Democratic socialism -- where do you stand?

By Jan Dolcater | Aug 23, 2018

Living in Maine, it makes sense to recognize the reasoning and the thoughts of the cross section of residents. Without question, there are many residents of the Midcoast, and other areas of Maine, as well, who are not just liberal, but are more of the democratic socialist philosophy. I think it would be interesting for the believers in this line of thinking to properly and fully express their viewpoints, so that all of the communities have a better understanding of their reasoning.

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have been in the forefront of this ideology, and more recently the former political unknown Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is definitely front and center. Tom Perez, the Democratic National Committee chair, recently stated that he believed this young woman was the future of the party. I am curious if the residents of the Midcoast and others share this vision of her.

Let’s examine and list some of the more prominent issues that they have placed front and center for all to consider.

1) Medicare for all – this sounds inviting to many, but is this realistic to actually put into effect? If so, how? I feel sure they have a positive answer for this, but it would interesting to have them explain.

2) Free tuition for all for college. Is this for all citizens, or is it also for undocumented residents? How do they think this will benefit communities across Maine? Is it practical?

3) Guaranteed wage for all. If this actually became reality, do the democratic socialists believe that this approach will stimulate the economy? Do they believe it will have an effect on the work ethic of most individuals, either for good or bad? Would this cause the elimination of welfare as we know it? It definitely would be interesting to have this explained.

4) Open borders and the elimination of ICE and customs. I need some serious help in understanding how this is going to be positive for most communities across the state and the country. Hopefully some committed democratic socialist can enlighten me and others, as I find this most confusing.

5) On an issue within Portland, it is my understanding that the democratic socialists want to give all residents the eligibility to vote in local elections. If this becomes reality, do they believe it will have positive ramifications for the city? Do they believe this will be accepted across the state, and if so, why?

I must admit, I am out of the mainstream, since I am a conservative Republican, but I am most curious about how and why this type of belief in the political landscape would actually work, if it were to become accepted. Are you curious also?

I hope many of the local committed democratic socialists will take my request to come forward and explain to the public how these proposals would benefit the public, and how the cost of these various proposals would be paid for. I’m listening, are you going to help me and explain?

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Comments (20)
Posted by: Carol W Bachofner | Aug 30, 2018 13:25

Mr Dolcatur your latest response refuses to address the question I posed to you in re the funding of our Federal Gov. How come you avoid answering whether you realize how it is funded?

As to the rest of your response I realize the shallow world in which I have attempted to step in exchanging with you.



Posted by: JUNE DOLCATER | Aug 30, 2018 12:25

Mr. Bachofner,

It is quite obvious that you prefer the economy put forward by Richard Murphy. His recent book, The Joy of Tax, states his philosophy succinctly when he states " the power of government should be utilized to solve issues", not the will of the people.

I much prefer a free market economy to one of socialism. I feel sure that there many of the your persuasion in our area. However, if you feel as strongly as it seems you do, please be patient as these philosophies will not be brought forward in the USA  anytime in the near future.

So, cheerio ole chap, !!

Jan Dolcater, Rockport

Posted by: Carol W Bachofner | Aug 29, 2018 15:22

To answer your question of Richard Murphy and of your readers last week I wrote the following to the newspaper, Mr Dolcatur:

Mr Jan Dolcatur, my response to your question (Another View: 8/23/18) as to “ how the cost of these various proposals (Medicare for all, free college/ post secondary education, job guarantee, etc. ) would be paid for”, simply the same way Republicans are paying for the recently enacted 1.3 trillion dollar tax cut for the top 10% and corporations. Easy peazy for them, wasn’t it?

You of course realize that US Federal Tax dollars do not fund the US Federal Gov’t. You do realize that, correct?

Bill Bachofner

Posted by: Carol W Bachofner | Aug 29, 2018 15:18

Mr Dulcatur or Jan as this author pens it. This is a response to your Richard Murphy reply by another view of Richard Murphy's blog: (Again Bill Bachofner, Rockland, a conduit in this post.)

Author: PSVR in Berlin
Dear Bill

Please forgive me for diving in here but this Jan fellow seems very badly informed -especially about healthcare.

As I understand it the US healthcare system has a number of problems related to the way in which Richard Nixon in particular helped to ‘transform’ it in his time as President.

1.  There are more unecessary invasive procedures carried on patients in the US system related to perhaps the need to generate fees in the hospitals that do them.

2.  Infant mortality in the States is rather high for a so-called ‘advanced nation’.

3.  It is well known that the complexity of private medical insurance gets in the way of effective emergency care and that people have died in the US as a result of waiting to hear that insurers have agreed or not to pay for treatment.  Does Jan know how many of these tend to be Afro- American by any chance?

4.  It is well known that US health insurers also use loss adjusters to scan insurance agreements to catch out claimants so that the HO can get out of paying for treatment and make a nice fat profit from the premiums.  In fact the loss adjusters are rewarded bonuses for his sort of thing.  They are Incentivised to do this.  Incentivised.  Just like those criminals who sold dodgy loans to US citizens and credit default swaps on Wall Street leading to 2008 and all that.

5.  As wages fall in America the cost of healthcare has not.  The mismatch has meant  more and more decent Americans cannot afford it.  If the market system in the US was efficient and better, prices would match available income in the real world.  But no.  And that is because the US health system is not ran to deliver health; it is ran to deliver profit.  Health issues in America can mean people becoming bankrupt through no fault of their own.

6.  The US health system is just an outlet for big pharma which means that the US is now the most heavily medicated country in the world bar none.

The UK NHS (that was set up and funded not by taxes but by Government money) is not perfect and especially not so after nearly 10 years of Conservative government.

When the Tories got in in 2010 and talked about an American like system in the UK because we all of a sudden could not afford it anymore, please note that those off us here who walk around with our eyes open noted the share price of many US health providers go up.  Like the piranhas they are, they smelled blood in the water.

The only way that health provision in America can go on making huge profits is to remain unaffordable for more and more hard working US citizens and concentrate more on big juicy government contracts abroad like in the UK where the successful NHS is being deliberately ran down in order get manufactured consent for it to become increasingly private.

US healthcare in my view is an extremely badly ran system managed by people who want to make money and not make people better.  It is a system that has forgotten what it is there for.

Pass this onto Jan and tell us what he thinks about what I have said.  The US healthcare system has no place in the UK, the US in fact no where in the world at all as far as I am concerned.

Posted by: JUNE DOLCATER | Aug 29, 2018 12:51

re: Richard Murphy

First comparison of health care in the UK to USA

Wait time after serious recommendation by doctor for cancer treatment    UK  62 days   USA  2 weeks

for hip or knee replacement UK 18 weeks  USA 3 weeks

The wait time figures come from UK info not USA

Other wait times for various treatments are similar   Which do you believe is best for you?

Re: Money for Socialism  Federal taxes paid   top 1 % pay 37 %, top 10% pay 70,88, top 20 % pay 84 %

45 % pay zero.     Top 1 % pay more than the lower 90%

Where is his money tree to pay for Medicare for all, free college tuition, and free housing ????

Posted by: Carol W Bachofner | Aug 29, 2018 06:32

Mr Dolcatur here is Richard Murphy’s response to your response to his blog post whose link I posted and you read “thoroughly”.

Author: Richard Murphy

First, let’s deal with facts. Our healthcare system has been assessed as vastly more effective than yours, covers everyone and costs half the price. We have slightly worse cancer outcomes. That’s it. So factually the suggestion we have worse healthcare is just wrong.

And I did not suggets free housing - except for those in real need. I suggested we have a duty to make sure there is housing for all. I never said we did not expect a contribution for it. But, yes, when a person is unable to pay through no fault of their own (and as a safety net in all cases) of course we shoulkd make sure decent housing is available for all. If we want to live in a decent society, why not?

And who pays for it? The government does. Thatcher was wrong, and so is your friend (Mr Dolcatur). Public services are paid for with public money - created by the government, whose job it is to put money into the economy because no one else, ultimately, can. Tax returns the money government has injected to control inflation.

And is tax then the constraint on activity? OIf course it is not: the ability of people to work is that.

As for the questions in the article - the minimum wage did not create unemployment. Nor did people sit around. No line lives comfortably on a minimum wage. Anyone who thinks that someone might is not connected to economic reality.

And free college education? We do that now in the UK. We say we loan the funds but that’s just bullshit accounting to engineer debt to enslave a population to debt. The reality is all education is up front funded by government. So free education would change nothing. And since much student debt will not be repaid nor will the lack of recovery have a major impact down the line.

As I argue in the article - if modern capitalism understood what Ford did - that it needs customers who can pay - it would be backing modern democratic socialism.



Bill Bachofner, Rockland (conduit in this exchange)

Posted by: JUNE DOLCATER | Aug 28, 2018 12:06

Steve Betts

Many thanks to you for making me aware of an excellent source of economic info  I encourage others to utilize it on a regular basis.

Jan Dolcater  Rockport

Posted by: JUNE DOLCATER | Aug 28, 2018 09:14

Obama was and still is an empty suit that loved leading from behind. It is a certainty the type of a check he ever signed was on the back side  to endorse. A leader ????

Jan Dolcater Rockport

Posted by: Stephen Betts | Aug 27, 2018 17:19


Posted by: JUNE DOLCATER | Aug 27, 2018 15:41


Your sources of Newsweek and CNN are bit far left and not reliable. Face facts as difficult as it is or you to understand but it is. what it is   Obama had zero business skills and was a depressing figure re our economy.

Jan Dolcater, Rockport


Posted by: JUNE DOLCATER | Aug 27, 2018 13:01

To David and Bob,

You need to understand that our "esteemed economist", Horvath gets carried away with misinformation.  Let me clarify about the increases in our National Debt  When Obama took office the National Debt ( deficit) was $ 10,699,805,000.000 and when he left office the deficit had increased to $19,573,445,000,000. In other words it was almost double what it was when he took office. Amassing practically more that all other previous presidents combined.

Another  other point to consider is the amount of GDP ( gross national product) Lets look over the percentages for recent presidents.

Carter  4.6%, Reagan 3.5%, Bush 2.3%, Clinton 3.9%, Bush 2.1. Obama 1.6%, Trump in his first year 2.3 %. but in the second quarter of 2018 it was 4.1% and is estimated to go higher.

Also lets review job creation by recent presidents.

Carter 3.9 million, Reagan 470,000, Bush 2.0 million, Clinton 2.8 million, Bush 1.9 million, Obama - 4.3 million, Trump so far in less than 2 years 2.1 million. The 4.3 million decline during Obama's term is by far the most dismal.

It is apparent that presidents have had their ups and down, but without question Trump has brought out of the dumps left by Obama.

Jan Dolcater  Rockport

Posted by: JUNE DOLCATER | Aug 27, 2018 12:35

Mr. Bachofner,

Thanks for including the article by Richard Murphy. I printed the article and have read through it thoroughly. It like most ideas on Democratic Socialism it calls for Medicare for all, and also free college tuition, but I was amazed to find that we now need to supply free housing for all as well. The only solution that Mr. Murphy offered to fund these ambitious proposals was to tax the rich. That element already supplies a huge % of the tax income today while over 50 % of families and individuals pay zero federal tax. How he views the world today in my opinion lacks clarity and understanding of economics. As the former Prime Minister of England, Margaret Thatcher said years ago " Socialism works well until it runs out of other peoples money." I must add having lived in England for several years that the UK system of health care is poor in comparison to our own.

Jan Dolcater  Rockport


Posted by: Carol W Bachofner | Aug 27, 2018 06:38

Mr Dolcatur, I offer this post by Richard Murphy for your consideration.

Bill Bachofner

Posted by: Harold Bryson Mosher | Aug 27, 2018 05:12

Yes, Trump loves the uneducated because all he has to do is feed them red meat and he can get their votes.  He's put Betsy DeVos on the task of keeping the supply of uneducated voters coming.

Posted by: David Leighton | Aug 26, 2018 09:00

I may have missed it but how is all this going to be paid for. I don't mean in Sweden but here in Maine. I have worked four jobs at once before and I'm not real excited about doing that again so someone else can sit in a college class for free. I'm just a simple working man so I'll expect some long drawn out answer full of mumbo jumbo that will be way over my head.

Posted by: JUNE DOLCATER | Aug 25, 2018 17:31


Just googled the tax rate for Sweden today.  In 2017 it was only 61.85 %  How breathing takingly low. Also in Sweden and all other Scandinavian countries they have a value added tax on all purchases by individuals of only 25 %   No question this is a paradise with exceptionally high costs of living.  Try to look more carefully

Jan Dolcater  Rockport

Posted by: Donald Herrick | Aug 25, 2018 05:59

so according to Ronald Horvath its capitalism that works not socialism

Posted by: Harold Bryson Mosher | Aug 25, 2018 03:30

In particular, the idea of Medicare for all works for me.  Taking an existing program and strengthening it by broadening the risk pool, enhancing it to include mental, dental, and glasses, and eliminating the operating expenses of those working at cross purposes makes sense to me.

Posted by: JUNE DOLCATER | Aug 24, 2018 06:03

To all who are interested

I hope many others will express their thoughts on this important issue

Jan Dolcater  Rockport

Posted by: Holly Ann Tracy | Aug 23, 2018 19:45

Thank you Jan, for posing this question in what appears to be an earnest attempt to open a dialogue.  I count myself among the liberals here, and am glad to see Ronald's clear and cogent responses.   Let's join the modern world and start acting like the fair and concerned citizens that we are.

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