Wednesday, October 29, 2008

But Mo-om! He's a SOCIALIST! I don't WANNA play with him!

[My friend Adam's blog gets way more comments than mine. I responded to this one:

What about socialisim is your favorit thing? Because when the MESSIAH is elected welcome to socialisim in a big way! Tell me is OBAMA really your candidate of choice! Convince me why I should vote for him! (typos hers)

. . . with this.]

Socialism is a doctrine that calls for public (rather than private) ownership or control of property and natural resources. So, for instance, a factory that produces cars would be owned by--and distribute its profits and losses to--the people who contribute to the functioning of the factory. Barack Obama doesn't support things like this, because he is not a socialist. He is a capitalist. All capitalists (except some libertarians) support taxation.

Both Obama and McCain support taxing people. They just have different philosophies on how to go about it. Obama thinks your income should be taxed more as you make more, and that the middle class and the poor should get some tax relief (AKA, pay less). One argument for this is that the poor and middle class tend to spend a larger percentage of their income and save less, so cutting their taxes increases the amount of money flowing back into the economy through their purchases. Some people also think this is fair.

Under McCain's plan (I found this on his website), he would cut some taxes--the capital gains tax rate, the corporate tax rate, and taxes for the top income bracket--that tend to favor people who make more money than average. One argument for this is that heavily taxing top income brackets may dissuade people from making more money, since they keep less of it and can pass less down to their children; and also, that taxing investment gains discourages people from buying stock. Some people also think it's just unfair to tax people more as they make more.

To be clear, both Obama and McCain support some taxation, which is, in essence, redistribution of wealth: we pay taxes, and in return we get some percentage of the social services the government provides to everyone as a whole. They go about it in different ways, but the philosophy is the same: we pay taxes as members of a society, and we get something in return. Obama and McCain do differ in what they think we should get back, and in what they see as the proper role of government in providing social services. But neither candidate supports seizing the GM factories and giving ownership of it to the workers. That would never, ever fly in this country.

I support Obama, and I am not a socialist. I believe in free markets, but that markets fail and government regulation can help prevent that. I believe everyone should have access to primary health care and a good education through 12th grade. I think it's silly to provide subsidies for business if you're not also going to provide subsidies to individuals. I hope that this country's economy remains competitive internationally, but I think that will come from innovating--something we're historically good at--and not from propping up industries that can't compete. I also believe in property rights, in keeping the government out of my bedroom, and in making lots of money.

I won't try to convince you to vote one way or the other. My tax discussion above was as unbiased as I can manage. I don't know why people say Obama is a socialist; I do know that makes the real Socialist Party in this country very unhappy. They don't like to be misrepresented. And they have someone running for President too. His name is Brian Moore, NOT Barack Obama.


(In)Sanity Gal said...

Nicely put.

N said...

well said saisai. all this socialist bullshit just makes me wanna scream sometimes.