Thursday, March 24, 2016

How we got here

Donald Trump says what Republican politicians and propagandists have been saying for years. That's why he's leading in the Republican Party. Duh! It's no coincidence.


jeff725 said...


This is pretty long-winded, so bear with me. I hope my thoughts aren't too much of a jumbled mess.

Got into a debate with my doctor the other day about the upcoming election. He's old, white, and fairly wealthy. There's about a 99% chance he's Republican.

My doctor said he isn't too keen on Trump and all Hillary does is "tell lies." I brought up Bernie Sanders. At first, the doctor was complimetary of Bernie being sincere in his views, then he went into Republican-talking-point mode and started poking at Sanders' "socialist utopia."

He tried to "gotcha-question" me when he said "name one country where socialism actually worked." I mentioned the countries of Western Europe. As you know, Sanders always cites the Scandanavian countries where the welfare-state actually works. The doctor cited Greece (notice how Republicans point out the worst rather than the best).

It's no secret that Greece's economy has been in the crapper for many years. I've read that the rest of Europe refers to it as "the sick old man." There are many reasons for Greece's economic woes. I'm guessing one of the reasons this could be is from a piece"60 Minutes" did on Greece many years ago. Apparently, tax evasion is practically the national pastime over there. If you eat at a restaurant or buy something in a shop, they INSIST on cash-only payment. And if you want a receipt for your purchase, heh-heh-heh...rots of ruck. Can't have a paper-trail now, can we?

The doctor's reasoning for Greece's problems is they became too DEPEDENT and lost their INCENTIVE (translation: the "moochers" and "takers" bit).

Hell, hearing it from him, anyone in Greece or Western Euprope that uses the social safety net is a lazy layabouts and the rest of "us" who work are being taxed into destitution to pay for it ("how much of MY money are THEY entitled to").

I'll probably never get to travel overseas in my lifetime. But from where I stand, Western Europe hardly strikes me as "destitute." I think you said you lived in Germany for several years, so maybe you could provide some perspective.

After mentally digesting what my doctor said, I find myself circling back to a fundemental question I've had rolling around in my head: What makes 'Murica so right and the rest of the Western economic powers so wrong in terms of having a generous social safety net?

In hindsight, when the doctor said "name one country where socialism acually worked," I could have reflexively replied, "name one country where capitalism actually worked." 'Murica, you say, Doctor? REALLY? OK, let's take a look at that.

Bill, as evidence, I present my hometown of Beatrice. If you ever get the time, drive the 40 miles down Highway 77 and take a good, long look this rat-hole I call a home.

My family moved to Beatrice in 1973. To this day, the population is still stuck on 12,000. I thought capitalism was about "growth?" Beatrice consists mainly of closed-up factories, dollar stores, and (of course) Wal-Mart. You can't fling a dead cat without hitting a convenience store stocked with plenty of beer and smokes. And the residential areas have alot of "For Sale" signs in the front lawns.

Capitalism at it's finest. 'Murica, F**K YEAH!!

WCG said...

and all Hillary does is "tell lies."

To me, Jeff, that's an example of how well Republican propaganda works. Even many Democrats buy that, after two decades of relentless Republican attacks.

If Bernie Sanders wins the nomination, he'll face the same sort of thing, only in a much shorter time-frame. His approval rating will go down. But how much? It's really hard to tell, isn't it?

the doctor said "name one country where socialism actually worked,"

That's easy, Jeff: America.

Public schools are socialism. I mean, that's just one example of many, of course. But public schools are definitely socialism.

We're not very good socialists in that respect, I suppose. There are vast differences between school districts, since we're not even willing to see that all of America's children get a decent education. But just because we haven't been very good at it, that doesn't mean it's not socialism.

And I think your doctor should realize that even Greece is capitalistic, too. I mean, we're not talking about capitalism vs socialism, not really. We're just talking about varying amounts of each, applied in different ways.

Your doctor seems to have a bumper-sticker mind. Reality isn't that simplistic. But then, economics probably isn't his area of expertise. Let's hope that medicine is. :)

jeff725 said...

I just remembered a couple of more places where socialism works in America:

1: Nebraska. We're the only state that has public, non-profit electricity.

2: The NFL. Equal TV revenue-sharing amongst the 30 teams and the salary cap.