Opinion: Who’s a socialist? Part II

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders 

Last week, I wrote about how political candidates are being tagged with that seemingly evil “socialist” label for advocating that more government resources be redirected to health, education and other social needs.

But it is also true that Democratic candidates for president are falling over themselves to make one promise after the other, many of which Congress will never approve and all of which would be a major cost to the treasury. However, that is still a far cry from being a socialist. Sadly, some in the political world care very little about the honesty of such a charge, but rather hope that the label of socialist will stick. That is the state of our politics by vilification today.

But the issue of health care for all Americans will dominate the national debate over the next year. Was it accurate to call Medicare or Medicaid socialism when enacted over 50 years ago? Is it socialism to go the next step and provide health care coverage for all Americans regardless of their ability to pay? That is the big question. And how would such a system be paid for?

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Opinion: Who is a socialist? Part I

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

It is a sure bet that over the next 12 months as the race for president heats up, you will hear the term “socialist” tossed around by some like an accusation of criminal conduct or of a political miscreant. A scare tactic for certain.

Those who hurl this spitball gauge that most Americans are suspicious, even fearful of socialists. It’s a timeworn page out of the playbook of those opposed to social change that might reapportion some of America’s vast wealth to support programs that primarily benefit middle and low income persons at the expense of the richest.

But is that socialism? In reality, socialism is an all-encompassing system in which government controls the economy from production output to prices of goods and the incomes of its citizens. The actual fact of the matter is that no candidate is proposing that, not even Senator Bernie Sanders, the self-described socialist running for president.

But in the aggregate, Democratic candidates are offering the American people a plethora of goodies, too many that could ever possibly be enacted all at once. To wit: Medicare For All; an elimination of private insurance; forgiveness of all student loans; free college; pre-K programs for all 3 and 4-year-olds. One Democratic candidate is even proposing to give families $1,000 per month every month to spend as they wish!

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