The Iggy Donnelly Disease: Socialistic Capitalism

Iggy Donnelly and Son practicing "Here comes the Sun" by Geo. Harrison

Iggy Donnelly and Son practicing "Here comes the Sun" by Geo. Harrison

On Monday morning, NPR broadcast a story about how the U.S. Economy is drifting toward European styled socialism.  NPR interviewed a German couple, the wife/mom from New York had married a German man and the couple now live in Germany.  The couple have a five month old child for whom the family receives from the German government two-thirds of the mom’s salary for one year after the child’s birth.  Like the U.S., Germany has an aging population, and thus they are interested in incentifizing the birth of babies.  The tax rate reflects the generous German program – the couple pay about half of their income in taxes. I had an email friend who lived in Germany who worked for a community college that offered all types of education absolutely free.  This program sounded like a for real “free university”.

Revealing my potential biases, I work in, and have for several years, a health care  field that is heavily subsidized by the U.S. Government.  Even though he had some distracters ( See: Amity Shlaes, The Forgotten Man), I believe that FDR was able to leverage the power of the U.S. Government to reverse a crushing economic depression in the 1930’s.  I think there were academic and artistic advances in the 1930’s that would have been impossible without the New Deal.

Regarding the points that he U.S. Economy may be moving toward European socialism, a bigger safety net sounds good to me.  So does greater regulation that protects the public from the reckless capitalism that hurt people who did not contribute to the problem, nor had any way of benefiting from the risks.  But as we have seen from the very end of the Bush administration, these same marginalized people had much to lose from the reckless speculating of the wealthy.

Having said all of the above, it does appear that Europe is moving toward more market-based approaches as the U.S. is drifting toward state-involved models.  I am a dedicated liberal, and have no shame in acknowledging that weakness/strength.  I am, at times, chagrined to see us moving away from market based approaches.  The latter have been good for some things.  I bought a new computer on-line recently that cost a little over $300.  Not too many years ago, a similar computer would have cost well over $1,000.  Competition in this particular way  is good for me, and I suspect many others.

It is my sense that many Americans are afraid of socialism because of the power assumed by the government.  In an ideal America, the power of the government resides exclusively with the common man, not some faceless bureacrat hiding behind a curtain pulling levers; nor some wealthy interest group buying government support.

In the end, I would have to point out that the American experience (and that of many European countries) have been blends of capitalism and socialism.  Socialism saved capitalism in America in the 1930’s.  I am hoping that we will find the optimum blend of these two forces for our present times.

I have invited a friend, and a man I greatly respect, who may have different views than me, to respond to this post.

Iggy Donnely

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Filed under Ethics, History, Populists, The Economy

27 responses to “The Iggy Donnelly Disease: Socialistic Capitalism

  1. This very nice song is done with a capo on the 7th fret; with D-Chord forms. It is very simple and beautiful. Rest In Peace, George.

    • “George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Elton John, Phil Collin, Eric Clapton and a few others play Here Comes The Sun”

      I’m still dreaming of being present at that jam session!

      Good pic of you and your son! I like that.

  2. wicked

    If there’s a rock and roll heaven…

    Excellent comments, iggy. I was trolling the comments on the news at the Eagle and saw someone say they dreaded where the country was headed. Funny, they didn’t dread it when Dubya was president and the stock market went south, banks failed, businesses failed. That was all well and good, I guess. Oh, as long as it isn’t their stocks/bank/business. Let the country go to hell in a handbasket, just as long as they’re doing well.

    Christianity. Don’t you just love it?
    (My apologies to the real Christians out there. And you probably don’t know who you are because, well, you are.)

  3. jammer5

    Hmmm . . . never used a capo on that song. Just played it in A. Did run up to A (D chorded) And think I might be getting me a capo 🙂

    What Obama has tried to do is insert competition into health care, and, as one might expect, the purveyors of enjoying wealth off the backs of the sick are screaming the loudest. Joining socialism with capitalism and redoing the health care industry makes sense.

    Capitalist can still make their payments on that yacht, and the socialists can rejoice in seeing children get the health care they both need and deserve. It could be a win/win situation, but it’ll never happen, not in that sense anyway.

    The government runs medicare and medicaid, and it’s a blatant socialist program, but try telling that to seniors, or telling them you’re taking it away. Riots in the streets; crashing wheelchairs; lost dentures . . . . .

  4. lilacluvr

    What I find so frustrating is some people hear the word socialism and they think it is communism.

    And when I tell them Medicare is a socialist program – they simply scream at me that I am wrong and I am just an Obama lover.

    I also like to remind them that not one Republican voted to kill Medicare last week – so Republicans must think government-run healthcare is okay.

  5. lilacluvr

    I was on the Opinion Line today and somebody actually said the countries that have universal health care were all poor countries.

    I had to respond to that idiot. Since when is Canada, Britain and Germany considered poor countries?

    • wicked

      They forget that the poor countries are the ones who have very little health care. Except for the rich, that is.

      Wait a minute. That sounds familiar.

  6. wicked

    My Wacky Waco friend sent me this to share. I thought you all would be interested in how the Christians are feeling about healthcare. I admit that I was astounded when I actually read it.

    A Prayer for Health Care

    “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

    Because of the health care debate occurring now, we have temporarily postponed our Good Friday reflection series to offer this prayer from Jim Winkler, delivered at the June 24 “Interfaith Service of Witness and Prayer.” Members of the administration and Congress joined more than 40 national faith organizations for what may be the largest faith-inspired mobilization ever around health-care reform.Jim Winkler is the General Secretary, General Board of Church & Society.

    Creator God, we stand before you on this beautiful summer day to affirm our common witness for health-care reform. We gather in our nation’s capital at Freedom Square to speak truth to power. We want our elected officials to listen to people of faith who seek to speak humbly on behalf of the last, the least and the lost.

    The Prophet Ezekiel declared:
    You shepherds of Israel have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fatlings; but you do not feed the sheep. You have not strengthened the weak, you have not healed the sick, you have not bound up the injured, you have not brought back the strayed, you have not sought the lost, but with force and harshness you have ruled them.

    We believe health care is a human right.

    The prophets remind us that a nation that does not care for those in the dawn of life and those in the dusk of life is in grave danger of losing its legitimacy. The availability of health care only for those who can afford it breaks the covenant between the government and its people.

    Affordability is not enough when too many have nothing to spend.

    We believe health care is a human right. We affirm the interconnectedness of Creation.

    We reject the notion that the profits of health-insurance companies should come before health care for our people.

    We reject the notion that people must go without needed drugs because high prices put them out of reach.

    We reject the notion that we as a nation can only afford to cover just 16 million of the 46 million people without health insurance.

    We reject the notion that we as a nation can afford to carry on two wars, but we cannot afford to provide health care for our people.

    We reject the notion that we as a nation can afford to maintain more than 700 military bases and installations around the world, but we cannot afford to provide health care for our people.

    We reject the notion that multi-million dollar executive compensation packages must be protected at the expense of health care for our people.

    We reject the notion that tax cuts for the wealthy must be made permanent at the expense of health care for our people.

    We reject the notion that predatory lenders can make payday loans with interest rates of more than 300% per year at the expense of health care for poor people.

    We reject the notion that the estate tax for millionaires should be repealed at the expense of health care for our people.

    We reject the notion that trillions should be spent on bank bailouts at the expense of health care for our people.

    So we prayerfully say to President Obama and members of Congress: As you work hard this summer on health-care reform, understand that people of faith insist the financial resources exist to provide health care for all our people. It is your responsibility as representatives of the people to order our nation’s priorities properly. The needs of the poor take priority over the wants of the rich.

    Grant, O God, our leaders the courage to withstand the pressure exerted by entrenched interests. Grant, O God, our leaders the wisdom to understand all people must have health care. Grant, O God, we your people the strength to see this struggle through to the end.

    Date: 6/29/2009
    ©2005-2009 General Board of Church and Society

    • lilacluvr

      wicked – if you don’t mind me asking, what denomination of Christian is your friend?

      I think true Christians do feel exactly the way this letter reads. But, to me, the Religious Right wing of the GOP are not your true Christians. The trouble is, the true Christians are not the ones that yell the loudest or disrupt the political town hall meetings, like we have seen lately on the news.

      The RR are people who have twisted the Bible to justify their quest for power and money. These are the people that truly believe that God has chosen them to be in the C Street gang and they can do no wrong – even to the point of ruining many lives.

      The RR are no better than the radical Muslims in my opinion. When one intolerant religious group grabs the power and chokes everyone and everything else, then what kind of country do we have?

      • wicked

        She was raised Methodist, then took instructions in the Jewish faith when she married, although she didn’t join. Her sister sent her the letter. Her sister is a rabble rouser from way back. LOL At the age of fourteen, my friend was picketing something or other, right alongside big sister. Liberals to the max. 🙂

  7. I’m pleased, although I’d tell you surprised too.

    It seems Christ like, something Christians should be doing in order to follow Christ.

    Seems so different than the activities we hear about more often! Goes to prove (again) that those who know the least, know it the loudest. Wish we heard more of this kind of Christian activity!

    • wicked

      fnord, I think that’s why my friend (and her sister) shared the letter with me.

      The looney fringe is always the loudest. Too, I think people say things in defense they don’t really mean or believe, as evidenced by TBTSNBN.

    • Humility is what sometimes makes the difference. Those who look down their noses at most everyone else seem not to understand humility, let alone that judge nt lest you be judged. 😉

  8. Zippy

    Capo on the 7th fret? I guess that makes sense. Gonna have to give that a shot.

    It’s really kind of amazing that so many people of modest means have been brainwashed to oppose their own interests. If anything, Thomas Frank documented the obvious. Invariably, it’s based on the idea that the government will take what little comfort they have and give it to someone else. Apparently an egalitarian state runs contrary to dominionist theology as well.

    I see things differently.

    Even when I’m not doing so well financially, I am willing to see my tax bill go up (gaaa! SOCIALISM!) if it creates. I see it ultimately the choice between stagnant enclaves at war with each other (and in the battle, guess who wins? That’s riight: those at the top of the heap), or nation of relatively healthy, well-off people.

    When these clowns cry “Socialism!” I like to quote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, particularly this part:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    Now doesn’t that just lay out the friggin’ obvious? New Libertarian Theology tells us that government is bad, period; conservatives have modified that to use public tax dollars for private profiteering.

    For The People. What a concept.

    Damn commies!

  9. I am a socialist. I am not afraid of socialism. That is not to say that I don’t also believe in capitalism. I just believe that this country would be better off if we found the proper mixture of the two. I owe no allegiance to any one economic system. People in this country are mixing up their political systems with their economic systems in the mistaken belief that if you knock capitalism in any way, you don’t love your country. That is twisted, ignorant and confused thinking.

    People need to eat and they need healthcare. As far as I am concerned, necessities should not be only for the wealthy. People should have food and health care and huge corporations should not be making a profit off of those things. If you took the profit out of food and health care, imagine how much easier it would be for all of us to eat healthier and as a result health care costs would be lower still. If that result can be won through socialism and cannot be gained by capitalism, why would we advocate for capitalist health care systems and food production? We all need to recognize the false loyalty that enriches the business sector and the top 5% while it enslaves the majority.

    • lilacluvr

      But are we truly practicing capitalism when the government rewards US companies to move their manufacturing plants overseas?

      Or when the taxpayers pay these companies to stay in certain cities by allowing tax incentives? What about all those corporate welfare subsidies – isn’t that using taxpayer money towards the businesses?

      Somehow, Republicans justify tax dollars being spent on businesses but they don’t want one tax penny to be spent on the people.

      True free trade should depend on the market – right? If companies don’t make it on their own – then they should go belly up. Or is that cutting into the line of Republican piglets lined up at the government trough?

      • wicked

        If tax incentives for businesses helps the community, I can’t argue too much against it. I hope I’m able to appreciate those businesses by using them. But we are a collective bunch. Mob rule, and all that.

        As for all this off-shoring of jobs, I was caught in that a few years ago when Spiegel moved its Wichita call center to Canada…because they wouldn’t have to pay for health insurance for workers there.

        Again with the health care. Employment shouldn’t be tied into it at all. In fact, I think it weakens the structure of group insurance. But that’s my opinion. And, believe it or not, I do have a few conservative friends who agree. The problem is, they listen to the pundits and don’t bother with facts, believing they’re being given facts. WRONG!

  10. lilacluvr

    What was it that George W. Bush said about the haves and the have mores?

    That little joke on GWB’s part showed exactly how the Republicans view things – in money. And with money comes power.

    But, do you think the Republicans would still have these simple minded people if it was not for the issues of abortion, gay marriage and gun control?

    Just wondering..

  11. lilacluvr

    I have no problem with my tax dollars helping any US company to stay in business if they guarantee they will keep living wage jobs here in America. But the minute they start outsourcing jobs – their tax dollars come back to us – with interest!

  12. lilacluvr

    wicked – sounds like your friend and her sister are common-sense Christians who actually comprehend what they read in the Bible?

    I graduated from a Fundamental Baptist College in 1975 (at the beginning of this Religious Right movement). There were people there that actually believed they were the chosen ones and Hell has no fury as those people when they think they are not in control. No matter what the issue, if they say black is white and you dare to differ with them – then it is YOU who is condemned to everlasting Hell – not them.

    With logic like that – who can reason with it?

    I attended a college in Chattanooga, TN but Jerry Falwell was a very big influence on our campus – need I say more?

    • wicked

      I’d say they’re Christians, but far from rabid. LOL I’ve never met my friend’s sister, so I can’t say about her, but my friend is level-headed and believes in God and Jesus. After that, she has problems with her “religion” and a lot of the followers of the faith. She’s smart, and she doesn’t mince words. 🙂

  13. lilacluvr

    BTW – if I get to ranting and raving against the Religious Right – please forgive me. I have been in their midst and it was not a very warm and Christian-like environment.

    I still have flashbacks to those days…..ugh!

    • I’ll probably be right next to you, Lilac, and you’ll need to tell me to tone it down. They do such a disservice to faith.

      • lilacluvr

        fnord – maybe we need to get on one of those Republican-paid buses going around the country to disrupt these town hall meetings.

        I bet one day on that bus and these RR people will be praying to their God that we would shut up! (ha,ha)

        After all, we are RINO’s now – aren’t we?

      • We are that!

        I prefer to keep my distance from that kind of person. Their flavor of religion isn’t contagious and I would never be a convert as they make it look hateful and distasteful, but I think their hatred could wear off on a person if you spent much time with them. I could learn to hate THEM. I’ll take people who know about love, and plan to live their lives loving other people. Seems healthier to me.