Save socialism, stop American inequality

Isabella Cordell, Director of Communications

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Hating socialism seems to be an American pastime; yet, an economy devoid of certain capitalist tendencies is precisely what this country currently needs. 

 

 For every cry of the president that socialism is a “destroyer of societies”, a person will die from lack of healthcare in this country. For every political slogan of “Save America, Stop Socialism” a person will suffer from poverty, hunger or homelessness. Fox News headlines scream that “socialism is taking over the Democratic Party and this country”, but it is actually the pervasive inequality the everyday citizens face that is taking over and has been for a long time. 

 

The United States may have the highest GDP, but its ranking of nineteen in the category of GDP per capita would make someone question the notion of this country truly being the home of the free (CIA). Unsurprisingly, countries that have embraced socialism such as Switzerland, Norway or Liechtenstein rise above the United States in this measure of income inequality (CIA). The rich may be exceedingly rich in this country but clearly not everyone is enjoying the same privilege. 

 

Communism fears dating back to the 1920s present an inherent roadblock to the spread of socialist ideology.

And, that’s one of the largest roadblocks to socialism, even democratic socialism, not becoming accepted as a viable political ideology in America: the confusion of socialism with communism. 

 

Nonetheless, the most prominent barrier to the expansion of socialism continues to be the association of socialism with laziness. Why would people work if they could rely on the government? Yet, it is still questioned whether people can work with no higher education, healthcare or basic resources. Socialism actually helps a society become more productive. In fact, the top five most productive countries in the world are Luxembourg, Norway, Australia, Switzerland and the Netherlands, all of which have democratic socialism as an accepted political and economic viewpoint (The Independent).

 

Healthcare

A recent study conducted by Harvard found that 45,000 healthcare-related deaths occur in America each year. If the recent plan to remove even the inadequate healthcare system goes ahead, it is estimated that 24,000 more healthcare-related deaths will occur (VOX). Healthcare and hospital costs are steadily increasing, so people who aren’t able to afford these shockingly high price tags on life-saving treatments often receive either cheaper, inadequate treatment, end up with exceedingly high debt or unfortunately do not receive the treatment at all. Simply providing healthcare for citizens would prevent these incredibly senseless deaths. Thus, the lower and middle classes would have a more equal chance at life. 

 

Income inequality

It is truly staggering that in the year “2015, the top 1 percent of families in the United States made more than 25 times what families in the bottom 99 percent did” (Economic Policy Institute). While democratic socialism is clearly unable to reverse the wealth gap and all its aspects, providing more government programs that promote healthcare access, job access, housing access and food access will undoubtedly improve the most prominent issue gripping our economy.

 

College

Costs of college are at an all-time high. In fact, Americans currently owe 1.5 trillion dollars in college debt (Brookings Institute). Unsurprisingly, an increasing amount of lower and middle income students are no longer attending college. However, a higher education is widely considered the most effective way to achieve social mobility. With promises of “higher earnings” and “higher quality of life,” college education being funded by the government, a core tenet of modern democratic socialism would combat pervasive income inequality. 

 

“Socialism will never work in America. People are too greedy,” said senior Ashleigh Sargent.

 

This viewpoint of socialism never being implemented continues but the viewpoint that democratic socialism could flourish also continues.

 

No matter the uphill battle socialism acceptance faces and the obvious paucity of faith in socialism’s implementation, it is slowly but steadily growing in popularity, particularly for the younger generations. As consequence, now four in ten Americans “embrace some form of socialism” (Gallup). The rise in acceptance may stagnate but it is nevertheless important to this country‘s welfare that socialism‘s popularity increases.