, entrepreneurship, growth, and efficiency.  But this overestimates the contribution of key capitalist processes to the economy (versus, e.g., government subsidies to basic research, a functioning monetary system, counter-cyclical measures, buffering against market failures) and downplays the essential role of solidarity and the commons (key to having anything like a functioning market in the first place, as Adam Smith himself recognized). 

It also takes for granted that the way in which capitalist economists measure efficiency and productivity are actually good measures (and they are not necessarily, when you consider long-term social stability and well being).  And it also signals an implicit commitment to the sacrifice of the well being of other human beings (especially children) on the altar of “economic success” as defined by the business class and by an essentially individualistic “Randian” ideal (i.e., it’s basically social Darwinism masquerading as “altruism-in-the-limit”, after the Invisible Hand has done its winnowing work and rewarded those with real “merit” measured by economic success, of course).

What we are seeing now, in Bernie’s campaign, is just a kind of social democratic “correction” to an imbalanced capitalist economy, an imbalance that is the result of the trajectory Reagan helped set for it. 

In that sense, Bernie is not advocating anything particularly radical, just something humane and sensible.  Yes, the taxes of the the rich and upper middle class may go up, the more so as our capacity for high rates of economic growth continues to diminish.  But maybe, apart from the resentful and entitled rich used to socialism for the wealthy, we will come to feel like we are getting something worth a lot more than that money:  a sense of security, solidarity, and a refocusing on the things that really matter to human flourishing–like playing open mic nights at Truth Vinyl!” 🙂  END Philosophy teacher comment

There are also those that say the left needs to get a job and not take free hand outs….I say to that…..

I used to be Republican I get it..nobody wants to work hard and see some of the fruits of their labor go to what some perceive as downright lazy. 

What’s not fair is how much money we spend on defense spending.

What’s not fair is there are people that don’t drive but they have to pay for the roads and bridges. 

What’s not fair is the corporate elite make insane amount of salaries when they could be better paying their employees or reducing the final product price to all consumers.

 

What’s not fair is employers covering their employees portion of their premiums and passing a higher final price tag in the final product and when I buy that product, I help pay for someone else’s healthcare. 

What’s not fair is the Walmarts of the world hiring part-time help with no benefits… they go on Obamacare or food stamps because it’s not a living wage. And we have to pay to subsidize Obamacare and foodstamps.

What’s not fair is gutting the EPA and the corporations not having to spend as much on compliance; we get the final pollution product which adds to poor health which is a drain on the medical system.

What’s not fair is not having insurance or being underinsured which can end in bankruptcy… Then they go on food stamps, and qualify for housing subsidies

What’s not fair is when a single parent has to choose between working or not working because they cannot afford daycare, then they qualify for housing subsidies, Obamacare, and food stamps.

Whats not fair is when young, healthy people say I don’t need insurance, and their parents quietly s*** their pants thinking if their kids get sick they lose their retirement trying to save their child.

 

Sixty minutes interviewed Bernie. They asked him how he was going to pay for Medicare for all. He said a 4% tax on income over $29,000… but the offset is that you do not pay your co-pays, deductibles, or premiums. How much do you pay a month for your premium? What price would you pay a month to not worry about medical bills causing a bankruptcy?The defense spending is ridiculous…. 4% tax on income over $29,000 is a good bargain as the status quo costs more than Bernies plan.

The corporate welfare we give to corporations, (lowered from 35% to 21%) is an example of what Trump has done to not represent us, but his buddies.

The other corporate welfare is what we have been giving the fossil fuel industry industry in tax breaks while society bears the social and environmental costs. 

The lobbying that goes on in Washington serves to get people elected off of money the wealthy donated and the corporations (think ALEC) write the laws for the legislatures.

Trump gutted the EPA which is another form of welfare. Don’t you think Google and Amazon should pay corporate taxes? 

Then there is the overseas mechanisms where profits are hidden there to avoid taxation. The owners of these corporations make insane amounts of money when they should draw a salary that is not in the billions or millions… They should pay the workers more and or lower the profits so society can afford products.

If Medicare for all reduces employee health insurance premium costs, that too could lower the final price of products so all of society benefits. Roads and bridges benefit all of society (*so I do agree roads and bridges benefit all who don’t drive).

If people have assistance affording college, they are not a drain later in society.

The people of Walmart are on food stamps and have no health care benefits cuz most of the jobs are part-time. they are a drain on our system when they can’t afford health insurance.

Single mothers trying to work can’t afford daycare. If they stay home to take care of kids, then they get assistance… Must I go on?

There are efficiencies to be gained in providing a level playing field so that the wealth that people labor for is spread through society and not just to the top 1 to 2%. Otherwise your work is a slave labor wages either in hourly wage or in the absence of benefits that are either paid by the people buying more expensive products or by the people through their federal income taxes.

In the end…those that think we cannot improve the current rigged system because it will put us in the dark ages…needs to prove that making progress to a level playing field for all will land us in the dark and cold…without toilet paper.