Repost from the old site. There seems to be a lot of confusion about what a welfare state really is. A commenter in the comments section who says he supports the free market also supports the welfare state. But the two are antithetical. A free market wants to eliminate all welfare statism, and in a welfare state, there are substantial restrictions on the free market. What the commenter meant was that he supported most of the economy being in private as opposed to state hands. Truth is that a welfare state is socialism in practice. It’s a form of socialism often called social democracy. Any state with welfare statism in whatever quantity or quality has some form of social democracy or socialism, no matter how meager. That is why we socialists are happy to say that almost all states on Earth have at least some socialism these days and we predict that clearly, the future of the world will be some form of socialism. All welfare state programs are socialist programs. Any government or public program is a socialist program, de facto. There is much confusion about the word socialism. Everything public is generally socialist. Let us make a list of all of the de facto socialist programs in the US: Public lands, parks, roads, housing, food stamps, health care, education from kindergarten to graduate school, education grants and loans, stipends and assistance for low income folks such as renters’ assistance and negative income tax, national forests, national parks, public airports, public railways, pubic mass transportation such as buses and trains, libraries, research, utilities such as water, electricity and radio and TV airwaves, shipping lanes and public ports, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, WIC, welfare, disability, unemployment insurance, health and building code inspectors and laws, environmental laws and regulations, health and safety codes in the workplace, labor laws many and varied, the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Post Office, garbage collection and recycling, road sweeping, irrigation canals, dams and water districts, ambulances, disaster personnel and homeland security, firefighters urban and wildland, prisons and corrections, including prison labor provided free to cities and towns that cannot afford to hire labor, public hospitals and border controls, immigration laws and enforcement personnel, vaccination and public health initiatives, flood control districts and projects, mosquito abatement, predator and pest control, sewage pipes and treatment, telephone lines, the Internet, customs laws and enforcement, alien pest control at the borders, disease epidemic abatement and control including mass food recalls (salmonella epidemic) groundwater recharging, cloud-seeding, road-salting and snowplowing, public campaign financing, game wardens, fishing and hunting regulations, conservation easements, government land buyouts in regularly flooded areas, wildlife refuges, homeless shelters, election teams, business licenses, drug approval and regulation, laws against misleading advertising and drug claims, rural electrification, consumer protection laws, animal control including destruction of rabid or dangerous animals and pets, fish stocking, anti-fraud legislation, civil rights laws and enforcement, the list goes on and on. No doubt I have left some out. Nowadays, towns, cities and possibly even states even run for-profit enterprises. This is actually one of the fastest growing sectors of our economy, believe it or not. The cooperative sector (cooperatives or labor collectives) is also growing very fast, but you never hear about it either. All of the are socialist programs. Even police and military are best seen as socialist programs, since in the 3rd world, the rich are loath to fund them, and both police and military are paid out of taxes. Most any government service that is paid out of taxation is in some way or another a socialist program. The libertarians are quite correct on this when they say that all of the above are socialist programs. The hardest core libertarians want to get rid of all or most of them on the grounds that they are all socialist programs. I don’t agree with that, but they are ideologically correct in identifying a socialist program for what it is. When you look at that list above, it’s actually kind of frightening. At first glance, it seems like government barely exists in the US, but when you sit down and tally it all up, socialist and government programs are just about everywhere. If you hate government and socialism, there is a lot to be upset about.
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