“AM I A Socialist Like Bernie Saunders?” was a question someone, who friended me on FB, asked. I think my answer to her is worth publishing here…
Thank you Jennifer. I am not a socialist, per se. I do believe, however, that the government “could be” better able to provide us with certain services. Neither individuals, communities, nor even states should be responsible for putting together a plan for an interstate highway system. I also know that is is counter intuitive to give an entity your money to take care of you when you become sick or injured, when paying for that care conflicts with that entity’s bottom line.
If everyone in this country who is, in any small way, able to pay for medical insurance were to join ONE plan, then this country could provide low cost health care to everyone. Especially so, if the administration of that plan did not have a goal of turning a profit. The idea of someone, like a healthy young person, not needing medical insurance does not fly. The number one killer of young people is accidental injury. If you still believe young people do not need insurance, then have a seat at Telluride Medical Center or Tahoe Forest hospital and watch the ambulances and patients come limping in on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, or San Francisco General anytime of the day or night.
As for retirement, 401Ks are great, IRAs even better. But, as I was told by one of the number one investment firms in San Francisco, back in the early 90’s, The minimum opening for an account was $1,000,000. Otherwise, investment expertise is a bit beyond the average Joe. And, as our last bubble showed, most investment firms have only their own best interest at heart. So, a forced saving’s plan for retirement, like Social Security, where you put money into a fund today and take it out in the future makes sense.
One can argue that it is not fair to ask someone to contribute when that money might not be available later. Well, I say that it is our job to see that it is- available. And, we can. Everyone benefits when old people do not end up on the street. I will not waste space enumerating the obvious.
Suffice it to say, there are, I believe, some things a government can and should help the individual with, including bargaining with big Pharma for the best price on a new drug. Especially when government research probably contributed to them in one way or another. Does that make me a Socialist? Is doing and caring about what I have just written about, make me a bad person? Well, then I guess I am guilty.
As for redistributing the chips, we must realize that the economy is people. People working. It isn’t banks, it is not corporate profit, it’s people. Those other things are just tools and measurements. You pay a person a wage and that person spends it, giving reasons for others to have jobs which again spreads $$$. That cannot happen when all the $$$ sits in the pockets or in piles of chips in the hands of a few players. EVERYBODY benefits when EVERYBODY is working. I am not saying that EVERYBODY needs to have the same amount of chips, BUT they do need to have enough to keep the game going! Taxing the players with a progressive tax, whereby those who can afford to pay more should, is the only way that really works, without endangering the game. I believe that disqualifies me from being a Socialist per se. As to being a Socialist like Bernie Saunders, I am not sure, I would have to take a better look at his policies.