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Where does socialism start and capitalism end? And where does capitalism end and socialism start?

The other day I was listing to talk radio. Just as the show’s topic drifted to Obama’s health care plan, my car passed through the I-93 Boston Tunnel, notoriously known as the Big Dig. The tunnel swallowed the radio’s reception and I was left with a few quiet minutes to reflect.

No doubt you have heard that many are nervous about Obama’s plan; specifically that the quality of medical care will decline and that there won’t be any money to pay for it. Critics often site the Big Dig, with its cost overruns and flawed construction as a concrete example (no pun intended) of the dangers of letting the government run the show. An interesting question, is where to draw the line between capitalism and socialism.

John Stewart asked this question when he had Bill O’Reilly on the Daily Show. Forgive the paraphrase, but Stewart asked O’Reilly at which tax bracket do we cross into socialism? Is 30% a capitalist tax rate but 32% socialist? Or 34%?

Or consider this. Many hard core capitalists argue we shouldn’t subsidize wind or solar power, when nuclear is already a profitable venture (and a carbon cutter too.) But ‘twas it not the government that financed the original research for nuclear power? If the government funds the first X billion of a capitalist project, is that socialism or capitalism?

How about the Panama Canal? There’s a huge government project that has boosted capitalism by making oceanic trade easier. Hasn’t Eisenhower’s highway system, another mammoth government project, allowed millions of businesses to flourish? Or even a small business that receives a government loan. Is that capitalism or socialism?

This is not an argument for capitalism. Nor is it an argument for socialism. It isn’t even an argument at all. It’s a question:

Where does one draw the line? Send me your thoughts.


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ah, and this reminds me of a talk show segment on Fox I saw a few months back about something quite similar in which a male commentator suggested that doctors are becoming doctors NOT because they want to help people, but because they want to make money... I would pose to you, did the plumber become a plumber because he loves unclogging toilets? When did the word money become a dirty word? in a capitalistic society, money is the heart of what drives invention & creation... we all need to make a living in this society. is the responsibility of the wealthy to buoy the poor or middle class IF (and I stress, capital letters) we were all given the same opportunities - by our government, I might add. I would also pose the question to the pols - which doctor would they choose? which plumber would they choose? (apparently, both carry the same level of priority...) if in a socialist environment, the no private care can exist (or in theory shouldn't exist - as a truly socialistic model suggests), where would they seek quadruple bypass or chemo? why should they be immune - pardon the pun... the word "choose" wouldn't even be part of the sentence. Choice is no longer a valid option. Socialism dictates direction. I also LOVE Jon Stewarts question - exactly where is the line drawn? What convenience factors are determinants??

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