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Saturday
Nov142015

I’m a Member of an American Socialist Collective ~ Don’t Tell

I live in an American socialist collective, otherwise known as Blueberry Place.

My new home in Renton, Washington is in a Home Owner Association (HOA). We have a governing body that makes the rules for our HOA, or collective. We all make payments to the collective which are used for services we all need. For example, I discovered the other day when hearing people walking on my roof that my collective arranges for my roof and cutters to be cleaned. By the way, my monthly payments, amount determined by the governing body, are not voluntary. They’re required, and there is a fine if the payment is late. Can’t have comrades running amuck in wild moments of individualism. We’re in this together.

Yup, I’m in a socialist collective where we the people pool our resources to assure things are done that we all need. Our gardens and public lands are kept cared for. Rats and other undesirables are monitored, which means caught and disposed of. Our roads are kept in good repair. We have collective insurance policies that protect our homes. Our houses are painted and roofs are repaired if need be. I love socialism.

Across the street from me lives Bob who is an old time right-wing conservative. He has an American flag hanging on his house 24/7/365. I’ve been told, by a retired Air Force lifer who lives down the street, that when Obama was elected to his first term, Bob hung the flag upside down. My Air Force neighbor was none too pleased, and he’s a good Republican. I told my wife I was going to go over to Bob's place and ask him how he likes living in a socialist collective where we comrades pool our resources for the greater good. Roberta advised against it and I heeded her wise counsel.

I want to stress Blueberry Place isn’t the only example of American socialism. There’s socialist projects all over the place. Let’s make a very short list.

United States of America Military

That's right. Let's begin with the grand-daddy of all American socialist institutions. We the people, that’s right comrade, you and me, will spend $598.5 billion during the fiscal year 2015 on all regular activities of the Department of Defense; to include war spending, nuclear weapons spending, international military assistance, and other Pentagon related spending (which includes: Operations and Maintenance; Military Personnel; Procurement; Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation; Military Construction; Family Housing; Other Miscellaneous Costs). That accounts for 54% of all federal discretionary spending. [1]

That’s one big socialist program paid for by we the people. But when was the last time you heard a Republican leader damn the way we pay for our military? How many Republicans advocate we turn the military budget over to Wall Street and the free market? Me thinks, not a lot.

The United States of American Interstate Highway System

The Interstate Highway System was authorized on June 29, 1956 by the Federal Highway Act of 1956. The bill was popularly known as the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act. A big thanks for this socialist project goes to Republican president Dwight D. Eisenhower who realized if the U.S. were invaded the country would need a reliable and comprehensive road system to enable the military to move about. The act authorized the construction of a 41,000 mile network of interstate highways to span the entire country, which included 55,000 bridges. The act also allocated $26 billion to pay for the construction, though in the end the government spent $119 billion on the project. Today the states collectively spend over $25 billion to maintain the highway system. It’s estimated to maintain the system over the next 50 years will cost the states and federal government $2.5 trillion.[2]

Another humongous socialist project alive and well because we the people paid for it and continue to pay for it. The next time you hear someone complaining that Obamacare is socialism and heralds the end of the United States as we know it, ask them if they every have or ever will drive on the freeway system. As them if they have a business that depends on the freeway system.

The United States of America Subsidies for Corporations and Companies

The great American free market capitalist corporations and companies don’t mind a little help from the people, well, every year. It’s hard to determine who they love more, the free market or the taxpayer who subsidizes their businesses. Come to think of it, how exactly can the free market be free if they receive handouts from we the people?

It’s estimated that the U.S. government, which means you and me, spends $100 billion a year in corporate welfare. That’s $870 a year that America’s 115 million families give to corporations. And the generosity of we the people doesn’t stop there. Each year we give $80 billion to corporations and companies through our states, counties and cities. That’s $696 every year for every family. No, no, I’m not done yet. Corporate tax subsidies, covered by you and me the humble taxpayer – better known as the great American socialist collective – cost $100 billion or $870 per family each year.  

So let’s do the math. We the people give to corporations and companies, directly and indirectly, $280 billion each and every year, and that amount has been going up year by year. So, every American family gives $2436 each year to help our free market corporations and companies make profits.[3]

Oh, why not. Let’s continuing doing our sums. From just the three socialist concerns above, we the people pool our resources to pay out somewhere around 997 billion each year on the socialist projects/institutions of the military, highways and corporations/companies. I’m thinking we of the great American collective should at least get a thank you card each year.

Yes, socialist projects and institutions are alive and well in America. In addition to the big three listed above we have:

Police Departments
Fire Departments
Public Libraries
Public Schools
Prisons/Jail System
Veterans Health Care
Congressional Health Care
Public Parks
Court System
Medicare and Medicaid

Oh, goodness, I could go on all day. Instead I encourage you to click on Daily Kos where 75 socialist projects and institutions are listed. Have a look. It’s a fun experience.

Well, comrades, all I can say is I’m looking forward to next year’s barbeque where we the people of the Blueberry Place Collective get together, poll our hotdogs, hamburgers, chips, potato salad, green salads, condiments, beer, water, coke, juice, and eat together while we admire the American flag hanging on Bob’s house.

Copyright © 2015 Dale Rominger


[1] Discretionary spending is the portion of the budget that the president requests and Congress appropriates every year. It’s represents less than one-third of the total federal budget. See National Priorities Project

[2] See: CDM Smith and Wikipedia.

[3] See: The Federalist. The figures given here for the amount of dollars each family pays out to subsidize corporations and companies are conservative, as is The Federalist. I've seen other reports that subsidies cost each family $6000.

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