Table of Contents
You might want to know a little more about some of the topics “Socialism: A Lie Full of Hope” covers. Below you’ll find the table of contents, as well as an audio sample, and text. The home page has several locations the book may be purchased in print, ebook, or audio formats (audio coming soon).
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Thinking About Writing A Book
Chapter 3: A Moment About Statistics
Chapter 4: My Journey into Discovering Capitalism
Chapter 5: Time and Sacrifice: Investing in You
Chapter 6: An Economic Spectrum
Chapter 7: Who Wants to Control What
Chapter 8: Free Goodies for Votes
Chapter 9: China Tried Freer Markets, Venezuela Tried Socialism
Chapter 10: The New World
Chapter 11: Socialism’s Growth In Popularity
Chapter 12: Free Markets Under Attack from All Sides
Chapter 13: Misinforming The Youth
Chapter 14: Government Planners
Chapter 15: Competing Economic Schools of Thought
Chapter 16: Shrinking the Pie for Us All
Chapter 17: Attacking Corporations for Making Money is Ridiculous
Chapter 18: Greed Is Part of The Human Condition
Chapter 19: Inflation
Chapter 20: Currency in The U.S.
Chapter 21: Attempts to Fix an Economy
Chapter 22: Winds of Change
Chapter 23: The Socialism of Saving the Planet
Chapter 24: Wages
Chapter 25: Medical Coverage for All
Chapter 26: The Socialist Version of The Light on The Hill
Chapter 27: Reality Check
Chapter 28: A Journey from Concern to Death
Chapter 29: A Government Intentionally and Wisely Limited
Chapter 30: Silenced for Your Opinion
Chapter 31: The Second Amendment
Chapter 32: In Closing
Chapter 8: Free Goodies for Votes
Many people now considering socialism have convinced themselves they’re living under a deeply repressive capitalist regime on some deep philosophical level. But if they’re honest with themselves its little more than a justification for theft. Sadly, Philip Wegmann (2019) of Real Clear Politics calls the Democratic Primary campaign of 2019 and 2020, “The Free-Stuff Primary.” It’s not only a zippy name for an article, it’s spot-on. As evidenced by their tax returns, it seems that none of these candidates champion personal charity. But they’re more than willing to give away nearly anything that the government can get its hands on. Actually, that’s a bit of a misnomer: They’re more than happy to give away far more than the government can get its hands on. Wegmann points out some of the cool stuff you get as a prize if you’re able to vote them into office: Universal child care, debt free college, old student debt wiped away, guaranteed income, reparations, affordable housing, and Medicare for all. The list grows nearly every day. At this point it seems like just about every candidate is willing to give anything away to get the votes.
It doesn’t stop with giving away the future generation’s income. Democrats voted to allow illegal aliens the right to vote in local elections. (Dinan, 2019) During a CNN Townhall interview Bernie Sanders said he wanted a “vibrant democracy” with “higher voter turnout” by allowing convicted terrorists, murders, and rapists the right to vote while still in prison. (From Press, 2019) Representative Ayanna Pressley thought it would be a good idea to drop the voting age from 18 to 16 (U.S. House of Representatives Democratic congresswoman serving Massachusetts’s 7th district). No offense, but at 16 years of age your opinion is still in its infancy, and just beginning to form, with very little wisdom or deeper understanding of complex topics. It’s not a deficit of intelligence, but life experience. (Markos, 2019) Rashida Tlaib wants to give any single person making less than $50,000 per year a $3,000 tax credit, and any family making less than $100,000 per year a $6000 tax credit (U.S. House of Representatives Democratic congresswoman serving Michigan’s 13th district). (Cwiek, 2019) It doesn’t take a political science degree to understand these sweeping changes. Votes, any vote that can be counted, means power. Especially when the government controls everything.
Like most people I watch YouTube from time to time; actually, more than I’d care to admit. I cringe every time I hear someone performing an interview about free education, healthcare, and so on and so forth. If the interviewer asks how this stuff will be paid for, they never seem to have an answer. They act like it’s an insane question that they’d never considered. One interview I watched the lady actually answered, “The government… Maybe taxes?”
Looking a bit flustered, the interviewer then asked, “Isn’t that us?” She didn’t seem to know what to say. The lady just looked dumbfounded. Of course, this is all anecdotal. It could be, and likely is, cherry picked clips of the most ignorant disagreeing people they could find. After all, you have to admit that those are the funniest to watch. I can’t help but cringe that they could find anyone that believes some of the stuff they say.
All of these handouts and speeches from politicians say that everything we want is a right. Yet those enshrined Constitutionally enumerated rights like freedom of speech are under attack. (The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land created in 1787, and ratified in 1788. It defines the federal governments limitation’s, functions, and organizational structure.) Free healthcare; that’s a right. Free childcare; that’s a right too. Free internet; The United Nations says it is, so let’s get to throwing it on the pile! (“United Nations”, 2016) Freedom to disagree with somebody; not on my watch bub! What happy days we live in when everything under the sun is a right that others should provide to us for free, and everyone we disagree with can be fined or thrown in prison. Whoa! Take away the free stuff, add a bread line or two, and you’ve got yourself a socialist state.
Recently Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren came out in favor of paying for a large portion of college entrant’s costs for schooling. (U.S. Democratic senator representing Massachusetts running for the office of President of the United States in 2020) But she couldn’t stop there, because she needs more votes. So, she’s also offered to pay off $1.25 trillion of debt over 10 years for people who have already gone through school and don’t want to bother to pay for a bill they’d already agreed to. (“Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s college plan flunks fiscal and fairness tests”, 2019) And this program is only one of her many, including Medicare for all.
Isn’t it odd when someone you typically disagree with suddenly starts agreeing with you? But then along comes talk show host Bill Maher. As I’ve already alluded to, this is someone I usually don’t agree with. But he’s honest enough with himself and his audience to admit it when he sees vote grabbing, and moral corruption. Mr. Maher said:
“So are we really saying that someone who didn’t go to college should be subsidizing the people who went and got the benefit from going to college and made more money?” He continued, “If you look at the beneficiaries of that proposal, it is a huge subsidy to higher-income people,” adding, “And if you’re out buying votes, you go with the people you think are going to vote.” (Chasmar, 2019)
Adding a smile to my face, and hope in my heart, was that Bill had paraphrased none other than Milton Friedman when, in the same speech, he said, “So nothing is free like a free lunch.” It might have been inadvertent, but I’ll take it!
Section 1: Left and Right Both Adore Spending
Though this book is focused more on economic understanding, there is an interplay between politics and economics. Because of this the majority of the negative focus of this book will be looking to the pollical left, or Democratic party. The reader must take into account where liberals set on the standard political spectrum, and what this book is about. This book is concerned with why socialism is wrong for America, and why capitalism is right for America. So, it’s natural that I’m going to point to the group that not only falls closer on the political spectrum to socialism, but is increasingly self-identifying as socialist through the parties most popular representatives! People from the left often push for equality, and most importantly for this book, they often want to replace free markets and capitalism with socialism as a way to promote that equality. Many believe that if socialism was used in place of capitalism in the United States, then everyone would happy, and make the same amount of money. Left leaning organizations and people often oppose free markets and champion government intervention into the economy.
That’s not to say conservatives don’t grow government, or try to create ridiculous limits on freedoms as well. There’s an awful lot of talk from conservatives about reducing spending, shrinking government, helping businesses and rolling back regulations; all of which are conducive to capitalism. But for all of the talk, they seem to forget the principles that got them to office in the first place. President Trump promised to eliminate the federal debt in eight years. Instead, he’s added over $2 trillion in additional debt. Furthermore, he continued his spending policy even as the economy grew in strength, which goes against the standard economic theories congress pretends to follow. (Bryan, 2019) The last time the U.S. balanced its budget was in 2001 while Clinton was president, and the GOP held the purse in the House of Representatives (Short for the Grand Old Party, which is another name for the Republican party.). During that period of time the federal government’s spending dropped to the lowest share of the economy since 1966. Spending still grew, but only by .5 percent (inflation adjusted). (Kogan & Greenstein, 2001) Ever since then we’ve went on a spending spree, increasing our national debt. Imagine if you spent more money than you made for eighteen straight years.
The current debt to GDP ratio is now 105% (Short for Gross Domestic Product. This is the calculation used get an idea of the size of a country’s economy: private consumption + gross investment + government investment + government spending + exports – imports). (“Federal Debt: Total Public Debt as Percent of Gross Domestic Product”, 2019) The U.S. has surpassed $23 trillion in accumulated national debt for the first time in our history. With roughly 350,000,000 citizens in the United States, simple math shows that every American man, woman, and child, owes nearly $63,000 in national debt (It will be higher by the time you read this). Every additional dollar spent to buy a vote is that much more we all owe. It’s one more dollar stolen from future generations. (To get a better visualization of this take a look at the national debt clock at https://usdebtclock.org/)
Section 2: Misunderstood Opportunities
I hope that some people can take a step back, take a deep breath, and really listen. That they might look beyond the politics that they’ve held close to their heart, and into the economic reality that there is no free lunch, that everything has a cost, and that eventually that cost must be paid by someone. Although we think of this as “just money”, you must realize that money is a storage of your time, effort, education, and experience. In short, it allows you to accumulate the effort that makes up your life, and when you let someone take it, or when you take it from another, it is an immoral act. We saw that Bill Maher realized this with the free college ploy. I’m hoping that by reading this book that others will see this, and much more. We learned in kindergarten that if we take something from someone else it’s wrong, but as we become more educated, we find some amazing ways to justify our own barbaric actions.
I learned how fortunate I was just to be born in the United States as I traveled around the world. Being an Air Force veteran is something I’m very proud of. It provided me with the opportunity to travel the world and see things I would have never imagined seeing had I stayed at home. Living in the United Kingdom, Korea, and spending a bit of time in Colombia and Canada let me meet new people, and see different cultures, providing an amazing experience that changed by life. It also shined a light on the opportunities that I had taken for granted in my home country. Opportunities that simply don’t exist in most other countries. I know our county is far from perfect. We’ve made mistakes. And some countries do things in better ways, and we should learn from that. But it’s an amazing stroke of fortune to have been born in this land of plenty. I’ve seen how free we are. I also have seen how rich we are, while many others think we are poor; which was a large primer for me to begin this book.
In a brief excerpt from “Letter from an Australian to America: Here’s why I love you, U.S.A”, immigrant Nick Adams (2015) describes what he sees in America:
“In 5,000 years of recorded human history, there has been no nation even resembling the United States. The American model has offered, and continues to offer, a greater chance for dignity, hope and happiness for more people than any other system.” He continues, “As Margaret Thatcher, the British prime minister, put it: ‘Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy.’ Lady Thatcher was right. The philosophy is one of individual liberty, free-market opportunity and belief that it’s all a gift from God. America is the best idea the world has ever had, the greatest value system ever devised.” (Adams, 2015)
Copyright © John Herbstreith 2020