Many people fear socialism, but that’s because they misunderstand what it actually is.
Democratic socialism already exists at all levels of our government, and not only do we love it, we can’t do without it and when it’s threatened, we even fight tooth and nail to keep it.
In the U.S., we collectively tax ourselves to pay for programs and projects that benefit quality of life for society as a whole. That’s a form of socialism, and it’s how we live.
Examples of socialism are:
- Local police, and state and federal law enforcement agencies like the FBI and CIA
- Public libraries
- Fire departments
- Public garbage collection and landfills
- Emergency medical response systems
- Construction and maintenance of roads, highways, streets, traffic control systems like stop signals, and safety amenities, like sidewalks and street lighting
- Free public schools
- Social Security
- Farmer subsidies
- Federally-funded student loans and grants
- All branches of the U.S. Military
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- Public water systems that assure we have safe drinking water
- The 1936 Rural Electrification Act that brought electricity to farms and rural areas of America
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which enforces workplace safety
- Public parks like Lincoln Park, Canyon View Park and the Riverfront Trail system
- Bridges, dams and irrigation systems
- Sewer systems
- Drainage systems
- Jails and prisons
- Municipal, state and federal court systems
- The Veterans Administration and Veterans’ Medical Centers and hospitals
- Public beaches
- Free school lunch programs
- Snow removal from streets, roads and highways
- Public immunization programs
- The U.S. Postal Service
- The U.S. Mint
- Federal Deposit Insurance that protects bank accounts of up to $250,000 from loss
- Inspection of meat, dairy and foods to protect against contamination of our food supply
- National parks and monuments
- Free job training programs like the Job Corps, that help turn youth into functioning, tax-paying citizens who benefit society
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that assists victims of hurricanes, floods and fires
- Embassies that help Americans when they are overseas
- Elimination of diseases like Typhoid, Polio, Smallpox and Yellow Fever
- The National Institutes of Health research leading to advances in treating diseases like cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimers
No one individual or private company could ever do all this. None of these activities generate a profit, either, which is why government should never be run like a business, since businesses are dependent on making profits to survive. The reason we have government is because government can do what people cannot do for themselves individually, to improve our quality of life and assure our safety. That’s socialism, and there is clearly a large component of it in our society already.
The taxpayer-funded, government-operated public programs listed above and many others are responsible for the extraordinarily high quality of life we enjoy as Americans.
That is why paying taxes is a patriotic act, and it’s what really makes America great.