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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/2/10

Why I Learned to Love Socialism

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Message Douglas g
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Any system will have its pros and cons. There are various approaches that can be applied to any economic system.

Socialism has many varieties and many approaches, just like we do in Capitalism. Still, America's model of 'Disaster Capitalism' that works only for the very rich has nothing to offer the people. Our monopolistic Capitalist system offers the people slavish drudgery if they are lucky enough to be employed. But if they are one of the 20% unemployed in this country, Disaster capitalism offers only economic disaster.

In the US the Debt to GDP ratio is 62.3%; in France the ratio is 67%, and in Germany it is 62.6%.

So it is possible to have a good social benefits system and still be at nearly the same ratio of Debt to GDP ratio as the US, as many European countries demonstrate.

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So what type of benefits does a more humane, socialized system offer?

The following is excerpted from the New York Times, 'Going Dutch'

.....while the top income-tax rate in the United States is 35 percent, the numbers are a bit misleading. "People coming from the U.S. to the Netherlands focus on that difference, and on that 52 percent," said Constanze Woelfle, an American accountant based in the Netherlands whose clients are mostly American expats. "But consider that the Dutch rate includes social security, which in the U.S. is an additional 6.2 percent. Then in the U.S. you have state and local taxes, and much higher real estate taxes. If you were to add all those up, you would get close to the 52 percent....."

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....The Netherlands has universal health care, which means that, unlike in the United States, virtually everyone is covered, and of course social welfare, broadly understood, begins at the beginning.....insurance covered prenatal care, the birth of their children and after-care, which began with seven days of five-hours-per-day home assistance. That means someone comes and does your laundry, vacuums and teaches you how to care for a newborn....

.....About one-third of all dwellings in the country are "social housing." But here again, attitudes are different from those in the United States. I was surprised to learn, for example, that a friend who is a successful psychologist lives in a social-housing apartment, which he has had since his student days. It turns out the term does not have the stigma attached to it that "public housing" does in the United States. ("In the U.S., public housing is a last resort, but here it's just a good, cheap house," said Fred Martin, an official at Impuls, an Amsterdam social-services organization.) Beyond that, while my friend obviously can afford to pay more than his bargain-basement rent of 360 euros ($470), the system doesn't require him to move on, and one reason is that there is perceived to be a value in keeping a mix of income levels in the units.....

Why can't the United States promote the same quality of life for its citizens?

Well that has a lot to do with the massive military expenditure and a corporate welfare system that robs from the people.

There are numerous reasons for loving European Socialism, and it all has to do with it raising the quality of life of the citizens. European Socialism is one highly workable and humane example of Socialism.

Sure I am aware of the push throughout Europe to move it more toward the American model of fascism. But that is because economic globalization is run by a few of ruling elite that would love to have a system in Europe that would allow them even greater power and wealth at the expense of the people there. I hope the Europeans don't buy into it because they will surely regret it.

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I am a Socialist because I know we don't have to have people suffer for the extreme wealth of the very few. We can all enjoy a good quality of life and even allow the few wealthy many luxuries.

In America, we are presented with 2 choices by the managed corporate media. Either we believe we must accept our present fascist economic system that allows most of the wealth and power to go to the top 1% of people in the country. Or we are told that we will have to settle for total government control of our lives, a type of Socialist police state. Today we have the police state but without any of the benefits.

But we don't have to accept one extreme because we are fearful of the other. We can easily move past our present fascist state into more humane styles of democratic socialism. We can use the European model as a prototype, but we can develop it into something more uniquely American.

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