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Socialism? I Don't Think So

The Earned Income Tax Credit is a refundable tax credit that gives money to low income workers.  It is paid for by the taxes paid by higher income earners.  Under John McCain's definition of such things, it's socialism.  The EITC was enacted in 1975 under Republican President Gerald Ford and vastly expanded by Ronald Reagan in 1986.  So under John McCain's definition of such things, Ford and Reagan were socialists.

Our entire system of taxation -- the progressive income tax -- is based on the notion that those who make the most pay more proportionally than do those at the bottom of the income scale.  This idea was first put forward by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations.  He wrote, "It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion." Under John McCain's definition of such things, Adam Smith, the father of modern capitalism, was a socialist.  The Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which established the federal income tax, had no greater champion than Theodore Roosevelt, John McCain's political hero.  Under McCain's definition of such things, Teddy Roosevelt was a socialist.

McCain's desperation is understandable at this stage of the campaign, and nothing Sarah Palin does can surprise me anymore.  But their demagoguery on this issue is disgusting.


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 30th, 2008 10:50 pm (UTC)
They're speaking to The Base. Which, let's face it, isn't all that GD intelligent to begin with.

He's just trying to bring out The Base on election day so he's not humiliated more than he's already going to be. Pathetic...which, of course, gives me a giggle.
Oct. 30th, 2008 11:45 pm (UTC)
Hope you're right. I'm cautiously optimistic, but I'm too superstitious to allow myself more than that.
Oct. 31st, 2008 12:58 pm (UTC)
Er...um...that is socialism. That's what socialism is. Taking money from one group and sharing it with another.

The odd thing about McCain decrying socialism is:

A) Most Democrats favor some socialism, so it is odd that he would think it would bother people...though I guess Republicans don't like it.

2) The current Republican government just nationalized 9 banks against their will...nationalized. That's COMMUNISM!!!

Kind of weird to be bashing socialism at the same moment that your party is moving into communism. If the Democrats have to take American back to Capitalism from Communism...that's just weird.

Re: Sarah Palin...I just wish I were seeing more clips of the real Palin and less of Tina Fey. Fey's funny, but I find I'm beginning to get the two confused...and if that's happening to me, it's probably happening to a lot of people!
Oct. 31st, 2008 03:55 pm (UTC)
Sorry, Jagi, but progressive taxation is NOT Socialism. Socialism is an economic and political system that advocates collective or government ownership and control of the means of production and distribution of goods. It's a system that recognizes no private property, that collectivizes everything. That is a far cry from progressive taxation and income credits for the working poor. On the other hand, the Bush Administration's nationalization of the banks is socialism, so what you have here is John McCain supporting socialism for the wealthy and capitalism for the poor.
Oct. 31st, 2008 05:12 pm (UTC)
Sorry to diagree, but Barack Obama has gone on record several times supporting forced governmental redistribution of wealth. That is socialist.

The belief that it is ok for the governemnt to decide when you make too much money and when to take it from you and give it to the poor, is also socialist.

When Barack Obama says that he is sorry that the Courts did not do more to establish a Redistributative Policy after WWII, that is socialist.

When Biden and Obama say that it your Patriotic duty to pay MORE in taxes, that is socialist.
Oct. 31st, 2008 05:18 pm (UTC)
>When Biden and Obama say that it your Patriotic duty to pay MORE in taxes, that is socialist.

I do not agree with this last point.

Paying higher or lower taxes does not make a country socialistic. It's what they do with the taxes. If you paid really high taxes, but it was all used for the basic functions of government...that would not be socialism.

If your taxes were low, but the money was being redistributed, that would be socialism.
Oct. 31st, 2008 05:54 pm (UTC)
But where do the basic functions of government begin and end, Jagi? Is the Earned Income Tax Credit a basic function? And before you answer that it's not, doesn't a government in today's world have a responsibility to those who are least able to take care of themselves? Is there a national interest in providing health insurance for those who can't afford it on their own? Doesn't it save the rest of us money? Doesn't it help our economy? Shouldn't it be the basic function of government to promote the arts and science? The ancient Greeks believed it was; why don't we? I think if we were to put in place a purely capitalist system in this country people would be shocked by how harsh it was, by how many people would be left behind.
Oct. 31st, 2008 05:43 pm (UTC)
It IS your patriotic duty to pay taxes!!! (Not to mention the fact that progressive taxation is the law of the land!) Why is it that conservatives who scream about ridiculous pseudo-patriotism issues like flag pins can't seem to grasp that living in a great country like ours means paying for that privilege?! If you don't accept the idea that the government has the right -- the responsibility -- to tax in a progressive way so that those with the greatest means pay the greatest proportion, then you are out of step with every national Administration since 1916 -- Republican and Democratic. That is the way we fund our government, and it's far more just and humane and fair than any so-called "Fair Tax". Ronald Reagan thought so; John Kennedy thought so; FDR thought so. Barack Obama thinks so. The only people who don't seem to understand this are John McCain, Sarah Palin, and their supporters. You can call it socialist all you like, but that doesn't make it true. Unless we've been living in a socialist nation for the past 92 years.

And what Barack Obama said was that the Civil Rights movement relied too heavily on the courts and failed to fight harder for legislative initiatives that would have had a more redistributive effect. He NEVER said anything about the courts doing more to redistribute wealth. Read the quote -- not the Drudge Report/McCain Campaign distortion of his words, but the actual quote.
Oct. 31st, 2008 05:13 pm (UTC)
>advocates collective or government ownership and control of the means of production and distribution of goods. It's a system that recognizes no private property, that collectivizes everything.

Technically, that is called Communism (though often the two words are used interchangably.)

John often argues that the word socialism does not mean anything, because it is just used as a mask for what is really Communism. I asked my economist friend about this, and she said that, at least among her economist crowd, socialism is used for smaller things...like redistributing wealth through tax credits or welfare. So, under her definition, it would be socialism.

Just to make it clear...taxing the rich more is not socialism...giving money directly to the poor from the government is socialism.

It's clearly not Communism, thought...but forcing banks to sell shares to the government IS Communism. It bothers me that there as not been a bigger outcry about this. Especially as one of those nine banks was not in financial trouble! I wish one of the candidates would come out and denounce this, but if they have, I haven't caught it.

Edited at 2008-10-31 05:15 pm (UTC)
Oct. 31st, 2008 05:45 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm working from the Merriam-Webster's 11th edition and as much respect as I have for you and John, I think I'll stick with that as my source for definitions of such things.... ;)
Oct. 31st, 2008 06:23 pm (UTC)
That's fair enough. ;-)

Oct. 31st, 2008 06:40 pm (UTC)
Alas, if I answered, I would be venturing out into the territory I abandonned when I withdrew from politics. I used to have opinions on this matter, rabid opinions that I would try to shove down people's throats given any oportunity. I think I really hurt my dad that way, and he passed on before I learned my error.

Nowadays, I try to appreciate other people's thoughts and to not argue about these things myself. Sometimes, I forget...the meaning of Socialism has been hotly debated around here recently, so it was on my mind...but I try to hold out. I feel it's much more important to listen to what friends think on these subjects than to mouth off.

So, I will withdraw from this subject, and, hopefully, you will grant me the right to do so with the same compassion and pity as a person refraining from offering a drink to a former alcoholic. ;-)

Oct. 31st, 2008 07:14 pm (UTC)
Of course. I asked the questions out of a desire for a courteous exchange with someone I respect. If my questions came across as discourteous or in any way "in-your-face" forgive me.
Oct. 31st, 2008 09:01 pm (UTC)
No, no! Not at all! I was impressed by the kindness and compassion conveyed in your thought.

It is just that I have learned that I either need many hours to discuss these subjects , or I fall back into the habit of saying pithy things and frothing at the mouth...neither of which accomplish anything. ;-)

Maybe, sometime over coffee. ;-)
Oct. 31st, 2008 09:22 pm (UTC)
Sounds good to me.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )


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