Monday, April 12, 2010

Tea Party and Socialism

I vowed that the Tea Party would not get any space on my blog, but I am reconsidering. My adrenalin starts flowing when I hear them rant about the liberals and Obama pushing a Socialist form of government. This false information is, of course, being promoted on Faux news. There is an excellent expose on how many times Faux News has pushed the Tea Party movement, contrary to Rupert Murdoch's denials. I can't find it, sorry, but it is complete with videos of the talking heads recommending the Tea Party movement.

(TP also stands for toilet paper on my shopping list; most apt, don't you think? The s__t ends up on both of them.)

I doubt that many of the TP bunch even know the definition of Socialism. For their edification I am printing it for them.


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1. (Economics) an economic theory or system in which the means of production, distribution, and exchange are owned by the community collectively, usually through the state. It is characterized by production for use rather than profit, by equality of individual wealth, by the absence of competitive economic activity, and, usually, by government determination of investment, prices, and production levels Compare capitalism

2. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) any of various social or political theories or movements in which the common welfare is to be achieved through the establishment of a socialist economic system.

3. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) (in Leninist theory) a transitional stage after the proletarian revolution in the development of a society from capitalism to communism: characterized by the distribution of income according to work rather than need.
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The U. S. does have one socialist program and it is the most efficient and lowest cost health care system in the country. It is the Veteran's Administration.

While Medicare is administered by the government, it is not a Socialist program. Repeat after me: Medicare is not a socialist program! The government does not hire the doctors and other medical personnel, own the hospitals, or the pharmaceutical industry. If it were a true Socialist program the government would own and manage the entire system. The HEALTH CARE REFORM BILL that just passed into law IS NOT A SOCIALIST SYSTEM.

Now to move on to the Tea Party (TP's) and their misguided information source, Faux News.

Bill Quigley, Legal Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights and law professor at Loyola University New Orleans wrote the following 9 myths about the U. S. moving toward Socialism. The article was reproduced on Information Clearing House.

Consider the US in comparison to the rest of the 30 countries that join the US in making up the OECD – the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. These 30 countries include Canada and most comparable European countries but also include some struggling countries like Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Korea, Mexico, Poland, Slovak Republic, and Turkey. See www.oecd.org

When you look at how the US compares to these 30 countries, the hot air myths about the US government going all out towards socialism sort of disappear into thin air. Here are some examples of myths that do not hold up.

Myth #1. The US government is involved in class warfare attacking the rich to lift up the poor.

There is a class war going on all right. But it is the rich against the rest of us and the rich are winning. The gap between the rich and everyone else is wider in the US than any of the 30 other countries surveyed. In fact, the top 10% in the US have a higher annual income than any other country. And the poorest 10% in the US are below the average of the other OECD countries. The rich in the U.S. have been rapidly leaving the middle class and poor behind since the 1980s.

Myth #2. The US already has the greatest health care system in the world.

Infant mortality in the US is 4th worst among OECD countries – better only than Mexico, Turkey and the Slovak Republic.

Myth #3. There is less poverty in the US than anywhere.

Child poverty in the US, at over 20% or one out of every five kids, is double the average of the 30 OECD countries.

Myth #4. The US is generous in its treatment of families with children.

The US ranks in the bottom half of countries in terms of financial benefits for families with children. Over half of the 30 OECD countries pay families with children cash benefits regardless of the income of the family. Some among those countries (e.g. Austria, France and Germany) pay additional benefits if the family is low-income, or one of the parents is unemployed.

Myth #5. The US is very supportive of its workers.

The US gives no paid leave for working mothers having children. Every single one of the other 30 OECD countries has some form of paid leave. The US ranks dead last in this. Over two thirds of the countries give some form of paid paternity leave. The US also gives no paid leave for fathers.

In fact, it is only workers in the US who have no guaranteed days of paid leave at all. Korea is the next lowest to the US and it has a minimum of 8 paid annual days of leave. Most of the other 30 countries require a minimum of 20 days of annual paid leave for their workers.

Myth #6. Poor people have more chance of becoming rich in the US than anywhere else.

Social mobility (how children move up or down the economic ladder in comparison with their parents) in earnings, wages and education tends to be easier in Australia, Canada and Nordic countries like Denmark, Norway, and Finland, than in the US. That means more of the rich stay rich and more of the poor stay poor here in the US.

Myth #7. The US spends generously on public education.

In terms of spending for public education, the US is just about average among the 30 countries of the OECD. Educational achievement of US children, however, is 7th worst in the OECD. On public spending for childcare and early education, the US is in the bottom third.

Myth #8. The US government is redistributing income from the rich to the poor.

There is little redistribution of income by government in the U.S. in part because spending on social benefits like unemployment and family benefits is so low. Of the 30 countries in the OECD, only in Korea is the impact of governmental spending lower.

Myth #9. The US generously gives foreign aid to countries across the world.

The US gives the smallest percentage of aid of any of the developed countries in the OECD. In 2007 the US was tied for last with Greece. In 2008, we were tied for last with Japan.

Despite the opinions of right wing folks, the facts say the US is not on the path towards socialism.

But if socialism means the US would go down the path of being more generous with our babies, our children, our working families, our pregnant mothers, and our sisters and brothers across the world, I think we could all appreciate it.

Here are a few more facts that the TP"s should pay attention to:

The Tea Party movement is not just a bunch of disgruntled citizens gathering spontaneously to protest. It's main funding comes from two extremely wealthy right wing individuals through their organizations. The Americans For Property Freedom Works and Koch Industries. Behind these two organizations are the following individuals: David Koch and Sarah Mellon Scaife . (If the name 'Mellon Scaife' sounds familiar you might remember that it was Richard Mellon Scaife who tried to bring Clinton down with his bogus scandals that led to Clinton's Impeachment.)

Sarah Mellon Scaife Foundation gave 12 million to Freedom Works and 2.46 million to the Tea Party movement. Her wealth comes from Oil and Banking. Do you see the connection?

The organization is being managed by Dick Armey, former Republican member of the House of Representatives.

It's no wonder that the Republicans are reluctant to denounce this group. This is where a large source of income resides.

I am afraid that dismissing the Tea Party movement as a fringe group is ignoring the facts. It can become a very dangerous and divisive group and the big shots in Washington had better take note.

13 comments:

Rain said...

Good information. and ignoring them won't make them go away. We have to confront them. John Kerry made the mistake of overestimating the intelligence of the American people and he lost an election for it. We have to do what they do-- put out the information but make sure ours is true. If we aren't informed, they win.

Darlene said...

*Rain - Wise words from you, Rain. I agree.

Anil P said...

Very interesting stats you pulled up.

I always thought that the least a state can do for its people is to ensure that they do not suffer from their inability to afford healthcare.

Nancy said...

Darlene,

I'm very glad that this information was not lost to Cyberspace like the report from yesterday was.

This was very valuable in helping me get a good grip on exactly what is going on in our Country.

Thank you for taking the time and effort to do all the research, fact checking and posting that you do for your readers. It is very much appreciated.

Barry said...

Great post. The wing nuts and their quitter governor spokes model were in our neck of the woods today. I almost find it offense that they used the scene of the real Tea Party to advance their weak agenda.

I'm glad to know that AZ has some level-headed thinkers. :)

Kay Dennison said...

Thank you!!! I'm going to link it on my blog!!! Since we all have variations in our readership, it will spread the word. Information is our best weapon against ignorance.

Chancy said...

Darlene.
Fox is not alone in giving the Tea Party too much air time. NBC just tonight gave both Sarah Palin and the TP way too much publicity.
In my opinion, any mention of SP and TP is way overkill.

Lydia said...

I admire this post very much. Your definitions and the myths in the article are all right on point.

Along the line of Rain's comments, it really is important for us to fact-check our information, and Snopes.com is a great resource for doing just that.

I think we are in for a long haul.

Darlene said...

*Anil P - I told a Conservative friend of mine that there is something wrong with a society that makes the already rich richer and lets children die for lack of health care.

*Nancy - You are so welcome.

*Barry - We have our share of wing nuts too; fortunately most of them are in Phoenix.

*Kay Dennison - Thank you for spreading the word.

*Chancy - It's too bad the media give the TP and Sarah any publicity. There is real news out there to cover, but Faux overdoes it.

*Lydia - Yes, I use Snopes a lot. I also use Fact Check.

Xtreme English said...

i've kind of worn out my tonsils warning people not to talk/write/blog about these idiots, but nobody pays any attention. meanwhile, glenn beck's audience has grown by 52% over the past year. it's called framing. editors frame the news when they choose simply to write about something, whether for good or evil. that makes it "important" enough to deserve their/our attention. like that dumb broad from alaska. ugh. double ugh.

Darlene said...

*Xtreme English - Yeah, every knock is a boost, I guess. Just like show biz. I just couldn't help myself.

Vagabonde said...

I can understand now why the TV heads constantly talk about the Tea Party. Money talks. CNN last week was talking about the Tea Party then the announcer said “if you wish more information on the Tea Party, here is their website xxxx” and it was written on the screen. I was so upset of their free publicity, I turned off the TV and I was not really even watching it, my husband was ( I had just walked in the kitchen!)

Darlene said...

*Vagabonde - There are no real journalists left now and the ones that pass for journalists are lazy. If something in sensational it is easy to write about or broadcast with little, or no, money or effort involved.