In the editorial “Is America Becoming Socialized?” Lindsay Ziegler argues that the Obama administration is bringing socialism (and therefore inevitable doom) to America. She says that capitalism, “provides the best way of living for all its citizens,” and implies that free universal health care is morally unjust. I could not disagree more. There are a few things I think Ms. Ziegler, and the USF student body, should consider before jumping to this sort of hasty conclusion.
First, how can capitalism be the best way of living when it exploits the middle class and leaves 40 million Americans without health insurance? I absolutely believe in freedom of trade and open market economies, but I also think this country has a moral obligation to provide health care for its citizens. Luckily, both of those ideals can work together. Many countries across the world provide health care AND a free market to their citizens. Canada, Sweden, Germany, France and England, to name a few, are stunning examples of this system at work. Ms. Ziegler says that with universal health care the government can reject funding a citizen’s needed medical procedures. She is incredibly mistaken. Currently, insurance agencies are the ones who reject patients. The insurance business works entirely for profit so each firm can reject as many sick people as possible in order to capitalize on monetary gain. Fortunately, universal health care would give those of us who can’t afford to be denied health care an opportunity to receive the procedures we need. The government couldn’t turn us away, no matter how expensive our procedure may be, because our coverage would be guaranteed. Gee Ms. Ziegler, imagine a nation where its citizens wouldn’t have to pay exorbitant fees for health care!
In implementing universal health care, a few things would have to take place. Yes, some taxes would be raised. The past 8 years of heavy government spending by the Bush administration has left America in an economic melt down and, as a result, we must pull ourselves out. Minor increases in taxes are necessary. We already pay taxes that go to programs like Medicare and much of our health-oriented taxes are currently being poured into the insurance agencies that, in turn, refuse to provide services to many needy Americans. No cancer patient should be turned away from chemotherapy for lack of funds. The system is flawed and some sacrifices must be made in order to fix it. Taking an extra .3% out of my next shopping spree in order to save the lives of hard working Americans is a sacrifice I am willing to make.
In addition to healthcare, Ms. Ziegler also mentions that the alleged socialism Obama’s administration is supporting would compromise American freedoms. She cites specifically the government’s control over the auto industry. Unfortunately your beloved capitalism failed the auto industry this past year. Because unrestrained capitalism results in companies doing absolutely anything to make a big profit, the auto industry began off-shoring jobs because they could pay workers overseas less than workers in America. The disappearance of jobs in America and the stock market crash were incredibly affected by this displacement of employment. The auto industry’s profiteering, as well as the increase in prices of oil, caused company failure. As a result, the nation was faced with two options: either the auto industry could fail and the economy would suffer a devastating blow, or the government could bail them out. The Obama administration chose the bail out, allowing the industry to re-build and capitalism to continue.
After reading Ms. Ziegler’s article I assume that her condemnation of socialism is universal. I suppose, if her argument really is correct, that all socialized programs should be shut down in America. All public education (which is a perfect example of socialism) would have to be disbanded. The police force would have to become a for-profit industry and Medicare and Child Protective Services would disappear. If this truly is the American you want to live in, then by all means continue to generalize and reject all aspects of socialism. But if you think that, maybe, parts of our country are better off being sponsored by the government (i.e. education, the military, etc.) or that “freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” should be allotted to ALL Americans (not just those who can afford health insurance) then consider being a little more open minded.
Neither exclusive capitalism nor exclusive socialism is an effective way to run a country. American freedoms are something to be proud of and capitalism and socialism have the ability to work together to enhance them. The government does not, and will not, dictate what you buy, why you watch on TV, or whom you vote for. But it should provide education, national defense, and health care. It is in this combination of ideologies that America will continue to flourish.