Once the money leaves your hand via taxation, you really don’t have much control over the way it is used.
The quote is from a comment Heather of the blog Where Grace Abounds made after my post Is Norway funding terrorists? That’s a problem you have all over the world, no matter what political system we are talking about. It’s an uncomfortable and disturbing thought because our governments are involved in a lot of activities that can best be described as sick, evil, deranged, irresponsible, selfish, shortsighted, inconsiderate, idiotic etc. I agree with her that authorities waste a lot of money. That’s easy to do when you are handling a lot of money and nothing you do will have any negative consequences for you personally. We allow this to happen, and I guess we do because we also get some benefits.
My family have benefitted quite a bit from this. My step-father had bypass surgery in the early 1990’s, but it wasn’t successful, so they did it again 3 months later. My wife and I have a beautiful daughter we got through IVF-treatment at the local hospital. My mother is currently undergoing chemotherapy at the same hospital. If we had to pay for this non of it would have taken place. The backside of universal health care is that you may have to wait if the capacity isn’t high enough at the time, but it works most of the time. That’s why I like a democratic socialism. It helps the low income families, but not so much that they don’t have any incentives to work. The truth is that even in a socialist country like Norway you are going to live on a miserably low income if you don’t work. You won’t starve to death, but it’s not going to be a good life, either. So if you want a decent life you have to work, and I don’t know anyone who would choose something else.
We have a system we call freecard. That means that when you go to the doctor, psychologist, hospital, x-ray institute, medicine on blue prescription (if the medicine is for chronic illness) and pay a small deductible amount, this amount counts towards a limit of $ 300. After that you don’t pay more for these services the rest of the year.
I pay 1/3 of my income to the municipality, and the governent takes some for road tax and a tax that is added into the petrol price. We frequently complain about the health service and the roads, and all the tax we pay, but all in all Iife isn’t that bad in a country the US Republicans would probably label as desgustingly socialist. Aren’t we all? After all, what happens after a natural disaster or financial crisis? We expect the government to help us. What is that if not socialism? The opposite of socialism is less equality, total individuality. Thankfully we don’t have the full system of anarchy, but that is in fact what you are asking for if you expect a society free of socialist ideas.
I don’t know how it works in a slightly different political system. Norway is a combination of social democracy and capitalism, but moving closer towards capitalism. People living under a purer form of capitalism also pay taxes. That’s how countries build public buildings, roads, pay employees etc. In short, everything the government does is funded by the money we hand over, and without our money the government couldn’t do any of the good things either. I don’t know how much they pay in other countries, but they do pay. I assume they pay conciderably less than we do, so that they will be able to pay for the services that are not covered by the government.
One of the things that irritate me is how much money is wasted. I read an article a couple of years ago about the cost overruns in the oil production. It was a staggering $ 13 billion just since 2000. It’s the same on all projects where the government is involved, and somehow I doubt whether the situation is much better elsewhere. What do we have to show for after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for example? Do these people enjoy peace and stability today? Are we less likely to be hit by terrorism at home? The answer would determine how successful our expenditure has been.
Norway isn’t perfect. Life here seems to be more stable than in many other countries, but we’re heading in the wrong direction. That means that the government is getting farther removed from the people, and the waste increases. No one seems to be thinking about tomorrow. This is grand theft, but the government keeps getting away with it. I guess if you are staring into Harry Callahan’s magnum, and he is in charge, you don’t want to argue. Unfortunately Harry isn’t of the people anymore.
Tragically I don’t see any peaceful solution. I don’t think there are any democratic countries that don’t have these issues. We still enjoy some democracy in Norway, but it’s stagnating. It’s getting harder for poor people, in other words less socialist. My tax money at work doesn’t mean the same today as it did a couple of generations ago. As for the United States many people think it’ll be better times for the majority once they get Obama out of the White House. Let’s just say, I am not entirely convinced that he is the only problem, that there is a political opposition. The next president is more than welcome to prove me wrong, however.
These are some of the things we’d have to manage without if we didn’t have socialism:
Fire Department, library, university hospitals, public schools, social security, any type of program that gives you affordable medicine and treatment, no public nursing homes, no public parks and roads, no one will pick up your garbage. The list is endless. We’ve had these services for so long that we take them for granted, but in a society free of socialism we have to pay what these services really cost. It’s a society where the richest get even more advantages.
I wonder what the Republican Party in the US is really telling their voters when they accuse their opponents of socialism. Does it mean they don’t want services that will benefit families with low to medium income? Does it mean they want people to pull the ladder up as they climb, leaving the majority to manage on their own? I’m just wondering what they are afraid of. The politicians are after all supposed to serve the people, so what are they giving back to the people voting them into the elite?
I can’t be completely against it because they have given my family medical treatment we couldn’t possibly afford on our own, as well as access to costly medicine, free access to knowledge through libraries, public schools and universities etc.
Bill Maher do have a way with words. This is Socialism in America 101: