The modern day GOP would like us to believe that our economy functions best when those at the top continue to receive endless tax breaks, oil subsidies, corporate jet subsidies, and other forms of corporate socialism. Our nation’s history proves otherwise. Everyone benefited when we built the interstate highway system. Likewise, when we enacted economic policies that favored higher taxes on those making over a million per year in today’s dollars, and when we initiated a Government-led program that put America back to work, everyone, including those at the very top benefitted. The result of this courageous leadership led to the introduction of social programs that were designed to rescue "we the people" from the grips of crony capitalism that brought on the great depression.
This was real courage, unlike the current “frame” being fed to the public about how Paul Ryan is being “courageous” for introducing his "austerity leads to prosperity" plan. If successful, Paul Ryan’s plan will result in forced "austerity" measures on all of us in order to continue the “path to prosperity,” but the path to prosperity is only for the privileged in America. For the rest, it is a path to poverty.
The right wing wants us to fear socialism, but we already have elements of both socialism and capitalism in the United States. Our elements of socialism might better be called social programs. When we take our grandmother to see her doctor about health concerns, we are embracing socialism in the form of the social program known as Medicare. When we drive on paved highways to pick up the medication for our grandmother, we are embracing a social program. When we send our disabled child to a local specialist, we are embracing a social program. When our parents use their earned benefits from a lifetime of work, we are embracing a retirement social program. When we serve in the Military, or care for the wounded veterans who have served our country in the past, we are embracing socialism in the form of mutual defense.
The right wing echo chamber has become so successful at convincing people to fear socialism that we often overlook the obvious benefits social programs provide to us and our own family members, not to mention those who actively serve in our armed forces. Many people do not think about socialism in this way. Too often we fail to effectively communicate the benefits of social programs, and fail to recognize that Social Security and Medicare are two of the most successful, cost-effective and popular “socialist” programs we ever.implemented.
We are led to believe that capitalism is good and socialism is bad. This message is coming primarily from those on the far right, of course, who actually benefit from socialism at the expense of everyone else. According to David Cay Johnston, corporate socialism is alive and well in the United States (see clip below). The problem is that it only applies to the privileged class, and not the rest of us. The trick for those born privileged is to privately benefit from socialism, while publicly demonizing it as a strategy to relieve the current economic crisis actually created by their immoral tax policies. In essence, they seek to privatize profits and socialize losses, which amount to taking from the many and redistributing it to the few, as explained by Johnston in the clip below.
Our elected representatives have a choice. They can decide to continue implementing the failed economic policies of the recent past that have led to crisis after crisis, and that only benefit the super-rich, or they can choose the economic policies that made this a country where everyone benefitted equally from the fruits of our labor. This would require real courage on behalf of our elected leaders to do what’s right! Not only for the sake of struggling families and putting Americans back to work, but to stimulate our economy and help achieve a happier and healthier society for all. We know that income equality is proven to lead to happier and healthier societies, and that income inequality has proven itself to lead to more poverty, crime, and a less happy, less healthy society. So what are our elected representatives waiting for? If ever there was a blueprint for courage this is it!
If we continue to pursue failed and immoral economic policies that strictly benefit the privileged in this country, then we are forced to inflict severe ‘austerity’ measures on everyone else. As we can see by the example in Greece, the austerity approach favored by Paul Ryan and backed by the GOP, is failing miserably. Instead, why not opt for an America that works together!