Socialism vs Capitalism
Father Ray Paramo, Basilian priest and longtime Catholic Central teacher extraordinaire, has left us. On Thursday evening, January 30, 2020, I had the high honor of being one of Father Ray’s pallbearers. We friends and pallbearers gathered around his casket and “pallbeared” Father Ray out of Catholic Central’s, quaint chapel to a waiting hearse that would transport his final remains on his last earthly journey… to the Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Southfield Michigan to be buried in the Basilian Priestly plot, right across from my own Mother and Father. “Lord, my body has been a good friend, but I wont need it when I reach the end.” Cat Stevens – Miles From Nowhere – YouTube
A few weeks before his death, Father Ray and I (and others) had a lively discussion about the relative merits of Socialism and Capitalism. After that discussion, I took it upon myself to expand our conversation on this very timely, misunderstood and provocative subject… Socialism vs Capitalism. But, Father Ray left on the midnight train before I could share my thoughts with him. Therefore, in honor of Father Ray Paramo and his legacy of everyday lessons in “goodness, discipline and knowledge,” I now transport my thoughts via spiritual airmail to the other side of the Universe… knowing the Universe hears as Father Ray and I pick up the conversation where we left off. Father Ray, hopefully, the bold subtitles below will make the length of this piece a little easier to read. But hey Father… you’re a “quick study,” and besides, you have an “eternity” of time on your hands.
A BARROOM CONVERSATION
The other day I was hangin’ out at the Y’all Come Back, Cracker Barrel Saloon, somewhere in Nascar Nation, when I happened upon Pal Joey, a “grip it and rip it,” 40-something, hard drinkin’, hard chargin’, cracker barrel philosopher and true “Christian Believer”… a lot of accomplishments in just four short decades of life. Between shots of Jose Cuervo Tequila and with the Juke box playing Johnny Bush”s Whiskey River, YouTube Pal Joey was in a full blown rant … railing against the evils of “Socialism.” Pal Joey informed me and everyone within earshot (which, given the accented volume of his distinctive accent, was pretty much the whole bar)… that “Pope Francis, is a Socialist,” and, “If you like Socialism, you ought to go to Venezuela where you can eat your dog, just to stay alive.”
Okay Pal Joey, thanks for the gratuitous lesson in economics 101, and pass the napkins so I can wipe the some of the tequila residue of your cracker barrel economic philosophy 101 off my forehead. I never had a Drunk Driving case where the oder of alcohol emanated from the top of some Perp’s head. But, as I left the Y’all Come Back Cracker Barrel Saloon on the night in question, I was left to wonder whether I might be the first test case, if the cops pulled me over and gave me an odorific “sniff test” on my tequila drenched forehead… as I was making my way over to my favorite Evangelical Church, Y’all Drop In to See the Lord Southern Baptist Missionary Church, where I was scheduled to lead the choir through a few verses of my favorite hymn… Drop-kick Me Jesus Through the Goalposts of Life…. “End over end, neither left or right, straight through the heart of the righteous uprights, drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life.”
https://www.youtube.com › watch
Forget for the moment that our beloved President, Donald Trump, has crushed Venezuela with economic sanctions, and forget for the moment that China’s socialist market economy is the second largest economy in the world, breathing down the back of America and about to eat our lunch. Putting aside the Venezuela sanctions and China’s Socialism for a moment, I think “true believer,” cracker barrel philosopher, Pal Joey’s performance at the Y’all Come Back, Cracker Barrel Saloon should be nominated for an Academy Award in the category of… “Sophomoric Soundbites.” The bottom line, Pal Joey (and the millions of others like him) who rail against “Socialism” don’t have a clue what they’re talking about.
WHO IS A SOCIALIST ???
Hey, Pal Joey, are you a socialist if… ???
(1) If you multiply fishes and loaves and give them away to the hungry ???
(2) If you pay the same wages to workers who started at sun up, as you pay to those who came at the end of the day ???
(3) If you welcome the prodigal son home with open arms and a celebration feast ???
(4) If you throw Capitalistic entrepreneurs like the money changers out of the Temple ???
(5) If you proclaim, “When I was hungry, you gave me to eat, thirsty, you gave me to drink, imprisoned as an outcast, you visited me” ???
(6) If you ensure that poor kids get a meal before school starts, or you adopt a much needed “Head Start” program for those young kids from poor families ???
(7) If you ensure a free College education under the GI Bill in the 1950s and 1960s ???… Socialism that created the Middle Class ???
(8) If you pay full freight for your son’s tuition at Catholic Central (or your daughter’s tuition at Mercy)… while those unable to afford “full freight” get their scholarship tuition money right out of the “full freight” tuition payments I make ???
(9) If you pay taxes that are used to support programs for the poor???… under the theory of “doing unto others” and “to whom much is given, much is expected” ???
(10) If you pay $750 Billion in TARP funds to the “too big to fail” investment banks as their reward for crashing the American economy (as happened in 2008 under Republican President, George W. Bush) ??? “Socialism for the rich” with Capitalists “capitalizing” their profits during good times… while “socializing” their losses during bad times (on the backs of the American taxpayers).
(11) If you establish a minimum, “livable wage” for our lower wage earner citizens ???
(12) If you pass a Right to Work law as Michigan, Republican Lawmakers did a few years ago ignoring the Laissez-Faire aspects of Capitalism and ignoring free market forces, and, instead, allowing government to interfere on behalf of the Capitalist Corporations and against the Unions and workers… with government mandates and laws that tell the Unions and workers that they cannot negotiate or bargain for a closed Union shop ??? Socialism intervention for Corporate America.
(13) If you repeal the Michigan Single Business Tax for businesses and make up for the shortfall by taxing retiree’s pensions for the first time ever ???… as Michigan Republican Governor Snyder did at the beginning of his term “Socialism for Business”… at the expense of the retirees.
(14) If you do as President Trump did in 2018 when he reduced the Federal Tax rate by a third for Corporate America while, at the same time, he raised the amount of taxes I, as a retiree, will now pay ???… “Socialistic tax breaks for Corporate America”… while we break the budget and raise the debt on our way to the insolvency of America. Oh yeah, I hear my opponents (loud and clear)… the “trickle down” theory that never trickles down as corporate tax savings trickle up and flood the bank accounts of corporate CEOs and owners.
(15) If you impose tariffs on China and then subsidize farmers (with other taxpayers’ tax payments)… because the farmers now face economic ruin as the market for their crops has been destroyed by the tariffs ???
(16) If you use the power of the President’s office and the power of Treaties and the power of the American government to tell the American auto companies where they will put their factories and where they won’t put them or whether they will outsource their auto assembly plants to foreign countries or not (as President Trump does) ???
(17) If you allow the American Government to use our tax dollars to help eliminate the misery of others through the Disaster Recovery Reform Act or FEMA (which in turn funds the Disaster Unemployment Assistance)… all geared to provide disaster relief to our American brothers and sisters economically and spiritually crushed by fires, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes and tornados ???
The bottom line. America lives in an economic system that blends Capitalism and Socialism. The poor depend on upon the blend of Socialism’s safety nets… to survive. The rich (and their Dow Jones, Stock Market) depend upon the blend of Socialism’s bailouts to save them and the American economy… when the greed and high rollin life styles of the rich derail America… with an economic bubbles that suddenly burst and blow up the American economy (as happened in the Great Recession of 2008).
WHAT IS SOCIALISM ???… OWNERSHIP & CONTROL OF PRODUCTION AND SERVICES vs “DOING UNTO OTHERS.”
Socialism, as a concept of economic governance, has many definitions. But, the more definitions, the more ill defined and amorphous the concept of Socialism becomes. The traditional, short hand definition of Socialism (probably, the one my sophomoric, cracker barrel philosopher, Pal Joey, had in mind… assuming he even had any definition in mind, which I doubt he did)… repeat, a workable, short hand definition of Socialism describes an economic system where the ownership and control of the means of production of goods and services resides in the hands of the State. But, I hasten to add… that is not the definition of Socialism that is intended or embraced by the “doing unto others,” left wing Democrats of today when they champion “Democratic Socialism.” The Republicans on the other hand argue (1) we don’t need Democratic Socialism or any other kind of Socialism and (2) Democratic Socialism (even limited in scope, as it is) brings to mind a “slippery slope”… “be careful, lest we irretrievably slide down that dangerous slope into full blown Socialism.”
President Trump’s sophomoric soundbite in his 2020 State of the Union address… “Socialism destroys Nations” is as un-nuanced and meaningless as Pal Joey’s sophomoric soundbites. Ironic ??? Trump put six of his resort/casino operations through Bankruptcy (both during good times and bad times), writing off almost billion in debt as he earned the nickname… “King of Debt.” And, now after Trump built his “brand” on “free money” (never paid back to the banks) and on “free labor” (wages never paid to workers), he wants to tell us about the evils of Socialism… as a self proclaimed populist and voice of the common man and the forgotten woman… the very ones he stiffed with his six bankruptcies. The worst thing anyone could be called by my eight-grade educated, Irish Mother was a “flannel mouth phony.” Let us all hope and pray that the “King of Debt” doesn’t bankrupt his newest business venture… the United States of America. As I say… “ironic eh.”
It is clear that the Democratic Socialism of today does not argue for or promote traditional Socialism… the kind where the State takes over the production goods and services. Rather, Democratic Socialism of today (year 2020) calls for and embraces the altruistic goal of “fundamental fairness” and “human rights” for those who (through no fault of their own) have fallen through the economic cracks. I speak of those of our fellow citizens who have been greatly disadvantaged economically… such as those working two minimum-wage jobs just to keep their head above water, financially, as well as others in our midst who could use a shot of dignity and a bite to eat… the aged, the disabled, the mentally ill, the poor, the downtrodden, God’s children living under the poverty line, those living under the radar of basic survival… nutrition, clean air, clean water, shelter, medical care. and the special needs of disadvantaged children (the autistic, the learning disabled, the lead-compromised children of Flint Michigan), and all the other needy and broken souls who (through no fault of their own) were not born with the necessary intellectual or emotional or physical abilities to compete in a world of unfettered, Laissez-Faire Capitalism.
As everyone knows, we Americans already have a blend of Socialism within our economic system of free market Capitalism… a blend that has generated a Social Security system for the aged and disabled, and a Medicare system that gave my life back to me with a brand new hip… after months of disability and suffering as a “shut-in.” And, don’t tell me that I just got out what I paid into Medicare. The amount I paid into Medicare was far, far below the $50,000 cost of my hip replacement surgery that Medicare picked up the tab for… and that stopped the suffering and gave my quality of life back to me. How many others “poor folks” just live, suffer and die… without any new hip (or knee or shoulder, or life saving medication) ???
And, I fully understand that us older Americans will have to deal with the legitimate fears of the younger generations who see themselves paying into Social Security and Medicare for the benefit of the older generation (just as we of my generation did for our elders)… with (as I say) the younger generations of today wondering whether they will ever get anything out when they become Senior Citizens. They have legitimate “do unto other” concerns that must be addressed.
I have lived long enough, thought about it deeply enough and acquired enough knowledge… to know that the world (and all of us in it) are served better by taking the best of Capitalism and the best of Socialism and weaving them into a delicate, economic blend (perhaps through trial and error)… while we all hold at bay Pal Joey, Donald Trump and the millions of other “sophomoric, un-nuanced sound-biters” in our midst.
LAISSEZ-FAIRE CAPITALISM, GREED AND ECONOMIC RUIN
I think of myself as a Capitalist. No, not a “no holds barred,” Laissez-Faire, “dog eat dog” Capitalist. I am a believer in the economic theory of Capitalism, but I am not a Laissez-Faire “survival of the fittest” Capitalist. Rather, I am a Capitalist who fully recognizes that unfettered and unregulated Capitalism is a relic of the “Law of the Jungle,” and it has no place in the civilized, “do unto others” progressive societies of the 21st Century… period.
Many of the world’s economic (and human) failures have been caused by letting the Capitalists of the world have their way… their unbridled, Laissez-Faire way, to the detriment of the rest of us.
* Think of the Triangle Shirtwaiste Factory fire in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan N.Y. City where the Laissez Faire Capitalism of 1911 killed 123 women (most between the ages of 14 and 23) and 23 men… because the Factory’s doors were locked by management to prevent workers from taking breaks.
* Think of the bursting of the economic bubble and the crash of the stock market in 1929, followed by the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Great Depression of the 1930s that crushed my Grandparents financially and spilled over onto my mother and father, just as they were becoming teenagers… forcing my “only child” father out of Catholic Central High School in 1930 (after one year), and down to Texas to live with his Aunt Adele who was married to Doctor Herb Smith, who was able to feed my 30 lb. underweight and malnutritioned father. The same economic calamity of the 1930s forced my 14-year-old Mother (one of 10 children) to leave the 8th grade and go to work at Demery’s Department Store on Woodard and the Blvd… one of the lucky kids who could find a job and contribute to the life support of her Mother, Father and her seven siblings.
* Think also of the Great Recession of 2008 that wacked so many IRAs and Pension plan funds. Those actuarially-underfunded pension plans of today (2020) “lie in wait,” in an unmarked minefield… awaiting a future date of economic reckoning and human despair and heartache.
The Shirtwaiste Factory fire, the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Great Recession of 2008 are but the tip of the iceberg amongst a ton of other spiritually crushing blows and economic calamities wrought by unfettered, Laissez-Faire Capitalism’s greed, economic failure, social failure and spiritual failure.
WHAT DOES HISTORY SHOW US ABOUT “SOCIALISM vs CAPITALISM ???
I suggest the best way to figure out the role that “Socialism” and “Capitalism” play in world economics is… to get an historical overview from the highly informed historians, Will and Ariel Durant… The History of Civilization (multiple volumes of multiple epochs of history… Our Oriental Heritage, The Golden Age of Greece, Caesar and Christ, The Age of Faith, Reformation and on through The Age of Voltaire and Rousseau and Revolution). Will and Ariel Durant finished up their lifetime pursuit of researching and writing history with a short question… “What’s it all about Alphie” ???… when you sort it out, Alphie” ??? (Bert Bacharach and Dionne Warwick). Translated… What does history teach us, if anything, about Capitalism and Socialism ??? The Durants attempted to answer that question (and many others) in their 1968, 102 page essay The Lessons of History. I quoted the Durants in my second book, Wealth Power Politics Jesus (Chapter VI, Capitalism, Socialism, Redistribution of Wealth and Fairy Tales for the Self Made Man). Quotes from Will and Ariel Durant…
* “Since practical ability differs from person to person, the majority of such abilities, in nearly all societies, is gathered in a minority of men. The concentration of wealth is a natural result of this concentration of ability and regularly recurs in history. The rate of concentration varies…. Despotism may for a time retard concentration; Democracy, allowing the most liberty, accelerates it. (Lessons in History… page 55).
* “The struggle of socialism against capitalism is part of the historic rhythm in the concentration and dispersion of wealth.” (Ditto, page 58).
* “We [Will and Arial Durant] conclude that the concentration of wealth is natural and inevitable, and is periodically alleviated by violent or peaceful, partial re-distribution. In this view, all economic history is the slow heartbeat of the social organism, a vast systole and diastole of concentrating wealth and compulsive recirculation (Ditto page 57).
* “The fear of capitalism has compelled socialism to widen freedom, and the fear of socialism has compelled capitalism to increase equality. East is West and West is East, and soon the twain shall meet.” ( page 67).
TODAY’S REAL PROBLEM… FREE MARKETS CONTROLED BY THE “OLIGARCHS OF MONOPOLY”
Today as America plunges headlong into the year 2020, the biggest economic problem is not the fear of Socialism, nor the fear of just how to blend the best of Socialism with the best of Capitalism. No, the biggest fear in America today is the economic, financial and political control of the American economy by the few. The real fear in America today is the financial and political control of the economy by a new class of American economic oligarchs, the Billionaires. What’s a Billionaire, you ask ??? You would have to deposit a million dollars in the bank each and every day, seven days a week for three years… to accumulate a billion dollars.
Socialism has historically meant control by government over the production of goods and services, as well as control over the political process. That is an apt description of Socialism in China today (2018)… even though China tolerates some private entrepreneurs… so long as there is no entrepreneurial interference with the China’s exclusive ownership and control over all of China’s banks, China’s financial institutions, China’s telecom/communication services, and China’s energy production. There may be some common good for China’s billion citizens… in China’s taking away the control of Banks, Financial Institutions and Energy from the greed of private entrepreneurs… but I leave the evaluation of that thought for another day.
Obviously, China’s economic system of government “ownership and control” over Banks, financial institutions, telecom/communication services, energy and the political process is what generates American’s adverse, knee-jerk reaction to that old nemesis “Socialism.” Ditto for the ghost of the former USSR’s Communist Socialism. It is that governmental ownership and control that makes Socialism an undesirable economic doctrine because it historically eliminates… entrepreneurial risk-taking by Capitalist entrepreneurs and the economic “competition” amongst them… the very competition in America that provides consumers with a wealth of “choices” in goods, services and prices. No doubt, the downside of full- blown Socialism is Socialism’s elimination of risk-taking “competition” by Capitalist entrepreneurs who bring to the marketplace an abundance of consumer’s choices in a ton of available products and services… at very competitive prices. Contrast that Capitalism with the Socialism of Russian in the former USSR where a consumer was just fortunate to get whatever product they could get their hands on… with no choice between competing products, services or prices.
That bears repeating. The economic allure of Capitalism ???… risk taking, Capitalist entrepreneurs and the competition they bring to the market place provides an extensive market of “selection” and “choice” and “pricing” for the consumer who (as the theory goes) spends money selecting exactly what they want from a large inventory and wide array of available products and services, and at a price they are willing to pay… which in turn, stimulates the economy, for the good of all. Just think of World Automakers, and all the selection of sedans, trucks and SUVs they provide for the consumer… different body styles, different engine calibrations, different interiors, different colors, different gas mileage, “Build your own Vehicle,” etc, etc. In a phrase, the Capitalists say, “risk taking entrepreneurs are the economy.” While, on the other hand, the historical knock against Socialism… lack of economic competition reduces or eliminates any true “selection” or “choice” of readily available products and services for the consumer and provides no competition in pricing. The bottom line on Socialism’s failures. Without the risk taking, entrepreneurial Capitalists, the consumer is left with a depressed inventory of product, services and pricing to choose from and has little incentive to buy… thus financially depressing the economy.
Entrepreneurial, risk-taking Capitalism closely resembles Democracy’s goal of “one man… one vote” (or, in today’s enlightened World… “one person, one vote”). Every time a citizen chooses to buy one product over someone else’s product, that citizen casts a vote for the entrepreneur he bought the product from, and against the other competitors vying to sell the citizen that same product. Those entrepreneurial, risk taking Capitalist who get enough votes (aka sales) survive, while their competitors descend into bankruptcy and fall by the wayside. The common denominator in Capitalism ???… Government does not control all the facets of production and services, and allows entrepreneur Capitalist to compete, compete and compete some more for sales… with the consumer and the economy both dealt a winning hand. Okay. So far so good.. as the theory goes. But don’t forget about the man who jumped off the top of a 40 story building, and as he passed the 8th floor was heard to say… “So far, so good.”
What do I see in America today that should worry all of us ??? I see the fuel that feeds Capitalism (“competition”) running out as Billionaire, Oligarchs… control and monopolize the game of Capitalism, control and monopolize the economy and control and monopolize the game of Government, just as Socialism has historically done. Me thinks… control by Billion Oligarchs is just Socialism in another hat. Translated, as monopolies grow and establish themselves, it matters not whether the control of the economic production and services, and the control of political power is in the hands of government (traditional “Socialism’) or whether that control is in the hands of Billionaire Oligarchs (Monopolists). The evil of lack of competition, and its threat to the American economy, and its threat to America’s treasured freedoms is the same with full out Socialism… as it is with Billionaire Oligarch Monopolists. The evil and the harm are no different. It is one and the same evil, by whatever name.
So America must stand up to the all controlling Billionaire Oligarchs, and insist that “completion” in the American market place is so essential to the American economy and so essential to American freedoms and ideals… that monopolies must by broken up. The famed American President, “trust busting” Teddy Roosevelt, did just that… busting up trusts and monopolies and enforcing anti-trust laws to restore “competition” in the American economic system. If the beef against Socialism starts with a lack of incentive to compete, then the same beef must apply against today’s Billionaire Oligarch Capitalists who run monopoly enterprises that kill off the competition, leaving a trail of dead competitors behind with a “sign” on each competitor’s corpse that says… My name is Ozymandias, “Look on my Works ye Mighty” and compete with me at your own risk. https://www.poetryfoundation.org › poems › ozymandias
My hope is that America finds the right blend of Capitalism and Socialism… the right blend to encourage entrepreneurial competition while maintaining the “do unto others” dignity of those who would otherwise fall through the cracks in the “dog eat dog”… “survival of the fittest” world of Laissez-Fair Capitalism. There is little doubt that neither the American economy nor America’s treasured freedoms can tolerate (1) governmental control of economic production and services aka traditional Socialism, nor (2) control of economic production and services (and the political process) by Billionaire Oligarchs. America has always turned its back on Laissez-Faire Capitalism by enforcing antitrust laws and by breaking up monopolies when those monopolies hinder or destroy the very competition upon which the American brand of Capitalism depends… a “competition” which benefits and serves the interests of the American Consumer and the American economy.
As I say, the very same dangers of Socialism in America (which my sophomoric, sound bite crack barrel philosopher, Pal Joey, railed against) are the very same dangers that the wealthy Wizard of Oz, Billionaire Oligarchs of America now bring to us, as they hide behind the curtain and “fund” their “special interests” Lobbyist buddies to influence our Lawmakers. These Wizard of Oz Billionaires operate the levers of political and economic power behind curtain, so it’s difficult to see who they are and what they are up to. These new wave Capitalists of the 21st Century, these Billionaire Oligarchs (and pirates) are converting American Capitalism into Socialism for the rich. That bears repeating. These Billionaire Oligarchs (and pirates) are converting American Capitalism into Socialism for the rich. Think of President George W. Bush putting up $750 billion in TARP funds to bail out “the too big to fail” banks and other Corporate enterprises. These TARP fund recipients… capitalized their profits during good times, and then socialized their losses (on the backs of the American taxpayer) during bad times. Socialism… for the rich.
Today, these Billionaire, Wizard of Oz Oligarchs use their wealth and throw millions around in the political arena to eliminate economic competition and keep their control over the political process… all with the help of the Republican appointed U.S. Supreme Court Justices who have ruled that Corporations are persons, and as such, have the Constitution right and authority to hide in the shadows without disclosure… as they use their “dark money” wealth to control and manipulate elections with “issue ads” (as opposed to endorsing a candidate), but with the same result. If you rail against governmental control through traditional Socialism, you better also rail against control of the economy and the political landscape by Billionaire Oligarchs… because the end result and the harm to America is one and the same. Where are you “trust busting” Teddy Roosevelt when America needs you ????
GAMING THE ECONOMIC SYSTEM…
There is much to condemn on both sides of the Capitalist-Socialist divide of the present day America economy. There is daily abuse of Socialism’s safety nets by some of the poor, an abuse that costs America… finite losses. There is also daily abuse of Capitalism by greedy, Laissez-Faire, Wizard of Oz Capitalists who (as they did in 2008) destroy the America economy… with catastrophic losses. Repeat “finite” losses by the poor vs catastrophic loss by the rich. No doubt, there is a glaring difference between the two camps (poor and rich) who game the system ??? The financial losses and monetary hits from the abuse of Socialism’s safety nets by the poor is far, far less a financial hit than the catastrophic hit to the overall economy by the Super Rich, pedal to the metal, Wizard of Oz Capitalists of Greed. Those Super Rich, pedal to the metal, Wizard of Oz Capitalists of Greed not only cause catastrophic financial loss to American’s financial institutions, but they also topple the American economy itself with their Lasses-Fair greed and overreaching. And, in the process, those Super Rich, Laissez-Faire Capitalists also topple the always precarious lives of hundreds of millions of American’s common men and forgotten women… leaving them jobless, with financial ruin, spiritual pain, emotion pain, hopelessness and a depression that robs their spirit of joy, laughter and purpose— all replaced with stress, depression, anxiety, grief, loss of love and a foreboding sense of gloom… as the next runaway meltdown by Billionaire Oligarchs is never more than a heartbeat away.
I have lived long enough to know that “gaming” of America’s economic system is a way of life, not acceptable (never acceptable), but always predictable because the economic system of America is made up of human beings with palpable human weakness. But, I can’t help but believe (based on my decades of living) that the Super Rich are the role models, encouraging the poor to follow their lead in “gaming” the system… “Hey, they got theirs, I need to get mine.” But, all those, rich or poor, who “game” the system and betray the rest of us… must be challenged, pursued, called to answer, held accountable for their misdeeds, punished and, where necessary, imprisoned.
But, just because there is “abuse” of the safety nets of Socialism by the poor that does not mean those social support systems should be thrown out and discarded. Nor should “abuse” of Capitalism by the Super Rich lead to the abandonment of Capitalism. Hey, if “gaming” the system meant that you abolish the whole system, then we would have to abolish American Democracy itself for the corruption of our elected officials… a corruption that is fundamentally inherent in the system of Capitalism where Lobbyists, representing “special interests” clientele ply our Lawmakers with campaign contributions in an attempt to turn the ear of our lawmakers away from the common good and toward the “special interests” promoted by the lobbyists.
THE PHILOSOPHY THAT SURROUNDS CAPITALISM AND SOCIALISM…
Back to the beginning. My right-wing Christian, cracker barrel, Nascar philosopher, Pal Joey (and millions of other Americans), not only bathe in “sophomoric soundbites” but they miss a fundamental rule of life and economics… “What goes around will come back to roost.” They also misses the fundamental point of “history” as it impacts Laissez-Faire Capitalism as an economic theory…
(1) We are not all born equal in the evolutionary gifts our DNA gives us.
(2) Laissez-Faire Capitalism carries with it great collateral damage to those not born to be Laissez-Faire competitors… those shortchanged by their genes, mentally, physically or spiritually, and not able to compete as entrepreneurs, or some… not even able to compete as “worker bees” in the “dog eat dog,” survival of the fittest.
(3) Wealth, when it accumulates in the hands of the few (as it inevitably does), will, eventually, spark a “boiling point,” and, as history teaches us, “redistribution,” violent or peaceful, will occur… period. Hopefully, when that “boiling point ” is reached, the message of “non-violence” (Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, etc) will kick in and, hopefully, partial, “peaceful” redistribution will occur… hopefully.
(4) Today’s growing control of the economy and political apparatus by the rich (via Billionaire Wizard of Oz Oligarch’s destruction of competition) will undo America’s economic system with the kind of corruption we see in third world dictatorships… as “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton).
(5) All the great religions embrace the “do unto others” philosophy which culminates into… “To whom much is given, much is expected.”
America lives in an economic system that blends Capitalism and Socialism. Both the rich and the poor depend on Socialism to bail them out. The poor depend on upon Socialism with its safety nets…just to survive. The Rich (and their Dow Jones, Stock Market) depend upon Socialism to bail them out, and save their high-rollin life styles and the American economy… after the economic bubbles of the rich burst and the economy blows up.
It seems to be as historians Will and Ariel Durant predicted 52 years ago… “East is West and West is East and soon the twain shall meet.”
FATHER RAY PARAMO
Okay, Father Paramo… I suspect we are on the same wave length, but get back to me when you can.