Socialism is a trap
Edward Sawdon’s letter in the Oct. 1 Herald reveals a sad naivete about socialism. That is what he proposed — socialist-based money to supplement people’s income up to a “preferred” standard.
As Margaret Thatcher said, socialism only works until the government runs out of “other people’s money” (OPM).
Government has no money of its own. All it can do is collect money through fees and taxation. It may be successfully debated that fees are rightfully the government’s property because they are collected for services rendered when people choose to use a service. However, taxes are definitely the property of the taxpayer because the government has simply legislated itself a portion of what the taxpayer has earned for him or herself at a place of employment. Since the government has not done anything to earn it, it is basically coerced from the taxpayer, but it is a practice we have accepted for millennia, on the expectation that the government will use it to provide services.
Mr. Sawdon, I presume, is aware that the money for all the programs he advocates will come from taxes. Those taxes will have to be levied upon income earners, and they will be substantial, or the government will be writing IOUs so large, it will cause interest charges to eventually become the entire national budget, leaving nothing to pay into these programs.
At the same time, the tax base — those who earn enough to pay in more than they receive — will shrink as people drop out of the labour force. A smaller tax base means less in taxes. After all, if the government has promised you all your needs will be met, why bother working when you can just sit at home playing video games, tabbing your cellphone, or go down to the bar, and still receive enough money and services to live on?
Ultimately, with the loss of tax income, the growth of debt and the interest charges payable on it, the level and variety of services will decrease until everyone is living in poverty and public services — maintenance, police, fire, health — are curtailed.
Socialism doesn’t work. It’s an OPM (pronounced opium) trap — addiction suffered by government, taxpayers and benefits recipients alike.