Trump and the Dreaded “S” Word

Street sign showing the intersection of Capitalism and Socialism

Street sign showing the intersection of Capitalism and Socialism
During the opening night of the Republican convention, former UN ambassador and South Carolina governor Nikki Haley warned that America would turn socialist under a Biden/Harris administration.

Haley and a host of other speakers took their lead from Donald Trump, who has been using the dreaded “S” word to stoke fear among voters for the past four years. We all embrace and rely on some form of socialism every day of our lives, but the problem is that Trump isn’t one to let the facts get in the way of a good story.

According to Merriam-Webster, socialism is an “economic and political theory advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.”

In the broadest sense, then, we are already a socialist nation. Over 61 million Americans get their health insurance through Medicare, and 63 million of us receive Social Security benefits every month. Who pays for these life sustaining programs? We do, the collective. And who administers them? The government.

Earlier this year, every adult received a stimulus check to help offset our losses from the pandemic, while millions of small businesses received PPP funds and “loans” to help them keep their doors open. But much of that money doesn’t have to be repaid. Millions more businesses qualified for low-interest SBA loans. Who pays taxes to make these funds available? We do, the collective. And who administers them? The government.

All federal employees, from the janitors who clean the Capitol to the congressmen who work there, are paid a salary and receive pensions and healthcare coverage. Likewise, local public officials, from teachers to sheriff’s deputies, receive similar benefits on the state level. Who pays for these salaries and benefits? We do, the collective. And who administers them? The government.

We rely on police, the military and the FBI to protect us each and every day, but guess who pays for that? We, the collective. And who administers those agencies? The government.

Cities and counties create mega sites that they can develop, then offer tax incentives to industries who locate on that land. Who pays for this system of economic development? We do, the collective. And who owns the land and administers the program? The government.

Public schools, public universities, and community colleges are supported in part by foundations, fees, and tuitions, but guess who keeps them operating? We do, the collective. And who administers our funds? The government.

Teaching hospitals treat patients, train doctors, and engage in research to find new cures. To do that they rely in part on grants and federal funding. Who pays for that? We do, the collective. Who administers the money? The government.

Local coliseums and stadiums serve as venues for sports and concerts. Guess who pays for those facilities? We do, the collective. And who owns those facilities? The government.

Local recreation centers provide kids with a safe place to get exercise. Who pays for those centers? We do, the collective. And who owns those venues? The government.

When our North Carolina state parks needed an influx of cash for renovations, who passed and paid for the referendum? We did, the collective. And who owns the parks that we visit? The government.

The FDA makes sure our food and drugs are safe, and the post office makes sure our mail is delivered (usually). Who pays for that service? We do, the collective. And who administers the funds to sustain those services? The government.

Donald Trump, Nikki Haley, and every other right wing political hack can threaten us with socialism all they want, but if Joe Biden is elected on November 3rd, he won’t bring socialism with him. It’s already here, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

 
 

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