Socialism for the best of us, capitalism – the rest of us

Illustration by Rachael Bolton

Socialism for the best of us, capitalism for the rest of us

To the elected darlings of the free market: I hate to burst your bubble but your lifetime government pensions: socialism. Overly generous Superannuation and 401ks: socialism. Travel budgets, expense accounts, access to private drivers and town cars, government reimbursement for travel and living arrangements: socialism, socialism, socialism, socialism, socialism.

Central banking: socialism. Not to mention fossil-fuel & mining subsidies and tax concessions: socialism, socialism, socialism.

The bank bail-outs of 2008: One of the greatest acts of socialism of all time.

There are many examples of socialism in action, most of it goes to the private sector and federal employees.

Yahoo receives $2 million for every job it creates in Lockport New York. Alcoa receives $5.6 billion in electricity discounts from New York State. Boeing received $900 billion to build a plant in South Carolina.

US & China fossil fuel subsidies exceed $20 billion annually, even though, according to a Council on Foreign Relations report, eliminating three major federal subsidies would have a limited impact on the production and consumption of fossil fuels.

Banking subsidies topped $70 billion in the US in 2012, according to an IMF report. $300 billion in the Eurozone.
In Australia fossil fuel subsidies earn anywhere between $9-$12 billion according to Guy Pearse, Bob Burton and David McKnight. And the WestConnex program received $16 billion in government subsidies to build a toll road whose profits will go to a private company once completed.

In a true free-market economy, these companies would have to raise its own damn funds.

In the US, entitlement programs cost 92% of federal revenues, according to Forbes. And according to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, total legislative branch appropriations was about $4.1 billion in 2014. If socialism is so destructive to the economy, to quote Jebediah Bartlet: can we have that money back please?

Last year, President and CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce, Thomas J Donohue wrote that “socialism is a dangerous path for America”. He made $4.7 million in 2010, $3.6 million of which was a government bonus. All while the rest of the country is seeing lower wages and higher unemployment not seen since WWII.

Australian Treasurer, Scott Morrison, who just this week accused opposition leader Bill Shorten of ‘socialist revisionism’ received a 2% pay rise to $380,662 a year, while the rest of the country hasn’t seen a pay increase for the better part of 15 years. This along with 20% superannuation, a lifetime government pension, an expense account and government-funded travel. He is also a beneficiary of the Morrison Family Trust, and is the director of a company called Morrison Strategic Advisory Services. No conflict of interest here, no siree. Also, accusing the ALP — which has a broad-neoliberal consensus — of socialist revisionism is just silly.

British Conservative backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg referred to Grenfell Towers as the “physical embodiment of socialism” while taking home an annual salary of around 204,000 pounds while also claiming allowances to cover the costs of running an office, employing staff, maintaining a constituency and London residence. He also still draws a salary from his investment firm which has earned him at least 4 million pounds during his seven years in Parliament.

If these guys are so keen on capitalism, these free-market champions should be required to pay back every cent they have welched off the public purse.

So why is socialism such a dangerous concept? Because it proves there is another way of structuring an economy that pays dividends. (And our elected leaders should know, they already benefit from such a system).

What is socialism?

At its heart, the essence socialism is the liberation of working people from exploitation. Under true socialism, workers own the means of production. Neither Australia, The UK, The US, or Canada have economies that in any way resemble proper socialism. The UK, Canada and Australia are mixed economies, America leans more towards hard-capitalism, though with the introduction of health insurance (thanks Obama), and a minimum wage in some states, it is taking steps towards the social democracies offered in other developed countries.

And of course, capitalism itself is not without its contradictions:

No, Nazi Germany wasn’t socialist, and neither was Lenin

Ever since the term was coined, ‘socialism’ has been adopted as a propaganda tool that disguises ulterior motives.

The west uses socialism as a pejorative against the Soviet Union. The Eastern Bloc uses it to disguise fascism and totalitarianism.

Just because it called itself the National Socialist German Workers’ Party doesn’t mean the Nazi Party was socialist. Socialism is an excellent name to give your party if you’re trying to hide your brutality.

And calling the North Korean government the Democratic People’s Republic, or China the People’s Republic of China does not in any way make the countries democratic, let alone run by the will of the people. The only accurate word in either of those government titles is ‘Republic’. They are, as the word implies, not sovereign to a crown…

The aforementioned copy is an edited excerpt of my upcoming book: Big Lies. Continue reading by subscribing to Hello Humans for just $1 a month