Are You a Socialist?

January 25, 2011

If you support a progressive tax system, does that make you a "socialist?"

A progressive tax is one where the tax rate increases as the taxable base amount increases. In plainer terms, it's one that levies a fairer share from those who have reaped the greatest financial benefits from our many taxpayer-funded economic structures.

Chances are, if you vocally support a progressive tax system, you’ve dealt with such accusations at one point or another.

Perhaps, like me, your knee-jerk reaction is to get angry. Or to accept the name-calling, figuring it just comes with the territory of being "on the left," so to speak. But Steve Schnapp, a popular educator with United for a Fair Economy, offers a more constructive approach.

Steve was recently interviewed for a forthcoming documentary by Will 2 Power Productions. In the interview, he explained how he responds to progressive activist concerns of being labeled with the 's' word.

“You can call it socialism, you can call it whatever you want,” he said. “Here’s what I stand for: equity, fairness, helping each other out. Some folks like to call that socialism, and they think if they just paint us with that brush, it will end the conversation…But I believe that these are values we all share.”

Steve’s point is a good one (and well-articulated, as you’ll see below). Whether it’s in the halls of Congress or at our kitchen tables, it’s important for each of us to remember the values that unite us rather than the partisanship that seems to divide us. After all, writing each other off with labels squashes any potential for dialogue.

With an open mind, we're more likely to find that we have much more in common with our political “adversaries” than we think.

One Man's Reponse to "Socialist" Accusations from United for a Fair Economy on Vimeo.

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Thanks for clearing that up.

I would offer these edits:

In plainer terms, it's one that levies an even greater share from those who have produced more than others have.

“Here’s what I stand for: inequity, unfairness, helping one group out at the expense of others.

No, I won’t call you Socialist.  I now understand.  It is Progressives that believe:  From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

I agree 100% with the gentleman in the video.

   We are all interconnected in this world. I feel greed is one of the most destructive traits in American society today. If a person wants a nice car, a nice house and a nice life that's fine, nobody has a problem with that. It's when people take it to the next level that the pathology starts. We have the funds in this country to take care of the poor and elderly. Sharing with and caring about others less well off is a basic human virtue that has been lauded by almost all the great thinkers and philosophers throughout human existance. 

   Greed is to be discouraged and loving kindness and sharing should be celebrated.