It was inevitable that socialized medicine gave up on the elderly with COVID-19 — Bookworm Room

It’s no surprise that socialized medicine countries stopped treating their old people. Socialized medicine rations care even when there’s not an emergency. I was talking to a friend in Spain who has taken his 88-year-old mother into his home. His mother had previously been living in a retirement community near his house. There, as here,…

It was inevitable that socialized medicine gave up on the elderly with COVID-19 — Bookworm Room

Bernie’s own private Denmark

There is nothing like a Dane…

(Paul Mirengoff) Whenever Bernie Sanders’s socialism comes up in the Democratic debates, he deflects criticism by saying he favors something along the lines of Denmark’s model. Sanders’s debate rivals almost invariably let this answer pass. (I think Pete Buttigieg tried to take it on in the last debate but couldn’t get the floor.) In reality, the policies Sanders advocates bear little resemblance to those of Denmark and other Scandinavian countries today .

Source: Bernie’s own private Denmark

The Consequences of Treating Electricity as a Right

In poor countries the price of electricity is low, so low that “utilities lose money on every unit of electricity that they sell.” As a result, rationing and shortages are common. Writing in the JEP, Burgess, Greenstone, Ryan and Sudarshan argue that “these shortfalls arise as a consequence of treating electricity as a right, rather than as a private good.” How can treating electricity as a right undermine the aim of universal access to reliable electricity? We argue that there are four steps. In step 1, because electricity is seen as a right, subsidies, theft, and nonpayment are widely tolerated. Bills that do not cover costs, unpaid bills, and illegal grid connections become an accepted part of the system. In step 2, electricity utilities—also known as distribution companies—lose money with each unit of electricity sold and in total lose large sums of money. Though governments provide support, at some point, budget constraints start to bind. In step 3, distribution companies have no option but to ration supply by limiting access and restricting hours of supply. In effect, distribution companies try to sell less of their product. In step 4, power supply is no longer governed by market forces. The link between payment and supply has been severed: those evading payment receive the same quality of supply as those who pay in full. The delinking of payment and supply reinforces the view described in step 1 that electricity is a right [and leads to] a low-quality, low-payment equilibrium.

Source: The Consequences of Treating Electricity as a Right

The thing is, this isn’t limited to electricity. The same process applies to any good or service, including health care.

A Shining City On the Hill

Throughout most of history, men who believe themselves superior or “elites” have believed that other men were born saddled and ready to be ridden. The alpha male who rules over the band is, after all, a fixture of ape bands. It’s that “made on an ape frame” again.

And this is what’s important to know: Socialism (“democratic, purple, or pokadotted” — snort — ) and communism are not different. They follow the ultimate rule of humanity of an elite who considers itself superior ruling over everyone else.

A Shining City on the Hill

Bernie the Red Part III: Democratic Socialism In Bernie’s Own Words — Bookworm Room

Part III in a series asking just what Bernie the Red means when he says he wants to bring “Democratic Socialism” to America? In this part, Bernie the Red tells us what he wants us in his own words. Part I: Denmark, Sweden & “Democratic Socialism Part II: Honeymoon With Communism Bernie Sanders has been…

Bernie the Red Part III: Democratic Socialism In Bernie’s Own Words — Bookworm Room

Sorry Bernie Bros But Nordic Countries Are Not Socialist

The myth of Nordic socialism is partially created by a confusion between socialism, meaning government exerting control or ownership of businesses, and the welfare state in the form of government-provided social safety net programs. However, the left’s embrace of socialism is not merely a case of redefining a word. Simply look at the long-running affinity of leftists with socialist dictators in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela for proof many on the left long for real socialism.

To the extent that the left wants to point to an example of successful socialism, not just generous welfare states, the Nordic countries are actually a poor case to cite. Regardless of the perception, in reality the Nordic countries practice mostly free market economics paired with high taxes exchanged for generous government entitlement programs.

First, it is worth noting that the Nordic counties were economic successes before they built their welfare states. Those productive economies, generating good incomes for their workers, allowed the governments to raise the tax revenue needed to pay for the social benefits. It was not the government benefits that created wealth, but wealth that allowed the luxury of such generous government programs.

Forbes

Socialism can take the form of government controlling or interfering with free markets, nationalizing industries, and subsidizing favored ones (green energy, anyone?). The Nordic countries don’t actually do much of those things. Yes, they offer government-paid healthcare, in some cases tuition-free university educations, and rather generous social safety nets, all financed with high taxes. However, it is possible to do these things without interfering in the private sector more than required. It is allowing businesses to be productive that produces the high corporate and personal incomes that support the tax collections making the government benefits feasible. The Nordic countries are smart enough not to kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

If the left insists on naming a system of generous government benefits combined with a free market democratic socialism, I cannot stop them. That seems unnecessarily confusing since the government is actually running no industries other than education (and meddling somewhat in healthcare). It certainly isn’t socialism. In fact, the only reason most such countries can afford those benefits is that their market economies are so productive they can cover the expense of the government’s generosity. Perhaps a better name for what the Nordic countries practice would be compassionate capitalism.

The problem using Sweden as an example of a socialist model that works? Sweden ain’t socialist

Democratic socialists like Bolshevik Bernie Sanders and Karla Marx (AOC) can no longer point to Venezuela as a socialist model that works because it failed so miserably, so they now hold up Sweden, Denmark, and Norway as their preferred examples of democratic socialism that supposedly works.

Source: The problem using Sweden as an example of a socialist model that works? Sweden ain’t socialist

The only good kind of socialism

There’s been a lot of talk about socialism in this election cycle. The people pushing for it assure everyone that they’re not talking about socialism as seen in the Soviet Union or Venezuela. Instead, they’re promoting “democratic socialism”. But what does that even mean?

Oxford Dictionaries—whose slogan is “Language Matters”—defines socialism as “a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.” It offers these terms as synonyms: leftism, welfarism, progressivism, social democracy, communism, and Marxism.

Maybe now we’re getting somewhere. Sounds precise, right? Hardly. What is meant by “the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole”? Should a convenience store have to put to some public vote the decisions about what to stock the shelves with or whom to hire for the night shift?

And what about this “regulated by the community as a whole” stuff? Have you ever known a regulatory body to be everybody in town or all 325 million people in the country? Don’t such bodies end up being some handful of people with political power?

The XYZ’s of Socialism

It occurs to me there is a form of socialism where the entire population votes on these things. My local grocery store changes how it stocks its shelves based on the votes of every person in the entire country, although most of these people vote “I don’t care”. The tally of these votes, received almost continuously, tell the store owner which stock items to keep, which to buy more of, and which to get rid of. And if enough people care about who’s working the night shift, the store owner hears about that too.

And this is perfectly democratic. It’s much more democratic than our politics are, since the voting is not restricted to an election cycle or a voting day. Furthermore, the store owner has an incentive to seek more votes, so he can make better decisions. Store owners who ignore votes wind up losing business.

So when all is said and done, the very best form of “democratic socialism” is what we call “capitalism”.