Whenever someone suggests a way to help the destitute or disadvantaged, the inevitable response -- especially from conservatives -- is "Yes, yes, but that's socialism."
Tax breaks for the low-income, nationalized healthcare -- it doesn't matter what the proposal is; the convenient catchall cry of "socialism!" is viewed as a valid criticism of it, as though socialism in and of itself is axiomatically bad. No one bothers explaining why the proposed idea is a poor one, or why socialism should be deemed a sort of evil.
Yet other civilized nations across the planet seem to have no problem with socialism, providing for the needs of their citizens without significantly higher taxes than we pay in the United States -- and in some cases, significantly lower taxes.
In New Zealand, citizens enjoy a huge number of benefits considered to be the right of any human -- the right to be able to live without worrying about having your utilities cut off or being evicted every month. You certainly won't live a life of luxury, but you also won't starve to death. Take special note of this bulliten:
Are you in need? If you don't think you qualify for a benefit but you are in a hardship or emergency situation please talk with us as soon as possible. For instance if you are a refugee, caring for someone who can't work, alone and pregnant, or dependent on someone who is on strike - we may be able to help.Try getting that in the United States, land of the Free To Work Sixty Hours A Week And Still Not Make Ends Meet. The benefits in New Zealand are virtually unlimited in terms of time, and they also extend assistance to students to help with bills and rent while the student attends class.
The median New Zealand income tax rate is 33%. In the United States, it's 30%.
For a mere 3% increase, New Zealand citizens get actual assistance from the government when they need it -- man, woman, single, married, student, professional -- for an unlimited amount of time. In the United States, unemployment benefits last for around six months (depending on the state), and after that, you're washed up. If you're a single mother you can get welfare benefits, but if you're married, or a single man, or a single woman without children, you're free to go die in the streets.
In Canada, every citizen has the right to free healthcare. Any citizen, regardless of age, marital status, income, or any other factors, can walk into a medical facility and receive treatment for whatever ailment, and not pay a dime.
"That's socialism!" cries the US.
In Canada, the median tax rate is 38%, but the tax rate for incomes of 32,000 or less is only 32%, and since that happens to be the income rate the above figures are also based on, we'll go with that.
Canadians therefore actually pay less taxes than many Americans, and get healthcare on demand. No HMOs, insurance forms, insurance benefits offered by the employer, deductables, or anything else. Employed, unemployed, married, divorced, widowed, single.
Try getting that in the United States.
Other nations get real, tangible benefits from their governments, and pay about the same amount of taxes that the US does. Yet the US offers very little to anyone, and only for limited amounts of time, and only under very specific circumstances. So, exactly what do United States citizens get in return for their income taxes?
Golden Field Office. Inter-American Foundation. Japan-United States Friendship Commission. Management Assistance Team, Management Service Office. National Wild Horse and Burro Program. Center for the Book. Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee. Executive Office for Weed and Seed. Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Tribal Affairs Office. Federal Duck Stamp Office.
I wish I were making these up, but I'm not. These are only a tiny fraction of the enormous number of useless agencies funded by the US, at the expense of taxpayers, and I haven't even started to look at all the agencies that exist only to duplicate the effort of other agencies:
Food Safety Information Center
Food Safety and Inspection Service
Food and Drug Administration
Food and Nutrition Information Center
Food and Nutrition Service
Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services
So while we as Americans can't get financial assistance when we need it, we can rest easy knowing that the Center for the Book and five agencies doing the same job as the FDA are being well-funded. And let us not forget the defense budget, which we need to increase even more so we can go blow up people that had nothing to do with anything, and whom we put in power in the first place.
No one wants the economically downtrodden of society to have to suffer, but no one wants to pay for them, either. Yet as we can see, other countries have no problem helping their citizens, without forcing the working class to pay more than the US citizens do. And, by taking a big red marker and slashing the living hell out of the above-listed federal agencies and beaurocracies, it would be a simple matter to have the best of both worlds -- we could easily cut our income taxes in half or more, and ensure that no one will have financial worries.
Interestingly, I just registered for one class over the summer. I can only take one class due to the shortened summer semester and the schedule of available classes that I would need. Anyway, please take a look at the breakdown of fees for this one class:
101 In-state Tuition - Summer $236.00
11T1 Tech Fee $38.00
1301 Student Activity Fee-Summer $42.00
1401 Athletic Fee-Summer $27.00
1502 Parking Fee - Summer $15.00
Total Charge: $358.00
Although I will not be attending any "student activities" or partaking in any athletic events, nor do I need "tech" for the class I am taking, I am required to subsidize these things for other students who might make use of them. The American university system seems to be a microcosm of the very socialist ideals that Americans claim to fear so much.
It's clear that the United States treats its socialism the way a priest treats masturbation -- it does it very rarely, with a great amount of guilt, and tries very hard to ignore the amount of relief it brings.