Monday, July 10, 2006

Socialism is not Entirely Bad

I mentioned in my previous posts various ways the government can spend money better than citizens. Among those was welfare. Welfare is among the more popular government social programs for raging [republicans] to bash. The common outlet is to intone that people who live off welfare are lazy useless lumps who pump out babies and suck in your tax dollars (like these people are living high on the hog somehow). Well, what if I told you that welfare reduces crime? That makes it a national security issue. Oh, do you want the terrorists to win? No? Well, we had better do what we can to not raise them domestically then, hadn't we? Welfare is a good program. It does not reward the lazy, it simply grants them some measure of dignity (not much, though). Bashing the program sends a message of hatred of the less fortunate and is, frankly, very un-Christian.

Starting from that point, any government program that provides for need is generally good and is generally a "socialist" program. Extending beyond welfare to programs we do not but should have, socializing medical care is a good thing. It is cost effective because, unlike insurance companies, which are for profit (and must therefore spend money on things like advertising), the government does not have to turn a profit, so every tax dollar dedicated to medical coverage gets spent on--get this--medical bills! (Yea, yea, there are workers that need to be paid, but much of the infrastructure is already there, so there would be little additional expense.) Free market economies and capitalism are excellent for innovation and improving standards of living, but certain, specific institutions are inherently morally suspect, e.g. insurance and banking. These for profit endeavours provide almost nothing in the way of service to their customers, are virtual necessities to get by in this modern world, and are always among the top five (and usually top two or three) industries in the country in terms of profit margins. The government can do these things better. Though paying extra taxes, people (and companies) could actually save money if these were socialized. They won't be, but remember anytime you hear someone bitch about socialism (w.r.t. these things), they are either indoctrinated or they have ties to an industry that would be your benefit.

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