IS SOCIALISM ASCENDANT?

Socialism is on the rise in the US, according to an August 2018 Gallup poll. Democrats have a more positive view of socialism than capitalism by 57% to 47%. The trend is even more pronounced among young people aged 18 to 29, who favor socialism to capitalism by 51% to 45%. Obviously they don’t know about the repeated failures of socialism and the misery it always causes.

Membership in the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) has increased. Two DSA members are now in Congress – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) and Rashida Tlaib (D). The DSA’s mission statement is: “…we share a vision of a humane society based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning, equitable distribution, feminism, racial equity and non-oppressive relationships.” This may sound compassionate, but to achieve “control” they must confiscate private property, regulate anything they don’t confiscate and then prosecute anyone who breaks any of their many new rules. There is nothing “democratic” about this, and it is not compassionate.

The latest example of this failed idea is Venezuela. Since Hugo Chavez took over in 1999, 1.5 million have left the country. The Venezuelan economy contracted by 16% in 2016, 14% in 2017, and the prediction is for another 15% in 2018. Starving Venezuelans are looting stores to find food, and nationwide rolling blackouts have resulted in the death of hospital patients.

Another blazing example of socialism’s utter failure comes from the mother country, the United Kingdom. The UK gave us the hallowed institutions of private property rights, common law, rule of law and representative government. It is an efficient country; the trains and buses run more or less on time and the mail gets delivered. If any country could make socialism work, it’s the UK. But they couldn’t make it work.

In 1945 Britons tossed the conservative government of Winston Churchill in

a landslide in favor of Clement Attlee’s Labor government. The Labor slogan was “a socialist party and proud of it,” and they meant it.

The Attlee government nationalized banking, utilities, transportation, health care, mining and steel. What they did not take over they hyper-regulated. The coal industry is a prime example. At the time, coal was used to heat homes and power industry and the railroads; it was the fuel that made

British society go. The Minister of Fuel and Power (similar to a Cabinet appointee in the US but more powerful) appointed a board of nine coal industry leaders to run every coal company in the UK. Coal shortages left Britons in the cold during the unusually chilly winter of 1946-47. But the misery didn’t end there.

Britons still had food rations three years after the end of WWII. In 1948 the average weekly ration for each citizen was 13 oz. of meat, 1.5 oz. of cheese, 6 oz. of butter or margarine, 1 oz. of cooking fat, 8 oz. of sugar, 2 pints of milk and 1 egg. That’s for a full week. Naturally, people were losing weight.

When people are hungry and cold they will find ways to fill those needs, and that leads to prosecutions. The Ministry of Food criminally charged a grocer for selling a few extra pounds of potatoes. Another shopkeeper was fined for selling candy made with his own sugar ration.

Every vestige of this failed program has since been torn out, root and branch, except for the National Health Service (NHS). Why the creaking NHS remains is the subject of another article.

Certain of their success and giddy when they seized the reins of power, the socialists had said,“…a planned socialist system is more efficient than a private enterprise capitalist system…within democratic socialist planning the individual can be given broader social justice, greater security, and more complete freedom than under capitalism.” Does this sound familiar? These same tired promises are heard now from Bernie Sanders, AOC and the rest.

The term Democratic Socialist is literally non-sense. The DSA attaches the word “democratic” to socialism to make it sound friendly. The Nazi party was elected, too, but was Nazism democratic? No. An elected totalitarian is still a totalitarian. Fancy language and gaudy promises disguise the true intent, which is the intent of every totalitarian: control. Elections will not change the ugly spots on this dangerous cat.

Here’s what Winston Churchill said about socialism. “The French have a saying, ‘Drive nature away, and she will return at a gallop.’ Destroy the free market and you create a black market: you overwhelm the people with laws and regulations, and you induce a general disrespect for the law…you may try to destroy wealth, and find that all you have done is increase poverty.”

And now Democrat presidential candidates are proposing to nationalize health care and energy production in the guise of a “Green New Deal” and “Medicare For All.” Having failed to learn history, they want us to recreate the human misery caused by socialism.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.

HEALTHCARE FACTS

In full disclosure, I’m a psychologist in a busy private practice which is in its 28th year. So I know a bit about health care from the inside, including health insurance. This is a view that few if any politicians have.

Ever since Obamacare was passed, I’ve noticed two things. One, every patient I’ve seen with Obamacare insurance has had gargantuan deductibles, usually in the neighborhood of $3,000 to $5,000. This means that the patient must pay for everything up to that number before insurance kicks in. From a practical point of view, they have no coverage. This illustrates the great lie of government health care, which is the promise of coverage with no access to a doctor.

If that wasn’t bad enough, try the next one on for size. Every spring, to comply with the ACA (Obamacare), I’m asked to turn over the “complete medical record” of a selected few patients for audit. When I tell them I must first ask my patients, they invariably say that the patients have already signed a consent, and that I must surrender the records NOW! Consider for a moment the deeply personal things patients confide in a therapist. My response is, has been, and ever will be: No, I must first talk to my patient and I’ll get back to you. When I call the patients to tell them of this demand, they are uniformly horrified and outraged. But, not to worry: a consent given can be revoked. And every patient I contacted has revoked their consent.

Healthcare should always be between doctor and patient, a bond of trust. I work for the patient, and my primary interest is his well-being and health. This is the way health care has been and should always be. Your doctor should never be an agent of social change or social justice (the government.)

Progressives say that eliminating insurance companies and having one centralized source for claims will save money. As of now, every healthcare professional already submits claims on one form (HCFA 1500), uses standardized codes for billing, and submits claims online. We may realize savings from not having to call for permission for various medical procedures, but that pre-supposes the single-payer (the government) will always says yes. I have my doubts about this. In the end, it’s not much of a saving.

To keep health care between doctor and patient, we must reject single-payer.

Michael Morrongiello, Ph. D.

EXCEPTIONAL

What is American exceptionalism? It means that we’re the exception, unique in the world, because our founding document, the Declaration of Independence, says our rights come from God or nature and predate any government. With one brilliant stroke, the Founders made Americans the freest people on earth because no government can grant us rights we already have – but of course government can take them away.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution, our right to self-defense, also marks us as an exception in the world. Few countries trust their citizens with guns. Progressives (Democrats) take a dim view of the 2nd Amendment – they don’t like it and would get rid of it if they could. They say the Founders meant for the 2nd Amendment to apply only to “well regulated militias.” This belief makes it logical for progressives to “well regulate” our guns away from us.

When there’s a crime, Progressives always blame the gun. Next step: take the gun. When Democrats say they support the Second Amendment, that they’re hunters and they own guns, don’t believe them. They vote for gun-grabbers like Schumer and Pelosi.

The Second Amendment is an individual right. The Declaration and the Constitution were based on natural law. They acknowledged timeless principles and our basic humanity. The right to self-defense is obviously and deeply fixed in human nature – the will to survive and to protect those we love. The Second Amendment was part of the Bill of Rights, whose purpose was to guarantee individual rights.

That the 2nd Amendment is an individual right has been made plain by the brilliant Joyce Lee Malcolm. A link to an article about her follows.

https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2018/04/16/the-nice-girl-who-saved-the-second-amendment/

Malcolm’s research demonstrates that an individual right to self-defense originated in England in the 1600’s. The Founders relied on this tradition when they wrote the Constitution.

Follow my logic here. This country was founded on individual rights in the Declaration, which informed the Bill of Rights, designed to protect our individual rights. Therefore, the Second Amendment is an individual right. What other conclusion is possible?

We must remain ever-vigilant to protect every one of the precious rights given to us by our Founders.

 

Michael A. Morrongiello Ph. D.

LIMITED GOVERNMENT, ANYONE?

The Santa Claus principle, which dominates both parties in Washington, says that if politicians spend voters’ money, voters will elect them in perpetuity. They take your money, then give it back in some program or other, and you’re supposed to be grateful. The recent budget deal, the 2018 Omnibus made between big-spending Republicans and bigger-spending Democrats, has killed any pretense at limited government, for now.

Democrats are the original Santas, but at least they’re honest about their love for big spending. They brag about how much they’re doing for us (really, it’s to us). Republicans are ever a pale imitation. Republicans always campaign to reduce spending and shrink government, but when they get to Washington they spend, piling up enormous debt for the rest of us.

The $ 1.3 trillion omnibus is 2,232 pages long. It was impossible to read, let alone understand, in the time allotted. When Democrats offered huge bills with little time to read them, we rightly complained. Now Republicans are doing it. Here’s what some of what was was funded:

$12 million for Lebanese scholarships.

$20 million for Middle East scholarships.

$12 million to fund the Vietnamese military.

$3.5 million for Laotian nutrition.

$15 million in developmental assistance for China, our main military and economic rival.

With one stroke, Republicans managed to depress their base, make a Republican President look weak, and put their majority in peril. Brilliant.

One reason why this bill is such a budget-buster is that Democrats insisted on discretionary spending increases before they would fund modernization and pay raises for our military.

Tom Reed correctly voted against this spending free-for-all, a courageous decision to be sure in the face of what had to be enormous political pressure.

Why does this matter? The Republican Party is supposed to stand for individual freedom and its essential component—limited government, in direct opposition to Democrats. Big spending and limited government are mutually exclusive. You can’t have both. With the Republican surrender on omnibus, we now have two big-government parties.

Limited government is important because as government grows, it requires more of your money. According to the Tax Freedom Foundation, we now work until almost May to pay our taxes each year. Citizens have a limited lifespan, and money taxed from us means less time to enrich our lives, and those of our children and grandchildren. That is precisely why this is such a bad deal. What’s to be done?

Former Governor Al Smith said, “Nobody shoots Santa Claus.” For now, people love big spenders. Politics is always downstream from culture. And until more of us demand smaller and more limited government, we’ll get free spending Santas and rotten sellout deals like the 2018 Omnibus.

Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.