Sanders: ‘i Believe In A Vigorous Democracy’
Sanders has conceded he needs to do a better job explaining what he means by “socialism” and “democratic socialism” as his “right-wing colleagues” seek to portray his political philosophy as “authoritarianism and communism and Venezuela.” The Vermont senator has expanded on what democratic socialism means to him multiple times along the campaign trail.
During a CNN town hall in February 2019, roughly a week after he launched his 2020 campaign, Sanders said: “What democratic socialism means to me is having in a civilized society, the understanding that we can make sure that all of our people live in security and in dignity,” Sanders said. “To me, when I talk about democratic socialism, what I talk about are human rights and economic rights.”
Sanders in April 2019 rejected the notion he condones “authoritarian communism” when asked to explain his views on democratic socialism during a CNN town hall event.
“Is it your assumption that I supported or believe in authoritarian communism that existed in the Soviet Union?” Sanders said to an attendee who asked about his views. “I don’t. I never have, and I opposed it. I believe in a vigorous democracy.”
“I believe that in a democratic, civilized society, health care is a human right. Government should make that happen,” Sanders said.
Socialism Vs Social Programs
A letter on March 6, 2020, to the editor about the need for progressive politics by Duwane Huffaker was spot on! He wrote an excellent description of why people such as Senators Sanders and Warren are not socialists, they are advocates for implementing the fundamental purposes and guiding principles stated in the preamble of the U.S. Consitution.
One of these principles is to provide for the general welfare of our great country. They are advocating health care for all, free public education to obtain a skill to become a knowledgeable and productive member of society great and the necessary social programs to improve the general welfare.
Social programs are those services that are available to all citizens. They are schools, roads, police and fire protection, Social Security and Medicare. Socialism is an economic philosophy where the workers of the world own the means of production. I have never heard any Democrat advocate such an action.
Democrats want to pay for their social programs by creating a more equitable tax system while the Republicans want to cut Social Security and Medicare. To paraphrase President Harry Truman, Any time a program is proposed to benefit all the citizens the Republicans cry, SOCIALISM! Mr. Huffaker and I agree with President Truman.
Political Controversies In The United States
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Although the marginal scope of free or subsidized medicine provided is much discussed within the political body in most countries with socialized health care systems, there is little or no evidence of strong public pressure for the removal of subsidies or the privatization of health care in those countries. The political distaste for government involvement in health care in the U.S. is a unique counter to the trend found in other developed countries.
In the United States, neither of the main parties favors a socialized system that puts the government in charge of hospitals or doctors, but they do have different approaches to financing and access. Democrats tend to be favorably inclined towards reform that involves more government control over health care financing and citizens’ right of access to health care. Republicans are broadly in favor of the status quo, or a reform of the financing system that gives more power to the citizen, often through tax credits.
Opponents also claim that the absence of a market mechanism may slow innovation in treatment and research.
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Are Social Security And Medicare Socialist Programs Readers Debate
A letter by Michael Egry of Allentown sparked other reader reaction. Egry wrote: To all those Republicans terrified of socialism please feel free to refuse all Medicare and Social Security benefits as these are quintessential socialist programs.
This will reduce costs for the rest of us and that will enable you to pay for Trumps wall.
Here are responses from other readers:
Can You Opt Out Of Social Security
Few taxpayers can opt-out of paying into the Social Security system. The Amish, Mennonites, and other religious groups that conscientiously object can sometimes claim a religious exemption from paying into the system as long as they also dont receiveor even qualify to receiveany benefits from it. If you have received any benefits, you may still qualify for a religious exemption if you repay them.
People who renounce their U.S. citizenship can opt-out. Some nonresident aliens dont have to pay into the system, depending on which type of visa they have. Foreign government employees based in the United States and college students who are employed by their university are also exempt.
What about opting in? Under a public retirement system or a Section 218 agreement, some state and local government employees are covered while not paying into Social Security. These employees arent allowed to opt into the program.
With private retirement savings accounts, its totally up to you whether to contribute. Even if your employer automatically enrolls you in its 401 plan in an attempt to nudge you into contributing, you can opt-out if you wish.
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The Bottom Line: Is Social Security A Form Of Socialism
After hearing all the facts, it is evident that Social Security is at the very least a form of democratic socialism. The program is mandatory, and it is wholly run by the government. The government decides how much you must contribute to the system, and it decides how much you will receive from the system in benefits. While it may not be to the full level of socialistic views pushed by some politicians like Bernie Sanders, it certainly contains aspects of socialism. That being said, it has become an accepted social program within the country, and it is likely not going away any time soon. Too many people rely on the system, and doing away with it could have dire consequences. It will be interesting to see how the system evolves over the coming years, but it is almost certain that it will not go away.
Medicare And Social Security Are Not Government Handouts
Gary Roe of Upper Saucon wrote:
In reply to the Feb. 10 letter Fearing socialism while accepting Social Security hypocritical.
Lets get our facts straight: Medicare and Social Security were paid for by the recipients during the years they worked and is not a government handout as the writer is suggesting. Review your paycheck under deductions for clarification.
Take a look at how Venezuela is doing today after years of socialism. Is that what youre hoping for?
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Social Security Is Not Socialism
I believe a recent letter writer has come up with an idea for a new game show . Its called Do You Have the Logic of a Fifth Grader?
That letter writer asserted that critics of socialism should refuse their Social Security payments and Medicare.
True or false: Social Security is a form of socialism because it contains the word social. False. The fact is neither Social Security nor Medicare offer government handouts. These are payments American laborers make through one-third or more of their lives and, when the time comes, they can begin reaping the benefits of paying all that money in. Its your money, not the governments.
The problem is that the government thinks its theirs because officials have been borrowing billions of dollars from these two programs to pay for other obligations and, unfortunately, that money will never be paid back.
I was honestly hoping the letter writer wasnt serious when he made that statement. What childish logic and reasoning. So I suppose when we had classes in social studies that we were actually studying about socialism? I wish I had known that back then.
People, we must use discernment when we read letters like this and check the facts.
Are Social Security Programs A Form Of Socialism // Full Guide
The word socialism can start some heated debates between many Americans. It has been a hot topic in recent years, and many wonder if America is headed toward a more socialist form of government. Most people agree that capitalism is at the heart of the American dream although there is some argument on whether there are already some socialist programs in the US. Is one of those programs Social Security? To answer that question, you need to first understand what socialism is and then examine the Social Security program itself. We can all agree that millions of Americans depend on their Social Security benefits, so the program must continue whether these benefits qualify as socialism or not.
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Who Decides How Much Social Security You Will Receive
Many people wonder how much Social Security will pay when it is time to start reaping the rewards of all those years paying into the system. Again, the government decides how much you will receive from the program when it is time to begin receiving your benefits. For retirement benefits, your benefits are based on your earnings during your lifetime, and there is a formula to determine how much you will get after retirement. The government developed the formula, and it is quite complicated to most people. Regardless of your income, there is a maximum amount that you can receive in benefits.
When it comes to disability insurance, the formula is a little more of a secret. It is nearly impossible to determine exactly how much you will receive in disability benefits should the need arise for you to use those. The calculation is still based on your past earnings and work history, but it seems that no one really knows for sure how to calculate the exact number. There is a limit to how much you can receive, and the average payment for SSDI benefits in 2021 is $1,277 per month.
Who Decides What To Pay Out And When
With a private retirement account, such as a 401 or Roth IRA, you decide when to withdraw money from your account, and how much to take out. With some retirement accounts, the Internal Revenue Service will make you pay penalties if you take out money before you reach a certain age or dont withdraw enough money each year after reaching a certain age. Still, theres much more flexibility here than with Social Security retirement benefits.
With Social Security, the government decides how much to give you and when. You can decide when to start receiving benefits, but it can’t be until age 62 and you collect the highest benefit at age 70. Once you start claiming benefits, youll get a check for the same amount every month, based on your lifetime earnings and your age when you started claiming benefits. However, you are eligible for annual cost-of-living adjustments . You cant decide to withdraw more money in months when you have higher expenses and less money in months when you have lower expenses, as you could with an IRA or 401.
If you find yourself terminally ill at 40, you cant claim retirement benefits early based on what you paid in over the years . By contrast, you can cash out your private retirement accounts at any time without getting anyones approval, albeit with a penalty in some cases. Private-sector brokerage firms arent going to make you prove that you cant work if you want to take an early withdrawal from your traditional IRA.
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The Bottom Line: Is Social Security A Socialist Program
Its interesting to remember that the U.S. got the idea for a social security system from 19th century Germany. That very capitalist monarchy launched an old-age social insurance program in 1889 at the behest of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, partly to stave off radical socialist ideas being floated at the time. The original social security was actually an anti-socialist maneuver by a conservative government.
Nevertheless, because the American government plays such a dominant role in the U.S. Social Security systemdeciding how much and when employees and employers pay into the system, how much individuals receive in benefits when they get them, and preventing almost everyone from opting outit only seems fair to say that Social Security is, in effect, a form of democratic socialism. However, it may also be considered a form of social insurance or social safety net.
The program requires workers and their employers, along with self-employed individuals, to pay into the system throughout their working years. The government controls the money they contribute and decides when and how much they get back afterand ifthey reach retirement age. Having such a successful and beloved socialist program at the heart of such a committed capitalistic society is perhaps the ultimate paradox. Or maybe its just good common sense.
Is Medicare A Social Program
Social programs are designed to ensure the basic needs of the population. Medicare is a social program in the same fashion as Social Security, Medicaid, unemployment compensation, housing subsidies, food assistance, education subsidies, childcare assistance and various other government assistance programs.
Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the other programs listed above are entitlement programs, meaning the beneficiaries of these programs are entitled to the benefits because they are eligible for the program benefits due to health, financial situation, previous payment into the program or other reasons.
Whats unique about Medicare is that while it is a social program, it also includes a private sector. Many Medicare beneficiaries supplement their publicly-funded Medicare with a type of private Medicare coverage, such as a Medicare Supplement plan or a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.
Many Medicare beneficiaries opt instead for an alternative form of Medicare called Medicare Advantage , which is sold and operated by private insurance companies. These Medicare health plans replace a beneficiarys Original Medicare benefits with those offered by their plan insurance carrier.
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What Are Some Of The Problems With Socialism
While socialism sounds great in theory, there are some problems with it. First, it tends to stifle innovation because there is no incentive for individuals to work harder. If everyone receives the same amount of wealth from the government, then people tend to only do enough to get by. Many people also distrust the government, and they do not want to rely on the government for their basic needs. In some cases, the government officials become power hungry and begin keeping things for themselves while their citizens go without. In extreme cases, it eventually leads to communism and the citizens no longer have a voice in the leadership of the country at all.
Socialism: A Short Primer
In this essay, E.J. Dionne, Jr. and Bill Galston give a primer on socialism in three parts: its definition, the age gap in perceptions of socialism among Americans, and how socialism evolved to social-democratic systems in the U.K. and Germany.
Something new is happening in American politics. Although most Americans continue to oppose socialism, it has reentered electoral politics and is enjoying an upsurge in public support unseen since the days of Eugene V. Debs. The three questions we will be focusing on are: Why has this happened? What does todays democratic socialism mean in contrast with past versions? And what are the political implications?
Socialism never lost its intellectual influence, however. The New Deal drew on proposals pioneered by socialists, and it was a young socialist named Michael Harrington whose book The Other America helped launch the war on poverty. But when it came to electoral politics, socialism was largely shunned or irrelevant.
The generational divide
Although President Donald Trump declared war on socialism in his 2019 State of the Union address, its champions felt no pressure to back down. It is not hard to see why.
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Readers Should Better Inform Themselves About Medicare Social Security
Joseph Pugliese of Lower Macungie wrote:
I just read a letter to the editor that equates Social Security and Medicare to socialism. By making such a statement, the writer, as most Americans, show how uneducated they are about these two programs.
Social Security and Medicare are two separate programs administered by the government, but funded by individuals and their employers. The government does not contribute any funds into the programs. In order to qualify for each of these programs an individual must have worked and contributed for a minimum amount of terms. If one qualifies for Social Security then you automatically qualify for Medicare. Note the term qualify.
Socialism is where the government provides services to all, irrespective of whether they contribute.
The federal government has borrowed heavily from Social Security and Medicare, as they have been well funded for decades. Unfortunately the federal government has run up a deficit in excess of $20 trillion and may not be able to pay back these two funds. The funds are separate from the federal general budget, which is for the daily operation of the government.
Before people call Social Security and Medicare socialist programs, they should better inform themselves.