We have to laugh every time we hear conservatives refer to President Obama as a socialist. “Obama is trying to socialize the country” is a common lament of the right wing. They act as if the man had committed some heinous crime. "He's a Socialist." Grrr! We disagree with their accusation.
But what if Obama is trying to “socialize” the country? At this time of economic difficulty is that so bad? And is he doing anything different than previous Presidents…even those of the Republican persuasion? Republicans would like us to forget that the last Republican president, George W. Bush passed the largest single social welfare program in our history…the $1.2 trillion prescription drug program for seniors. And don’t forget Bush’s $700 billion TARP bailout of the banks.
Like it or not we are a country that is dependent on social programs. The 2010 US Census report tells us that 49% of all American households have someone who is receiving government assistance: Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment compensation etc.; 149,000,000 households.
And that is but the tip of the iceberg. This country would cease to exist as we know it without the oversight provided by government. The air we breathe and the water we drink are safe due to government oversight. The food we eat the prescriptions we fill and the products we purchase are safe due to government oversight. The cars we drive, the planes we fly and the roads we travel are safe due to government oversight. The police, firemen and military that protect us and keep us safe are all provided by the government. And most important of all…the doctors that treat our children and the schools that educate them fall under government oversight. The list goes on and on. Go through your “United States capitalistic day” and try to find one thing that that hasn’t been touched by government oversight. There are very few. And we dare say whatever they may be they are somehow less than we would prefer.
Conservatives will say that we have just sighted evidence that there is far too much government in our lives. Conservatives just want to keep their hard earned money and have government stay out of their way. Their view is shortsighted.
In 2010 the median household income for an American family of four was $49,334. They paid an average of $5,600 in taxes. If we gave conservatives their wish and allowed them to keep their tax money; how many of the services listed above could they buy with $5600? The education costs alone would bankrupt them.
Conservatives like to speak out against socialism in our society. But they have no problem cashing their unemployment checks or applying for Medicare and Medicaid.
As US citizens we are fortunate to have a very high quality of life in this country. This lifestyle did not come about by accident. There are certain standards that must be met to maintain this lifestyle. It is the government that assures that those standards are met.
The system doesn’t work for everyone. Some people fall through the cracks. The truest sense of what being an American is all about is working together… and helping those that cannot help themselves. If that is socialism, then so be it.