Social Question

josie's avatar

What will happen to you, personally, if and when America finally gives in to the statist Socialists?

Asked by josie (30931points) May 6th, 2012

After 200 years and a few decades, America seems to be at risk to be absorbed by ideas that the founders found not only undesirable but antithetical to the human spirit (human nature if you are not spiritual) – that creepy idea being that the Political State is a higher form of evolution than the self interested and rational individual.
Nothing in nature supports this notion, but it is currently popular never the less, and if it gains a bridgehead in the next election, I figure that is pretty much that for about a generation. If and when it happens, what will happen to you?

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81 Answers

Fly's avatar

I will breathe a sigh of relief.

Charles's avatar

Taxes go up?
More government services?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Could you be a little more specific, please? Examples, etc.

nikipedia's avatar

I’ll probably have better healthcare and fewer worries.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

Dropping science like when Galileo dropped the orange

ragingloli's avatar

“Nothing in nature supports this notion”
Except of course for ant colonies, bee hives, huge swarms of birds that move as one, the very fact that throughout history humans have sacrificed their individuality and selfish needs and wants to live in a social group, be it family, tribe, village, town, or country, and this pesky little thing called multi cellular life where cells submit themselves to the whole entity instead of living by themselves and for themselves.
The fact is that it is the extreme individualism and selfishness espoused by right wing demagogues that is contrary to human nature.
But that is irrelevant, since there is no indication whatsoever that anyone of even slight renown in politics in the US is even close to being a socialist.
Yes, you heard that right. Obama is not a socialist. On the contrary, he is pretty far to the right.

Blackberry's avatar

@ragingloli :)

I will gladly pay higher taxes in exchange for security, and that isn’t even socialism.

josie's avatar

@ragingloli
Always a slow study, I missed the part where humans were kin to bees and ants and huge swarms of birds.
Thanks for clarifying.

ragingloli's avatar

@Blackberry
Glad you like it :)

SuperMouse's avatar

I will actually have healthcare and as @nikipedia so aptly put it, fewer worries. Let’s keep working on creating that bridgehead during the next election so the generation has some time to enjoy it!

CWOTUS's avatar

You would have been perfectly correct with “Nothing in human nature…”, but that missing qualifier drove you off the rails.

gondwanalon's avatar

HA! You could have left the word “if” out of our question. Capitalism is being set up for failure in the U.S. When this finally happen all the Socialists will say “See, we gave capitalism a chance” as the government takes over everything. This is likely happen sooner than later. The national debt is nearly 16 trillion dollars and no matter who is elected President this Fall the Congress is at a stalemate. Additional rounds of quantitative easing following are being discussed. Also there is Obamacare to deal with.

When capitalism collapses, so will the stock market and the value of the dollar and taxes will increase. This could bring me to my knees financially. But when that happens I hope to be too old to care. HA! I feel sorry for the young people and the generations that follow. That’s when it will get very ugly.

ragingloli's avatar

@CWOTUS
He would have been wrong even with such a qualifier.
Humans are social animals, they have an innate need and drive to live in groups and subject themselves to the rules and demands of that group.
You can see that throughout human history.

lloydbird's avatar

Er….what is this question about?
Anyone…please?
-

Dutchess_III's avatar

Exactly @lloydbird. Thank you.
Examples please @josie? As in…we need to get rid of schools, city and county workers, policeman…what? What “Socialist Society” do you think we’re heading in to?

thorninmud's avatar

As one of the few flutherers to have lived under an actual socialist government (for 7 years), I’m happy to inform you that the human spirit not only survives but flourishes. In fact, I must say that my human spirit took a rather substantial hit when I found myself back in the land of K Street and Wall Street.

ragingloli's avatar

Also, back in the DDR (east germany) the right to a job was enshrined in the constitution. So you definitely would not have to worry about becoming unemployed.
But that was a state capitalist dictatorship, not socialism.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Why won’t anyone give us some concrete examples?

whitenoise's avatar

@Dutchess_III
Because the whole notion of the US becoming socialist is so far off from reality that no examples can be given without exposing that fact.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well…lets go then! Let’s expose it! Oh lord. There is a certain question coming to mind that [REDACTED]

SavoirFaire's avatar

Given my position as both a member of the Ivory Tower elite and an oppressed worker—we graduate students do all of the work for very little pay, after all—I will certainly be given a lofty position in the New World Order. I’m hoping that I get to head one of the death panels. There are a few names I plan on putting right at the top of the list. ~

Dutchess_III's avatar

Sigh. You’re not serious about the “death panel” bullshit are you @SavoirFaire? Please tell me you aren’t. That was debunked aeons ago.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Dutchess_III See the tilde at the end of my response.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Is this ’~’ a tilde? Never heard it called a tilde! What a perfect name for it! I take it a tilde=sarcasam? :) I know a new wooord! I know a new wooord! Thank you @SavoirFaire!

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Dutchess_III Yup, the ”~” is called a “tilde,” and we use it here to denote sarcasm. That’s just a Fluther convention as far as know, but a useful one!

ETpro's avatar

I am so far out of agreement with the premise I find it tough to respond. Look up socialism, @josie. What chance do you think there is that the US will suddenly abandon all private enterprise and that the state will own everything? Even China, which was and still to some extent is a Communist nation, is slowly transitioning to private enterprise and abandoning the idea of the superiority of statism.

ragingloli's avatar

@ETpro
There is a big difference between state ownership and control and collective ownership and control. One is a top down imposition, the other is a democratic bottom up system. Only the latter is actual socialism.

tinyfaery's avatar

We will all then know that Marx was right.

ETpro's avatar

@ragingloli I know what the word means. It is patently clear that the American right either is clueless about the word’s meaning and just mouths party talking points, or they are displaying willful ignorance in hope of using demonization and big-lie propaganda to achieve their political ends.

@tinyfaery I don’t think Marx was right, but he did see some of the failings of unrestrained capitalism as evidenced in the Gilded Age. Unfortunately, Stalin took a flawed but well intentioned system, corrupted it for his own selfish ends, and the rest is history.

augustlan's avatar

Though your premise is very flawed, I’m curious, @josie… what do you think will happen to you?

flutherother's avatar

Personally I would be happier and feel more secure living in a human society rather than a rat race. All the founders of America wanted was for the people to be free to choose their representatives in government in order to ensure their happiness. It is a flexible system that can adapt to changing circumstances.

lillycoyote's avatar

I have a three page answer on this one or the quick answer on this one, an being a bit of a socialist, mu quick answer would be it wouldn’t be such a bad idea, to incorporate a few socialist ideas into our system and society. What is it that you exactly imagine when you imagine an “America finally” giving in to “the statist Socialists?”

tedd's avatar

While ignoring the question admittedly, I wanted to point out that the debate between “statist” and a more “libertarian” view of how our country should be run, has been going on since the very beginning of our nation…. and is not some recent struggle.

Heck, over half of the Founding Fathers were Federalists who advocated for absolute Federal control over the states.. and even wanted to install Washington as a King at the end of the Revolution. Washington himself was arguably a Federalist (though he declared no political party, he helped push through several Federalist cornerstones, such as the Federal-Bank), and his first replacement was also a Federalist. There were the obvious Founding Fathers whom the Tea Party Libertarian crowd will point to today, the Thomas Jefferson’s and such… But they seem to forget the work of the Alexander Hamilton’s and company.

Now with regards to your question…. The “socialist” wing of US politics, isn’t socialist at all. Are they a shade closer to it than the conservative wing? Oh most definitely… But to call the left leaning democrats in this country socialists, is akin to calling a gecko a tyrannosaurus-rex. So no, I do not fear at all for the outcome you are describing, because it isn’t coming.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We already have many “socialist ideas” incorporated into our system. Schools, city managers, police, jails, parks, etc.

monorob's avatar

@josie

If we fully went socialist, my advice would be to sell all your property, fire all employees & move to a country that has the most economic freedom. Although the closet place to economic freedom would be Hong Kong (not ideal, of course). Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and Canada have a little bit higher tax burden if you’re wealthy, but they have more trade and regulation freedom. Less corruption too.

In 2006, France passed a wealth tax. 900 wealthy people moved out immediately and from 2006–2012 more than 300,000 wealthy people have moved to Britain. Now that the new Socialist president was elected in France who promised a 75% tax bracket on the rich, the remainder of the wealthy have been planning for the past six months to move to Britain (25% increase in real estate activity according to one firm in Britain).

For now you can jump to states with a freer economy. For example, in the past 7 years, Texas has been ranked 1st for the best place to do business (no state income tax and a deregulated market). Places to avoid would be New York and California which were ranked the worst place to do business for the past 7 years.

tinyfaery's avatar

That must be why two of the largest, most successful corporations, like Google and Apple, have their headquarters in Texas…wait.

whitenoise's avatar

@monorob

Can you provide some scientific research / statistics on your numbers for emigration from France? I find them very interesting, but have a hard time finding evidence on the internet.

tedd's avatar

@monorob Texas is ranked #1 because oil companies have free reign to destroy the ever-loving sh*t out of the environment, and companies like Wal-Mart can treat their employees like crap.

I would live in Haiti before I would live in Texas.

bkcunningham's avatar

From the Journal of Public Economics, “In the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), many governments
are actually worried about the departure of highly-skilled
individuals for tax havens (OECD, 2002, 2008) and less redistributive
countries. For example, about 34000 income taxpayers have left
France each year since 2000 to relocate to countries with lower
income taxes, like the UK, Luxembourg, Switzerland or North America
(DGI, 2005). Before emigrating, these individuals paid three times
more taxes than the average French taxpayer.”

http://www.anst.uu.se/lausi105/cariboost_files/nonlinear_20tax.pdf

whitenoise's avatar

@bkcunningham I had already found that one, indeed an interesting read.

In that document, though, it doesn’t show the balance. Nor does it show the period 2006–2012. The data comes from 2003.

I am one of those high income earners that left my country (The Netherlands) to work in a country where I now pay virtually no taxes. The reason I did that wasn’t because of the taxation, though. I went where the job went. (Personally I don’t mind paying taxes, as long as society and I get our money worth.)

The overall balance effect of migration on these income brackets in population would be very interesting, I feel. In my experience, a lot of the people that earn a lot of money are more mobile anyway. So the balance of the migration is more interesting than merely the emigration. Especially when no reason for migration is taken into the data.

monorob's avatar

@tinyfaery,

Wal-Mart and Shell/Exxon mobil are the largest and most successful Corporations in the world. There are 324 Corporations that are larger and more successful than google, 110 more than apple.

California has between 3.9–5.4 businesses leaving per week and google and apple have no plans for expansion. California wasn’t an overly taxed/regulated place decades ago, that’s why it had a lot of corporations moving in.

@whitenoise

A past report by a senator having estimated that 843 people left France in 2006 as a result of the tax, taking away wealth of some €2.8 billion

I can’t find the recent article I just read about the 300,000 (specifically from 2006–2012). I’ll post if I run into it again.

This just speaks of the 300,000 that moved to Britain.

Expectations from 300,000 to 400,000 in London

Looks like its confirmed now…Confirmed, Wealthy French Leaving

whitenoise's avatar

@monorob
From your second link:

“Five years after Sarkozy’s plea [2007], the number of French living in the UK has ballooned from 300,000 to 400,000.”

That indicates a migration balance from France to UK of 100,000 throughout those five years.

Still, it is something governments seriously need to consider in their taxation policies.
There is little use in planning to milk a cow if you don’t plan to keep it.

monorob's avatar

Ah, could have read it incorrectly or there was more to this. There were also a lot of wealthy french leaving to Brussels and Switzerland, if I remember correctly. I can’t find the damn article :( 100,000+ is still a hell of a lot of wealthy people leaving.

tedd's avatar

@monorob Yep just 10–15 years ago California wasn’t very highly taxed, and was even well below national standards….. and look where that landed it.

And frankly I see it as a badge of shame that Texas laws and regulations are so lax that shell, exxon, mobil, and wal mart would all place national or global headquarters, as well as massive operations there. “We’re so proud that we’re one of the leading causes of our planet and societies downfall!”

bkcunningham's avatar

Walmart is headquartered in Arkansas, @tedd. It only makes sense that oil companies would be headquartered in the oil fields. Texas should be proud of the fact that the companies are there. They provide many, many jobs and massive amounts of revenue for the state.

Oil companies are given free reign? You can’t be serious my friend.

tedd's avatar

@bkcunningham They are headquartered in Arkansas yes, but they have seen a huge boom over the last 5ish years in Texas. And there’s more oil reserves in Alaska, or in North Dakota, than Texas…. And compared to most of the rest of the country, yes they definitely have free reign in Texas.

bkcunningham's avatar

So, what if there are oil reserves in Alaska or North Dakota? I’m missing your point? Alaska, like Texas, has no state income tax. Alaska doesn’t have a sales and use tax and is the only state in the US that the majority of the state doesn’t impose property tax.

North Dakota’s personal income tax rate is very low. It is between 1.51 percent and 3.99 percent depending on your income.

tinyfaery's avatar

Ah…2 corporations that are concerned about people, our environment and…wait.

monorob's avatar

@tedd,

Decade-s (plural), as in 1950’s-1960’s. That is when the high-tech, commercial and industrial expansion was happening at high and rapid rates in California. Little to no regulations and low taxes. Booming economy.

Your opinion on Wal-Mart is a minority one. It generated $446 billion in 2011. The people obviously emphasize great value for the company.

monorob's avatar

@tedd,

If you’re concerned about the environment than all that needs to be done to fix the issue is to have the government set proper parameters on a Corporations property. Pollutants would have to be contained on the private property or else they face the consequences…This would force oil companies to rethink their methods on how to produce a quality product without harming the environment or anyone else’s boundaries. You save hundreds of billions of dollars in regulation spending with this method.

As for global warming, 1000 private emails of scientists were released two year to the internet and another 5000 emails released last year. In the emails, new package appears to show systematic suppression of evidence, and even publication of reports that scientists knew to to be based on flawed approaches. And not only do the emails paint a picture of scientists manipulating data, government employees at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) are also implicated

In addition to that, ‘Global warming started over 100 years ago’: New temperature comparisons using ocean-going robots suggest climate change began much earlier than previously thought

whitenoise's avatar

@monorob

All these scientists together in one big conspiracy?

You are seriously thinking that? And you’re willing to bet our survival on that?

Please keep in mind that we are not talking about saving the planet, the planet will survive. We’re talking about saving ourselves. Wouldn’t you rather err on the safe side?

SavoirFaire's avatar

@monorob A lot of the criticism over those emails reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of how science works. Data sets are noisy, and everyone has to figure out how to eliminate the noise when making a graph. That said, there were still shameful things that occurred worth criticizing. The refusal to comply with Freedom of Information requests is what I find most distressing about the emails, and I’m always surprised that people don’t make more out of that. I guess “falsifying data” sounds more explosive than “lack of openness,” but it seems one makes a better argument when one’s accusations are accurate. If the skeptics insist on focusing on the former, it just shows that they care more about the rhetorical game than the truth.

In any case, the skeptics argument fails to say anything about what we should actually do. As can be expressed both comically and seriously, changing our behaviors goes beyond what we think about climate change itself.

monorob's avatar

Oh, I don’t know anything about global warming. This is just something I read recently. I figured I’d add it in since environment was brought up. People seemed to be in agreement when the military documents were leaked, so I assumed this too is legitimate information.

My main point was to explain why we don’t need regulations and how private property can protect the environment.

ragingloli's avatar

They will not. It just means more costs to them.
Pollutants would have to be contained on the private property or else they face the consequences
Corporations would fight such a law to the death, I guarantee it.

monorob's avatar

It doesn’t only have to be a cost issue. Violating someone’s property may be a criminal offense (if their pollutants would seep in to your/public property). For example, Nuclear power contains its pollutants on the private property. Oil, gas, & coal would have to figure out how to adapt to avoid the civil/criminal charges.

ragingloli's avatar

Making it a criminal offence is regulation by definition. It is also one of the most extreme forms of regulation one can even think of. If you want to regulation, you can forget about making it a criminal offence.
You must have faith in the corporations to do it themselves.

For a company, it is all about cost. Researching into a way to “keep all pollutants within the property” increases costs. Implementing it increases costs. Disposal of waste in a way that does not pollute other’s property increases costs. Constantly checking if everything is in order increases costs. Given the choice, corporations will always take the option that costs less.
If you do not have laws in place that prohibit pollution, no corporation in its right mind would choose to limit themselves voluntarily, because doing so would just be unnecessary costs to them.

monorob's avatar

Private property is in place and has been since the country was developed. The problem is the property just wasn’t properly defined which it should have been from the start. It wasn’t suppose to come to this point where we now have to fix it.

Private property is a regulation but it’s one that doesn’t require government spending. That is the difference. Government spending would be something like the FDA or SEC since it requires a lot of people to sit and monitor standards/problems of all businesses. These too should and are replace by contracts. In the case of private property, if it was violated, you’re the one in charge. You sue and the court penalizes.

ragingloli's avatar

“Private property is a regulation but it’s one that doesn’t require government spending.”
Of course it does.
You have to monitor the corporations to make sure they obey the law and you have to prosecute offenders. That is spending right there.

monorob's avatar

You don’t have to monitor. You setup sensors, just like when you purchase a smoke alarm, or a carbon dioxide detector. Alarm goes off and you know it’s seeping into your boundaries, or public boundaries.

Prosecuting offenders will always cost money, plenty of criminals out there.

However, you won’t be seeing too many prosecutions in this area. It will only take a few incidents before all the Corporations wise up, maybe even one incident. No Corporation is going to risk a prison sentence.

ragingloli's avatar

And those sensors grow on trees and never need to be maintained, replaced or checked if they still work?

monorob's avatar

If you buy sensors in bulk it costs nothing. They’re dirt cheap. If you plug it in to an outlet you don’t need batteries. You also don’t need billions of dollars to pay a guy to check on it once in a while to see if it still works. Its not like there is a coal factory on every corner. I have a 10 year old sensor that still works just fine. Goes off every time I do a barbecue. This is chump change compare to the billions of dollars we spend on the thousands of useless regulations we have. This is 1 regulation we’re talking about that replaces all of the others.

ragingloli's avatar

Sensors will fail. That is unavoidable. They are not indestructible, and your little anecdote does not prove they are. I have never been hit by a car, therefore no one ever gets hit by a car.
Then you have to make sure that the corps do not send out people in secret to deliberately sabotage the sensors once they are deployed.
They will also have to be able to detect any variation of pollutant that exists, not just one like your cheap smoke detector does. Those will have to be especially engineered, which means they will not be dirt cheap.
Then you will have to place them every where in the country, so that every m² is covered by the grid, to make sure that the corps do not dump their waste in the wilderness.
Then you have to massively expand the powergrid to supply all those sensors with energy.
The costs will be astronomical.
You really did not think this through.

monorob's avatar

Ok, you send a guy to check on the sensor once in a while. He will make sure it works and that it isn’t sabotaged by the corporation. He doesn’t need to be paid a $50,000 salary to do monkey work.

You’re completely speculating on prices now. Adding broader detection capability might not cost X much more at all. I’m sure it will cost more, but you’re making it seem like a lot more.

You don’t need to massively expand the power-grid to supply all those sensors. A detector draws 1 watt. Make it solar. You’re over exaggerating now.

ragingloli's avatar

But you will need 50000 of them to cover the entire country.
I also think you are severely underestimating the difficulty and cost of engineering a device that can detect every chemical in existence. Not just broader, but universal. They do not exist today, and it certainly is not because of a lack of demand for such a device.

monorob's avatar

There are around 1200 plants total in the United states (Oil, Gas, Coal), so why would we need 50000?

We spend 129 billion tax dollars on regulations and you’re worried about the cost of 1 regulation that will replace them all and which most likely won’t come anywhere near the multi-million mark in costs?

Perhaps I’m underestimating but I think you’re over-exaggerating and not looking at the bigger picture (compare spending). You’re also thriving for idealism if you need it to detect every single chemical. We make use of what is available at the moment. It’s better than nothing.

ragingloli's avatar

@monorob
“There are around 1200 plants total in the United states (Oil, Gas, Coal), so why would we need 50000?”
Because they could dump their waste anywhere in the country, not just in the immediate vicinity of their property. And it is not just power plants, but every kind of factory, warehouse, laboratory as well.

monorob's avatar

Ok, two things.

1. They’re not going to dump because once Corporations realize they’re confined to their private property, they will figure out how to contain the pollutant to stay in business and out of prison. Just like you don’t need sensors for clean energy, once they revolutionize, you won’t need sensors for them. However, in the meantime you would need them, yes.

2. 50,000 sensors at $200 would be 10million tax dollars + pay guys to check up on these things once in a while (add another million). Plus backup sensors in case some break.

What looks more appealing to you? 129 billion in government spending? or 12 million in spending? And that 12 million goes away once they revolutionize.

ragingloli's avatar

Not 50000 sensors, 50000 people to check on them. The number of sensors will be in the millions.
And no, the need for control will not disappear after a while. Just dumping waste in the wild will always be cheaper than careful containment and disposal.

And do not forget the bureaucracy you would have to create to monitor, store and analyse the data from the sensors, because you can not expect someone to be near every sensor when it emits a local alarm.

monorob's avatar

Ok, break down your estimate? How much would buying all those units cost at lets say $200 (keep in mind it’s a 1 time purchase, not yearly). The only yearly spending would be on the 50,000 workers.

ragingloli's avatar

Sorry, I meant billions.
The US has a surface area of 9522055 km². If you place a sensor every 50 metres (and I am being frugal here) you need 20×20 =400 for every square kilometre. Which adds up to 3808822000, or roughly 3.8 billion.

monorob's avatar

Ok, a 1 time payment of 3.8 billion + backups.

Now you mentioned bureaucracy. Well if all the sensors are hooked up to the grid, than you don’t need 50,000 workers to check on it. You just need a small team at the main command center where they can digitally monitor all data off of the units from there. You will be able to see what works and what doesn’t.

After purchasing those units, the yearly government spending on regulations would be less than a million dollars vs the 129 billion yearly we spend now.

ragingloli's avatar

*760 billion

ragingloli's avatar

3.8 billions times your 200 dollar price per unit.

monorob's avatar

Ah, that is a lot to spend in 1 shot, but you will see that money back in 6 years and saving money the years after while having the privilege of living in a clean environment.

ragingloli's avatar

Do not forget the cost of the information infrastructure that has to be built and maintained (wireless signal transmitters, receivers and broadcast towers all over the the country, the power infra structure to supply those with electricity, the cost of the electricity itself, the servers to store and collect the data, the specialists to maintain the hardware and software (the latter of which will have to be specially developed for that task), the analysts to evaluate the data and the administrators, clerks, secretaries, etc of the department that does the evaluating, and the cost of litigation against the alleged offenders.
All that will quickly inflate the annual overall costs.

Also, of the 129 billion you cited, only about 35 billion was spent by the government

monorob's avatar

Yeh, I just checked 2012 stats. Government spending on pollution abatement is now only 9.5 billion. Well that is the death of this idea.

lloydbird's avatar

Thank you all for the lurve , but I really only wanted an explanation for the question.
No hidden knowing insight intended.
And still waiting.

MadMadMax's avatar

what flavor of socialism are you talking about?

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