Saturday, November 21, 2009

Socialism for the poor

Socialism for the poor.
At a recent meeting at Columbia University School of Business, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet--between the two of them worth roughly $100 billion--reaffirmed their faith in our economic system--capitalism. They praised the free market, the equality of opportunity of the system, and the ability of everyone to enjoy the fruits of the private initiative of people like themselves.
At the same time the papers report that one in 7 households struggles for food. Almost 15% of US households or about 49 million people, including 17 million children do not have enough food for an active, healthy life style. 49 million people, 17 million children go hungry some of the time, in the United States, the richest country of the world.
We all know the effects of hunger on children. They have trouble paying attention in school, they have trouble learning, they drop out of school early. They have no chance to participate in the “equal opportunity” Gates and Buffet bragged about. They will not share in the fruits of the initiative of successful capitalist entrepreneurs.
Capitalism is a great system for the rich. It is a disaster for the poor. It is not so great for the people in between, who are prone to job insecurity, have troubles paying their bills, may lose their homes to foreclosures, and be unable to pay for decent medical care.
“So, are you advocating socialism”? An appalled reader asks.
No, I am advocating socialism for the poor. The rich already have socialism. When they lose money, when their firms face bankruptcy, the govern steps in to support them. Ask General Motors, AIG, or Bank of America what they think of the sort of socialism that saved their skin last year and is continuing to do so.
While the big financial firms received astronomical amounts of money to save them, so much so that today their directors again get million dollar bonuses--more in bonus money for one year (when they almost went bankrupt) than many working Americans make in a life time-- 1 in seven families goes hungry.
How about a little bit of socialism for them?