Editor’s note: While we still don’t have comprehensive socialized medicine in America despite the new Health Care Reform Bill, it’s at least a step in the right direction. For 40 years the most successful and cost-effective health insurance has been the governement-run Medicare and Medicaid programs. This is socialized medicine for, respectively, senior citizens and poor people. Unlike every other industrialized wealthy democracy, America does not provide national health care for every citizen and this law won’t change that sad state of affairs. It does force private insurers to shut down their death panels by making it illegal to deny coverage for preexisting conditions for the applicant or their dependents, so that’s something. Long used as a curse word by conservatives, socialism is part of the fabric of American life and always has been to one degree or another. Ask the Chinese Capitalists, who in a startling role reversal, now call us “Running Dogs of Socialism.” Bobcrespo.com ran the following piece on September 4th of 2009 in anticipation of our Congress growing a spine and implementing socialized medicine to accompany the following social programs. That didn’t happen, but it will in the near future.
Here’s a partial list of Federal socialized programs in America.
THE ARMED FORCES: The United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard are sworn to defend their nation and protect every citizen without sending an itemized bill to anybody.
THE INTERSTATE HIGHWAY SYSTEM: Our extensive system of interstate highways are free for anyone to drive anywhere they like, even New Jersey.
FEDERAL WATERWAYS: Any craft from a canoe to an ocean liner can sail to their hearts’ content on the rivers, streams and lakes of America for no charge.
THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: If somebody kidnaps you or commits some other federal crime against you, The F.B.I. will spare no expense to hunt down the perpetrators, for years if they have to, at no charge to you.
BUREAU OF PRISONS: Once the F.B.I. locks up the bad guys they get to stay in Federal prison for the duration of their sentences on the government’s dime. The Feds also feed and clothe the criminals and provide them with health care, education, libraries, religious services, recreation, visitors’ facilities and legal counseling. For free.
CENSUS BUREAU: They count our heinies every 10 years for free.
CONGRESS: Our elected officials in the House of Representatives and the Senate charge us nothing for looking after our interests (and their own).
THE PRESIDENCY: Again, no matter how good or how lousy are our presidents, they have to make do with their salary, the While House and Air Force One and can’t send us a monthly bill for their services.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, AGRICULTURE, STATE, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE, EDUCATION, INTERIOR,COMMERCE, ENERGY, TREASURY, TRANSPORTATION, HOMELAND SECURITY, JUSTICE, ENERGY, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: All of these federal departments provide their services to American citizens for free, whether or not we know what the hell they all do.
BUREAU OF ENGRAVING: They run the U.S. Mint, printing our paper money and minting our coins. There is no surcharge. A $5 bill costs $5 and they don’t get to charge 26¢ for those fancy new State Quarters.
GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION: This agency does everything all the other ones don’t, just in case the government missed anything. Anybody recall ever getting an invoice for services rendered from these people?
THE SURGEON GENERAL: Neither a surgeon nor a general, The Surgeon General of The United States harangues us about our nasty habits just for the fun of it, sort of a Civic Inquisitor with no power. Good thing, too, they’ve got some pretty peculiar ideas. Truth be told, however, the government usually picks someone who’s very amusing, so it’s all in good fun. No harm done, really.
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE: Next time you swim in the ocean or wander around some forest, don’t look for turnstiles to charge you on the way in.
THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS: The world’s largest library, it is open to anyone wishing to do research or just read rare books and manuscripts. The price? Nothing twice!
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION: Of course we pay into it though payroll deduction contributions, but unlike private investment firms, there is no charge for managing the largest and most successful social insurance investment in history and there is a guaranteed return for contributors and cost-of-living adjustments. The second largest and equally successful social program? Medicare. Our retirees are very well looked after.
That’s quite a list of social benefits available to Americans, and by no means anywhere near a complete one. Wouldn’t it be great if we had free medical care so we could all live long and healthy lives in order to better enjoy these things? The taxes we pay have created all these wonderful departments and agencies. If we spend 10% less on just one of them, The Department of Defense, we could all have comprehensive health care. There is no reason why our tax dollars need to continue spending more on weapons that the rest of the world combined (you could look it up at the Library of Congress) while 50 million Americans have no medical coverage at all. Either that, or eliminate the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and farm out their functions to other agencies. Whether or not they charge for doing whatever it is they do, that combination just seems like an ugly incident waiting to happen. Hardly seems worth it, even for free. Better we should look after our nation’s health.