Friday, February 5, 2016

Capitalism and Socialism in the US

There has been quite a debate going in this year’s (2016) Presidential election cycle. Perhaps one of the more visible, and shocking, candiates has been Bernie Sanders. I like Sanders in some ways, and although I wouldn’t vote for him, I do think he isn’t necessarily a bad candidate. Plenty of people would think his positions would wreck the country, but fundamentally he would implement few of them as the Congress is likely to be led by a GOP majority, if not controlled by one.

That creates gridlock, which I’m overall fine with.

However, there have been plenty of people upset of Senator Sanders “socialism” and views of having government do more. A few of my more conservative friends posted this video:

It’s an interesting listen, and being an economist by training in college, I agree with most of it. It’s true that we need producers and greed does drive things forward. Reward for hard work is a fundamental human motivator for most people. We learn to work for things we want.

No one argues that, and I don’t see Senator Sanders arguing against that. If you read the text of his speech last November, he does callf for government investment, change, and yes, spending. However he calls for work over and over. He calls for people to work for a living, but to do so in a way that ensures they prosper. He calls for the rules, loopholes, and tax breaks for the wealthy people and corporations to be closed so that more people can improve their lives.

This Democratic socialism isn’t the dole where people get paid to not work. This isn’t the decision to carry people along in our society. This isn’t an equality society where everyone earns or gets the same. It’s the vision of all of society, or most of it, working hard and prospering. Some succeed more, some succeed less.

To be fair, that’s what we have now, and what Milton Friedman espouses, but unbridled capitalism is like unbridled anything. It falls apart over time and creates a power structure that isn’t sustainable, just like pure Socialistic or Communistic societies that force everyone to be equal.

I don’t think Senator Sanders is asking for that, but rather some limits and boundaries to build a framework that allows people to become rich and innovate, but not without government help. At some point, we increase taxes and limit growth to ensure that more people, who must themselves work, can prosper.

No comments: