So-called ‘socialist’ programs have benefitted many; Thomas M. Finch; Beaver County Times; March 1, 2019.
The BCT has published at least 71 letters from Mr. Finch (TMF) since December 2004. At least 31 of these letters were anti-Bush and/or anti-Republican and they never disappoint. Here is one example. You can find the remaining Finch letters I critiqued in the critique archives. As usual, this letter is little more than a string of leftist talking points. I wish he could get a regular column in the BCT. I also wish he could get at least five minutes per day on a local radio and/or TV station. The most recent Finch letters I reviewed were “Opposing Trump’s wall is a noble endeavor,” “Democrats want immigration reform, not a wall,” “Time to wake up,” “Rothfus has done nothing; Lamb deserves a chance,” “Don’t believe what Republicans are selling,” “Trump got played; America got nothing,” “Truth may be disagreeable, but it’s not ‘fake news,’” “How can we support such an inept president,” “‘Trumpcare’ means lousy coverage, higher premiums” and “Trump doesn’t deserve to be admired, supported.”
Below is a review of the subject letter.
“Reading James Hoover’s letter regurgitating Trump’s lies and rhetoric about the ‘emergency’ of illegal immigration - which is at its lowest levels in years - can be easily dismissed as just Faux News propaganda. But saying, ‘ … like socialism, (it) never benefits a country’ was an example of the libelous fear-mongering and ignorance that conservative Republicans do best. Nothing scares a conservative more than the specter of a liberal, socialist government taxing the rich to benefit the poor and needy. However, billion-dollar bailouts of corporations are not socialism. Huh?”
[RWC] As most ideological/political “isms,” there is no single definition of communism, conservatism, liberalism, and socialism, and TMF didn’t provide his definitions.
In socialist countries, the government owns and operates a country’s businesses. As a result, I’m not sure the term “bailout” applies to failing businesses in a socialist country.
“Billion-dollar bailouts of corporations are not” capitalism; they are scams. Short of actions brought on by government, failed businesses should be left to die.
“I would like to point out 10 ‘socialist programs’ that we benefit from:”
[RWC] If you make it to the end of TMF’s list, you’ll find only the final two are socialism.
TMF appears to have a different definition of socialism than I’ve seen before. TMF seems to think every government activity is socialism.
“1. Our military defense. The largest socialist program ever, but it keeps us safe and free.
“2. 24/7 police and fire protection. They come to your aid whether you pay taxes or not.
“3. Our highways and roads. You drive on them every day.
“4. The USPS. Your mail is delivered for pennies.
“5. The CIA and FBI. Enough said.
“6. Farm subsidies. Government money keeps food plentiful.”
[RWC] Is that why Pennsylvania has a minimum milk price?
If anyone thinks the purpose of farm bills was ever to “keep food plentiful,” he/she needs to do some research.
There is no such thing as “Government money;” it’s our money via our taxes.
“7. The polio vaccine. Dr. Salk gave his cure to the government to use for everyone instead of selling it to ‘Big Pharma’ to profit from.”
[RWC] An urban myth. According to a New York Times story, “in an interview after the Ann Arbor conference, [Edward R.] Murrow asked Salk, ‘Who owns the patent on this vaccine?’ Salk magnanimously replied: ‘Well, the people, I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?’
“In fact, there was nothing to patent. Even if there had been, researchers were not allowed rights and royalties for discoveries made with National Foundation money.” [The NFfIP is now known as the March of Dimes.]
“Other polio researchers found this kind of grandstanding intolerable. They have never forgiven Salk for the Time cover, for the photo spreads in Life, for allowing himself to become Basil O’Connor’s poster boy.”
“8. The EPA. You think you’ll live long without clean air and water?”
[RWC] TMF appears to forget President Richard Nixon plus Congress established the EPA.
“9. Social Security. Hated by the GOP since FDR, covered by payroll taxes - so rich people don’t even pay into it.”
[RWC] There’s plenty of reason to “hate” SS; in FDR’s own words, SS was “politics all the way through … With those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap my social security program.”
“Rich people don’t even pay into it?” It depends on your definition of “rich” and the type of income. Please read my paper “Socialist Security and Medicare.”
If you have wage income, that stops when you retire. The stated purpose of SS is to boost your retirement income so you don’t live in poverty. If you expect to live on SS alone, you are planning to live in poverty.
The Maximum Taxable Earnings Amount (MTEA) for 2019 is $132,900 and it increases every year by law.
Whether you’re “rich” or not, if your income comes from capital gains, dividends, interest, and so on, you pay no SS taxes because your income doesn’t stop when you retire.
“10. Medicare. A lifesaver for the elderly.”
[RWC] Unlike SS, Medicare has no MTEA. Whether your wages are $10,000/year or $1,000,000/year, Medicare takes 2.9% of your family’s paychecks, and that’s only before you retire. If you think Medicare is “free” after you retire, you have a big surprise coming.
“If you benefit from any of these programs, then I guess you’re a ‘socialist.’”
[RWC] I heard a similar accusation on a radio talk show. Remember, the feds confiscate 15.3% (SS + Medicare) of your family’s paycheck for about 50 years. How many of us are like TMF who apparently can afford to throw away their SS and Medicare benefits to make a point?
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