Where Socialism Flourishes, Conservatives are Quiet

Written by David Bass   
Monday, 22 July 2019 10:55

The right wing of the political spectrum is hyperventilating about socialism at every opportunity these days. Every progressive Democratic proposal to provide universal healthcare, affordable college educations or combat climate change is painted as socialist. Anti-immigration and anti-socialism rhetoric are the centerpieces of the right’s fear mongering for the 2020 election cycle.

Yet where socialist systems are deeply ingrained at the Federal level and in my home state of North Carolina, conservative politicians who have the power to dismantle them have shown no interest in doing so.

According to Merriam-Webster, socialism is:

1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.

2a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property.

One glaring example of Socialism is the Veterans Administration’s healthcare system. The Federal government owns – exclusively – the entire means of production and distribution for veterans’ healthcare. The VA owns 170 hospitals, 100 nursing homes, more than 1,000 outpatient sites, and employs over 320,000 full-time health care professionals.

Most veterans cannot choose their healthcare providers. Only veterans with long distances to travel or long wait times to get appointments are allowed to go outside the VA system.

That’s socialism!

Wouldn’t it work better if the government were the payer but not the provider? With a special benefits package for veterans, Medicare could pay the bills and our veterans would have the same choice of doctors, specialists, hospitals, pharmacies, and outpatient clinics as senior citizens.

Why haven’t conservatives called for the dismantling of Socialist VA healthcare system?

Another example of Socialism operates here in North Carolina. The Tar Heel State responded to the repeal of Prohibition in 1933 by establishing a state-owned liquor distribution and retail monopoly that continues to this day. The state of North Carolina owns – exclusively – the entire means of distribution and retail sale of liquor.

If you want to purchase a bottle of bourbon, you have to buy it from a state-owned store. The state-owned stores have to obtain their inventory from a state-owned distributor. State law forbids private enterprises from engaging in these commercial activities.

That’s socialism!

Why haven’t conservatives called for dismantling the state-owned liquor monopoly in North Carolina? A sale of both the retail stores and the distribution business could net the state several billion dollars in a one-time windfall, in addition to ongoing, lucrative ad valorem and sales tax revenue.

I’m very curious to see how conservatives would try to tap dance around these questions.

Every time a conservative politician or pundit starts railing about Socialism, they should be asked what they are doing to dismantle the Socialist systems operating right under their noses. If Socialism is so bad, and their party has political power, I’d expect them to be tearing these systems apart with heightened urgency.

Let’s start asking.

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