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Sen. Bernie Sanders, 78 years old, is back in the saddle again after his recent heart attack, attracting 26,000 enthusiasts at a rally in New York City and once more venting his hateful bigotry, renewing his war on liberty and planning to spend us into poverty.

Economically speaking, he is utterly confused, but voters like promises of free stuff and many share his anti-corporate fervor.

Some people today understand socialism so poorly that they think it is a good idea and they are with him when he snarls about corrupt, greedy rich people dictating governmental policies and capitalism destroying our lives.

Jay Ambrose mug

Jay Ambrose

It’s amazing to me that people who call our president a hater don’t hear the bitter nastiness in Sanders’ voice almost every time he talks and that they don’t catch on that his stereotypical, degrading generalities about free markets are ignorant, immature, hippy-style prejudice, pure and simple.

What was recently dumbfounding was when he attacked Sen. Elizabeth Warren during a debate. He angrily belittled her for saying she was a capitalist down to her bones even though she agrees with him on his most absurd policy proposals.

Neither of the two is quite yet socialist in the worst meaning of the word, namely government ownership of just about everything. But both are for all-powerful central planners putting their omniscience to work as a substitute for free choice by millions who best understand their particular circumstances even in the absence of hoity-toity credentials.

The duo doesn’t get it that capitalism came from bungling European aristocrats finally granting freedom to middle class merchants and producers who innovated us into modernity.

It has helped confer dignity on the individual and lifted hundreds of millions of people out of misery while outright socialism has never worked. One form of it, communism, has killed 100 million people on the way to saving them.

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A great Sanders hope is to wipe out all private health insurance and replace it by having Medicare go from helping just the disabled and elderly to serving everyone for free.

Medicare is already running out of money and ready to help generate a crisis. Its Sanders-era costs could kaboom to something like $34 trillion a decade.

That’s on the order of two-thirds of total federal government revenue. Taxpayers would have to go into hiding, debt would leap off a cliff, other programs might have to be ditched and some hospitals getting reduced fees might collapse.

That’s not the end of it, of course, because some of the primary candidates also want, as just a few examples, free college, $1.53 trillion in student debt paid off by the innocent, $1,000 a month for every adult out there and raises for all teachers eligible to vote, or so I guess.

Of course, they also favor the Green New Deal that would get rid of all fossil fuels, millions of jobs and sanity to be replaced by totalitarianism and ruin accomplishing nothing much.

The strange thing is President Donald Trump, seen as a golden-haired fool next to all these intellectual wonders, has helped give us the lowest unemployment and highest wages in decades and the best economic benefits for African-Americans in history.

Instead of submerging capitalism, he helped buoy it and thereby our living conditions by reducing regulations and taxes.

Here are some principles leftists should learn: that government is not God and will often make problems worse instead of solving them, that overwhelming, hurried change will inevitably produce unintended consequences, that incrementalism allows for the repair of mistakes as they happen and that citizens have rights and brains.

They should also listen to the president of Denmark, who tried to convey to Sanders that prosperous Scandinavian countries are not socialist and to the president of Venezuela who says his country is indeed an example of democratic socialism that will sooner or later defeat the starvation he won’t admit the socialism caused.

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Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may email him at speaktojay@aol.com.

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(41) comments

new2Lax

Actually I forgot to mention the third Socialist program here in the US, it is the US Postal System and we all know how well they operate. Broke and inefficient and that's a fact.

PhysicsIsFun

Maybe you should study up on the limits that congress has put on the Postal Service to benefit UPS and FedEx. The USPS would like to offer additional services such as banking but are prevented form doing this. It is totally self funded and receives no public funds. Plus the Postal Service needs to prefund much of its retirement benefits due to a law passed in 2006. Also did you know that the Postal Service is the largest employer of veterans in the United States. Do you have a problem with veterans Newt?

martian2

bingo! newt will run and hide now. if he doesn't like the postal service than he shouldn't use it. I wonder if he gets social security, it has socialism as part of its name.

Redwall

Yes, the Libs seems extraordinarily angry this week. Maybe the aforementioned Postal Service was late with their check.

PhysicsIsFun

Right we are so angry. It's your guy, Trump the Vulgarian, who is circling the drain. Must be a bummer to be you.

martian2

actually redwall, if you are referring to someone's social security check being delivered, that hasn't been done in years. Its all direct deposit now. Looks like you are about two decades behind the times. Which makes you ignorant about most everything.

oldhomey

I guess new2 is anxious to get rid of the postal service so that we will have the honor of having to pay five bucks to deliver a letter and $50 for a small package. The free market is ALWAYS the cheapest, most efficient alternative. Let's privatize police and fire protection, too, and sell off all our highways to private operators.

new2Lax

Looks like Socialism isn't quite what Homey thinks it is in Europe.

This article is pretty much what most people think about Socialism is and how

it is working in Europe. I believe this to be a true assessment of it's failure in Europe.

If you read closely you will see the real fear is what it more than likely become, a road to Communism. It kind of explains why it fails and has always failed. Suggesting Socialism works is pure nonsense, most countries are doing what they can to get rid

of it. Supporters and defenders of Socialism do not know what they are talking about.

Most people in the country is it for what it is with the exception of the of the Democrat candidates. The left has no options but to support it as that's what their candidates are preaching. The only other choice is Trump and Capitalism, that should tell you all you need to know as to why. It is like putting lipstick on a pig, it's still remains a pig. The only programs we have resembling Socialism, Social Security and Medicare are broke. The answer from the left seems to be if we take away employer based health care from the 180 million covered by employers and make Medicare for all, it will be a good thing. Those covered by this employer based health care system will not give go quietly, especially at a cost of between 30 and 40 trillion dollars. Covering illegals will be a big stumbling block when we can't even take care of the homeless.

30 Comments

Tags Big Government, Socialism, Interventionism

05/02/2019•Alasdair Macleod

There is a certain tension in the phrase, “social democracy,” and the description of someone as a social democrat. Social in this context is socialism by the state. A democrat supports the freedom for individual electors to express and defend personal interests in regular plebiscites. The two positions are incompatible.

At this point we should note that in economic terms there is little philosophical difference between European socialism and communism. Both seek to relieve capitalists of the means of production in favor of the state, either by ownership or control. Marx himself saw socialism as a temporary phase on the way to full communism. However, we all know from experience that communism fails by impoverishing everyone except a coterie of leaders. The same problem of the state’s inability to calculate prices, other than with reference to labor costs, and to foresee what consumers require on the morrow bedevils both socialism and communism. The principal difference between the two is the speed at which economic disintegration takes place, tied to the rate at which the socializing state removes personal freedoms and destroys wealth.

Social democrats assume that moderate socialism does not lead to those outcomes, which is a mistake1. They are deceived.

With social democracy we observe committed socialists and communists using democracy as the pathway towards increasing socialism and eventual communism. But there’s a problem, which in time becomes increasingly obvious to the electorate. Electors become poorer over time, and the more progressive among them seek to escape in order to participate in more capitalistic economies. Lenin and Mao Zedong dealt with this tendency by suppressing all freedom of expression and they redefined democracy to permit only the election of communist officials. Intellectuals, always the first to express discontent, were liquidated or sent to the Soviet gulags and China’s penal labor camps.

In Western Europe a different, more patient approach was needed for the communist revolution. And this is where the concept of the social democrat springs from.

The tactic was (and still is) to stand firm on socialism and force compromises always to be made by the democrats. For decades it was the basis of Soviet foreign policy, which employed “useful idiots” to spread communism in both universities and political circles. Their influence was what defeated Enoch Powell and still drives Ken Clarke and his fellow appeasers towards greater socialism. It is clear that social democratic politicians need not be communists, only appeasers.

Social democratic political parties express a belief in social justice. But social justice is a meaningless term used by the far left to attract support for more extreme forms of socialism. In Europe, social democrats advocating social justice have held sway since the Second World War. But they are becoming victims of their success at taking down capitalism, because they are losing electoral support.

The era of social democracy appears to be coming to an end. Germany’s SPD recently suffered its worst electoral result since the Second World War, and France’s Socialist Party came fifth in the presidential election won by Emmanuel Macron, a political outsider. Other social democratic parties to have lost ground include the Netherlands’ Labour Party, Italy’s Democratic Party and Austria’s Social Democrats. In the United States there was a rejection of the Democrats in favor of President Trump, who like Macron in France started as a political outsider.

Brexit was the rejection by the British voter of the socializing controls imposed by a remote super-state. The British parliament initially paid lip-service to the electorate’s wishes, before rallying round its socialist credentials and is now conspiring to stop Brexit. So strong is Parliament’s collective socialist instinct that May’s appeasing government is prepared to destroy its electoral base rather than stand against the socialist tide. It comes at a time when the Labour Party has been captured by a Marxist clique which appears increasingly likely to form the next government.

Commentators attribute the decline in social democracy to events such as the great financial crisis. This and other reasons are why traditional working-class and blue-collar workers have drifted away. The philosophical conflict between socialism and democracy is at the heart of the rebellion, if only the voters themselves knew it. Instead of rejecting socialism, they are embracing extremes, and the extremes are always socialist extremes. Notably, almost none of the disillusioned social democrats support free markets.

The point missed by most analysts is that social democracy is failing because of the contradiction between personal freedom and state control.

As a form of mild socialism, it fails for the same reason as did communism. It all plays into the hands of the communists, for whom the failure of social democracy is an opportunity. They encourage the rank and file to blame capitalism. The collapse of capitalism is inevitable, as Marx wrote. And its collapse hastens full-blooded communism. Communism is a broken philosophy, as has been clearly demonstrated. But ruthless leaders still see it as the means of obtaining power over their fellow

martian2

great copy and pasting newt. Thank took real hard work. But like all of your postings, it has become bubble gum to the eyes. They just gloss over and skim quickly without reading it and go onto the next posting. Yours just isn't worth reading any more.

oldhomey

Sorry, new2, I was picking my nose and missed that. Could you repeat it, please? I am SURE it was a scholarly, non-partisan assessment that all of us should read and take heed of, except for crank, for whom I am forbidden to ever again speak for.

Climatehoax

Brilliant column!! Spot on

new2Lax

Well you came to the right person. I can tell you what we did as an employer but I never had to pay any hefty premium for healthcare, the company had a very generous plan for employees working or retired. This is what we did in 2005 for employees and what it costs the company and the employee. The company paid as our portion of the premium 14,000 dollars per employee, the employee’s contribution was 70 dollars per month, there was no deductible. They each had 20,000 paid life with options at 10,000 dollar level increments. The retirement age was 57 with health care until 65. 30 years and out at 3,000 per month. Retirement prorated after 10 years. There are variances in East and Coast divisions but the majority were under this plan, 75% were union operations the rest were nonunion. Dental coverage was something like 7 dollars per month. If your spouse had heath coverage, you could not opt out.

What I do know about premiums, they went up under Obama care and each family was to save 2500 per year and would be able to keep their plan and doctor. Instead the premiums and deductibles went out of sight. That’s what I know.

PhysicsIsFun

That's just great Newt. I'm so happy for you. I had a nice insurance package once too. I was chief negotiator for our union for over 10 years and we negotiated good benefits for the teachers I represented. We gave up salary to pay for those benefits, but felt it was worth it. We also negotiated early retirement benefits so that young people could enter the profession and replace more expensive senior people. Then along comes Scott Walker and rips the guts out of all of those contracts that had been negotiated over all of those years with so much work by so many people. I wonder why people were and still are so angry, and he is so hated. I also watched as insurance rates went up with double digit increases for many years. Long before Obama created the Affordable Care Act. I can tell you that I would have gladly given up our private insurance for a public plan financed by tax increases. I assume this plan would also include some cost control of services. If our members and the school board did not have to finance healthcare we could have put that money into salary. I just read that insurance rates on the exchange have shown very small increases this year. Maybe if Republicans quit trying to sabotage the system and instead tried to work and improve it. You know do their job. Things would get better, but Republicans do not work that way.

oldhomey

That sounds pretty impressive, new2. Could you share with us the name of that Fortune 300 company? I have a son I would like to send there to apply for a job. He is about to turn 34, so it would be great to see him work for just 23 more years and get his pension with insurance. I would counsel him, however, to keep going to 64 to get his $36,000 pension. Do they also get a 401K plan? I recall you telling the rest of us on these boards that when you were a negotiator on behalf of the Fortune 300 company that was what you gave the union workers. You wouldn't be lying about this, would you? Nah. Why did that company stiff you, by the way, after 39 years, leaving you without insurance until you qualified for Medicare, that socialist medical plan for geezers like you and me?

oldhomey

new2? Cat got your tongue? Are you hiding out in the weeds with Buggs and Snow Cougar? How are they doing? Tell them I don't miss them at all, but if the Tribune lets them back in, that is okay by me. But would you tell the Tribune to kick Redwall off these boards, please? He boasts that he does not have a subscription, yet he is on here all the time, telling us he does it at no cost to himself, free of charge to him, while you and I and everybody else is on here because we pay our subscriptions, the money that keeps the paper afloat. Tell the Tribune to give Redwall the boot, but good.

oldhomey

I got this far into the column and then quit: "Some people today understand socialism so poorly that they think it is a good idea and they are with him when he snarls about corrupt, greedy rich people dictating governmental policies and capitalism destroying our lives."

Ambrose, the worst paid political pundit in the business, demonstrates he has the mental ability and reasoning power at exactly the same level as our dear local friend here, new2. Which is to say that he has no clue at all, but happily deals in simple-minded fantasies of his own. The only difference is that Ambrose can at least write a complete sentence and new2, cannot. But if you want enlightenment and information, you will get it from neither of these two scr*wballs.

new2Lax

You should be charged for the education your getting. I think you disagree with pretty much anyone having a different opinion but most have come to expect that. Your liberal views are something to behold, uninformed and impractical describes them at best. Most of your positions seem like, this guy is joking. For as long as you have lived and your still a Democrat. More than likely your folks were Democrats as well, with liberals that’s usually where they get their start. Information and enlightenment is all you get as you seem to be a couple step behind on issues.

oldhomey

You should probably be fined for failing to live up to the education you got, new2, with your abysmal ability to express yourself. How about this for logic: I should disagree with people who have a different opinion than my own? Are you saying I should agree with those whose opinions I disagree with? Lead me through this conundrum, old fella. I shouldn't say old fella, as I think you probably are younger than I am. But apparently your brain already suffers more sclerotic damage than mine. And as a matter of fact, my father was a rabid Republican who detested FDR and Truman. I was, too, until I got to college and learned a few critical thinking skills. I was glad to see my father come around after he retired and did a 180 degree change of opinion on Nixon during the Watergate hearings. I expect you to do the same in the coming impeachment hearings.

new2Lax

I think Alasdair Macleod understands it very well.

Jobaba

A good place to start is always with a definition of terms. Republicans think socialism is taking money for the social good. This is an error. To follow that path would mean that your churches are socialist. And if you would like to say that money given to a church is voluntary, it means God's word is only a suggestion. It helps to know what you are discussing, because if not, you are only trying to use the word as a dog whistle.

Kronosaurus

I have a good article idea for the Trib. Do an explainer on why you run columns by hacks like Ambrose and Lowry. Is it because they are cheap? This guy is clearly a hack. There is absolutely no excuse for the errors he commits. No one is saying Medicare-for-all is free. Also, yes, taxes would go up, but you would no longer be paying those exorbitant premiums. That's the baseline from which all arguments about Medicare-for-all proceed. If a columnist ignores those, they are just propaganda tools. So why Tribune, do you run this garbage?

PhysicsIsFun

Would you you rather spend $1200 per month for crappy private insurance or $9000 a year in increased taxes to get better insurance from the government?

new2Lax

The only place you get crappy insurance for 1200 dollars per month was with Obama care and that doesn’t include the 7 to 10 thousand dollar deductible before you even get to any coverage and it was considered a good deal. The other problem is you have no idea what the tax increase would be, Bernie Sanders has no real idea and Warren just won’t tell you it will even go up. I’m betting the 180 million will want to keep the premium plans paid for by their employers costing so much less.

oldhomey

Are you saying, new2, that $1,200 a month figure for health insurance is a low-ball figure? Tell us, dear boy, our crack HR man for whom this information should be centrally and firmly in your wheelhouse, what a good private insurance monthly premium would be. Be truthful, now. And then let us think about how that might compare to what you believe the increased tax burden would be for the average family if Medicare For All were implemented. Instead of just throwing barbs at each other, let's make this the beginning of a good, honest, earnest discussion about this issue.

martian2

I guess newt thinks we should pay a lot more than 1200 a month for health insurance. He thinks the average family can afford much more and get less in return. I guess he never had to pay any insurance premium. He thinks everyone has a sugar daddy to pay for those things. Guess he never lived in the real world. And he thinks premiums never went up before Obama care, it was all his fault. another whataboutism. And newt never comes up with a solution, any solution, even a fake one.

PhysicsIsFun

I was speaking figuratively not precisely. My point is that we pay a lot now for insurance in the current system. A tax supported system would be cheaper.

new2Lax

If you check closely you will see when these premiums skyrocketed, right under Obama’s healthcare plan. It wasn’t only the premiums that went up, the deductibles made it near impossible to get treatment because you paid for nearly 100% before you saw the insurance kick in during the year. Taking away 180 million covered by employer based insurance is as dumb as it gets, these folks paid dearly for these premium plans through the negotiating process, in lieu of wages they took a better insurance plan. There is no way this government plan will be the equivalent and you are correct, despite what Warren preaches, taxes for all will go up and no one seems to know to what extent. Just the numbers floating around are between 30 and 40 trillion for a ten year period, maybe be it’s going to be 60 trillion. Remember what was promised by Obama care, every family would pay 2500 dollars less and you could keep your plan and doctor. Now the left wants you to trust them and take their word.

All you have to do is look at what happened to the two Socialistic programs we have, Social Security and Medicare, both are broke. These programs started out okay and when the government saw better how to run them, they are now broke.

new2Lax

If everything you suggest is true, I wonder why every country isn’t under Socialism. You make it sound wonderful and all these millions of words written about its evils are all wrong. One would have thought by now, countries would have figured out the benefits of Socialism or have they. The largest programs of the Federal government have been, Social Security and Medicare both have failed, both are broke, both will not get better, they will get progressively worse. Thinking for one moment if these measures were only tried is nonsense, like the two mentioned, they were tried and are broke. Socialism does not start out with just trying, they start slow and progressively get much worse. First you start with Social Security being a safe guard for the elderly and poverty situations, then you include folks who can not do the job they had, so instead of getting another job they get Social Security, then it includes children, then it covers illegals. The same with Medicare, it will not stop with what it was intended for, a safety net and is doomed to failure. These are the real fears people have, not just a program, safety net or whatever, it’s the speared of something much worse. It gets much worse for the fact that to remain an elite in this type of government you must keep giving and expanding to stay in power. It’s very similar to unions and who controls their benefits etc. it’s a small group of politicians who okay the

say yea or nay to what will be given to keep the vote. In many cases the pay off for the unions is controlling the health care coverage and charging what ever they see fit. The members have no choice but to take advantage of benefits that supersede anything in the private sector, all this is done until it gets exposed as to what is happening. You can see how well it was received by the public when exposed. The same thing with Socialism, take a close look.

martian2

boy I wish new2 would get a little tired of his constant talking points from fox. Calling social security and medicare failures, blaming immigrants, unions and even children for its demise. Same old b.s. we've heard for the last fifty years. Whine whine whine, but he offers no solutions because he doesn't have any. Neither does the GOP. He can't even make full sentences that make sense.

oldhomey

Advanced industrial societies that have respect for law and disciplined economies -- namely all of Europe, Japan and Australia -- have adopted some form of social democracy very successfully, new2. You wouldn't know that, given that your intellect, such as it is, is completely trapped in right-wing cant and propaganda.

martian2

Another Ambrose column full of misstatements, lies and trying to conjure up fear. This time he abuses the word "socialism" to make it seem democrats want a planned economy, government owns everything, and 100 million people will die as the result. His ignorance is on par with those trump worshipers on fox news. His whole column is one big false talking point from fox. Most of us use the term communists or dictatorship when talking about soviet Union, or Venezuela, or NK etc.. But Lowry is using the word socialism as a scare tactic, and we can be assured we will hear the same from republicans all next year. Social programs like social security or medicare and others are nothing to be wary of. Socialistic programs like national healthcare the way Canada or Europe has is something to be embraced. But we are going to hear the same old b.s. from the right about fearing this and that. They want everyone to cower into a corner and be scared of anything new or different. Its a game only cowards play.

Jobaba

Ah, I wonder why the Tribune keeps this guy? Much of his columns are so poorly thought out they become difficult to read. This one borders first on hate speech and second on the lowest level of Trump propaganda.

In fact, the falsehoods are so numerous that one could literally write pages and pages of rebuttal. This is not how opinion pieces are meant to be. I have no problem with presenting both side of a story or liberal vs. conservative views, but simply stringing together cliches and out there talking points is not only boring, it drags us down to a level where none of us need to be.

Since the title proclaims socialism, let us see. First, communism is not a form of socialism, Separate things and millions of words have been written about both, including Marxism, and a third confusing ism. I have long found that people that confuse these isms really do not understand any of them (as this columnist has.) Those that do not understand these isms often use dog whistles from the 1950s to explain just how bad they are simply because they lack an education on these subjects.

Second, that old rumor that socialism has failed everywhere it has been tried. Many revolutions have devolved into dictatorship for many reasons. A chief reason would be that a provisional government or a remnant of an old government was weak and simply could not enforce its will. A generalization would be those Latin countries where there seems to be a historic trend of having political strongmen take charge. Another might be Russia, where socialism was tried for about 5 minutes. China springs to mind. If you believe true socialism has been tested almost anywhere you have fallen for 1950's propaganda.

Face these statements with a clear and educated mind. I am not espousing socialism, but living life on gossip and rumors isn't any way to do business.

DMoney

Your response is rife with wrongness. Socialism is absolutely related to communism. It isn't the same thing, but it's from the same tree. Socialism has never worked in it's pure form. Never ever, anywhere. You are factually wrong.

shameless

And nobody is arguing for pure socialism. People want return for their taxes. Maybe you're cool with obscene medical bills and frighteningly expensive post secondary options, but the general populous is not.

martian2

amen shameless, D wants to talk about socialism in its pure form, but gives no reference to what exactly that is. Everyone has their own opinion on what socialism is. A government program that helps lift the working class to a better standard of living is not pure evil socialism, but a responsive government that has the good of the people at heart, instead of corporations and the uber wealthy. Our government has lost that recently, and its time we get it back.

oldhomey

a hearty amen, shameless

Jobaba

Ignorance of history is a hallmark of Trumpism.

thomaslind949

Ignorance of ones own ignorance is a hallmark of Jobabaism.

martian2

look in the mirror thomas and repeat what you wrote three times. When you verbalize the truth about yourself, you should take it to heart.

oldhomey

And what tree, D, do you believe capitalistic republicanism stems from? I believe it is not only from the same forest that produced socialism and communism, but is a sprig from the very same tree. But then I don't know nearly as much as you, a man who has read 5,000 books on WWII either figuratively or literally, and has more knowledge about geopolitical issues than anybody else on these boards.

PhysicsIsFun

And capitalism is related to fascism. All political philosophies have a spectrum. Same with religion. Most reasonable people know that and try to keep things moderate.

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