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?

Comments (30)
Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Aug 30, 2018 16:18

Gentlemen, allow me to add some factual information on the NHS(in the form of cut and paste, naturally.):


“I expect that many Londoners could furnish horror stories about their ordeals in the NHS. One renowned health-care expert who grew up in England recently explained the difference between British and American medicine to me by saying that if he was very rich and had cancer, he would rather live in the U.S. But if he was poor and had cancer, he’d rather live in the U.K. and be guaranteed at least B-minus care.”  -Steve Silberman, An Eye-Opening Adventure in Socialized Medicine,

“With evident glee (and a bit of theatrical faux-naïveté) Mr. Moore sets out to challenge some widely held American notions about socialized medicine. He finds that British doctors are happy and well paid, that Canadians don’t have to wait very long in emergency rooms, and that the French are not taxed into penury. “What’s your biggest expense after the house and the car?” he asks an upper-middle-class French couple. “Ze feesh,” replies the wife. “Also vegetables.”-“Sicko”


The Thatcher government’s privatization strategy in the 1980s, the introduction of competitive tendering and the contracting-out of services led directly to an escalation in MRSA rates. Over the next decade, efficiency drives saw the almost total destruction of the NHS culture, with nursing staff forced onto short-term contracts and cut to inappropriate and dangerous levels.

Prior to this, in the 1970s, cleaners were employed directly by the hospital. Each ward had its own cleaners who were part of the ward team. Porters, maintenance staff and cleaners had pride in their wards, and many worked for most of their careers in the same place.

The NHS Trust hospitals that emerged from the creeping privatization process are under enormous pressure to cut costs, and will invariably pick the cheapest option in choosing their contracted-out services. This almost necessarily leads to contractors cutting corners and subsequently to a less efficient or thorough job being undertaken. The cleaning companies operate on tightly drawn contracts, where every task is listed and timed, which leaves no place for anything not on the list, including accidents. An attitude of apathy and disregard for cleanliness pervades.”

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: Ronald Horvath | Aug 28, 2018 11:20

Rant on, Jan.  Obama is still a beloved figure in the world, respected, and admired by those from whom respect and admiration is valued.  The current leader of the Republican party -a pariah in international circles- is a low, vice-ridden creature whose only value is how vividly he points out the lack of principle and morality, the obscene selfishness and cravenness, the utter spinelessness and cowardice of an elite group of corporate stooges who dare to call themselves a political party.  It's no contest, really.  When the best minds of a political spectrum flee from what their party has become it's the death knell.  You, and you whole dishonorable cabal, simply don't know when to roll over.  But, trust me, when this sad episode of American history is over, you will be reminded.

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: Ronald Horvath | Aug 27, 2018 18:40

"Obama had zero business skills?"  Oh really, Jan.  Did he ever declare bankruptcy and leave his investors in the lurch?  How many businesses did he fail at; wine, suits, casinos, mortgages, etc.?  Did Obama ever have to pay off students to his phony university, proving that he was a fraud?  Did he ever force an NDA on anyone to keep them quiet about being cheated in some shady "business" deal?  Did he ever have to pay off a porn queen or former mistress to keep them quiet?  Did he ever stiff an employee for wages or screw a vender for payment?  Was he ever investigated by the FBI for laundering Russian mob money?  Did his administration ever have anyone indicted, plead guilty, or under investigation for election tampering or conspiracy with a foreign power to effect the outcome of an American election?


No, Obama wasn't a businessman, but neither is trump, and Obama was ten times the president not to mention ten times the man as our current childish demagogue-in-chief.  It's too obvious that trump is Putin's dog and I look forward to the day when Mueller throws proof of that in his fat face.  As one of the few principled conservatives left has already written:

Despite his past criticisms of the former president, Max Boot wrote that Obama’s presidency now “appears to be a lost golden age when reason and morality reigned.”

Boot wrote that he gained a “new perspective” on the Obama administration after watching him deliver a speech in South Africa on the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth.

“I was moved nearly to tears by his eloquent defense of a liberal world order that President Trump appears bent on destroying,” Book wrote.”



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: Ronald Horvath | Aug 27, 2018 14:20

To all:  Jan's numbers are typical of the "facts" put forth by the ideologically challenged.  Here's a little more reliable information to clarify the situation.  (Sorry, for all the reading, Robert.)

"The U.S. economy just entered its 10th year of growth, a recovery that began under President Barack Obama, who inherited the Great Recession. The data show that the falling unemployment rate and gains in home values reflect the duration of the recovery, rather than any major changes made since 2017 by the Trump administration.


While Mr. Trump praised the 4.1 percent annual growth rate in the second quarter, the economy exceeded that level four times during the Obama presidency: in 2009, 2011 and twice in 2014.

In purely numerical terms, a larger shift took place in the second quarter of 2014, when the economy went from contracting by 1 percent to growing at a rate of 5.1 percent.”


"The Treasury Department predicted the U.S. government’s borrowing needs in the second half of this year will jump to the most since last decade’s financial crisis as the nation’s fiscal health deteriorates despite a strong economy.

The department expects to issue $329 billion in net marketable debt from July through September, the fourth-largest total for that quarter on record and higher than the $273 billion estimated in April, Treasury said in a report Monday.

The department’s forecast for the October-December quarter is $440 billion, bringing the second-half borrowing estimate to $769 billion, the highest since $1.1 trillion in July-December 2008.

The estimates were “quite a bit higher than our expectations
,” Thomas Simons, senior money-market economist at Jefferies, said in a note.”


"Prices rose at their highest clip since 2012 over the past year, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The 2.9 percent inflation for the 12-month period ending in June is a sign of a growing economy, but it's also a painful development for workers, whose tepid wage gains have failed to keep pace with the rising prices.

The cost of food, shelter and gas have all risen significantly in the past year. Gas skyrocketed more than 24 percent, rent for a primary residence jumped 3.6 percent and meals at restaurants and cafeterias rose 2.8 percent.

Prices have risen roughly at the same rate as wages, erasing any gains workers may have hoped to realize via bigger paychecks.”


"Earlier this week, Reuters published an analysis finding that most economic growth in the U.S. since 2016 has come from the poorest 60 percent of income earners paying for things by going deeper in debt. This is a stark departure from past decades of consumer spending growth, which was historically driven by the wealthiest 40 percent of Americans. In January, Deutsche Bank economist Torsten Slok found that the percentage of families with more debt than savings was higher in 2018 than at any point in U.S. history since 1962 — including the Great Recession of the late 2000s.”


"Goldman Sachs is warning its clients that the long-term fiscal outlook for the United States is “not good” because of high levels of deficit spending due to the recent Republican tax cuts and the omnibus spending bill. This spending could hurt the country’s ability to recover from recession and even threaten the fiscal security of the country.

By 2028, the CBO estimates that American debt held by the public will rise from 78 percent of GDP to 96 percent of GDP, the highest percentage since 1946 and double the average over the past 50 years.

Because of tax cuts, revenue will eventually struggle to cover only the cost of mandatory spending programs, like Medicare and Social Security, and the interest owed on its debt. There will be very little remaining for spending on other programs, like the military, education, infrastructure and emergency funding in response to natural disasters, according to the CBO.”


"The United States, one of the world's richest nations and the "land of opportunity," is fast becoming a champion of inequality," the report concluded.

They agreed with the report's conclusion that the Trump administration's $1.5 trillion in tax cuts "overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy and worsened inequality."

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: Ronald Horvath | Aug 26, 2018 18:18

Sorry if it was too much for you to handle, Robert.

Posted by: ROBERT W. KNAPP | Aug 26, 2018 15:47

And David got what he expected. Some long drawn out answer full of mumbo jumbo.

Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Aug 26, 2018 10:56

I've worked multiple jobs many times here in Maine, David, but then Republicans have whittled away at the taxes for the rich for so long that the economic elite having effectively looted the economy, while stifling wages for working people.  It used to be that a working person could make enough from one job to support himself and his or her family but now it takes more than on job to stay alive in this "booming economy"


""Prices rose at their highest clip since 2012 over the past year, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The 2.9 percent inflation for the 12-month period ending in June is a sign of a growing economy, but it's also a painful development for workers, whose tepid wage gains have failed to keep pace with the rising prices."


The cost of food, shelter and gas have all risen significantly in the past year. Gas skyrocketed more than 24 percent, rent for a primary residence jumped 3.6 percent and meals at restaurants and cafeterias rose 2.8 percent.

Prices have risen roughly at the same rate as wages, erasing any gains workers may have hoped to realize via bigger paychecks.


Really, what can we expect when the capitalists are sucking money out of our economy to invest in third world countries where wages barely sustain life or hoard it in tax "havens" effectively pulling it out of circulation and leaving our infrastructure and social institutions starving for resources.  Take a look back at the fifties if you want to see a tax system that made the American dream possible.  Today, with Republicans in charge, the only dreams being realized are those of the one percent.


Oh, and if you want to know how to vote this election here's a simple primer in economic history.


From  "Bulls, Bears and the Ballot Box," by Bob Deitrick and Lew Godlfarb (available at (a review of the last 80 years of economic history)

" Personal disposable income has grown nearly 6 times more under Democratic presidents

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown 7 times more under Democratic presidents

Corporate profits have grown over 16% more per year under Democratic presidents (they actually declined under Republicans by an average of 4.53%/year)

Average annual compound return on the stock market has been 18 times greater under Democratic presidents (If you invested $100k for 40 years of Republican administrations you had $126k at the end, if you invested $100k for 40 years of Democrat administrations you had $3.9M at the end)

Republican presidents added 2.5 times more to the national debt than Democratic presidents

The two times the economy steered into the ditch (Great Depression and Great Recession) were during Republican, laissez faire administrations

The "how and why" of these results is explained in the book.  Not the least of which revolves around the velocity of money and how that changes as wealth moves between different economic classes."

"Obama at this time would rank on par with Reagan

Corporate profits have risen under Obama more than any other president

The stock market has soared 14.72%/year under Obama, second only to Clinton -- which should be a big deal since 2/3 of people (not just the upper class) have a 401K or similar investment vehicle dependent upon corporate profits and stock market performance"

Economic disaster happens in America when wealth is concentrated at the top, and we are at an all time high for wealth concentration.  There is nothing in the (Republican) platform which addresses this issue."



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: Ronald Horvath | Aug 25, 2018 18:18

Jan, it's not what they pay but what they get for that money that makes it worth it.  Sure, in this country we pay less but working people get next to nothing for it except to feed the defense industries.  Thanks to trump and the Repubs it will be even less as they cry about the debt -that they created- and then claim they have to cut Medicare and Social Security.  Tax cuts aren't about creating jobs but about destroying the social safety net so that the rich don't have to help pay for it.  That's the plan and must of us know it.  Even some Republicans are crying foul.


"Bruce Bartlett served as a senior policy analyst in Republican President Ronald Reagan’s administration, and even helped President Reagan craft his much-ballyhooed tax cuts.

Bartlett, however, seems to have dramatically shifted in his views about the efficacy of these tax cuts. He recently spoke out about how the tax cuts in the Republicans’ proposed “tax reform” plan will only benefit the very rich.

During an interview on, Michael Winship brought up to Bartlett, “Trump has said, “There’s no way that the middle class doesn’t greatly benefit’ from the proposed tax cuts.” Bruce answered, bluntly, “Well, that’s just a lie… the middle class really isn’t going to get any kind of tax cut and in fact it’s going to get screwed in lots of ways. For example, he’s talked on many occasions about getting rid of the deduction for state and local taxes. He’s talked about reducing the ability of people to save in 401(k)s. These are tax increases, really, that are going to hurt the middle class.” He elaborated, “So what his economic advisers have done is come up with this ridiculous rationalization that workers will see a huge increase in their wages if we cut the corporate tax rate. The fact is that we have experience with this. We don’t need to look to some esoteric mathematical model to know what’s going to happen.” Bruce added, “You can very easily go to, which is the website of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and look up real median wages and you can see what happened after the Tax Reform Act of 1986, which lowered the tax rate on corporations from 46 percent to 34 percent. And if you look at what happened to wages in the 10 years after 1986, wages fell. They did not go up. They fell. Workers were worse off.”

Winship followed by saying, “And yet there are Republicans who claim that these proposed cuts are in the fine tradition of Ronald Reagan.” Bartlett replied, “Well, that’s just a lie, too. And I know because I drafted the 1981 tax cut.” Later, Winship mentioned, “You wrote that you think the ultimate goal of the GOP is to create a deficit so large that Medicare and Medicaid can be decimated.” Bartlett confirmed this, saying, “That’s correct. The Republicans don’t advertise this, but in fact they all believe in a theory that I call ‘starve the beast,’ which says that the purpose of cutting taxes is to create a deficit which will then justify spending cuts. Under normal circumstances, you’re not going to be able to cut popular programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, but if the deficit gets really, really big, people may be frightened of it and be willing to accept as necessary spending cuts that would not otherwise be politically plausible.”

Read more:

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: Ronald Horvath | Aug 25, 2018 07:10

You're half right, Donald.  Democratic socialism let's capitalism flourish, but within civilized limits.  Just as every culture sets limits on the behavior of it's citizens Democratic socialism allows capitalists to do their thing but doesn't allow vast amounts of wealth, and therefore economic and political power, to be accumulated by a few individuals to the detriment of society as a whole.  Just as this country did in the fifties it "redistributes" the wealth to the benefit of all, funding education, health care, and the infrastructure on which so much of our economy depends.  It benefits no one for the elite rich to hoard trillions in overseas havens leaving our social institutions starving for resources, or to give a handful of persons unlimited political power by using their obscene excess of wealth to buy politicians and unfairly influence elections, or even to finance a cadre of hackers to steal an election by installing a demagogue illegally into the highest office in the land.  Democratic socialism is society's effort to disarm the would-be oligarchs and create a fair and compassionate world for all.

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.

Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Aug 23, 2018 17:07

All right, I'll bite.

1)  Why not.  According to a recent poll by a Koch supported organization the total cost of American health care is around 33 trillion.  Medicare for all would reduce that to 32.6 trillion, and no one would have to go bankrupt for medical expenses.  This has worked throughout the modern world for most of our allies including Israel, in differing forms.  So why not the US.

2)  Free tuition is also common in most European countries.  They realize that investing in their own people is more advantageous than billionaires investing in slave labor factories in the third world.  In Maine particularly we could use more technical schools to answer the employment needs of our companies that are now in need of trained people.  Answering that need could only help our state.

3) How could a guaranteed wage not help our state.  It's just common sense that putting more money in people's pockets stimulates spending and boosts the economy.  Isn't that the conservatives line when it comes to reducing taxes, though they never seem to lower taxes for anyone but those who don't need it and don't need to spend it.  How do the rich stimlulate anything when they're just hoarding money on the Cayman Islands.  Isn't that the flag Betsy Devos flies on her yacht; one out of a dozen?  Guaranteed wages means guaranteed spending.

4) Open borders I can't say I absolutely agree with.  However it's evident that even undocumented workers add to the economy, to the tune of 11.5 billion a year in taxes, without any expectation of getting anything back for that since they can't apply for anything without exposing themselves to ICE.  ICE, however, troubles me since they never seem to bother the Americans who hire undocumented workers.  They also never seem to bother the over 600,000 white European undocumenteds now living in this country.  Clearly our immigration crisis is a racial crisis, and no wall is going to solve that.

5) And I believe no one should live under laws that they have no voice in creating.  Any resident of Portland should be involved in the running of the city.  If they have to live under the laws created by others by right of an accident of birth then we should re-examine just what "Democracy" means.  We started this country by crying "No taxation without representation."  Why should we abandon that principle now.

And just to keep my reputation intact, Jan, here's a few cut and pastes to keep you informed of what the world thinks.

" Polling in recent years has consistently shown a majority of millennials are enthusiastic about “socialism,” often preferring it to “capitalism.” For millennials, “capitalism” means “unaccountable rich people ripping off the world,” while “socialism” simply means “not that.”

Indeed, when the newest star on the left, soon-to-be Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York discusses her vision for “democratic socialism,” her agenda sounds a lot like old-school New Deal liberalism, or basic, functional, small-d democracy.

“In a modern, moral and wealthy society, no American should be too poor to live,” Ocasio-Cortez told NBC’s Chuck Todd earlier this month. “Every working-class American in this country should have access to dignified health care, should actually be able to see a doctor without going broke. It means you should be able to send your kids to college and trade school if they so choose, and no person should feel precarious or unstable in their access to housing.”


"Sweden is more capitalist than the U.S., so beware. Sweden has no minimum wage, no property taxes, no inheritance or gift taxes, lower corporate and capital gains taxes, less progressive income taxes (only a two tier flat tax), more corporations per capita and no government bailout of failing steel companies or auto industries (R.I.P. Saab, it was fun while it lasted).

As a result, the economy is booming and we can afford universal health care, subsidized child care, 390 days of paid parental leave, free college and free private schools and one of the highest standards of living on the planet. It's hell.”
-Mats Österholm, who works at Royal Swedish Navy

“I just returned from visiting.

Here is what I observed:

We did not see a single homeless person or panhandler on the street. Not one.

I asked several people what they thought were the most significant social problems facing Sweden and they were scratching their heads to answer. Some mentioned that newcomers were struggling to become integrated into Swedish society.

Everyone seemed to love their health care system.

Workers have a right not to be terminated from their jobs without just cause!

The architecture seem interesting and the natural beauty relatively unspoiled.”
-recent American visitor Rich Cassidy from Vermont.


So you see, Jan.  It can be done, an economy that works for everyone and not just the elite few.

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