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'Socialism' Made America Great

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  • 'Socialism' Made America Great

    The GOP hopes the S-word will scare you, but great public works projects transformed this country for the better.

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    Construction workers employed by the Tennessee Valley Authority, 1942. (Photo: Shutterstock)

    From single-payer health care to climate change, the 2020 Democrats have ambitious plans. But these new, grand, and green deals aren’t as radical as some make them sound. In fact, big public projects are what made America great.

    When President Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower took office in 1953, America had been buffeted by the Great Depression of the 1930s and World War II in the 1940s. The Cold War put us in competition with Soviet “5-Year Plans” and Chinese “Great Leaps Forward.”

    Eisenhower was concerned that soldiers would return home to closing factories. So Ike pushed for massive infrastructure spending, creating the “Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways.”

    Congress funded a half-century of highway construction, building 47,000 miles—the biggest public works project in the history of the world. It cost $500 billion in today’s dollars, with 90 percent coming from Washington and 10 percent from the states.

    The interstate highways transformed America.

    In 1919, it took a month or more to drive cross-country; the record today is a little over 24 hours. Automobile ownership skyrocketed, gas sales jumped, motels mushroomed, the suburbs flourished, and malls were built. Construction companies, automakers, and oil companies flourished, too, along with their workers.

    There was a downside, of course. Rail and mass transit were marginalized, urban sprawl spread across the land, the daily commute grew longer, and our carbon footprint grew bigger, as multi-lane highways destroyed urban communities.

    Still, it puts lie to the chant that “the U.S. has never been a socialist country!” After all, we drive on socialist, government-owned roads.


    Meanwhile there’s almost universal support for Social Security, our government insurance. And half the country—including Medicare and Medicaid recipients, veterans, and federal elected officials — receives some form of socialist, government-funded health care.

    Consider also the Tennessee Valley Authority, a federally owned corporation created by Congress in 1933. Tennessee and five nearby states were devastated by poverty, hunger, and ill health. Only 1 percent of farm families had indoor plumbing, and about a third of the population in the valley had malaria.

    Starting in 1933, our taxes paid to build TVA power plants, flood control, and river navigation systems. In 1942 alone, the construction of 12 hydroelectric and one coal steam plant employed a total of 28,000 workers.

    Today the TVA is a federally-owned corporation with assets worth over $34 trillion, according to the SEC. And while Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rails against socialism, half of his constituents in Kentucky buy cheap, publicly produced TVA electricity. Free-market, for-profit, capitalist power states often pay twice as much.

    Like our highway system, we need to change our TVA to meet the challenges of climate change. But that means better priorities and more investment, not less.

    Federal taxes paid for the highways and the TVA, which are now supported by gas taxes and electric bills. In those years of great public works projects, the wealthy elite paid a much greater share of their income in taxes, with the highest marginal tax rate reaching 94 percent.

    Claiming that government is the problem, not the solution, administrations since the 1970s have reduced that top rate over and over. The 2017 tax law again reduced the top rate for billionaires, creating great fortunes for a few, and great national debt, but not great public works.

    Let’s get past the S-word—socialism—and have a real discussion on how to build an America that’s great for all of us.

    https://www.commondreams.org/views/2...MmMoPR0TZlr0c4

  • #2
    Good article. Thanks.

    It does take some thought to understand, and I trust several of the trumpistas will try their level best to continue to be stupid.
    Last edited by Paladin; 09-13-2019, 09:42 PM.

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    • #3
      When we rack up $25 trillion in government debt, we better have something great to show for it. It’s still more expensive and less efficient than the private sector.

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      • #4
        You guys still don't understand what socialism is. It's so f****** weird considering the internet is available to you.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Garcia Bronco View Post
          You guys still don't understand what socialism is. It's so f****** weird considering the internet is available to you.
          Do you?

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          • #6
            Government subsidized programs aren't socialism. Socialism is the abolition of private property and the nationalization of the means of production. Thus, the United States has never had socialism.

            If government programs are the definition of socialism, then the US is currently socialist and you drum-beating dimwits wouldn't have to try to win us over into moving into socialism, but of course, I already know that expecting a coherent, consistent political viewpoint from certain people on this forum is asking WAAAYYY too much.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Garcia Bronco View Post
              You guys still don't understand what socialism is. It's so f****** weird considering the internet is available to you.
              Some of them are idiots who have allergic reactions to dictionaries, and others know full well what it is, want it, and are trying to con people into supporting it by passing it off as something other than it really is.

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              • #8
                How Scandinavian Countries Pay for Their Government Spending

                High, but Flat Income and Payroll Taxes


                The United States’ top marginal income tax rate is higher than Norway’s and only 18 percent lower than Sweden’s, yet raises 40 percent less income and payroll tax revenue than Norway and 50 percent less than Sweden.

                Scandinavian income taxes raise a lot of revenue because they are actually rather flat. In other words, they tax most people at these high rates, not just high-income taxpayers. The top marginal tax rate of 60 percent in Denmark applies to all income over 1.2 times the average income in Denmark. From the American perspective, this means that all income over $60,000 (1.2 times the average income of about $50,000 in the United States) would be taxed at 60 percent.
                High Value-Added Taxes


                In addition to the high payroll and income taxes, all Scandinavian countries collect a significant amount of revenue from Value-added taxes (VATs). Value-added taxes are equivalent to sales taxes, but levied on businesses throughout the production process. As a tax on consumption, VATs are economically efficient: they can raise significant revenue with relatively less harm to the economy. However, many (especially in the United States) see VATs as a regressive tax because they fall more on those that spend a larger share of their income, mainly the poor.
                Business and Capital Taxes


                While Scandinavian countries raise a lot of revenue from individuals through the income tax, payroll taxes, and the Value-added tax, they don’t really raise much more revenue than the United States from capital and business taxes and don’t have much higher marginal rates on capital income. In fact, their marginal corporate income tax rates are much more competitive than the United States’ rate.


                Finally, it is worth noting that the only Scandinavian country with an estate or inheritance tax is Denmark.


                A lot of the spending-side programs in Scandinavian countries cost a lot. Taxes would definitely need to be increased in the United States if it were to adopt them. If the U.S. were to raise taxes in a way that mirrors Scandinavian countries, taxes—especially on the middle-class—would increase through a new VAT and high payroll and income taxes. Business and capital taxes wouldn’t necessarily increase, in fact, the marginal corporate income tax rate would decline significantly.

                https://taxfoundation.org/how-scandi...ment-spending/

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                • #9

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Arkie View Post
                    How Scandinavian Countries Pay for Their Government Spending

                    High, but Flat Income and Payroll Taxes
                    That's not socialism.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by nyuk nyuk View Post

                      That's not socialism.
                      I don’t care. I’m just pointing out how much more taxes the poor and middle class pay in taxes under the Nordic model. I know it’s popular to offer free stuff and point fingers at the rich and say they pay for it. That’s not reality and never has been.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by nyuk nyuk View Post

                        That's not socialism.
                        Yes, it is.

                        Not his fault you're too slow-witted to understand such basics.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by nyuKKK

                          Some of them are idiots who have allergic reactions to dictionaries, and others know full well what it is, want it, and are trying to con people into supporting it by passing it off as something other than it really is.
                          You're a gullible sucker who has fallen for corporatist propaganda and who has bought into fear mongering tactics.

                          That's why, when you hear "socialism," you can only associate the word with "Stalin" or "Venezuela."

                          It never occurs to brainless right-wing automatons like you that not all socialists are authoritarians.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by nyuKKK
                            Government subsidized programs aren't socialism.
                            Yes, they are.

                            Originally posted by nyuKKK
                            Socialism is the abolition of private property and the nationalization of the means of production.
                            More ill-informed, "black or white" binary thinking on your part.

                            1. It's possible to give some, but not all, industries over to the control of government. This can be done democratically.

                            2. Government control of specific industries doesn't require "the abolition of private property."

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by L.A. BRONCOS FAN View Post

                              Yes, it is.

                              Not his fault you're too slow-witted to understand such basics.
                              Yet again, the dictionary disagrees with you. Government programs from taxes from a private, capitalist economy are NOT socialism.

                              socialism

                              so·​cial·​ism | \ ˈsō-shə-ˌli-zəm
                              Definition of socialism

                              1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods

                              2a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property
                              b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state

                              3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done



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