Oleg Atbashian, writer and graphic artist from the former USSR, talks about his experiences with socialism on American Thinker. He makes an entertaining observation. While socialists rail against the inequities of capitalism, they actually depend upon it to provide the material needs of the people under their thumbs. In certain Marxist countries you can see that a particular stage of world economic development has been captured and locked in place. It's as if time has been frozen at the moment socialist "enlightenment" has been achieved.
"Capitalism just keeps churning out all these new products, which our increasingly socialist government then declares "human rights" and taxes these very producers in order to provide their products to the people for free.
Some call it harmonious coexistence, but there's a catch. The more the socialist government expands its functions by guaranteeing an ever expanding number of "human rights," the more it needs to tax capitalist producers, which undercuts their ability to develop, manufacture, and market new products. Once they reach a tipping point when capitalism is no longer viable, this will also end the propagation of "human rights" in the form of new goods and services.
Socialism conserves the stage in which the society existed at the time it was overtaken. Cubans still drive American cars from the 1950s, North Koreans still dress in the fashions of the same bygone era, and in the USSR I grew up in a government-owned house that was taken from the rich and given to the needy in 1920s and remained without indoor plumbing or running water and with ancient electrical wiring until it was condemned and demolished in 1986."
Socialism is quite the rage these days, especially on college campuses, where it has become a religion. It's a path to salvation for its advantaged and pampered followers as they preach its gospel of enforced racial and gender fairness, and income equality. Feel the Berne. It's been the experience of Mr. Atbashian and millions of others, though, that socialism never quite works to the benefit of the people who have to live it. The fact is, socialism can't possibly live up to its promises.
Yet that there are a great many who think of socialists as well meaning reformers, good-hearted people, who are maybe just a little bit blinded to the the greater benefits of capitalism because of a sad preoccupation with some minor transient flaw. Caught up in the fervor of reform, well-meaning socialists are somehow blind to the failure of their theories. Or maybe they just can't bring themselves to admit that they might be wrong.
I would say that this somewhat widely held view gives socialists way too much credit for altruism, more than they ever deserve. In fact, I think it's becoming evident to more and more people that in the U.S. our socialist elites are really a capitalists at heart. They are capitalists who sell socialist pipe dreams. They rely on the force of government to make, break, or bend the rules to help them steal "market share" in profitable private sector industries whenever and wherever possible. A prime example is Obama's recent hostile takeover of the health insurance industry.
In this case the socialist idea of a "right" to health care evolved into a "right" to health insurance. Recently we got a real world reminder of how our new right to health insurance has panned out . A Democratic voter at a recent CNN sponsored presidential town hall asked Hillary Clinton what she could do about ObamaCare rate increases.
"Teresa O’Donnell, an office coordinator from Powell, Ohio, told Clinton that, like many Americans, her premiums have skyrocketed under Obamacare:
'I have voted for Obama, and then my health insurance skyrocketed from $409 a month to $1,090 a month for a family of four. I know Obama told us that we would be paying a little more, but doubling -- over doubling my health insurance cost has not been a little more. It has been difficult to come up with that kind of payment every month. I would like to vote Democratic, but it's cost me a lot of money, and I'm just wondering if Democrats really realize how difficult it's been on working class Americans to finance Obama care.'
In this correspondent’s experience, $1,090 for a family of four is actually low by ObamaCare’s jacked-up rates, and not representative of what many families are facing. Obama actually promised lower premiums under his scheme."
Hillary had a hard time with the answer. In fact, she really didn't have one, not that you would expect her to. Eventually someone will have to have an answer, because Ms. O'Donnell's experience is not an aberration. Rates have gone up, Obama's insurance exchanges are going broke, there are still millions left uninsured, and predictions are that things will get worse.
Now let's look one of the prime architects of ObamaCare and how he made out from it. He is the MIT health care economist Jonathan Gruber who achieved notoriety when he was recorded saying that it took “the stupidity of the American voter” to get ObamaCare legislation passed. That went over well, but no worries. Here's how Mr. Gruber made out on ObamaCare, according to Deroy Murdock writing in National Review.
"So far, the health-care economist has received at least $5,886,150 in taxpayer-funded health-care-consulting fees, mainly from the federal government. This bonanza includes:
- $103,500 from the U.S. Department of State
- $392,000 from the state of Minnesota
- $392,600 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources
- $400,000 from the state of Vermont
- $400,000 from the state of Wisconsin
- $481,050 from the state of Michigan
- $1,730,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice (that medical hotbed)
- $2,050,000 from the U.S. National Institutes of Health"
Not too bad. Well, the public sector route has proven to be the easier path for many of today's fortune seeking entrepreneurs. For one thing, by cashing in on hostile government takeovers they never have to worry about customer satisfaction. At least, not for actual customers. Typically, as soon as the government takes over there is no longer a need to satisfy the people who actually have to use the services. The only customer of importance is the government, which is most happily satisfied when it can spend money, lots and lots of money. ObamaCare, with its costs of design, implementation, subsidies, and exchanges, fills the bill.
However, as ObamaCare has demonstrated, government takeovers can be, and often are, total disasters for the people that are forced to use them and the people who have to pay for them. And that's a feature not a bug. Failures require congressional committees to study them. Committees hire consultants and staff, and they inevitably come up with solutions that call for more government control, perhaps through creation a new federal agency. Or maybe they'll identify a new takeover target, perhaps a satellite to the now federalized industry, one that the committee decides is guilty of cheating the American people and is thus pushing up costs.
In all cases, in whatever solution for whatever problem, tax payer money flows and flows, and our socialist entrepreneurs get richer and richer. And naturally they vote for the party that wants more government, the Democrats.
But is it for the greater good as our socialist invariably claim? Is it for the good of the country? Is it good for anybody who doesn't happen to have the proper connections? Not for my money, and not according to Oleg Atbashian, either. He lived it, and he would know.
Read his entire essay. It's well worth the time.