Gimme, gimme, gimme! Socialist country? Gimme a break.
The truth is, everybody wants government services. Or at least the government services that benefit them. The problem is, too many of us want somebody else to pay for it. Gimme something for nothing.
Which of these “Socialist” benefits do these negative alarmists wish to relinquish? Interstate highway system? Public safety agencies? Public schools? How about the Food and Drug Administration? Do we really want to play Russian roulette every time we buy a bottle of aspirin or a can of soup? Even with the watchdog agencies there are enough problems. There are scammers on every corner it seems. Take one down and another, even cleverer, thief pops up.
And too many wealthy conservatives seem to resent having to pay taxes so that we can have things like child protective services or assistance for the poor and elderly. How many of these smug naysayers would really be willing to step over a sick child or elderly person in the street? Don’t laugh. It’s quite common in Third World or developing countries.
They muddy the issue by decrying “income redistribution.” No rational person suggests that rich people shouldn’t be rich. Pretty much everybody would like to at least be comfortable and have some security. And with, of course, some wild-eyed exceptions, most of us don’t mind if you’re rich. Most of you probably worked very hard to get that way. We applaud your achievements.
But what these people don’t seem to realize is that in tolerating a society full of have-nots we, in effect, eventually kill the goose. No golden egg.
Aside from that, who would not agree that that tolerance is at odds with a moral, not to say Christian, society? When we toss around terms (probably for which many don’t even know the accurate definition) like Socialist, we’re throwing up a straw man. Socialism, by its strictest definition incidentally, is an economic system, not a political one. It doesn’t mean the government owns everything.
It simply refers to the notion that the community can come together and provide services that individuals alone cannot.
These people who are willing to have cutbacks in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other benefit programs rather than see the well-off pay a few more percentage points in federal taxes are simply not being rational.
And the notion of “job-creators” not hiring because they have to pay a little more income tax, is, quite bluntly, sheer nonsense. Business owners hire based on customer demand, not just because they want some extra people around with whom to shoot the breeze. (Whoopee! My taxes are down. I think I’ll go out and get some more clerks just for the heck of it.)
He or she or the corporation only pay taxes on net profit. You don’t pay taxes on the money you pay labor.
The bottom line is, when we can create, or at least aim for, an ethical, compassionate community, we all benefit.
Libby Davis worked for the Rockdale Citizen for 20 years as publisher before retiring in 1997. She is also an award winning columnist and editorial writer and occasional contributor to Georgia Trend magazine.