Friday, February 19, 2016

DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM

Bernie Sanders claims the system is rigged. In free market capitalism, people need ambition, value education, work hard, build relationships, and exert effort. They must work harder and smarter than the next guy to differentiate themselves. Under this system, people need to set goals and work towards them on a daily basis. While there are some that are physically and mentally unable to contribute to society, the greedy capitalist system provides funds for social programs to meet the basic needs for those who truly need help. Although not perfect, free market capitalism provides people the ability to achieve their own vision of success given the hard work and effort put forth. But, Bernie Sanders thinks that is rigged. 

In the United States, most people want to be self reliant, and determine their own path. Additionally, they want a fair wage in exchange for the hard work put forth. Unfortunately, given certain market conditions, a person might need to reinvent themselves to expand opportunities and maximize their value. Despite the constant negativity from politicians like Sanders against those who achieve success in life, Americans do possess admiration for people who work hard and achieve beyond their wildest dreams. Success by role models inspire us to work harder, dream bigger, and seek opportunity wherever it might be. For many Americans, we do not want to be one of many, but to stand apart and be rewarded for innovation and novel ideas. 

Times are rough, given the recent economic strife and poor public policy, which leads to support for false panaceas like Democratic Socialism. Under such a system, people believe that government will provide everything in their wildest dreams. Fair wages, as everyone would get a standard salary, regardless of experience, education quality, or achievements. Everyone would get health care, not a plan tailored to their needs, but a standard one, the best the government can do. The income inequality would, in theory, evaporate as people would essentially be making the same income. But, the best part for many, it is all free of charge, if ignoring the grave social costs.

It is hard to go through rough times and see others not affected or strive during our times of need. But, we should never give in to fairy tales. There are many holes in the ideals put forth by Sanders, which Clinton is exposing. First of all, the cost of programs would not be affordable. In order to achieve even a fraction of the promises, the federal government would need to raise taxes to the point where many would move elsewhere. If you doubt that would happen look at New Jersey during the Corzine adminstration and the high level of tax inversions. 

Moreover, in reality, people never want to equal in status, but want equality in opportunity. Even if you pay all workers the same amount, regardless of other factors, many workers would find ways to reduce productivity to increase the value of their time. The focus should be on ensuring, given equal strengths of job candidates, the compensation if fair. If a person has more relevant experience or advanced education then compensating that person more is fair. But, race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation should not play a factor in setting compensation. 

With so many people entering a bad job market upon graduation of college, the investment in their skill set may seem not worth the cost. But, the answer should not be shifting the burden throughout the federal tax base. First, not every high school student is college material, so shifting the cost for dropouts throughout society is not ideal. Secondly, the economy would adjust leaving many people with college degrees still on the outside looking in, as the policy would dilute the value of having a degree and some untrustworthy institutions will graduate students without proper skill sets. The federal government should do more to help institutions lower the cost of tuition, not shift it to the federal taxpayers, making millions, who paid off their own student loans, pay off others debt against their will.

Free market capitalism is said to be the worst system in the world except when compared to others, including Democratic Socialism. In spite of flaws, the best approach would be aligning the cost with the beneficiaries. The nationalization of personal problems over the years only institutionalized the issues causing the situations, rarely every curing social ills. People do not government to be there adoptive parents, but need to have an effective government that ensures fair play and stays out of their way. Increased regulation, lax unionization rules, have hurt employment in the United States. For those who are deficient in college ready skills but blessed with trade skills are hampered by union controlled employment. If any system is rigged, it is unionized labor. 

In closing, the idea that government will meet our every need and help achieve our wildest dreams is a myth. People are just a number to many government agencies. Instead, government can best help people by stop defining and limiting success and focusing on free market approaches that expands opportunities.