My Turn: You don’t want what socialism promises

  • Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at George Washington University in Washington on June 12 on his policy of democratic socialism, the economic philosophy that has guided his political career. AP

For the Monitor
Published: 6/22/2019 12:15:27 AM
Modified: 6/22/2019 12:15:15 AM

As I drive to work each day, I sometimes see bumper stickers that say “Feel the Bern” – and then I wonder what people think about the consequences of socialism.

Socialism is a system of economic policy that says that government is a better allocator of a nation’s resources than the private enterprise system. The socialistic allure is always to promise people something for free.

Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and the others who have a top-down approach to narrowing the income inequality gap are tricking our young people, in particular, into believing that government is a more efficient allocator of resources than those that produce real income. The end result of believing this false premise is that our citizens will get burned to a crisp by these socialistic theories. They will lose their freedom, their opportunity at realizing the American Dream and will end up with high unemployment and misery.

The socialistic policies of these candidates are as regressive as the policies found in the Communist Manifesto written by Karl Marx in 1848. Marx promised a utopian society where everyone would work for the common good in a completely egalitarian manner. Vladimir Lenin was the first to try these socialistic policies with his Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917. That experience gave the Russian people Josef Stalin and Nikita Khrushchev, with its final defeat under Mikhail Gorbachev by our American free enterprise system of openness and freedom.

But let us fast-forward to today. The movie is the same in the socialistic policies of France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece. These economies have the same recipe as the Sanders formula of government being a better allocator of economic resources than the free enterprise system.

These countries have many restrictive regulations that stifle the productive capacity of the private corporations. Consequently, because government is a very poor allocator of economic resources, these countries have very high unemployment and virtually no economic growth. Without economic growth our young people will not have the job opportunities to fulfill their dreams and will become indentured servants to a long-term unemployment compensation program like the youth are in Europe.

In Spain, national unemployment is 15% and 33% among those 19 to 25. This is the result of government allocating economic resources and restricting the ability of the private corporations from providing good paying jobs to the people because of overregulation and high corporate taxes. We know from Cuba and Venezuela how the story ends. There was never any free lunch in the world. The productive forces of a society must pay for free tuition, health care and the other things that Sanders and the other candidates support.

France tried out the Sanders-Warren plan of taxing the productive members of their society to redistribute to the general citizenry. What happened is that productive capital dried up and the government received less income to pay for all that the government has promised the people – free stuff. When productive capital leaves a country, socialistic governments have to put on more restrictions to try to fulfill their promises to the citizens of that country. Do you remember when Greece had exhausted most of its capital resources a few years ago because the productive forces of that economy left Greece? The government issued an “Austerity Program” to try to operate the country and meet the basic needs of the people. The end result of that program is that the people rebelled against austerity because socialism failed once again. Germany, with great reluctance, had to bail out Greece by lending the government more money that it knew would probably never be repaid.

When you offer our young people free college tuition, you give them a mediocre college education because the best professors will leave teaching and find employment elsewhere. Today, the world sends their students to America to receive the best college education possible. Let’s keep it that way. Our young people deserve the best just like my generation had.

In the realm of “Medicare for All,” Sanders and the others who support this notion will destroy the best health care system in the world. Sanders and the others will make health care a completely government-provided system. That means that if you receive health care provided by your employer, that system will be replaced by the government-funded health care system. Forty-seven percent of all of the health care insurance provided in America today is paid for by your employer. Can you imagine shifting that cost to the federal government? If the federal government manages our health care system, you will see rationing of health care. You will get the health care the government can afford, not what you need. That is what is happening in Greece and other European countries.

The basic problem with any form of socialism is that it denies the basic qualities of human nature. We were created to be free and pursue happiness. That is what the Founders of this country understood. If a system of government takes away these human characteristics, it will ultimately fail. These two human qualities have been dismissed by socialism and that is why there will never be a utopian society, as Marx envisioned.

The liberal Democrats think they can narrow the income inequality gap by taxing the productive energies in our society and redistributing that money to the lower end of the income scale. What the liberals will not to tell us is that the people at the lower end of the income scale are not poorer than they were 25 years ago. The reality is that, because America has the most innovative high-tech minds in the world, this innovation has skyrocketed the innovators at the top of the income curve to the highest levels of economic prosperity the world has ever seen.

Twenty-five years ago, the richest people in the world were the Middle Eastern oil sheiks, not Americans. This was because the Middle East controlled most of the world’s oil supply. Today, the richest people in the world are America’s innovators, like Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, and Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft.

America needs the economic policies that are consistent with our human nature discussed above. Instead of redistributing the earned income in our country, we need to encourage the people at the bottom of the income curve to gather more skills so they can receive a higher income in our strong growing economy. The liberals want to give a person a fish. If we do that, that family eats for a day. The president wants to teach a person to fish so that family can eat for a lifetime.

Do not get burned by the socialist promises of free things because we have all seen the end of that movie. In the words of Winston Churchill, the free enterprise system distributes prosperity unevenly and socialism distributes misery evenly.

(Joseph Mendola lives in Warner.)

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