For the Common Good

Senator Bernie Sanders went to bat for the common people again today. Once again, Bernie was shot down by Senate leadership. If we’ve learned anything about him though, Bernie will be back at bat for us in no time at all.

So many people think Bernie being a Democratic Socialist is a bad thing. Helping those less fortunate and legislating the well-to-do to pay their fair share for the common good is not a bad thing. In fact, we already have forms of Democratic Socialism that have been in effect, in some cases, since the beginning of our nation.

Don’t you feel better sleeping at night knowing that if your home catches fire, the fire department will send a paid team of professionals to your house with the goal of putting the fire out. The fact we pay for these services through our taxes is a form of socialism, a service for the common good. There was a time when fire fighters only showed up to put out a fire on a building they knew was insured because the insurance companies paid for their services. Now firefighters will always come when called.

Police forces are similar. There was a time when they were hired by big business to protect businesses and to keep unions in check. Now, and I know this isn’t universal unfortunately, if the police are called, they will show up with the intent to help in most cases. They show up because they are paid collectively by everyone through taxes we all pay.

The public schools we send our children too. Another example of Democratic Socialism. Through taxes, state and/or property, as a collective, we fund schools that must take all students regardless of, among other factors, income. At one point, only the rich could afford tutors for their children, and when public schools started to rise, rich people still had to pay for the education of own their children, and businesses paid for public school for poor children (albeit they did have ulterior motives: to help create an obedient workforce for their factories and such).

Other examples include community hospitals, community colleges, state public universities, airports, parks, stadiums, and roads, which are partly, or fully, funded by we the people through taxes and fees.

Unfortunately, paying for these social services has become extremely lopsided. The common working folk pay for all of these things and use them the least. Rich folk and businesses find loopholes, have laws written specifically for them to avoid taxes, or governments provide tax credits on promises by businesses (that are broken time and again), but use many of the commons to support their businesses and pay the least.

If we actually made businesses, specifically big businesses/corporations, and the wealthy, pay their fair share, our great country would truly be made great again. Our roads and bridges wouldn’t be in such disrepair. Our power grids would be more efficient and environmentally friendly. We could afford Universal Basic Income for families on a regular basis. The schools many of our children attend wouldn’t be falling down around them. Our air and waterways would be cleaner. Community hospitals would still be open in smaller and rural locales, and we could all have free basic medical, mental health, dental, and vision care.

Most importantly, because all of these things would be better and less costly, overall quality of life would be greater for each and every one of us. When our quality of life increases, so does our well-being which then lowers the cost on things such as healthcare, helps us be kinder to one another, allows us to begin to take better care of one another, and society as a whole benefits.

So, the next time someone, including yourself, poo-poos Democratic Socialism, tell them and yourself, without our current practice of Democratic Socialism, we wouldn’t have much of the social safety net, nor many of the things we take for granted each and every day. In the end, it is all about what is good for the commons, because what is good for the commons is good for US.

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