I try to stay a-political in these blogs but I’m crossing that line today simply because this is more of an education and human rights issue. Its a shame that it is being so politicized, really. So, here I am explaining to the American public how all that “FREE STUFF” Bernie Sanders talks about ACTUALLY WORKS. I’m not going to tell you how to vote. I’m just going to tell you that I have lived in a few different countries and a few different states and I have seen these programs working. You don’t have to believe me. You can look it up or you can go there yourself and see for yourself. My point, really, is that a lot of intelligent people in the US cannot imagine that its even possible, because they’ve lived without it their whole lives. They pay their taxes. They DON’T want to pay more in taxes. So where would all the money come from to create this wonderful world of rainbows and unicorns that Bernie keeps talking about?
Let me start with universal medical care. Most developed countries have universal health care. What it means is this, if you get sick or break a leg or get pregnant you just go to the doctor or hospital and they fix you up free of charge. Now if you want a face lift or gastric bypass or some other elective surgery or maybe you want a fancier hospital when you give birth, well you have the option to pay for that. Its not free. They do a good job with the free health care. In fact, the health of citizens in these countries is much better than in the US. If you do the math, a population of healthy people will produce more wealth for the country than a sick population that can’t work and needs disability insurance. So you can subtract the cost of disability, unemployment, and sick leave when you add up the cost of “free” health care.
But the real savings is in lowering the expense of the health care INDUSTRY. See, in countries where the feds foot the bill, there’s a vested interest in choosing the most efficient forms of medicine. That means health maintenance and it means alternative medicine. Now this is my field, so I can tell you, the reason alternative and natural medicine has not taken off in this country is NOT because it doesn’t work. Its because its not lucrative. Sure, you can make a little money off selling herbal extracts, but you can’t patent what people can grow in their own backyards. So you can’t hike up the price of an herb to $700 a capsule and expect people to pay. Also if you actually CURE your patients you don’t make as much money off them because they get their lives back and they don’t need you again for awhile. (I know this because this is what I do – I CURE “incurable” illness. I don’t make much money but I have a long list of happy patients.) Health care costs stay low when you use more natural medicine and less industrial medicine and pharmaceuticals.
See basically what a for-profit health care industry is good at is finding medicines and therapies that keep people sick and keep them on a daily prescription for life. So that’s where our health care industry is right now. You may have noticed that almost everyone you know is now on a prescription of some kind or has had surgery. When the nurse does your intake you might notice she now says, “What medications are you taking?” rather than the old question, “Are you on any medications?” And if, like me, you say you aren’t on anything she will ask incredulously, “None?” And you may have noticed that you spend about 10 minutes or less with the doctor, and about an hour waiting to see the doctor. So its working. Everyone “needs” prescriptions and surgery and regular visits and this makes lots of money for the insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies.
Countries that have universal, federally funded, health care use herbal medicine, homeopathics, aromatherapy, nutrition therapy, acupuncture, and other proven natural therapies right alongside western medicine. Why? because they work well and they cost very little. The US health care companies don’t use these therapies and often discourage their use because its impossible for corporate execs to get rich selling them. So if the health care industry does NOT have to make billionaires of the pharmaceutical executives OR the insurance executives, let alone pay off the stockholders in those industries, the cost of health care goes way down. That is a huge savings! (You can check this out by going online to order pharmaceuticals from another country. It’s MUCH cheaper when you buy them from socialist countries. Not because their government is paying for them, but because the companies are forced to charge a fair price in those countries.) Its not magical, its simply using the most efficient and effective cure for illness INSTEAD of using the most lucrative “band-aid” to keep patients coming back. So, if health care is NOT a money making industry but simply a break-even industry there are lots of ways to reduce costs AND keep people healthier!
Now let’s look at “FREE” education. Here’s the way “Free College” actually works: There is a dollar amount cap on how much is “free” per year. If you go to community college or state college it is free. If you go to Harvard, you are still going to have to foot a chunk of the bill. The State of Louisiana actually HAS THIS IN EFFECT, and it has worked for years (Here’s the link: http://www.osfa.state.la.us/schgrt6.htm ). Of course students have to make the grade AND keep their grades up or they lose the funding. The Louisiana program was started by one philanthropist who set up a fund that still works pretty well today. So it doesn’t necessarily have to be supported by tax dollars, it can be run from a one time investment. You could also check out how it works in most European countries. They may have even better systems.
When colleges are no longer just another way to make big bucks, they begin to focus on outcome & actually educate kids in practical ways. They also focus more on actual qualifications for incoming students when its no longer a competition for who’s Daddy can donate a new wing on the student union, or what students can win money for the college through big money sports. You can also subtract some of the cost of unemployment, food stamps, the prison and police systems from the overall cost of “Free” college. This is because young people with job skills, entrepreneurial skills, and life skills are MUCH less likely to end up dealing drugs, using drugs, getting fired a lot and generally being poor. Desperate people do desperate things, you see? But people with college education don’t get quite so desperate. They tend to get busy inventing a new industries or branching out with new skills when they meet a challenge.
What about renewable energy sources? That’s expensive, right? Well, no. Firstly, that pays for itself over time because its ACTUALLY FREE ENERGY once you get the solar panels or windmills set up. The investment costs for solar panels and windmills are pretty reasonable and will also go down as they become more popular and R&D is put to work. Last I checked it costs about $20K in set up costs to power a three bedroom house with a sunny roof. If you take a look at the numbers you’ll find that people who put solar panels on their houses usually end up paying some piddling amount like $10 a month for electricity, which is pretty nice!
Secondly, you can subtract the cost of all the wars in the Middle East (which is about $3 million a day now) from your start up costs on renewable energy. Because our government is waging those wars to keep down the cost of petroleum, which is only actually abundant in the Middle East these days. So, that’s a HUGE savings right there! To say nothing of the cost in human lives.
I recently bought a used hybrid car for $2000. It costs me about $15 per week in gas, or $100 in gas to drive the 4 hour trip to get my kid to college (and back). And that’s a 2003. I’m sure I’d save even more with the newer hybrids. So, even if the cost of gas goes back up to $6/gallon when we bring the troops home from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and so on, I’ll still be ok for gas money, you see? And so will you once you go hybrid. Or you can go electric, plug it into the solar panels on your house, spend $0 on gas and even pocket that $35 you would pay for an oil change every three months. (Electric cars don’t need oil)
Now let me say a word about the business of America: Business. Won’t all this socialism hurt American business? Actually, no. It will HELP American business tremendously! (See, this is actually a failing of the US education system. If you didn’t study world governments in college you probably have no idea how different Socialism and Communism are. You may even think that Socialism and Democracy are two opposing systems. But Democracy is government by the ordinary people of that country, while Socialism, Capitalism, and Communism are ECONOMIC plans, not forms of government. Communism is the one in which the government owns businesses. Capitalism is the one that allows monopolies to actually own the government.)
In socialism the government regulates community resources that are shared or needed by all, like roads, health care, education, fire departments, and so on. It also limits private industry so that monopolies cannot be formed. If monopolies can form and grow, they can come to control the whole industry or even the government. Then small businesses cannot survive. They get crushed by the monopolies. You also end up with industries that are “Too big to fail” so they can run wild & spend irresponsibly and the people have to bail them out or the whole country’s economy will collapse. And if the monopolies get big enough, wealthy enough, and powerful enough, they can pressure government officials & pull strings until its no longer a government by the people, its a government owned by a few captains of industry.
But in a socialist economy, monopolies are limited. If a company gets too big, it has to be broken up and sold off. Often, company growth is capped so that once it grows past a certain point it is sold off to the employees in the company itself. So instead of becoming a big monopoly, it becomes a small democracy. The employees of the corporation gradually come to own and run the company themselves.
So contrary to what most Americans think a fully socialist society will NOT crush competition, it actually increases real competition. It will NOT limit variety and choices but increase them. It doesn’t cost MORE, it actually costs much less. The main reason you don’t know this or can’t quite believe it is because the news media in this great country of ours is ALL controlled by about four family corporations. (Except for NPR.) Your education was also influenced by a few powerful corporations that dominate the textbook industry. Also federal, state, and even city governments in our country are largely controlled by a few powerful corporations and capitalists. So, it simply wouldn’t make sense for the owners of those lucrative corporations to tell you that you would be happier if you stopped them from controlling your life and paying you slave wages to fall in line and follow the crowds.
On the other hand, no one is paying me to blog or explain all this. It’s also FREE! So, I don’t mind telling you that if you really want to make America great again? Make it a democracy again. Stop paying a few greedy folks at the top of the money pile to tell you how to think. Maybe you can even re-post this article on your own site, or page. That’s free too and it could help We, the people, understand what’s really going on.