Editor’s note: Our friend William Albee recently saw the article Relax, Boomers: Socialism Is Good Now by Zach Carter which appeared in Huffpost. He agreed with its basic premise, and has expanded and explicated that premise below.
We have a social contract in America that includes the safety net programs for the poor and unemployed, and Medicare and Social Security for the elderly. We all pay into this giant insurance pool, knowing that if we live long enough, we will collect the benefits from this social system. This is the part of our Government that most people will regard as socialism.
I take a different view. I look at government at the local, state, and Federal level as a giant insurance pool. My taxes are my insurance premiums. I don’t regularly use all of the services/benefits provided by government, but I rest easy knowing that if I need any or all of the services/benefits provided by government, they are there for me. I am thus “insured” in the event I need to file a claim for those services/benefits. Over time, we expand and contract the pool of services/benefits provided by our local, state and Federal Governments via our elected officials. They raise and lower our premiums (taxes) and expand or contract the services/benefits over time. The wealthy who can self insure tend to be Republican and favor less social contract spending, because they do not see themselves as ever needing these services/benefits. Thus, they see much of the premiums they pay into this system as a transfer of their resources to “the poor.”
They are fine with paying for the services/benefits they use like police, fire and roads at the local level, the judicial system at all levels, and defense, diplomacy, and air traffic control at the Federal level. The working class and poor tend to be Democrats and generally support expanding, or at least maintaining the social contract to provide the services/benefits people who cannot afford to self insure for these needs. The majority of Americans are not wealthy, and thus rely on the socialism programs of government at all levels to meet their needs. We ALL expect and demand some level of Socialism in our system of government. If everyone understands, recognizes and acknowledges that the social programs at all levels of government constitute the level of Socialism that exists in America, then the term “Socialism” should no longer conger up all the negative images associated with Communism.