Democratic Socialism and the Government of the City of Jackson TN

Word of Note:

A great deal of research was provided by Lawrence Fedewa of The Washington Times

When Bernie Sanders, the socialist senator from Vermont, entered the Democratic primaries last year, a lot of people wondered. “What is democratic socialism?”

The classic definition of socialism is “a system of government in which the means of production and distribution of goods are owned, controlled or regulated by the government.” Socialism is distinguished from capitalism where the means of production and distribution are owned by private (non-governmental) parties, either individuals or organizations (such as companies).

The most radical form of socialism is communism, where all property is owned and distributed by the government. Less radical forms of socialism are seen in the governments of Western Europe, where private property is recognized but government has the responsibility of acquiring (through taxes) enough wealth to provide for physical well-being of all its citizens, however that may be interpreted at any given time.

As the demands of the population grow, so does the amount of tax revenue needed to provide for these demands. At some point, especially when unemployment is high, the taxes on the companies producing the country’s wealth get so great that those companies cannot keep up, and the entire system fails. If not stopped, people will start to go hungry, and riots follow – as is happening in Venezuela right now. American examples of this situation are Detroit, Puerto Rico, which have taxed themselves into bankruptcy. (Closer to home near failures might include Memphis or Birmingham.)

If we remember that taxes depend on profits, it is easy to understand that there is always tension between government and industry over control of such profits. This tension takes place on two levels. The first is the practical requirements of government’s need to fund citizen services versus industry’s need to fund its operations and expansion to keep up with increasing population. Both have altruistic justifications as well as practical needs. Government takes care of the poor with welfare programs; and industry takes care of everybody else with employment and the material means to enjoy life.

But there is also an underlying, less obvious tension between government and industry, a tension which transcends the matter of who signs the paycheck. This is the struggle for power. Socialism is synonymous with “big government”. “Big government” means “control.” “Control” means the ability to impose one’s ideas and preferences on others. Government control means the capacity to suppress the freedom of people by requiring people to do unreasonable things, such as giving up meat or cigarettes or Coca Cola.

It is this aspect of a socialist government which is has in the past been most objectionable to many people, but especially Americans. The entire legacy of American culture is built around personal freedom. It is in the American DNA. We cede to government only the minimum authority over us that is required to live together in peace. But no more.

That sounds logical, American’s do not want to give up more than they have to. We know that every piece we give up, every percentile of revenue we give up is revenue that is lost to the use of the family.

This is why the issue in regards to our local government is so crucial. If the court case moves in favor of the city, the county will have to make up the difference and their options are limited. While the county has not lowered taxes during the current administration, it has been quite frugal with its operations because of this, the county will need to raise those funds from the citizenry and that will be through tax increases in whatever form is available to them. If the city loses, they could forfeit expenditure imbalances created by poor management by the council and mayor which could mean tax increases via the city. Their options are also limited, but with strict management changes the city could remain both solvent and conservative in its expenditures. The likelyhood of that happening is somewhere between nil and not likely.

So what we are looking at, as citizens, is somewhere, somehow, paying more of our hard earned capital to institutions that probably don’t deserve it.


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