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.