Socialism Comes at the Cost of Individual Freedom

Socialism is the racket that over promises and under delivers, but when it inevitably fails to keep its promises, it comes at the cost of individual freedom.

April 30, 2018

By: Bobby Casey, Managing Director GWP

Socialism cost is freedomCapitalists are often admonished for being heartless and uncaring because they flatly reject socialist solutions to economic and social problems. It’s not that we disagree on the identity of the problem. In fact, we are often in agreement.

Capitalists don’t thrive on ignorance, violence and poverty. It’s the epitome of laziness to presume that if there is disagreement on the solution then someone simply doesn’t care.

I believe socialists do care, but their solutions are proven, time and again to fail. Republican or Democrat, the mere idea that bad things can be prevented through codification is either hubris gone amok or economic ignorance. It’s no wonder libertarians liken statism to a religion. Statists truly do believe that if government writes it into law that is tantamount to God speaking it into the universe.

Look at prohibition. Thou shalt not drink alcohol! Thou shalt not smoke the devil’s lettuce! Thou shalt not possess certain firearms! More people die from these policies and their subsequent moral hazards than were intended to be saved. Yet statists insist we are better off with these laws than without.

Only last week we showed what licensure laws do to the least among us trying to get ahead. Thou shalt seek the permission of thine Government to engage in commerce!

All in the name of safety, law, and order. Freedom is the price we pay for a civilized society, I guess.

Remember Franklin Roosevelt’s “Second Bill of Rights”? The one that Bernie Sanders is trying to exhume from the grave and resurrect?

Every American Has the Right to:

  1. A Job
  2. An Adequate Wage and Decent Living
  3. A Decent Home
  4. Medical Care
  5. Economic Protection During Sickness, Accident, Old Age, or Unemployment
  6. A Good Education

These read more like ambitions than rights. It’s perfectly logical for everyone to want this for themselves and for others. But by virtue of existing, they are not entitled to them. Every individual has the right to legitimately access these things. Whosoever prevents them from doing so, would then be the criminal.

For example, the UK has guaranteed universal healthcare offered through its National Health Service (NHS), but how did that go for Alfie Evans? If healthcare is a right, then why deny him access to FREE care in Italy? Is this what healthcare as a “right” looks like? Right to ACCESS would not have prohibited that boy from getting the care he was offered in Italy. Right to care provided at the discretion of the state, clearly did.

Everyone laughed when Sarah Palin addressed the issue of “death panels” in socialized care, and yet here we have a case of rationed care determined by courts and enforced by state police.

Who is the arbiter of what is “adequate”, “decent”, or “good”? That’s like “Hope and Change” or “Make America Great Again”. Is there a consensus as to what any of that really amounts to? And to what standard any of this is held?

Was what Alfie Evans got considered “adequate”, “decent”, or “good”? The UK NHS model is trotted out as the paragon for compassionate socialized medicine. Except if it deems your case doesn’t qualify.

The reality is that the NHS is insolvent. So much so that it was hiding its cuts and austerity measures from the public. And to criticize it is tantamount to spitting on the flag in the US. Are people only looking for the illusion of care? Or are they looking for actual care? People aren’t getting the care they need from the NHS. They are simply admitted into hospital. That might be the only difference between there and the US: you might not get admitted in a US hospital. But the outcome might very well be the same in the end!

Venezuela has all of FDR’s enumerated rights in its constitution, but how well are they doing right now? If you read just Title 3 and its six chapters, it’s the transcripts of FDR’s dream. But look at the ACTUAL conditions in Venezuela now. Several presidents in succession… all of whom professed these ideals… none of whom managed to carry it out with any amount of success.

I can hear the cries now: “That’s not real socialism!”

Socialism Lite is far more disastrous than Capitalism Lite, though. You give the market just an inch of rope and people see the benefits. Were it not for the black market in Venezuela, in fact, you would see far MORE starvation and desperation.

The truth is, the US has thrown good money after bad in the TRILLIONS trying to get there from here, and has failed miserably. Bernie Sanders isn’t the only one. Andrew Yang is planning a 2020 run for the US presidency on the promise of a guaranteed $1,000 per month income for all Americans.

He sees technology is the real job robber. What’s odd is that there is more technology NOW than there was during the Great Depression. There are demonstrably more people now (323.1 million) than there were during the Great Depression (122.8 million), but the US unemployment rate is considerably LOWER now (4.1%) than it was during the Great Depression (25%). How does that prove that technology took the jobs?

(Frederic Bastiat had a few choice words to defend occupations supplanted by innovation in his open letter to the French Parliament on behalf of the candlestick makers.)

If anything, technology created jobs. New jobs that never existed before. If technology was a straight replacement of manpower, then the expectations would be the same, only we’d be getting things from a machine rather than a person. But that’s not what happened. When technology demonstrated that work could get done faster, demand went UP with expectations for faster turn arounds likewise going UP.

Yang’s solution is funded by a “simple value added tax” or VAT. Simple? There’s another word that doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. California bumped up the fuel tax back in November of 2017. I wonder if any of the brain trust in Sacramento realized they were essentially funding infrastructure on the backs of the working class? A simple fuel tax hike!

National average per gallon cost of gasoline in the US is $2.55. California is nearly a dollar higher than the national average coming in at $3.51. Arizona is coming in at nearly $0.31 lower than the national average at $2.24.

Arizona has a pretty bad poverty rate, but when adjusted for cost of living, California is the title holder for the highest poverty rate in the union.

If California is supposed to be the more compassionate state, why does it build itself at the cost of the very class of people it purports to defend? Sales and fuel taxes are cost of living taxes that make life LESS affordable for people. This came on the heels of their governor blowing billions on a rail system that might never be completed in your grandchildren’s lifetimes!

Yang plans to give everyone $1,000 per month and that will be funded through a sales tax. But why not just let people keep their money then? Why charge them at the point of sale only to redistribute it back to them? Why do people pay federal income taxes only to have it redistributed back to the states? Why not just let people keep that money if it’s going back to a local cause?

It’s not that capitalism lacks compassion. It’s that there is no collective presumption on what constitutes “adequate”, “decent”, or “good”. Socialism doesn’t lack compassion. It just lacks economic sense. You can’t simply write a check and make bad things go bye-bye. Nor is there a cookie-cutter solution to large issues such as poverty, ignorance, or violence. Their causes are often economically linked, and the free market stands a better chance at solving those things than some silver-bullet socialist policy.

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6 thoughts on “Socialism Comes at the Cost of Individual Freedom”

  1. Dave Brunskill

    Want to say a couple of things.
    First, Venezuela – The author fails to mention that the CIA has been very active in Venezuela since the 50s making sure that FDR’s enumerated rights never get a chance to succeed, ever. They do this using very established techniques.
    Second, to believe that the US unemployment rate is considerably LOWER now (4.1%) to be actually true is… well…. silly. The equations used today are a far cry from reality. If the math were done now as it was during the Great Depression, the unemployment numbers today I am sure would be well north of where they were during the Great Depression. We are already, after all, in the Greater Depression.

    1. Kelly Diamond

      CIA involvement notwithstanding, both Chavez and Maduro have made decisions that put Venezuela on the fast track to destitution. I don’t deny that the CIA has been involved. And I’m also the first to criticize sanctions as an act of war on the part of the US. But, state run oil… by people who don’t understand how the oil industry works? Wild and out of control inflation? Malfeasance, corruption, and general ineptitude? All while Maduro grows fat on empenadas? Come on… That’s not the CIA. That’s the leaders/dictators. That’s the folly of central planning. They put all their economic eggs in the oil basket and had no Plan B when oil prices went down. Economies are like investment portfolios: you diversify, so that in the event of one investment flopping, you have others to keep you afloat. One trick pony economies run this risk… the same as one stock portfolios.

      As for unemployment numbers, I’m fine to reject the 4.1% U3 number and go with the 8% U6 number. The U6 numbers consider unemployment to include people who are working but not where they’d like, not for as many hours as they’d like… that’s rather generous. It still doesn’t explain the ratio and proportions of technology and joblessness. Especially when you consider the jobs that remain vacant. Depressions have a definitional criteria as do recessions. My understanding is that we do not currently meet that criteria, but certainly with Trump’s trade and tariff policies we can get there quickly.

  2. I absolutely abhor socialism and all of it’s sister philosophies (communism, facism, etc.) But we have to honest about where America is today. I am a big believer in capitalism and free enterprise. However, what we have in America is not capitalism, it is crony capitalism. The gap between the rich and poor is ever widening. I’m not suggesting just keep raising taxes on the wealthy, but we have to figure out a way of making the playing field even. Poverty, crime, these things aren’t the REAL PROBLEM in America. Until we solve the two biggest problems currently facing America, nothing else matters. The two biggest problems in America are the following; the gap between the rich and poor is ever widening and is almost to the point of beyond repair and politicians and the bureaucracy have too much power of the population. They make laws that don’t apply to them and they make laws that essentially make problems worse. . I’m not suggesting just keep raising taxes on the wealthy, but we have to figure out a way of making the playing field even.

    1. Kelly Diamond

      The two problems you cited — increased wealth disparities and a too powerful bureaucracy — are inextricably linked. The latter precipitates the former. It’s an observable fact that there were is less regulation on business, there is more vertical and dynamic movement between socioeconomic levels. US regulations are supposedly imposed for safety, but I have found that the ones best protected are the establishment members of the industry from would-be competitors. I don’t know if there is any other solution than to free the market, because even under the most altruistic and benevolent circumstances public funds rarely effectively reach the ones they are intended to help. Just look at public education! The US ranks as the highest spending nation in the developed world on education, with the exception of Switzerland, but our performance is tragic. Why? Children are freezing in Baltimore schools in the winter time due to no heat. Why? Teachers salaries remain the same. Why? Not for lack of funds, but rather misappropriation and malfeasance. Who gets that money? Contractors, bureaucrats and administrators. Same goes for healthcare. The wealth disparity is a direct result of a bloated government. So really there’s just the one problem: government. :)

  3. You only used Britain as an example for socialized medical care. Try france, Denmark, Norway, and the dozens of other countries where socialist medical care is the best in the world, by far AND the people have much more freedom than anywhere in America…I know, I lived in france for 30 years and comparing it with the usa, it is far ahead by light years, with America coming in a laughable last place for an industrialized nation. And don’t even try talking about america being civilized, it is not at all…should I be more specific as to why? Just read the news for your next story on police murdering their own citizens…then get back to me…

    1. I guess it depends on who you speak with, because I do have friends in Denmark who were sent through a bureaucratic maze just to get a back scan and waitlisted for months. I don’t think his anguish would permit him to say it was the “best in the world”. Japan has socialized care as well… and they are slipping into insolvency whereby requiring its constituents to rely more on the private sector and private insurance supplementation. But why not just look at the national healthcare programs in the US. No reluctance to criticize the US here, so by all means, LET’S! The VA programs and the Native American Reservations are both contracted to receive federal medical coverage. Yet, the US has veterans dying in their hallways, and the reservations have a saying “Don’t get sick after June” (<-- Google that phrase; it's abhorrent what you'll find). Alfie Evans happens to be a current issue which highlights the darker side of socialized care. I lived in Japan and Australia and never needed a doctor. I've lived in the US and only needed a doctor a handful of times. My out of pocket costs for medical care to date aren't that high no matter where I've lived, largely because I'm a generally healthy person. Healthcare doesn't really start to become an issue until you are diagnosed with a terminal illness or a disease that needs a lifetime of maintenance like Lupis or Diabetes. The French are healthier than the average American. But that aside, the French system does utilize private insurance as a supplement to the socialized care. YOU might not have partaken as you might not have needed it, but it is a common practice. France also engages in price fixing. One of the MAJOR cost factors of US medicine is tort. The US is a litigious country. At this stage of the game, the US is in some messy quasi socialized healthcare situation. French physicians make half of what American physicians make, and still there is a shortage of physicians in the US as many going into medicine prefer specialized medicine (I guess plastic surgery and oncology pay the medical school bills faster?). I assume that in addition to heavily subsidized healthcare there is heavily subsidized education as well? France has a pricy healthcare system... though not AS HIGH as the US. But roll in the cost of education for these doctors and practitioners and perhaps you might get there because US premiums and costs are paying off the student loans of most doctors as well. Insurance created a faucet of care that leads to overuse. If the US was free to tier the health insurance offerings as it does with car insurance, you'd see premiums plummet and a lot more out of pocket remittance as well as fewer people in the emergency room for paltry things like the sniffles. Income taxes in France are preposterous which is precisely how France affords the care it gives. And even for as liberal as Hollande was, he knew austerity measures were an inevitability. Macron will likely succumb to it as well. Europe has some things right, like it's tort systems. But I find it interesting that whenever things get economically hairy, the fix is a movement away from government control, and toward private and individual control. What else is austerity but exactly that? And that is THE solution to everything that ails the EU right now. You're paying one way or another. It's just a matter of over how much time and how. The difference between the socialized method and private method is: only people who need the care pay for it. Those who are healthy don't. It wasn't until the ACA rolled out that my health costs skyrocketed. Before that, I had some low level catastrophic insurance and then paid out of pocket for the little things I needed. Now I have to pay for high level health insurance regardless of whether I need it. Did this blog really read as an advocacy of American exceptionalism or excellence? I cannot find where this blog extolls the virtues of the US in any way, so it's odd you came away thinking that this was some how favorably biased toward the US. Aaaand then you shift to police brutality? Certainly an issue in the US, I 100% agree... and likewise a nasty byproduct of socialism. But I'm not seeing how that is relevant.

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