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Socialism Not the Solution

Image from the Foundation of Economic Education

Marxism is an ideology that is dangerous and oppressive, and its popularity within our generation is chilling. Whether it goes by the name Communism, Democratic-Socialism or more recently, Progressivism, it’s a system that is kept alive by teachers and students hoping to usher in the next utopia by LARPing as revolutionaries. We all want to make the world a better place, but the solutions so often sold by Marxists are destined to drag America into a pit of a never-ending economic depression.

Marxism has become very popular with our generation. According to a poll from the Pew Research Center, 49 percent of people aged 18 to 29 had a positive view of socialism. One need only see the results of the 2016 Democratic primaries when nearly 12 million Americans voted for Bernie Sanders. Sanders is an unalloyed Socialist who suckered in 70 percent of the 18-29 year old crowd by promising free college and other give-me-thats. An overwhelming majority of these voters were white males who were fresh out of high school or college and stuck with a complete lack of opportunity in the decaying economy of the Bush-Clinton era. They wanted something in return for all the time and money they poured down the drain following the American dream. Sanders even stabbed these voters in the back when he proudly proclaimed, “White people do not know what it’s like to be poor.” Try telling this to my German grandparents who moved to the U.S. during the war or my working class family in Texas who’ve lost their jobs or faced declining wages because of illegal immigration. Bernie Sanders is just another opportunist who uses the term “Socialist” to peddle a utopian vision to the young and impressionable in order to forward his political career.

We need to recognize the fact that not everybody is equal. People do make bad decisions that put them into poverty, such as drinking and drug use. Also, if you are able-bodied and have free time, there is no reason you shouldn’t be working right now. When I started working, I was paid $7.50 an hour. This is because I started when I was 16—as you should. I was dumb, unskilled, and lived with my parents. While I don’t represent everybody who makes minimum wage, I am who the minimum wage was designed for. The minimum wage is supposed to be a baseline, not a living wage. If we arbitrarily raised it to $15 an hour, millions of people would be pushed out of work. I wouldn’t have been able to get a job in the first place! Nobody is going to hire some pimple-faced kid like me who has no idea what he’s doing for $15 an hour.

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Socialist policies like free college aren’t going to fix that. And while that may sound great to the average college student, in reality, this program hurts the very people Socialists claim to champion. We shouldn’t put the burden of paying for our college education on the backs of working-class Americans, which is what Sanders is proposing. Despite what Sanders says, “free” college would tax working- and middle-class Americans substantially more than millionaires and billionaires, because many people in the top 1% income bracket keep their money in offshore tax havens. Universal healthcare also sounds awesome, especially to somebody like me who just recently buried a close relative because we couldn’t afford her cancer treatment. But in an interview in 1987, Bernie Sanders said, “If we expanded Medicaid, [gave] everybody a Medicaid card, we would be spending such an astronomical amount of money that we would bankrupt the nation.”

Georgia State senior Tomas Rodriguez is an American whose parents fled Venezuela after it became too dangerous to live in under the Socialist regime of Hugo Chavez. He visited his relatives there often, and he described the deterioration of the state over time.

“There was an increase of fear in people’s lives as the years went on,” he said. “I remember more and more stories of common crimes like carjacking. The amount of people, you know, here [in America] who have broken their arms are the amount of people there who’d had their car stolen or had been mugged or something like that.” His family told him stories of the rise of Hugo Chavez, the Socialist president of Venezuela. “My uncle said from here, we’re going straight to Cuba,” Rodriguez said.

There are a few parallels between the Chavez campaign and the Sanders campaign. “A lot of hatred for the wealthy,” Rodriguez said. “So a lot of complaining about the gap between the rich and the poor.” The popularity of socialism in our generation is worrisome for him. “It does concern me. I don’t believe having a lot of money makes you an evil person. And I feel like that’s the kind of rhetoric I hear from Bernie Sanders, and that’s the kind of rhetoric I’d see from YouTube videos of Hugo Chavez.”

What sounds really good on paper plays out quite differently in the real world. Trying to restructure society to serve everybody’s needs is a noble cause. Nobody who lives in the wealthiest country on earth should go to bed hungry. But we need to find a better solution to create an economic environment that rewards people who are trying to work and allows wages to rise naturally.

4 Comments

  1. Once again another idiot right winger who favors the ultra rich screwing us over. To the author, you know what capitalism is to me it’s nation 20 trillion dollars in debt, its people working 2 or more jobs and still being in poverty, it’s our country bombing 8 different other countries, its wages never rising. You like to use the standard Venezuela talking point but their are plenty of capitalist countries that also failed, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, Argentina 1998-2002, the United States after the roaring twenties. We certainly can afford tuition free college and single payer health, taxes money keeps going to tax cuts for the rich and more war. Capitalism had it’s chance it failed, Democratic Socialism is next.

    • Any views expressed here are my own, and are not representative of the Signal.

      Hey wise guy, the ultra rich are Socialist. Doubling down on the welfare state will drive us deeper into debt. People want jobs to get out of poverty. Every Socialist country turns into a dictatorship. Nobody wants a defunct totalitarian system.

  2. Dear Matthew, the debt is fueled by socialism actually (spending too much) so that doesn’t really make sense. If you look at the breakdown of the national budget, 2/3rds of the total 7 trillion dollars our country collects in taxes every year (compared to the $20 trillion the whole entire economy generates in revenue) goes to Social Security and Medicaid/Medicare and other entitlements. War costs a lot ($800 million a year on defense), but not that much compared to social benefits ($4.5 trillion). Student loans are currently at 1.5 trillion dollars. The reason it feels like we don’t spend trillions on welfare is that the government mis-manages and wastes most of that money. Just like after the financial crisis, trillions was spent on the bailout and stimulus money was wasted – by the democratic socialist Obama administration. Of course, the Republicans are now acting just as bad under Trump, who is a spendthrift who keeps spending and spending and has raised the debt to enormous levels. Trump is also a populist socialist if you really see what he does. As a Democrat, I really want to see that the Socialists do not take over the democratic party. The Democratic Socialists are not Democrats at all and never were. They are the party of Chavez and Maduro and Castro pretty much, but in America. It’s not just that Venezuela failed. It’s that Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, China, USSR – every place that has ever existed, big or small, that ever tried to adopt socialism – also failed. Argentina is another example of socialism failing with Peronism. There is also a huge difference between failing in the socialist sense (people eating their pets and zoo animals to escape starvation, versus having a lot of people out of work like in the Great Depression or facing foreclosure after the 2008 crisis) should be relative. Don’t get me wrong: I think the Wall Street robbers and white collar criminals (and the whole world of leveraged buyouts and derivatives peddling) should be stamped down. I think federal insured money should be totally separate from the gambling money firms use at Wall Street. Our tax money shouldn’t have to save their system after they bring it down. Regulating capitalism (and note, we have anti-monopoly laws and a whole host of other laws that are meant to regulate capitalism – we are also a welfare state with a market economy which is actually every working economy in the world right now) is a totally different thing from socialism. Socialism doesn’t work because the government is always corrupt, always wasteful, always untrustworthy. Look at Congress and how dysfunctional it is. Do you want them to dictate more of the money than they already command??? Democratic Socialism or Socialism isn’t really taking money from the rich and giving it to the poor. It’s taking it from everyone and giving it to the government to have Congress then disperse as they wish (this is why both parties always spend spend spend). They may say it’s for the poor, but eventually, like Chavez, like Maduro, the government may give some to the poor, while failing to reinvest in sound investments, and then use the rest of the money for their own cronies and their own power and they run the country to the ground and then run with the money. That’s what every socialist government has ever done. It’s not about whether or not we trust Wall Street (we don’t). It’s whether or not you trust the government more (I don’t).

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