Social Programs Are Not The Same Thing As Socialism
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Social Programs Are Not The Same Thing As Socialism

And Capitalism is not a Dirty Word

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Socialism is an often-misunderstood term that is getting a lot of attention lately. In fact, it has become the Conservative right's new buzz word and any time you hear a Democratic candidate promote a social program, they will inevitably be labeled a Socialist. A better Healthcare system? Socialist. Programs to address the effects of automation? Socialist. Change to the education system? Socialist. And NONE of these things are, by definition, Socialist.

Socialism is "a system of society or group living in which there is no private property" and "in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state." This type of political system is awful because, as history has taught us in the USSR, Cuba, and Venezuela, government controlled economies are grossly mismanaged and generally lead to shortage and/or surplus. It just isn't possible for a governmental body to effectively anticipate supply and demand; the government's role should only be to protect the market.

Further, markets are necessary for both freedom and prosperity. Consider the Scandinavian countries, they are often pointed to as bastions of Socialism. While they do have fantastic social programs, their economies are capitalistic. Moreover, it is the strength of their capitalistic economies, along with high taxes, that provide for such rich social programs.

When properly administered, social programs help lift people out of poverty and into prosperity. Programs like Medicare for all, Universal Basic Income, and affordable college education are programs meant to help people become healthy, stable, and educated members of society. Inevitably, there is some fraud, waste, and abuse that comes along with governmental programs, but I believe that the benefits outweigh the costs. In that same vein, I would also advocate for far more transparency and an incentive-based restructuring of current and/or potential programs. Programs are great, as long as they work.

So, don't listen to the rhetoric on the right that every social program will lead us to a socialistic dystopian future and equally scrutinize programs produced by the left, as not all government programs are good.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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