by Alex Symington…….
In his typical tedious and malicious style, Donald Trump called Bernie Sanders a “maniac” and a “communist.” When asked for a response, Sanders’ press secretary, Symone Sanders (no relation) said this about the school yard bully’s aspersions, “If we weighed in every time Donald Trump said something stupid we wouldn’t have time to do anything else.” Symone is wise beyond her twenty five years (and funny). I bring this up as an example of the confusion Trump and many others have in regards to what socialism is. It is not communism. Trump and company use words like “communism” and “maniac” because they are afraid people will listen to Sanders’ pragmatic common sense views on democratic socialism and the glaring defects and failures of unfettered hyper-capitalism.
Let me rephrase that last line. Hyper-capitalism has been a resounding success for a handful of thieves and criminals at the top of the heap. Wait, let me rephrase THAT. They are not criminals by definition because their crimes are “legal” in the sense that the rules have been written by these Brooks Brothers brigands and their puppets in Congress.
They would have us believe that private industry is the only path to economic salvation. We don’t have to look back very far to expose that canard. In 2008 the almighty private sector, i.e., Big Casino Banks and Wall Street had gambled and lost badly and magically, overnight, became a “public” entity that had to have the people’s (socialist) money to be rescued from oblivion. The sky was falling and if these casinos went down the planet would be plunged into the apocalypse.
After we the people rescued these crooks and they were once again solvent, with zero consequences for their criminal behavior, they instantly reverted back to private status. This heist of the millennium was caused in part by, first Ronald Reagan’s weakening of and then Bill Clinton’s final killing of the Glass-Steagall Act; the separation of “investment” (casino) banks and commercial banks, where regular folk put their money. Our good friends in Congress, the ones that hate government and would just as soon drain every last dime and funnel it into private pockets were the other half of this disastrous equation. You know the ones that like to shut the government down and hold their breath and stamp their feet until they get their way. To add insult to grievous injury, when it came time for some people that were “under water” and needed financial aid, they were told by the recently bailed out casinos to suck it, because they, the borrowers, had acted irresponsibly! Yay Capitalism…
The British economist John Maynard Keynes famous quote sums up unfettered capitalism to a “t”. “Capitalism is the astounding belief that the wickedest of men will do the wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.”
So what is the big bugaboo with socialism, anyhow? Our system, like most democracies, is a mixture of socialism and democracy, though the private sector is working feverishly to sabotage public enterprise and privatize and commoditize everything under the sun. Since FDR and WW2 Americans have enjoyed driving on socialists highways, attending K through 12 socialist schools, attending socialist state colleges and community colleges, taking books home from socialist libraries, drinking water from socialist water purification plants, playing sports on socialist ball fields and tennis courts, sending and receiving mail via the socialist postal service, swimming in socialist pools, vacationing and recreating in socialist parks…Well, you get the idea.
Up until 1980 the socialist/public sector did a pretty good job with all the above and much more. Then things began to change. Catchy phrases and slogans like “trickle down economics” and “welfare queens” seeped into the collective consciousness and then right wing talk radio and TV started beating the drum for a new ideology that government is bad and private enterprise is good. This new ideology would make life better for all, create vast amounts of new jobs as long as we stood out of the way and let the magic happen. You know, get trickled on. We have been on this path for over thirty-five years, patiently waiting and nothing remotely like a better life or gobs of jobs has materialized. Indeed, quite the opposite!
The government-hating-union-busting-fear-mongering ideologues have managed to convince many people they aren’t worthy of a decent living wage and should be hat-in-hand grateful for any scraps they are thrown. These parasites have destroyed the middle-class and demonized the poor and weak, but now those of power and influence like the Kochs and Waltons and Adelsons are terrified the American people will wake up and realize that our brand of American socialism has worked very well in the past and instead of being discarded for trickle down smoke and mirrors might better be expanded upon.
By the way, the money is there. We just need to decide what we want to spend it on. Wouldn’t we rather spend our money on cost effective single payer health care, like the members of Congress have, than line the pockets of private insurance middle-men? Wouldn’t we rather spend it on rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure than giving it to no-bid private contractors to rebuild other countries our bloated military destroys? Wouldn’t it be wiser to spend our money financing college education to help assure our youth and country a brighter future rather than finance private prisons for profit? The money is being spent; why not spend it on the American people instead of giving it away to a handful of corporate sociopaths.
So, if you’re mad at the guy buying Doritos with food stamps, you should be apoplectic with the Global Corporate Gangsters pilfering billions from the public coffers of the very country that made their wealth possible.
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