America's Most Hated Word:
Better Learn to Live With It
by Dan Ehrlich

There’s a word in America that draws more ire from the right than the N word (nigger) does from the left. It’s the “S” word. Yes, socialism is hated as much today as Communism was back in the 1950s. That’s for three reasons: the demise of the Soviet Union (America has to have some enemy) and the denial or ignorance of many that we are economic vassals of the biggest Communist nation of all.

But its also the fantasy lived by millions of NFL fanatics that this is still a self reliant culture made up of rugged individualists who want nothing to do with the federal government. Yet, the NFL itself it sort of a representation of a socialist America that has been forming since the Great Depression of 1929. The NFL is an organization that actually shares its wealth and has a draft geared to help less fortunate teams.

Today, America is a nation where if you’re broke there are programs to help you…you just have to be worth less than $2,000…socialism. Everything from Social Security to the Veterans Administration are examples of socialism. Money from traffic tickets going to repair highways and rehabilitate drunk drivers…socialism. Medicare, Medicaid and state funded nursing home care…socialism. And the list goes on.

The dictionary describes classical socialism as a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole. But this is the discredited Communist version.

Many European nations we helped finance after WW2 operate social welfare states where the state (rather than the individual or the private sector) has responsibility for the welfare of its citizens, providing a guaranteed minimum standard of life, and insurance against the hazards of poverty, illness, and social deprivation. Welfare services include social security, which makes provision against interruption of earnings through sickness, injury, old age, or unemployment.

Sound familiar? It should, because as the gap between rich and poor keeps growing in America, more and more people, citizens and illegals, will depend on state and federal governments for assistance. But this is the natural order of things in modern economies.

After a wealthy country such as the USA peaks out, decadence sets in and the population separates into economic classes with the rich getting richer and the new poor becoming poorer. Since the old poor never had a place in society, their condition as an underclass may not change. It’s the reverse for Communist countries that taste the forbidden fruit of affluence. China, for example, will inevitably become more capitalistic once its domestic market booms and its population demands more of everything. Over there the C word is unmentionable.

Which brings me to the main anti socialist hysteria of the moment…state funded health care. Obamacare, as it has been called by the Right, is designed to assist the nearly 50 million uninsured Americans. However, its attackers claim it will bankrupt the country and lead us into S word territory.

Well, it won’t be cheap…but as far as bankruptcy goes, the Bush gang took care of that with two wars. Now, with a national debt of more than $14 trillion, who’s counting anymore?

As far as socialized medicine goes, why not? I’m a veteran. I have VA health care. It’s free because it’s socialized medicine. You see the Obama plan works through private medicine and doesn’t go far enough. The VA could serve as a template for a true national health service, one with hospitals and health centers open to any one.

This is not to say there wouldn't be private hospitals ,too. The UK has many private hospitals, as well as the National Health hospitals. In fact, most major NHS hospitals have private wards for people with private health insurance. These affluent people then right off their health expenses on their tax returns.

About a year ago I was playing baseball in London’s Hyde Park when, as the pitcher I took a line drive right to my jaw knocking a hole clean through my lower lip.

A local hospital saw me immediately, a plastic surgeon was called and my lip was stitched up…. no charge, gratis. For the next few weeks I was seen by the hospital to make sure the wound was healing with a minimal scar…no charge. This is how a civilized nation takes care of people. Even though I wasn’t British I had been living and paying taxes in the UK for years.

Yet, often tourists are treated without charge, too… American tourists, who when they return home, may be the first to condemn socialized medicine as an infection that leads to the S word.

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