Not Spencer: Socialism? No. Social Responsibility.

The final Not Spencer post comes from my beautiful wife Kristen. I like to take credit for her turn to the Democratic dark side (no pun intended), but she’s a woman of discerning taste and Ivy League intelligence. The turn was inevitable.

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It has been a long road through this Presidential Election season. There are many ways to slice and dice the positions of the candidates, but the socialism controversy exposes a fundamental difference between the two:   As a society, are we to act as our brother’s keeper, or is it every man for himself?

McCain’s latest ads say a vote for him is a vote for “keeping what is [mine].”   That’s the attitude that got us into this mess.   Looking out for number one is the reason so many Americans have no healthcare coverage, owe money on predatory loans, and can’t make enough money to keep their families afloat.   The free market ways of McCain and Bush and their cronies have been a proven disaster.  

When McCain raises the specter of socialism while lying about tax increases you can supposedly expect under an Obama administration, he’s stoking people’s fear of a welfare state.   Most people in this country aren’t looking for a handout, though.   They’re just looking for a fair shake.  

Right now, the system is set up to enrich people at the top, and destroy the middle class.   Too many people need to work multiple jobs to make ends meet these days.   It didn’t used to be that way.   The promise of America, the dream of working hard and saving money and achieving something, if not for you then for your kids, seems to be dying.   There are no opportunities to get ahead.   And even when the big wigs fail, they fail up to bigger positions, larger bonuses, and government bailouts that they use to enrich themselves further.

McCain’s tax ideas once again trust corporate America and the free market system to take care of those deemed worthy.   This is no way to move forward.  

For the average person, this basically boils down to a tax debate.   I’ve never been a big fan of taxes.   If you had asked me ten years ago, I would have said that I shouldn’t have to pay them.   After all, I wasn’t putting kids through school or using social programs.   Why put in for someone else’s benefit?

As I have gotten older with more responsibilities, I’m starting to appreciate the importance of taxes and the role they play in allowing our society to continue functioning.   They pave roads, build schools, help take care of the elderly, pay cops, and basically maintain the fabric of civilization.   So fairly assessed taxes, when used for the right reasons, make America work.

The biggest lesson of the last eight years is that you can’t entrust the well-being of citizens to a misplaced faith in corporate responsibility.   This is the folly of McCain’s economic policy.   Now that we are starting to see the full extent of the tax fraud that is perpetrated by those in Washington who would spend our taxes on unnecessary wars, building bridges to nowhere, and bailing out corrupt robber barons, I’m more convinced than ever that the taxes themselves are not evil.   The real evil is that so few of those funds end up helping citizens in meaningful ways.    

We need to shore up the institutions that built this country and support our families. I don’t think it’s too much to ask to pay a fair amount of taxes based on your income.   Those who are successful should not be penalized, but they should put in their fair share.   And all of our monies should be spent in ways that provide opportunities for all citizens to lay claim to their piece of the American dream.  

Barack Obama’s tax plan and domestic policy outlook is the only option for the middle class to have any hope of making progress.   By cutting taxes for people under the $250,000 mark and investing that money in the infrastructure of our nation, the well-being of its people, the education of our youth, and the development of a responsible energy economy, we will regain our position as a global leader and innovator.  

“What’s mine is mine” may be a fundamental Republican mantra, but it’s no way to build thriving communities.   I believe in the concept of the greater good.   I believe in good public schools and easy access to higher education.   I believe in providing some sort of assistance for people who are having a hard time.   I believe in hope and the power of those much maligned community organizers.

I’m voting for Barack Obama on November 4th.   And if you really care about this country’s future, you will too.

Kristen is a recovering Republican from the McCainiac’s home state of Arizona.    Her guilty pleasure is singing “Raising McCain” ironically while sending money to Obama.  

  • radiocynic

    A fine ending to the “Not Spencer series”. Yes, absolutely. There IS a middle ground. It’s still capitalism, but with social responsibility. It’s a FAIR tax system where it’s still okay for the rich to be rich, and yes, even the super-rich to be super-rich, but we ALL pay a fair and proportionate amount to keep society going, and hopefully thriving.

    OF course, most of the far right fear-mongers wouldn’t know a real Socialist if they fell over them. It’s nothing but another “scare word” these days.

    It’s hard to believe, and a little bit amusing, that the best the Republicans can come up with as a mantra these days is “I’m really selfish and it’s fun!”

  • http://www.merujo.com merujo

    Kristen, thank you for this post. I get worried when politicians – with ruthless awareness – throw words like “socialism” into a debate that’s only about taxation, not the upheaval of our system of government. People who don’t have enough time in the day to work and get their kids fed and educated are going to cling to unfair sound bites, and that freaks me out.

    High hopes for tomorrow!!

  • http://cynicsgirl.blogspot.com Cyn

    I’m really selfish and it’s fun! (What? A Democrat can’t say that too? Alright…I’m often selfish, and I occasionally feel guilty about it! Phew, that’s better.)

    Anyway, Kristen, I agree wholeheartedly.

    I’m restraining myself from a rant about why, as a citizen firmly entrenched in the middle class, I should feel sorry in the least that someone with an income of over $250,000 might have to pay more taxes. There is a wage disparity in this country that is nearly obscene…people who work their asses off for a far smaller fraction of a million than 1/4.

    Point is (I think I have one) if you are prosperous, it is not done in a vacuum. If you provide a service (practical or intellectual) no matter how unique, special, hard-working you are — you wouldn’t be paid for it unless there was a market…and the market involves us lower-earning peons who need/want whatever you are selling. We’re all part of the same economic organism (which I guess is just another way of saying “spread the wealth” is ultimately fair.)

  • grace

    I have been struggling to keep up with all these Not Spencer posts! They’ve all been so good, and it’s really cool to see so many different commentaries in one spot. Kristen, I couldn’t agree more with you.

    So, here I am writing from the future. My friends, your long national nightmare is over. We got our Redistributionist in Chief, and I hope Joe the Plumber has been properly flushed away once and for all.

    This morning (afternoon?) I look back over these long eight years, and I think, the past eight years have felt like I’ve been suffering from one or all of these things:

    - An 8-year head cold
    - An 8-year relationship with a dumbass boyfriend
    - An 8-year toothache
    - Eight years of working in that half floor office in Being John Malkovich
    - Eight years in pants that are too tight, shoes that are too big, socks that got wet when I stepped in a puddle, the wrong prescription lens in my spectacles, and that disturbing schlick of petroleum that coats your tongue after eating McDonald’s french fries

    And now, I’m cured! Refreshed even!

    And I’ve already checked my mailbox today. No wealth has been spread yet. But I’ll keep checking.