*Because socialism has such negative connotations in our country, each year I will run the following column as sort of a public service announcement.
In the past I’ve detailed how and why economic conservatism is a bad idea: it is morally indefensible and depends on expecting unrealistic acts on the part of those in positions of economic power.
But in addition, the alternative of socialism is a much more sustainable (creates tax payers), morally progressive (less exploitative), and legally advantageous stance for any government entity to assume.
At its core socialism is an economic system implements a higher tax structure which generates revenue for the government. This revenue is generally used to implement social programs to benefit the public. So why is this superior to economic conservatism?
Firstly the higher tax rates under socialism allow for profits but not exorbitant profits, so there is less of a motive of companies to exploit their labor force because the extra profits will not stay in the pocket of the owner. In this way socialism is more progressive and better; it is an economic philosophy that does not incentivize dehumanizing the labor force.
Secondly socialism rejects the ideas of social Darwinism that economic conservatives normally embrace. Economic conservatives typically assume that those who succeed in business do so because of their innate ability. The converse is also true, that those who are destitute are in that condition because they have nothing to offer society and need to fend for themselves. The problem with this assumption is that left to fend for themselves many of the economically destitute will resort to crime.
Socialists recognize the truth that those who are not assisted in pursuing success will become blight on society. Ergo, in creating social and economic programs, socialism is attempting to minimize future crime and by extension attempting to minimize the future legal costs of the government in costs for law enforcement and criminal prosecution. Those same programs not only attempt to prevent future crime but also create future productive members of society – future taxpayers in society.
Of course there is a limit to the amount of taxes that a government should implement. But such an acknowledgement is far from an anti-socialist sentiment. It is instead an admission that there are degrees to which socialist policies can and should be implemented. Of course certain infrastructural services should be performed by the state (fire departments for instance). But some non-essential programs can and should be funded by the state as well (sex education and family planning).
Essentially it is the difference between a society devoting revenue to protecting the haves from the have nots or devoting revenue to helping the have nots to become haves.
Trevor Brookins is a free lance writer in Rockland County, New York. He is currently working on a book about American culture during the Cold War. His writing has appeared in The Journal News. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @historictrev.