The Destructive Equalizer
Kelvey Vander Hart, Fiscal Policy Contributor
On October 22, 1945, Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, stood in front of Britain’s House of Commons. In an address that still lives on, he uttered two sentences that never fail to ring true. “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”
Our society is one that screams about fairness, justice, and equality for all. It’s a lovely concept really, having a country that has been equalized. It seems most desirable that we would all live on the same level, none of us putting others beneath us. Heaven on earth.
The problem is exactly that: equality is only achievable in a Heaven on earth, a utopian society which could not possibly come into existence as long as people are innately flawed. A perfect society will never be ours. All while knowing this, people still push for a totally just society, not simply one that functions well while equalizing as much as it possibly can.
Thus, the rise of Bernie Sanders and the Millennial push for socialism in the United States. Socialism, on the surface, seems to be a quick fix to the lack of equality in this country. The government steps in, the rich are taxed, the poor are given to, and the world keeps spinning round. It sounds lovely.
Reality paints a much darker, bloodier picture. Socialism is an equalizer, that one thing is clear. However, instead of pulling the least able to a higher standard and pulling the elite down to an average standard, it simply brings everyone but those in power crashing down to the same impoverished and desperate status. It is a destructive equalizer.
Even in moderate attempts at socialism, such as were demonstrated in Senator Sanders’ presidential bid, the results are terrible to watch. The Tax Foundation pointed out a few fundamental problems for the country that would be developed if Sanders was elected and able to implement his economic policy. Under a Sanders tax plan, the national Gross Domestic Product (defined by Investopedia as ‘the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country's borders in a specific time period’) would fall by 9.5% over an extended period. We would gain 13.6 trillion dollars from increased taxation over the next decade; however, we would also gain 9.8 trillion in debt from decreased economic output.
Bernie Sanders wasn’t even preaching about fully fledged socialism, and it would still significantly rob people of their money, turn power over to the government, and result in...nothing. It would probably still reach its goal of equalization, but in the wake of lower economic output, higher taxation, and more debt shouldered by the American government, it would keep the lower class very poor while dragging the more well-off of society to the same level. Again, a destructive equalizer.
Prior examples of socialism show its brutality and ineffectiveness as well. Millions have suffered and died because of this attempt at equalization. The Soviet Union is a prime example from the past, specifically the blood soaked names of Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin. Today, we see the logical end result of socialism in the horrors happening in countries such as North Korea and Venezuela.
Clearly, if socialism fails to bring people to a happy middle ground and perfect equality is something we will never achieve, we must look elsewhere for a solution. We must look to free-market capitalism.
Defining free-market capitalism, a financial dictionary wrote
A system of economics that minimizes government intervention and maximizes the role of the market. According to the theory of the free market, rational economic actors acting in their own self interest deal with information and price goods and services the most efficiently. Government regulations, trade barriers, and labor laws are generally thought to distort the market. Proponents of the free market argue that it provides the most opportunities for both consumers and producers by creating more jobs and allowing competition to decide what businesses are successful.”
f we want any semblance of a decent standard of living and equal economic opportunity in our country, free-market capitalism is the answer. A reversal of socialism which seeks more government intervention in order to create a solution, free-market capitalism correctly points out that government truly becomes a problem when attempting to create economic opportunity, and pushes government out of the way. It is every man’s land; anybody with a dream, a market, and determination can create something from nothing.
President John F. Kennedy once said, “Every time that we try to lift a problem from our own shoulders, and shift that problem to the hands of the government, to the same extent we are sacrificing the liberties of our people.” Economic equality begins with the ability to create economic opportunity. If we want to see people rise out of poverty, we must open the door to be able to do so. This can’t be done through socialism, a destructive equalizer.
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