America Fucking Loves Socialism

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Bal
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America Fucking Loves Socialism

Postby Bal » Wed Nov 12, 2014 4:33 pm

You know what America thinks they hate, but actually love so much that if you even suggest altering those programs that use it you will be ejected from an election as if from a crashing jet? Socialism. We fucking love the stuff. OA SDI, TANF, Medicare, Medicaid, SSI, SCHIP, and many more on the state level around our great nation, are socialist programs that people fucking love. Is Obama a Socialist? Obviously, he was elected to public office. He would not only have to be a socialist, he would have to be dedicated to carrying on the socialism we already have, though for some reason not propose any more, because that's socialism, which is (not) like Communism, and so is bad? I'm not clear on the reasons frankly.

Here is a local example of good old fashioned American Socialism. Here in Arizona we have a program called ACCCHS (pronounced access), which uses a combination of federal medicaid funding and state taxes to provide health care for the poor. This health care is actually incredibly comprehensive, and mostly very good. It covers both physical and mental health at practically every level, and anyone who is poor enough can get it regardless of their health situation (often because of it) can get it. Effectively, it is a comprehensive single payer system right here in the deep red of The Copper State. It's so good that people that have it are terrified to earn enough money to disqualify themselves for it and end up with expensive, and much much worse insurance. Cool huh? Kids on ACCCHS even get dental.

So have a slice of apple pie with your Mom, and thank Uncle Sam for the retirement money that paid for it.

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Caithness
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Re: America Fucking Loves Socialism

Postby Caithness » Fri Nov 14, 2014 12:55 am

Bal wrote:It's so good that people that have it are terrified to earn enough money to disqualify themselves for it and end up with expensive, and much much worse insurance. Cool huh?


Isn't this one of the main complaints people have against social programs?

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Classic
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Re: America Fucking Loves Socialism

Postby Classic » Fri Nov 14, 2014 1:10 am

It is also one of the main complaints ("rich") people have about tax brackets.

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Rico
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Re: America Fucking Loves Socialism

Postby Rico » Fri Nov 14, 2014 1:45 am

Yes. Misdirected, but yes.

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Classic
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Re: America Fucking Loves Socialism

Postby Classic » Fri Nov 14, 2014 2:06 am

What I mean to say is, there's lots of objections people have to things for patently false reasons, and there's lots of actually relevant objections people have to things. Whenever the objections are to anything related to equality, welfare, or basically any kind of spending that's not a tax subsidy, I see it being used as a reason to keep squeezing those who are struggling more often than not.

Maybe this is a personal problem.

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Rico
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Re: America Fucking Loves Socialism

Postby Rico » Fri Nov 14, 2014 2:43 am

My post was not an especially good one. Misguided both in that there aren't that many rich people period--a lot of if not most of the complaints are from middle class and lower--and that instead of asking the question "Why do I have to be rich or heavily subsidized to afford basic services?" they simply punch down.

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Re: America Fucking Loves Socialism

Postby Mongrel » Fri Nov 14, 2014 3:02 am

As a dirty foreigner, this dynamic has always been but amusing and absolutely tragic.

Americans value social programs only a little less than most other western nations. There's a real gap, based on the "too many supports make people weak" trope, which IS part of the American character, but I don't think it's a HUGE gap. I'm just saying you guys will NEVER be, say, Sweden.

What they (meaning Americans, but I'm speaking generally here, so not you pack of dirty fifth columnist commies) seem to really hate is the idea of communal or social programs. To the point where you'll implement them, but in piecemeal or elaborately overcomplicated ways all so you can pretend you don't really have socialism, or that program X-Y-Z is only for the absolute worst cases. This would only be funny if if wasn't for the fact that supporting this fiction causes massive inefficiencies, or results in something with fragmented, nonsensical coverage. Health care is the best example (insurance schemes might be the financial product that benefits the most from economies of scale and central planning and by a pretty fair margin too), but there's plenty of other programs that work out the same. The waste of it all to preserve an illusion is just staggering. I mean, you see people who destroy their lives for a personal illusion, but to see a whole country, the wealthiest nation on the planet at that, do that, it floors you.

I'm not saying we're not immune ourselves. Most other western nations still have, say, the police as the first line of support for the mentally ill, or homelessness as a medical issue, or the way we mostly all still treat drug additions as a criminal issue instead of a medical one, so we're perfectly capable of supporting grossly inefficient fictions too.
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Bal
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Re: America Fucking Loves Socialism

Postby Bal » Fri Nov 14, 2014 9:57 am

Here's the sick tragedy from my perspective. I am on the aforementioned ACCCHS for a variety of reasons, but lets just say I got the crazies. My Godmother on the other hand was a hard working woman who, with her husband of 30+ years, had essentially carved for themselves a version of the American Dream so complete you'd think it came out of a pamphlet. After the '08 crash they were laid off from their respective jobs, but had done so well financially, not as rich people but as solid middle class people who save the way they say you're supposed to, decided after much deliberation that they could simply retire early. Then she got ovarian cancer. Now, they were on COBRA at the time due to having been laid off, but this is less than ideal. Suffice to say, they were wiped out, she died, and my Godfather is back to work at 56 to pay the bills.

Now lets rewind that and I get cancer instead. ACCCHS pays for everything, my finances, such as they are, remain intact, and while I still die no one sees a medical bill ever.

What's wrong with this picture?

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Re: America Fucking Loves Socialism

Postby Thad » Fri Nov 14, 2014 12:02 pm

Mongrel wrote:What they (meaning Americans, but I'm speaking generally here, so not you pack of dirty fifth columnist commies) seem to really hate is the idea of communal or social programs. To the point where you'll implement them, but in piecemeal or elaborately overcomplicated ways all so you can pretend you don't really have socialism, or that program X-Y-Z is only for the absolute worst cases. This would only be funny if if wasn't for the fact that supporting this fiction causes massive inefficiencies, or results in something with fragmented, nonsensical coverage. Health care is the best example (insurance schemes might be the financial product that benefits the most from economies of scale and central planning and by a pretty fair margin too), but there's plenty of other programs that work out the same. The waste of it all to preserve an illusion is just staggering. I mean, you see people who destroy their lives for a personal illusion, but to see a whole country, the wealthiest nation on the planet at that, do that, it floors you.


Another way of looking at it is that Republicans are simply far better at branding and marketing than Democrats. Rush Limbaugh has done a really impressive job of turning "feminist" and "liberal" into dirty words, such that most Americans recoil from those labels, even though polls show that if you actually list off specific political stances associated with them they support those. Romneycare is a case of the Democrats adopting a Republican proposal and the Republicans turning around and calling it "socialism" as soon as the Democrats start supporting it. A recent Shit My Students Write post shared this gem:

a college student wrote:It just totally upsets me that Obama, a communist, made ObamaCare instead of making the Affordable Care Act. That was a better idea. He should have done that.


It's not simply that we create ridiculously expensive and convoluted privatized systems to preserve the idea of capitalism. Sure, that's the public face of it, but I'm cynical enough to believe that money trumps ideology. The Democrats couldn't get Joe Lieberman to vote with them and break a filibuster until they came up with a bill that satisfied his Big Pharma Connecticut donors. And yes, Lieberman is an example of the worst kind of snake in American politics (or, now, thankfully, out of American politics), but I think that sort of influence is everywhere: politicians won't pass anything that's going to hurt their lobbyists' bottom lines. As much as anything, we get these corporate-friendly "compromises" because politicians protect the profits of already-profitable private industries.

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Re: America Fucking Loves Socialism

Postby Mongrel » Fri Nov 14, 2014 1:16 pm

The denial that money warps politics is another huge problem there too.

In the 90's there were a series of Liberal scandals, so in response the Conservatives passed what amount surprisingly punitive restrictive campaign (no more than $1000 from any one person OR entity, such as a corporation, or union). This was actually a purely crass, partisan move because the Liberals were overwhelmingly financially supported by big business while the Conservatives tended to be supported by small, rural donors. But in the long run it forced the Liberals to fundraise better and to reach out a little more. I wouldn't say it backfired on the Conservatives, but the gains it gave them were only short term gains and might in the very long run have way more positive influence than Harper ever possibly intended.

I think that in general things are going to have to get a lot worse in the US before things turn around. The big question is, is the near-total failure of the Democrats and left-leaning folks overall to communicate with the electorate entirely the fault of the Democrats or have demographic changes genuinely resulted in a population less receptive to left-wing programs? (Though either way, my god, the Democrats could be doing a better job of selling themselves, holy shit).
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Re: America Fucking Loves Socialism

Postby Brentai » Fri Nov 14, 2014 1:50 pm

The USA in 2014 is divided firmly into two camps, Republicans and Not Republicans. These "Democrats" you speak of are merely operating under the borrowed name of a loose coalition of Not Republicans.

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Re: America Fucking Loves Socialism

Postby Thad » Fri Nov 14, 2014 4:55 pm

And it's not that the Democrats are unsuccessful -- as Jon Stewart noted the other night, the news media are describing this month's Republican victory using exactly the same words and phrases they used to describe 2012's Democratic victory.

I don't think that's because the Democrats are good at selling the superiority of their ideas. Because they're not. (Obama used to be. He hasn't flexed those muscles recently.)

I used to think the Republicans had an inherent rhetorical advantage because, by and large, their messages are simple, concrete, and easy to communicate and understand, while the Democrats rely on more complex, abstract, specific issues. Sideshow Bob did a great job of putting it succinctly: "lower taxes, brutalize criminals, and rule you like a king."

But over the past few years, it's become quite clear to me that the Democrats can't effectively communicate even simple, concrete messages. Healthcare should have been a slam-dunk; the Democratic argument is "People are dying to line rich corporations' pockets" and the Republican argument is "Socialism!" The Democrats had the natural advantage but they totally failed to control the message. (I think now that the ACA is actually in effect, it's a whole different story and we're going to see more and more people happier with the system now that it's in place. But the Democrats didn't exactly sell it.) Indeed the entire subject of income inequality is one the Democrats should totally own, but they win that argument more by default than because most of them are putting forward any kind of strong message.

Which ties right back to what Brent just said: Democrats can win elections by virtue of not being Republicans. In fact, I think they're going to win in 2016 without much difficulty. But that's down to Republicans systematically alienating every demographic but straight white males, not Democrats articulating their message clearly and passionately.

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Classic
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Re: America Fucking Loves Socialism

Postby Classic » Fri Nov 14, 2014 4:58 pm

I think that also relies on every demographic but straight white males (and their allies?) being able to have their votes counted.

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Re: America Fucking Loves Socialism

Postby Thad » Fri Nov 14, 2014 5:08 pm

Well yes. Which is why, at least until the next census, I think things are going to stay where they are -- Republican House, Democratic President, split Senate.

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Re: America Fucking Loves Socialism

Postby nosimpleway » Fri Nov 14, 2014 6:09 pm

Today I pointed out to my boss that even with the employee discount, I couldn't afford to bring my own child to the preschool where I work. She replied that I wouldn't have to quit outright if my wife got pregnant — I could get Childcare Assistance and still use a preschool. Well, preschool somewhere else. We don’t take CCAP.

But yeah, see, I could totally get on welfare if we had a kid. Food stamps, Section 8 housing assistance, CCAP, WIC… we’d almost be better off!

I gave her a puzzled look, and asked, "Don’t you vote Republican?"

The assistant director, sitting in the office behind me, took several minutes to stop laughing.

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Re: America Fucking Loves Socialism

Postby Thad » Sat Nov 15, 2014 1:55 am

nosimpleway wrote:Today I pointed out to my boss that even with the employee discount, I couldn't afford to bring my own child to the preschool where I work.


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Re: America Fucking Loves Socialism

Postby Caithness » Sun Nov 16, 2014 1:44 pm

Rico wrote:My post was not an especially good one. Misguided both in that there aren't that many rich people period--a lot of if not most of the complaints are from middle class and lower--and that instead of asking the question "Why do I have to be rich or heavily subsidized to afford basic services?" they simply punch down.


It also depends on how you define "rich". I tend to define it as people who make more than me.

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Brentai
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Re: America Fucking Loves Socialism

Postby Brentai » Sun Nov 16, 2014 2:55 pm

People whose purchasing power is steadily increasing.

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nosimpleway
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Re: America Fucking Loves Socialism

Postby nosimpleway » Sun Nov 16, 2014 4:01 pm

Brentai wrote:People whose purchasing power is steadily increasing.


I got a raise this year. I adjusted for inflation and it comes out to six cents.

I just signed up for medical and stuff for next year, and guess what

six cents an hour doesn't cover how much more expensive my insurance is

But hey my boss says I can always just go on welfare.

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Classic
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Re: America Fucking Loves Socialism

Postby Classic » Sun Nov 16, 2014 4:59 pm

When I was younger, I was pretty sure there was a shadowy cabal orchestrating events to unknown or unknowable ends.
Then I believed that this notion of a cabal was foolish, because the ends being achieved were insane.
Now I'm pretty sure that the cabal exists, and that they are insane, but are also incompetent.

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