The Appeal of Socialism- What is it?

Socialism seems to be all the rage now a days. As evidenced by the rise of Bernie Sanders and his socialist platform. This post will be merely an exploration in situations and circumstances that socialism claims to fix. Socialism is by definition, the government or community setting the goals for everything in everyday life. The goals are usually to achieve as close as possible a Utopian society that is controlled by the community. The idea that a community is able to control the political atmosphere dates back to Pluto and Socrates and ancient Greece. However, socialism usually some economic sacrifices for the good of the community. I can agree that socially speaking you should be able to do anything within the limits of reason. If it doesn’t hurt anyone then it should be allowed. The problems I have come with the economic goals and policies used.

For example, lets pretend that you have two countries of equal population, similar economies and similar racial makeup, diverse. In country A, you have a  political system that promotes equality in people, wealth and politics. Country A, has free education and free healthcare. But it also has a huge deficit, no job growth and high poverty. In country B, you have a subsidized education system, a private market healthcare system. Country B also has a wealth gap between non-managers and executives. It has low unemployment and a lower minimum wage than Country A. Country B doesn’t use race or origin to determine job status or eligibility but it uses merit. Country A uses an affirmative action program to help with diversity. So what is the difference between Countries A and B?

Country B is a capitalist nation and Country A is a socialist one. Obviously, America is somewhere in between. I want you to think about which country you would prefer? Keep in mind that Country B has low taxes and Country A has high taxes. Country B uses a flat tax at a percentage that everyone pays equally. Country A uses heavy taxes on everyone including wealthier to help pay for everything.  Which one sounds better?

If you picked B then congratulations, your a capitalist. If you picked A then I’m sorry but you may be socialist. My point is that America could go in either direction. The problem I have is that socialism doesn’t sound  that appealing. Let’s take employment for example. The employment rates are extremely different in capitalist and socialist countries. The reason for this is wages and taxes. The capitalist nation uses a flat tax that takes a percentage and taxes everyone across board on their income. This tax is fair and if loopholes are eliminated can be very effective. Meanwhile, the socialist nation has high taxes that take most of everyone’s income especially the wealthy. Its not fair nor right. I don’t believe in taxing one bracket more heavily than another. I believe that is called stealing.

However, aside from taxes you also the base wage or minimum wage. Capitalist let the market decide the wage. Of course, any good government needs to have some regulation and might set a standard. In any economy you don’t want your lowest level workers to make as much as more skilled and educated ones. In a socialist nation, the minimum wage is set high to ensure equality for all. The downside to this policy is that companies have to either lay off employees they can’t afford or raise prices. It seems to me that being in a capitalist nation would be more beneficial knowing I could start from the bottom and work my up. I won’t have to worry about being taxed more. In addition, I would have incentive to work because of the opportunity to make more money. I don’t find this same kind of incentive with a socialist policy. I know I will be doomed to work for minimum wage because everyone else who doesn’t the skills I do, can easily get the same job.

Okay, so you are not convinced that capitalist nation is better than socialist nation yet? Really? Oh you say “despite the high taxes and little advancement opportunity, I think the promise of free healthcare and free college education is amazing!” You might think that but when does the word “free” actually mean cost nothing? In this case, never. The socialist nation has a high taxes for a reason and that is to pay for those free programs. Healthcare is never free. The socialist government is merely using your taxpayer money to pool into a healthcare system for everyone even the people who are unemployed for 10 years on purpose. Free education also sounds great, except that once again the government is using your money. So my friends, nothing is free except Chuck Norris. (hahaha) BAM!

On the contrary to that system, there is way to affordable healthcare and education! If you move to the capitalist nation both healthcare and education are not free but reduced either by taxes or competition or both. Let me explain. So a private market healthcare system is where the healthcare providers compete for customers based on their services. If company A has a better program with a cheaper price then company  B will go out of business. The government’s role is to make sure its a fair competition and that the consumer is safe. Pretty simple right? What about education you ask. Well, in the capitalist nation, education is what we call subsidized. The government uses a small portion of tax money revenue to help students pay for college as needed. Instead of loaning the money out through big corporations or banks, the government grants the money to students starting with those who need it most. Each student gets a portion of his or her tuition paid for. Any student can apply and most would get it if their parents are within the income range. This is subsidized education.

I think that my point is well proven. I have illustrated some key issues using some fake scenarios and real solutions. Obviously, all of this is very general and non-specific. However, the reasons why I don’t find socialism are quite obvious to me. Socialism doesn’t offer the opportunity, freedom of choice, incentive or common sense to empower people to be truly free. It tends to limit the boundaries of what one can do. While I like the goals of making everyone be equal in pay and race. I also know that realistically it cannot happen. People are not perfect and neither is a system of government. You can’t force people to change instantly and you can’t make people forget about the past. All you can learn from past mistakes and hope to make a difference for the future. I believe that weight of racism and socioeconomic gaps is on you. Its on yourself to do something about it. The government can’t handle it and shouldn’t handle it. When the government tries to handle it, you get police oppression and riots.

So, I am speaking almost directly to Bernie Sanders supporters and all people from any party. But we need to seriously consider the consequences of using destructive policies in this great nation. We must remember that our country was built on capitalism and freedom of religion. It was built on a revolution that was established to break away from unfair taxes. Our founding fathers worked hard to develop a system of government that never had been used before. It turned to be the most successful. We should not turn our backs on capitalism because some government officials are out of line. We can fix the government and go back to what made us strong. In order to do that, we need to take back financial responsibility and accountability in our government.

Vote wisely, think independently. Thanks for reading!

 

 

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The Retirement Bubble and Young voters: Why they matter!

I have written numerous articles about the political candidates and the hot button issues at hand in this coming election. I have written articles urging young people to vote. My pleading and urging seems to have fallen on deaf ears. No matter how many times I write about the subject it feels like nothing ever changes. I only know a few people that actually care to participate in politics. Its pretty sad that I’m 25 years old and I don’t know many other people who like me, vote. The topic has once again crept into my life. I attended an seminar for a job opportunity. The whole seminar was based on financial security. (Selling insurance is complicated)  Anyway, the presenters talked about how people don’t know how to manage their money. People don’t know shit about retirement. Especially the younger generation. Its pretty common knowledge that retirement for people born after 1980 is going to be nonexistent.

There are numerous reasons for this. Most of which are political in nature. However, the biological fact is that after world war 2 there was a boom in babies born. These group of people could include grandparents and parents. Mine or yours. This generation of baby boomers is hitting retirement age. (65, a center of controversy in itself) The amount of retirees will soon exceed the amount of money and workers in the current social security system. So you say: ok so thats why us 20 somethings have no retirement?

True. However, in addition to the surging amount of retirements there have been other developments. For example, with the advancements of modern medicine, people are living longer. This creates problems because the money needed for retirement increases with age. Combine this with the fact that US government has taken somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 trillion dollars out of social security since the 1980s. The rational is that they are borrowing the money. More like stealing because it has never been paid back. Social security is still solvent for a couple more years, last I heard it was maybe 25 years. So you say: Ok so Reagan and Bush Sr screwed us over and social security is toast.

The blame could be placed equally on any US president who “borrowed” from social security. But I think that the biggest problem isn’t that the government steals from the social security fund or even that the retirement bubble that I explained will eventually cripple all retirement. I feel that the deeper problem is something that no candidate can fix. Candidates only focus on the cosmetic issues. Issues that may be not as important as the deeper more complex ones. I’ve said this before and I will keep repeating it. Cosmetic fixes won’t work. Real change and real action is needed.

Whats the problem you ask? Why does retirement even matter to us 20 somethings? Well, my friends it is the future. Surely everyone thinks about the future. The future is something many look forward to. It also something that many try to predict. Unfortunately, the future is looking pretty bleak. One reason for this is the same big problem that I see with retirement issue. The problem is: YOUNG VOTERS DO NOT VOTE IN ELECTIONS. How much clearer can I make this? The facts are that young people don’t seem to give two shits about the outcome of their futures.

Call me crazy. Call me old. I believe that I’m actually wise. I’m not blinded by the usual things like social media, tv or drugs. Sure, I go on facebook as much as anyone. Sure, I watch tv all the time. (being unemployed sucks) Sure, I get drunk every once awhile. But despite that, I don’t drink the kool aid.  I am a firm believer that young people should vote because it could matter. If all the 18 year olds to 29 year olds were to vote, we would have the biggest majority in the US. Us 20 somethings have an advantage similar to what the baby boomers have now. Except the fun part is that were young and the old farts are dying! Meaning that our group is growing quicker. We have the majority.

However, unfortunately most young people neglect to see this. Typically responding to why they don’t vote because “it doesn’t count” or “I’m not interested in politics”. Excuse me. Ok first of all, your vote alone may not mean nothing. But if a million votes could change the outcome of an election and your one vote helps make that million. I think that counts big time. Second of all, how the FUCK can you be NOT interested in politics? Ok I get it, you don’t wanna watch or listen to the bullshit on tv. Me neither. But you should most definitely be interested in your future. So when your 65 or more likely 70, and you want to retire to travel the world or spend time with grandkids but you can’t because you have no retirement money due to the government’s inability to fix social security. Especially if you only manage to make the average income which is now about 53,000 dollars a year per person. How much money do you think you can save while you have a family? You will have too much stuff to pay for. Saving money is nearly impossible now. We live in a spend first society.

So when your 70 and you have no retirement, you will be working a shitty job because you can’t afford to retire. At least, you can think about how in your 20s, your ignorant bliss let you have a blast! I think that working when I’m 70 or older would be terrible. I honestly don’t wanna do that. I started working when I was 16. So to avoid this miserable future, you should vote. Vote for politicians that will help young people get retirement. Vote for someone that will fight the issues that matter to you. For example, you may have college debt. I know that I do, about 60k deep. I don’t understand how or why young voters refuse to participate in democracy.

We don’t want to end up like the current generation of retirees. When social security first started in the 1940s there was 14 workers for every retiree. Now there is 3.  Meaning only 3 people pay into social security for each retiree. America can turn around but it will young voters to do that. We can’t let the old farts ruin our future. We will inherit their huge mess. Many of us are already feeling the effects. There is reason why I’m unemployed with a college degree. There is a reason why millions of other people with college degrees are also unemployed or under-employed. The older generation is working longer, staying in the jobs that people like me or possibly one should be working.

My conclusion is that young people need to wake up. Get on social media and encourage others to vote. Voting is just one of the many ways we can shape the future. If you are 18 you should vote. If you are 29 then start voting. We have the numbers but we don’t use them. Vote Vote Vote!!!!

Socialist Fundraising and Second Amendment Rights: Bernie Sanders rise to the top

You may or not have heard that Bernie Sanders is on a roll. He recently just became a fundraising legend–supposedly hauling 26 million dollars. He does it without any help from super PACs. The only other candidate to roll without super PACs is Sanders’ exact evil twin, Mr. Trump. Despite Sanders massive monetary support he still lags behind Hillary according to this recent CNN poll. I will say that Sanders has become an impressive challenger for the presidential race. I admire his ability to say he wants something then actually stick to his morals. Not a common quality in many ANY politicians. Sorry about that typo. I have on multiple occasions criticized Sanders for his “cosmetic economic” policies and the like.

I wanted to look some of his other policy positions because of the recent tragic event at a community college in Oregon. This tragedy has occurred in many different instances with different circumstances. It continues to be a problem in American society. Gun violence seems to be constantly popping up. My Condolences go out to the families and the college community that lost 10 friends and colleagues. This should not be happening and hopefully one day we can end this kind of horrible massacre. 

I am a moderate supporter of second amendment rights. I have shot guns and enjoy it. However, I find it unthinkable to ever turn a gun on a person or people. It’s events like one in Oregon that keep us coming back to what to do about gun violence. Logic tells that the extremes almost never work. Before I go into my own strong opinions lets see what Bernie Sanders’ would do about guns? After all, he is a senator from Vermont. In case you don’t know Vermont loves guns. If you have ever been to Vermont, its beautiful, and they love their nature and guns. So I would expect Bernie to have a decent, not too extreme plan to have deal with this problem.

So in his twitter reaction to Oregon tragedy, Sanders tweeted two things:

“We need sensible gun-control legislation which prevents guns from being used by people who should not have them.” – Bernie Sanders

As a nation, we must do everything we can to put an end to this awful epidemic of senseless slaughter. – Bernie Sanders

@SenSanders (twitter name)

I happen to agree with both statements. However, let me point out that extremes such as taking away all guns or letting everyone have guns is a crazy idea. I hope when Sanders says he wants gun control legislation that he means more intensive background checks and psychological evaluations. The problem with most democratic gun control plans is that they don’t actually fix the problem.

The simplest way to explain it is with the 1920 experiment of prohibiting alcohol. The 18th amendment was passed in 1920 that ban alcohol. The result became an increase in crime and drinking. It only led to more people wanting to drink. Drinking could be eliminated especially with invention of smugglers getaway cars. We now know those fast cars that smugglers used as race cars. (Side note: Drinking and NASCAR are like peanut and Jelly for good reason) The 21st amendment repeal prohibition and after that crime decreased and drinking stay the same due to the depression. Regardless of the circumstances, drinking alcohol never really disappeared. The same can be said for illicit drugs which also have laws banning them outright.

So I don’t understand where democrats get this crazy notion that banning guns will solve anything. I believe it was Marco Rubio who put it perfectly: Gun laws won’t work because criminals ignore laws. This was Rubio’s one great shining moment. Anyway, the basic argument can be used for letting everyone have a gun. Many memes on the internet compare it to a war zone and the safety that war zones are not well-known for. It’s a very funny but very lame point. Let’s be realistic that no amount regulation or laws or anything can prevent people from shooting people. (In fact, call me sick but overpopulation could be a problem with lack of drinking water just saying sometimes people have to die…cycle of life) It’s a moot point really to say that we eliminate all violence.

However, the negative outlook doesn’t mean there isn’t positive hope. I believe the best way for Sanders or any presidential candidate for that matter to approach the gun violence would be installing regulations and psychological evaluations. The next step would be to increase gun safety education in schools. Instead forcing kids to do useless math problems or read fairy tales maybe teach them about the dangers of guns. I remember being in middle school and having the ill-effects of marijuana and alcohol drilled in my brain. The alcohol warnings apparently didn’t stick that well, I love drinking. The former however, stuck well as I have never touched marijuana. (weird fear of trying it, don’t ask) Back to my point, I believe that education is the great prevention. It seems to have work with sex. Everyone has had sex education and knows that drill. In the end, you can’t rely on regulations and laws its always about PEOPLE!!!

Let me save the whole sex thing for another post. That’s become quite a big headline with planned parenthood. At the beginning of this post I went over some Bernie Sanders campaign numbers. I highlighted some issues on the second amendment. I gave my strong opinion about the gun violence. I also have felt sorrow for the victims of these tragedies. Something that I am looking to forward to on a more positive note is the democratic debate. I really want to hear Bernie battle the already embattled Hillary Clinton. I haven’t been so excited for a debate since last election. I have been reading different articles and finding that Bernie has a legitimate shot to win the primaries. I don’t like all his policies and refuse to vote for a mainstream candidate but I rather have him win than Clinton. My bias is obvious.

The most important point in this post is that people commit the crimes and people die in the crimes. In the end, its the people who end this violence. We are the People! So vote wisely. Thank you for reading.

The Importance of Voting and the Election Process

The election has begun with two debates already in the books and quite a few more scheduled; its time to vote. One of my reasons for starting this blog is to help educate and encourage people to take action on issues that matter. The election process is a controversial and important role in democracy. The democracy has changed over the years. It is true now is different from when the founding fathers started this great country. Despite the changes, voting does still matter. To some degree the voting process has been corrupted by the influence of money. However, that can be easily changed if we elect the right politician. The right politician is a topic of debate.

The problem that I can see especially among people ages 18-29 is that they do not vote. In college, many of the excuses I commonly hear would be “Politics don’t matter to me”, “I’m not interested in politics”, “I don’t have time”, “I would pay attention but just don’t”. Young people of voting age make a large part of the population. Just look at the 2010 census data for New York. You can browse every state too. Overwhelmingly the age group of 18 and over is the highest. Given that this data is 5 years old, most of those 18 year olds are like me now, are 24 or 25 year olds. From a personal standpoint, when I turned 18, I registered to vote. I then voted in two presidential elections, first for John McCain in 2008 and then for Gary Johnson in 2012. It’s unfortunate to say that I am probably a minority of 18 and 22 years olds respectively to vote.

I hope that my generation will wake up and start voting. The only people voting are older people who want medicare and social security benefits. These are baby-boomers who really have 20 to 30 years left and beyond that is not their concern. I will say that despite voting patterns, Barack Obama was able to attract more young votes than any recent election. My point is that young people 18-29 need to start vote and voicing their concerns to our government. Its our future at stake.  We need to press the issues that will be affecting us. For example, our social security and our retirement is being threatened by insolvency. The college debt that many of us hold will burden us for years to come. These are just a few of the issues that young people should be concerned about.

If you live in New York you can learn how to register to vote here, it can be done online through the DMV. If you live anywhere else in the US you can go to your state DMV or State website to find more information. Please register and vote in this election.

Now that I have lectured young people to vote and given some links of knowledge its time to explore some history. The history of the electoral process is very basic. The system was set up during the constitutional convention in 1787. You have to remember that only legal voters were land owning, white, men. Since the founding fathers were some of the most educated men in the new nation, they had to consider those who were not as educated. They came up with the electoral college. The electoral college is a system surrogate voters in each state. Each state is assigned a number of voters on population. The more population the more votes.  The largest number of electoral votes belongs to California.  You read more specifically from this government website.

I believe that the electoral college is outdated. With so many people graduating college now-a-days the system has no real use. I think that citizens are educated enough to be able to vote. I believe that the electoral college should be repealed and we should just on pure vote counts. This is not the only reform that I would make. I mentioned above that a reason why elections seem to be rigged was money. Money in politics is one of hot topics. Taking money out of politics is complicated though.

I think that the first step would be to eliminate salaries for all elected positions. Civic duty should be volunteer and not for profit. I do realize that Rome had paid senators and politicians. However, in the end Rome could not keep the empire together. Corruption can be credited with tearing down many democracies and tyrannies alike. A volunteer system would help bring out the good-natured candidates. The candidates who truly have a passion for serving the public good. The second step would be to eliminate the use of personal money in any election race. An election campaign should be done purely on fundraising. I see nothing wrong with people donating to a person who wants to run. There should also be strict regulation on fundraising money and what it can be used for. The third step would be to disallow corporations to contribute to any campaign. Corporations could still have their powerful lobbies. I think its wrong that business is in bed with government. It only leads to corruption.

In addition, speaking of corruption there should stricter regulations on the revolving door effect. I have given an example of this in a post involving Dick Cheney. In order to stop greedy politicians from stealing taxpayer into their pockets, every candidate should be forced to stop their connections with whatever business or former employers. The NSA has shown a knack for spying so it should not be hard to spy on candidates interactions with their former employers. Its reasonable spying because the candidates need to held accountable.

With my reforms I feel that government could run smoother and with less corruption. I would even take a step further by eliminating personal income for congress. This could potentially cut costs and save taxpayer money. Considering that al 538 delegates of congress make upwards of 174,000 and it will increase each year. If you do the math, that is a nice chunk of change. Cut their benefits and retirement, we are talking millions of dollars. I don’t think we should feel bad for them either, they are wealthy on their own plus they work less than teachers do. You can almost count on every single delegate stepping up their game or quitting all together. If we want congress to get stuff done, we have to make them work for it. Just like the millions that volunteer for campaigns across the country. Congress has a bad approval rating and they need motivation.

This may all sound great. However, we need to vote and young people need to vote in the masses! Thank you for reading!