Enough of the name calling!

Let’s face it. To some extent we’re all socialists – me, you, everyone! Yep.

To be more specific, we’re card carrying socialists! Just look in your wallet and take out that aged, little light blue colored card with the drawing of columns on each side and the banner across the top proclaiming “Social Security”!

That little card is proof that we are all participants in a taxpayer-funded, government program that promises us when we reach 65 (62 if we want to get less money) that we will start receiving a monthly check from the U.S. Treasury.

Kidding aside, we’re not party members, we’re not socialists but we’re all guilty of holding our hands out for that “free” money!

I haven’t heard anyone willing to dig into their back pocket, take out their Social Security or Medicare card and strike a match do it.

Last week’s Tea Party day would have been a good time.I saw protesters with signs opposing “socialism” but no card burners. Wonder what was in their wallets?

It seems a bit hypocritical for someone to call one program “socialist” while they are or will be receiving from another “socialist” program. Kind’a like a card gambler criticizing someone for playing the lottery.

Critics are calling Pres. Obama’s proposed health care plan “socialized” healthcare.

Well folks, we already have socialized healthcare except the ones who are paying for it aren’t getting any benefits and how fair is that?

Here in Alabama anyone age birth -19 may qualify for practically free healthcare under AllKids while on the opposite end of the age spectrum those 65 and older may qualify for the state’s free Medicaid program and nationally everyone in that age bracket is covered under Medicare, presently the nation’s largest “socialized” healthcare program.

The question is, should folks between the ages of 19 and 65 who are paying the premiums also receive the same benefits.

Socialist Party USA’s magazine editor Billy Wharton, writing in The Washington Post said, “socialists know that Barack Obama is not one of us. Not only is he not a socialist, he may in fact not even be a liberal. Socialists understand him more as a hedge-fund Democrat”

Wharton added, “The first clear indication that Obama is not, in fact, a socialist, is the way his administration is avoiding structural changes to the financial system. . . . .Socialists support nationalization.”

As for Obama’s healthcare plan, “By mandating that every person be insured, ObamaCare would give private health insurance companies license to systematically under-insure policyholders while cashing in on the moral currency of universal coverage. If Obama is a socialist, then on health care, he’s doing a fairly good job of concealing it,” writes Wharton.

There you have it! Straight from the mouth of a real socialist.

AIG, Citigroup, Chase, GM, Chrysler and other big bailout recipients are supposedly the bastions of capitalism and free enterprise yet who did they go running when the free market didn’t operate in their favor? They came running to the government, to the taxpayers for billions in welfare to hand out in bonuses, lavish resorts trips and office upgrades!

Nothing new! A June, 1995 special series by the Philadelphia Inquirer found that between 1990-94, GM, IBM, AT&T, GE, Amoco, DuPont, Motorola and Citicorp got a combined $292,500,000 from the feds, layed off a combined 336,884 employees and only hired 9,600.

In the book ‘Take The Rich Off Welfare” the authors found, “If you cut 26 percent of the welfare now given to the rich you have instantly balanced the budget.” and “If you cut out wealthfare, you could pay off the national debt in 11 years.”

America has drifted toward socialism since shortly after the Civil War in the 1870s when the Democrats accused the (then more liberal) Republicans of socialist activities in the government’s bailouts of railroads during Reconstruction and the Panic of 1873.

And, “Whether inclined toward socialism, bread-and-butter unionism, or militant confrontations with capital, labor increasingly abandoned older free labor shibboleths in favor of a more forthright recognition of the permanence of the wage system and the reality of conflict between employer and employee,” wrote Eric Foner in his “Reconstruction – America’s Unfinished Revolution: 1863-1877.”

And as government and business entwined their interests, “the federal government proved remarkably solicitous of the interests of the railroads and other corporations,” notes Foner.

Since that time almost everyone and every business has been on the receiving end of government money, welfare, tax abatements, tax offsets, tax right-offs, government loans and the like.

Almost every major industry and business in America – even Wal-Mart, (over $48.3 million in Alabama alone) have been recipients of corporate welfare.

According to www.walmartsubsidywatch.org “In 2005 the Montgomery Advertiser published an article citing data from the Alabama Medicaid Agency showing that Wal-Mart topped the list of companies with the most employees with children on Medicaid. The retailer accounted for some 3,864 enrollees who were costing the state between $5.8 million and $8.2 million a year.”

“Wal-Mart presents itself as an entrepreneurial success story, yet it routinely gets big tax breaks, free land, cash grants and other forms of taxpayer assistance,” said Philip Mattera, research director of Good Jobs First.

Honda, Hyundai and Mercedes didn’t come to Alabama without over $758 million in corporate welfare handed to them. And just recently Mercedes received over $11 million in additional tax breaks while the hard-working residents had to pay their taxes or suffer fines and penalties.

“It’s not expected to create new jobs, however” Associated Press said.

How “entrepreneurial” would these companies really be if they did not receive government hand-outs?

On one hand all taxpayers helped bring industries to the state and on the other hand some taxpayers benefit from jobs. Does financial benefits exceed tax expenditures or have taxpayers paid too much?

Every industrial park in the nation is a testimony to corporate America’s love of socialized help.

Under a truly free enterprise, capitalist system, businesses would use their own money and fortitude to make it in the real world instead of relying on free handouts from taxpayers but that is not the way things work in a nation where we already have a capitalism/socialism mix much as in Europe and around the world.

Mark Steyn writing in the conservative National Review charges Democrats with the “full-scale Europeanization” of America. Never mind the Republicans had a massive hand as well.

Meanwhile, Dick Polman, in The Philadelphia Inquirer gave Europeanization some positive points including longer life expectancies and much higher literacy rates.

Anytime anyone, business, church or group benefits from government, they are participating and approving of the system or they would just say “No”.

According to Public Citizen (www.citizen.org) “Each year, U.S. taxpayers subsidize U.S. businesses to the tune of almost $125 billion, the equivalent of all the income tax paid by 60 million individuals and families. . . . corporate giants continue to live off the dole. Each dollar spent on these “aid for dependent corporations” welfare programs means one dollar less for environmental programs, support for education, assistance to those in need, tax breaks for families, or deficit reduction.”

And anyone who has ever researched our tax laws, both state and national, will understand who they are and are not written for.

In a series on corporate welfare the Boston Globe found that “After World War II, the nation’s tax bill was roughly split between corporations and individuals. But after years of changes in the federal tax code and international economy, the corporate share of taxes has declined to a fourth the amount individuals pay.”

Maybe the likes of Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, Boortz and Coulter, would be more effective if they held a card burning day so they and their followers could sign affidavits committing themselves to never accepting money from any government program!

About Wayne Ruple
Cleburne News editor Wayne Ruple is a native of Ashville. Before coming to Heflin, he worked for three years as a computer systems manager in Birmingham. Ruple has worked for The Sand Mountain Reporter in Albertville, and was the editor of The Independent in Robertsdale. He has also worked for the Shades Valley Sun, the St. Clair News-Aegis and The Daily Home in Talladega.