Thursday, March 10, 2016

Getting rid of naive arguments on both sides of the debate . . . hopefully.


Bernie Sanders has us all talking about it.
(but there is an awful lot of confusion and naiveté about it).

At the risk of oversimplifying:

Socialism is a political and/or economic system in which goods and the means to produce those goods are owned and administered by a community of people (usually in the form of a governing body).
Oh - And it is very chic right now to say you are a socialist, btw.

It is also very polarizing.

Those for it:
Just look at the Wall Street collapse!  Capitalism is dead!  It only makes the rich richer and the poor poorer because no one is looking out for me.  Socialism makes sure everyone gets a fair chance and narrows the gap between the rich and poor by engineering the system to be fair to everyone.  Now where’s my Obamaphone?

Those against it:
Just look at the Soviet Socialist Republic!  Millions killed by a ruthless dictator!  We fought wars to keep this off our shores!  There’s no way that anyone is going to sit on a committee and tell me how much I can earn, how much I can sell my car for and whether I can take a vacation!  Those hippies need to get a job.

Um . . . you’re both wrong.  So there.

Socialism is a range of things – not one thing.  Some of it is pretty scary and some of it is pretty amazing.  For people who follow Christ you have to remember that heaven itself is probably some form of economics in which we all share with each other and take care of each other.  Seriously – God makes the houses (you didn’t build that) – check the Gospels and Revelation.  We don't know what economic system it is but I am pretty sure it doesn't involve personal gain as a motivator.
That may be nice about heaven - but what about here on Earth?

That is where I think a Sanders-driven socialism falls apart.

Of course the kind of socialism Sanders is talking about is democratic in nature (like Northern Europe – where life-satisfaction is interestingly high).  But is it the answer we are all looking for?  Doubtful.  I have spent good amounts of time in some of Europe’s best democratic socialist nations to know that it is just as much a headache there as it is here. 

·             -  Heading to the emergency room in Switzerland when we were staying in Germany because the health care system in Germany stinks. 
·              -  A friend of mine who had to lay off employees because the socialist policies of France make it unaffordable to keep them employed. 

These and a handful of other realities led me to the realization that if it is led by humans, the system will always be flawed. 

And when you hear Sanders and others question whether or not someone should receive huge amounts of money for a speech, it makes me wonder whether we are really talking about democratic socialism or something more restrictive.

Jesus made a very good point that man left to take care of himself only makes a mess.  It is one of my biggest reasons that I pin my hope on God returning to restore order in this messed up world.  We need it.

But honestly, we are forgetting the biggest reason why socialism at this point is not a good idea. 

We are in debt.

Let me say it again – we owe lots and lots of money.

Free college?  
Limiting people’s pay?  
Expanding Social Security?  
Single-Payer Heathcare?

Um . . . We are Eighteen Trillion dollars in debt. 

Let me type that out for you with the zeroes:   $18,000,000,000.00

That means each man, woman and child in America owes $154,000.00

If you paid $10,000 a year to the debt it would take over 25 years of payments with interest to pay the debt.  Even if we had billionaires paying 'their fair share' yearly it is still over 20 years away.  And this is every man, woman and child.  

And you want free college?  You want to redistribute the wealth?

There is no wealth to redistribute. It is debt.

Our job number one (and so few people are talking about it) is to get out of debt.  Period.  

Then lets talk about what we should be spending money on.

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