Socialism, a term with many different interpretations. To many, especially millennials, socialism represents justice. A system in which instead of being rewarded on work ethic and load, one is paid the same as their coworkers as to not discriminate. Others see socialism as an inherently evil ideology that continually fails. The debate on the potential effectiveness of socialism has been around since the days of Marx. Although there have been good points raised in favor of socialism, I hope to explain why the system will always fail and why it cannot sustain a country like America.
The most common argument I hear is “That wasn’t real socialism!” This statement is a product of ignorance, arrogance, and borderline narcissism. It implies that, if the individual were suddenly in power, they’d be more successful and generate more prosperity than that of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Chavez, and the like. A question I have yet to receive a direct answer to is, why does it seem that, when socialism is attempted it breeds corruption and fails? The most common answer is that all these awful places were ruled under state capitalism, not socialism. This would be a good argument, if not full of illogical errors. State capitalism is defined as “an economic system in which the state undertakes commercial economic activity, and where the means of production are organized and managed as state owned business enterprises.” The way I interpret this is that the state owns the means of production and trade is regulated at gunpoint. Under socialism, or as it’s been explained to me, your worth is not determined by the quality or even quantity of the work you produce, but by just being there. In a socialist system
the lazy would be entitled to the same pay and benefits as those that work hard and consistently go that extra mile. This equality of outcome provides no incentive to work hard, but to actually
be lazy, as you will be receiving the same pay as all of your coworkers. Laziness by definition is a loss of productivity, loss of productivity results in loss of efficiency, loss of efficiency results in less capita generated, and with this loss of money comes impoverishment and a weaker overall country. So not to be destroyed by the human quality of sloth, so called socialist states must enforce strict policies regarding trade and production with force and thus proving the “state capitalist” system is inevitable when attempting socialism.
Another major claim I often hear is that “because America already has socialist policies in place, that it means it is already on the road to socialism.” An extreme claim that would inspire more thought, if not so easily debunked. The military is seen as a socialist program, for example. But with socialism, production is owned by the workers, who then collectively make decisions(in theory anyways) the military’s production is not owned by the soldiers or even American
citizens, but by the government, with a strict hierarchy in place. An analogy I enjoy using is one of my own, comparing the US to a slice of pizza. Say the pizza’s main ingredients, the cheese, sauce, and the dough, represent the free market and similar ideals. Now imagine you have ham on that pizza, the ham representing socialist ideas. In the right amounts it can improve the overall quality of that pizza, but does having ham as a small addition suddenly make that pizza a porkchop? No, of course not. Personally it seems that these socialist ideals actually work better when complimenting a free market economy, instead of being forced at gunpoint to work with little to no say, you’re able to decide where you work and even form unions to pressure businesses into giving away even more incentive. In socialist countries this questioning of authority would land you, and even possibly your family, behind bars or in front of a firing squad.
Another huge socialist and leftist view is the entitlement to free healthcare. As Ben Shapiro brilliantly put it, “healthcare has three key qualities; quality, affordability, and universality. But a healthcare system can only have two of those.” It is truly dangerous to be willingly oblivious to the differences between the US and single payer countries such as Canada and Denmark. Denmark, for example, has to tax its citizens at rates ranging from 45% to 60.2% because their GDP alone would not be able to finance a single payer system. America has income taxes that only rise with income, and it varies state to state, with some not having any income tax. A single payer system in America would cost about $2.5 trillion. To put that into perspective, the US already spends $1.38T tax dollars on healthcare. With a total tax revenue of $3.3T, that would leave $800B for all other tax sponsored programs such as education, military, and science. This is why countries with a single payer system are not examples of military power.
Acting as the worldwide police, maintaining freedoms that evil wishes to uproot along with global interests, the US must have the most powerful military in the world. To attempt to maintain the overall strength of the US under a single payer system, taxes would skyrocket. Tax raises always seem to hurt small business America the most. If a small business is forced to pay taxes that encroach more and more on total income, that business then has less to pay end’s meet, leading to employee pay cuts or firing, increasing unemployment. Higher taxes would also discourage aspiring entrepreneurs from opening new businesses and hiring more people, as it is then too risky for both them and the investors. Higher taxes kill economic growth, which would lead to a real problem regarding the financing of a single payer system among other tax sponsored programs. It is also disingenuous to compare the US to a country such as Denmark. The United States has an obesity rate of slightly over 35% along with a 15% smoking rate and a life expectancy of 79 years, Denmark on the other hand has an obesity rate of 20%, a smoking rate of 13.4% and a life expectancy of 81 years. The US also has a total population of over 323 million, dwarfing the Danish population of roughly 6 million.
With these numbers it seems only logical to conclude that America could not maintain it’s position as the global superpower it is today with the implementation of a single payer system.