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Socialism Defined for Millennials


Jack is a volunteer at the CCNY Archives. Before retiring, he worked at IBM for over 28 years. His articles have over 100,000 views.

Karl Marx



Recent news claim 43% of millennials support Socialism over Capitalism in poll. That is shocking. How did we come to this? I'm not so sure about the poll and polling in general. Just to be safe, I want to explain what is socialism in case some people have a misconception. By the way, it has nothing to do with social media.

-Feb. 2016

Updated Sept. 2018

What Is Socialism?

Socialism is a variation of Communism, an economic and political philosophy proposed by Karl Marx. The main idea is "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs." Think about that, it is profound. It sounds so great doesn't it? However, the problem is, it doesn't work! It has been tried for the last 100 years in various form and they have all failed miserably.

Why It Failed?

It failed because it is contrary to human nature. Man does not have the natural instinct to live in communal society. It failed in Plymouth when the first Pilgrims came to America. It failed in the former Soviet Union. It failed in East Germany and Venezuela and Cuba. It is failing in Greece. It failed in the communes of our own country back in the 1960s.

As Margaret Thatcher said famously, "the problem with socialism is sooner or later you run out of other people's money."

A Personal Scenario

Let me explain it another way on a personal level that everyone can relate to. Recently, Bernie Sanders, presidential candidate on the Democratic ticket, proposed 75% income tax for the 1% super rich, and free college education for all.

Just look around you and see how our society functions. We have Doctors and lawyers and engineers and accountants but we also garbage collectors, electricians, plumbers and cooks and dishwashers and a whole range of professions from the highly skilled to the entry worker. They are all needed to keep our society running smoothly. Just assume if we could afford to offer free college to everyone. How will that change the distribution of work? who will want to work as a welder if he can go to college and work in a clean office?

The reason we need a variety of workers is because we have a variety of tasks. Some will require high skills and they will be compensated equally. It is the free market system that ultimately determine the price of labor. Supply and demand works every time.

As regard to tax rates, a higher progressive tax rate will only discourage the high performers to either cut back or seek tax loopholes to minimize their personal tax liability. In the extreme, some have moved out of countries that implement high tax rates. The State will ultimately loose revenue with a high tax rate - just the opposite what they intended. It is simple economics.

French Actor Move to Russia to Avoid Tax


What About Inequality? and Wall Street?

Socialism claims equality for all as the best way. However, that is not what our Constitution guarantees. Our Constitution is based on equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. That's a huge difference.

I do agree with Bernie Sanders when he charges Wall Street with cronyism. I just don't agree with his solutions. Taxing the rich and the big corporations to pay for social programs that benefit the people is not the solution.

How to Fix It?

The way to fix inequality on Wall Street is by leveling the playing field. The job of the SEC is to crack down on insider's trading. Investment vehicles should be transparent. All people should have equal access to investments. There should not be a special class of investments available only to the rich and powerful. What is proposed by Bernie Sanders of taxing income at 75% rate will not work. It has been tried in France and even the French rejects it. A high tax rate is a disincentive. The rich and powerful will find ways around this and the revenue will not materialize.

In France, they tried raising the income tax rate to 90% above a certain level. Tax the rich was the slogan. It was reported that the French actor, Gerard Depardieu announced his intention to relocate to Russia.

Crony Capitalism at it's Worst


What about Denmark?

Bernie Sanders uses Denmark as a shining example of a Democratic Socialist government succeeding. But here is the truth, Denmark is not a socialist nation. Hear it from the source - the Prime Minister of Denmark. He explained Denmark has a free market economy.

The Constitution and Conservatism

The solution is very simple. Our Constitution of limited government and free enterprise is the best path to prosperity. It is not a perfect system but it is the best among all current systems. Conservative principles are the best to address many of our societal problems. Unfortunately, many of our schools today do not teach basic civics as they should.



Simple Math

Here is a simple math explanation using pies. It is a simple illustration of economic systems.

In ideal Socialism, suppose there are 100 pies and 100 people. Equal distribution will mean each person gets 1 pie. (group A)

In practice, socialism has a ruling class (B) and the masses (C). Assume 10% are group B and 90% are group C. The 90 people in group C will each get only half a pie while the 10 people in group B will get approx. 5 pies each.

In Capitalism, because of the profit motive and incentives, the pie is bigger. Let me just use 400 pies as an example. The same 100 people can be divided into 2 groups D and E. D is the risk takers and capitalist who create the businesses that build things people want. Group E are the consumers and the working class. In this scenario, assume there are 1 D and 99 E. Each member of E will get 0.5% which is 2 pies, while D gets 200 pies. Talk about income inequality. In addition, members of group E are free to become member of D by taking risks and working hard and inventing new ideas...(free enterprise)

In summary, which group do you want to be in?

A - 1 pies

B - 5 pies

C - 0.5 pie

D - 200 pies

E - 2 pies

For me, I want to be in group D but will settle for being in group E.

Socialism Described By a Person Who Lived It

The following youtube video is an interview conducted by John Stossel with Gloria Alverez.

A Modern Experience - Venezuela

This oil rich South American country is in turmoil having been led to socialism by Hugo Chavez. Here is their story.

A Self Professed Socialist Without a Clue


A Picture Worth 1000 Words



For the millennials, who thinks socialism is the answer, I would suggest you go back and read our Constitution. It is a simple and short document but it is the right framework to govern a democracy.

The other suggestion is to go back and study some of our history. You will find that the current debate has been fought many times before and Capitalism was the clear winner.

Finally, I suggest reading two important books. George Orwell's "Animal Farm" and Milton Friedman's "Free to Choose." Both will explain how freedom and democracy will win over socialism in all its many forms.

Postscript... Sept. 2018

After reading this piece at my Writers Group, I received some insightful comments. I was told I did not provide enough of my own experience to argue my convictions. Also, I did not provide a balance for the other opinion of socialism principles. I was lecturing the audience instead of presenting both sides so that the reader can draw their own conclusions. Therefore, I have revised this article and added aditional information.

What About Social Security?

Some in our country point to Social Security as a good example of socialism. It provides for a secure pension for everyone over 65. But, here is a difference. Social Security is a form of insurance. It is funded by people who worked all their lives and paid FICA in their paychecks. It is universal but it is not truly a socialist program. A truly socialist program would provide benefits to all regardless whether they pay into it. Also, the payment amount would be the same for everyone. Currently, Social Security benefits is based on a complex formula depending how much the person paid into it.

Is The Public Library Another Form of Socialism?

Some belief our public library system is a form of socialism. After all, it is free and everyone benefits and the local government provides the common resources to fund it and staff it. Not really. The Public Library was proposed by one of our founding fathers. Benjamin Franklin came up with the idea. In those days, books were very expensive. Instead of eveyone owning a copy of a book, it was economical for a central location to house the books and loan it out for citizens to use. It can be shared since most people don’t need a copy on hand. After they read it, it can be used by others. It was a matter of efficiency.

What About Higher Education?

Another point raised is public funded higher education. Isn’t that a form of socialism as well? Yes and no. I attended CCNY back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I have some personal experience here. At that time, it was one of the few free public supported higher education institution. There were about 10 schools under the CUNY umbrella. If one meets the required scholastic standards, you are accepted to attend one of these colleges. The tuition is totally free and a student only needed to pay a small registration fee and costs of all books and material. It was a great opportunity for poeple like me where our family resources was insuffient to pay for a private or State College. This was a great program and as a result, many graduates went on to become successful citizens with carreers in all disciplines and some even won the Nobel prizes. Because there was an academic standard for entry, it is not socialism. It was based on individual merit.

Something happened to change all that in 1971. Some administrator in New York City decided to open this enrollment to all who wishes to attend college. They believe it to be a matter of fairness. Why only restrict attendance to some when everyone should have the opportunity to go to college and reach their full potential. Who can argue against that? I was a sophomore enrolled in the Engineering program. I was also a member of the Varsity Fencing team. Because of the “open enrollment” policy, CUNY schools were put on probation by the NCAA organization. Their argument was that CUNY schools would have their standards lowered by allowing anyone to enroll and attend whether they meet the entry standard or not. Indeed, over the next several years, the school needed to provide remedial classes in math and English for some of the entrants. As a direct result of this policy, I and my teammates were denied the opportunity to compete in the NCAA tournaments. That was a personal disappointment. Moreover the open enrollment policy was proven to be not ideal for the CUNY schools. Standards dropped, some professors left, cost escalated and in a few short years, the free tuition was no more. This was one of those cases where good intentions lead to some unintended consequences. That was a socialist experiment went bust.

The current system, as of 2018, has reverted back to what it was back in the 1960s. Admission standards are put back. The only exception is that it is not free anymore. The current tuition is lower than the State Colleges. Meanwhile, the quality of the education suffered. The Athletic programs were cut drastically. Physical Education classes were elliminated. The Men’s Varsity Fencing team was dropped in the 1980s as a result of Title IX regulations. The coaching staff were reduced to part time positions without benefits in order to save money.

The moral of the story. Free public higher education for the masses is not sustainable.

What About Obamacare or the ACA?

Healthcare is an important part of all our lives. It is 16% of our economy. Is access to healthcare a basic human right? That is the big question. Prior to passing of the ACA, we had a more or less free market healthcare system. It was heavily regulated by our government including the drug industry, and insurance industry and the medical field. It was thought of as an insurance, just like auto liability insurance and home insurance. You pay a premium to get coverage. You are part of a pool of people either by your employer or part of a union etc. When you get sick and needed hospitalization or treatment or medication, your expenses were covered by the insurance carrier after a minimal deductible. This is an example of a free market solution because the people were given a choice of what insurance they wish to buy. The insurance companies compete for your business and keep the premiums in check.

It was not a perfect system. Some people with pre-existing conditions could not buy Health insurance or they were too expensive. The system we had was complex. It involved not only insurance but our legal system. A big part of medical cost was tied to malpractice and lawsuits that awarded patients that were mis treated or mis diagnosed. Another part of the cost is the expensive drugs and medical equipment like MRI machines which cost millions of dollars. These costs contributed to rising premiums.

The ACA was passed in 2010 by a Democratic majority in Congress. It was an interim solution to the health insurance system. The bill was over 2000 pages which no one read. It was written mostly by lobbyists and technical bureaucrats. It was challenged in the Supreme court as un-Constitutional. It was ruled Constitutional only after the Chief Justice interpreted the wording of the law - a penalty as a tax. This was unprecedented. The court was suppose to rule on the legality of the law and not the intent of the law.

Later, another challenge was the subsidies to the State exchanges. The law clearly stated that States that did not opt in was to loose federal funding. However, the Supreme Court stepped in again to rule in the favor of ACA and basically change the law as written. Again, this is not the job of the Supreme court. They are to rule on the legality of the law and not re-write laws.

The object of ACA was designed to move our country closer to a single payer system and Universal Healthcare down the road. When that happens, we would have a socialist system or socialized medicine. Everyone will be covered from cradle to grave. The cost will be born by all tax payers. This system could work but would require massive overhaul to our current legal and medical industry. Our laws would have to change with regard to malpractice awards. The pay structure of the medical profession would also be affected. Expensive drugs and medical devices and their future development would also be affected. It is unclear to me that we could maintain our current level of healthcare and spread across to all people regardless of ability to pay.


It was the opinion of some that corruption play a large role in how a system succeeds or fails. In their minds, Capitalism and Socialism are equally valid as an economic system and both are succeptible to corruption. That is the reason why some governments fail. That is only partly true. Crony Capitalism is a form of corruption. Socialist dictators like Hugo Chavez corrupts the system they implement in their country with private Swiss accounts while short changing the people.

Here is the difference. In a Capitalist system, there is accountability. When a business or a CEO commits fraud or is incompetent, they are held accountable by their shareholders and may be removed or fired. In a socialist system, there is little accountability. There is no check and balances.

Unfortunately, our federal bureaucracy is acting more and more like a socialist organization. They proposes social programs that are unfunded. When things go wrong, no one is held accountable. They spend and over spend our treasury like there is no tomorrow because it is not coming out of their pockets.

All systems are prone to corruptions, however, not all systems are equal. Some are better than others.


So, what was thought to be a socialism construct is not really. It brings us back to the original topic of defining Socialism. Why are so many people uninformed? Does our current higher education system doing its part in educating our youth? Do they even teach our Constitution? and the free enterprise system? Do they teach the exceptionalism of our founding? And what makes us special?

Sadly, it appears they don’t teach any more.

Milton Freidman on Greed

Some Related Info

A Simple Poll

A great book explaining Capitalism and Why it Works.

© 2016 Jack Lee


Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on September 07, 2018:

Nalini, thanks for checking in. You are correct about kibbutz, it is a commune system. However, these are small voluntary enclaves. People voluntarily join them for economic and political survival. Israel went through a tough period in their quest for a new nation among hostile neighbors. They also faught a few wars to maintain their sovereignty and even expanded their territory. The fact that kibbutz is no longer prevalent in that country demonstrate to me that it is not the norm but an exception.

Nalini Juthani from Scarsdale, New York on September 06, 2018:

When I was in Israel, I learned about Kibbutz which to my understanding was a socialist way of life. I was given the understanding that it was in the 60s and 70s when increasing number of Jewish people had immigrated to Israel. They had limited resources and sharing those resources helped everyone. That system is not prevalent any more as people prospered and I believe preferred Capitalism.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on May 19, 2016:

Credence2, I agree with your last posting. I only saw it after I posted my first response. We are making some progress here.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on May 19, 2016:

Credence2, welcome back. I hope you had a chance to read my solutions to high youth unemployment.

New topic, race relations. I do believe race relations have gotten worse under Obama. It is not only my assessment but others as well. You may be right that race has always been a problem in our history. However, that is not an explanation of why it has gone south under Obama. I have a few theories but I much rather try to look for solutions.

I wrote a new hub recently and would like you to comment - https://soapboxie.com/social-issues/Some-Conservat...

I also do believe that President Obama missed a huge opportunity in the last 7 years to help improve race relations. He is the first black president but his record is not good. He has not helped the black youths and has not help in the area of inner city violence. In fact, the criticism on Police across the nation actually had a chilling effect and now the people in those area are worse off having to deal with increased crime rates.

The number one policy that will help our race relations in this country IMHO is to get rid of affirmative action laws. I will explain in detail in a hub for the future.

Credence2 from Florida (Space Coast) on May 19, 2016:

What I failed to mention is what will make it better, equal application of the law applied to all without regard to race or color is a start. I am critical of the Black community as it makes much of its own problems in this regard with much of the 'solution' having to come from within. But the Anglo power structure, contrary to what conservatives say, is not innocent.

See "Message to and From Black America I and II article that I wrote, there I wanted touch on how we got to where we are and how the majority society and culture have use racism to acquire an unfair advantage and yet how the Black community fails to take advantage of the options that it does has at its disposal.

Credence2 from Florida (Space Coast) on May 19, 2016:

Race Relations:

Sorry, that I have been waylaid for a while, but I did not forget about you.

How do we improve race relations?

Conservatives blame Obama for deteriorating race relations. I say that race relations in the United States have always been bad, like a herpes infection. It stays dormant at times, and one is not deceived because the painful outbreaks are not immediately evident.

So what constitutes deteriorating race relations? We have had problems with police/community relations. What else is new? There have been questionable use of force by the police and with the technology of ubiquitous cameras, the abuses are not as easily swept under the rug as the case in the past. Abuses need to brought to the forefront, do they not? Just because a black man is at the helm does not mean that a fundamental feature of American life, racism, is going to go away. If you want to talk about old racial resentments and open wounds, go see Donald Trump.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on May 08, 2016:

Credence2, I started to respond to your post but decided to create a separate hub because it just got too long.

Here is the link -


Feel free to respond and comment and submit your ideas and proposals.

I am open to discussion.

Scott Belford from Keystone Heights, FL on May 07, 2016:

You can find a link to the book at one of my hubs https://hubpages.com/politics/American-Politics-Th...

Scott Belford from Keystone Heights, FL on May 07, 2016:

The author of Fight to Vote is Michael Waldman.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on May 07, 2016:

Credence2, thanks, I am glad to be back. It was a great trip but exhausting. I am working on a Conservative solution to respond to your post. Will post shortly.

Credence2 from Florida (Space Coast) on May 07, 2016:

Hello, Jack, welcome back here is a response to the question about youth unemployment.

Before I could offer a solution to the plight of unprecedentedly high rates of youth unemployment, I had to dig around and find expert discussion as to how we got here.

Problem: My take is that there are many adults who have been displaced from what were middle class jobs in manufacturing, clerical and such that have disappeared due to technological advance or sent overseas to less expensive labor markets. As a result, jobs that once were held by teens are simply not available. The minimum wage which was once defined as a 'learning wage' is the wage that is earned by a large share of adults in the current labor market. I am afraid that this a structural and permanent trend. Our society needs to invest in trade schools, making it easier to move adults into to disciplines acquiring the skills that are needed by employers today.

2. Problem: Looking at societies that have been more successful than the United States at keeping its youth unemployment down, certain information is obtained. I speak of Germany, Austria and Scandinavia. These societies have workforce development systems that support apprenticeships, vocational programs and other worker training programs that bolster the transition between school and work. Providing young people with more structured pathways into work could be the key to maintaining relatively low youth unemployment levels even during periods of economic downtown. We simply cannot rely just on the market place, but a partnership between government and the private sector would be valuable. Both parties can benefit.

3. Problem: In the face of this rising problem, Congress goes the wrong direction by defunding youth employment programs, while spending billions on aircraft that does not work. Congress has cut 1 billion over the past decade from youth employment programs. To address the problem we need a plan, going backwards is not a plan. AmeriCorps positions have been cut. Maybe, if those in the legislative branch took the problem seriously, it would be a start. Short term and short sighted reasoning is going to leave us with problems in the long term. These young people are to be the foundation of the economy and tax base in a aging society of people using Social Security and public entitlements.

I will address your other questions soon.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on April 13, 2016:

My esoteric, where can I find your book "the Fight to Vote"? There is a title on Amazon books but I don't think it is the same.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on April 13, 2016:

Thanks for your insight and your well wish. I am looking forward to my vacation. It's good to take some time off from the day to day routine. I will miss my interactions on HP.

Scott Belford from Keystone Heights, FL on April 13, 2016:

I lived through that whole era as well and worked for Reagan, via DoD where I as a cost and economic analyst), from 1982 on. I voted for him the first time for one of the reasons you mentioned, his ability to pull the country from the malaise it was in as a result of 1) the Vietnam War, 2) Watergate, 3) oppressive inflation brought on by the Middle East wars and the resulting oil crises, and 4) yes, Carter's failed attempt to rescue the hostages in Iran (who were there because of decades long series of bad foreign policy decisions by several administrations.

Cater's four short years, however, were just a blip and in fact the economy improved under him for a bit until he was hit by another oil induced recession at the end of his term. More oil woes ended up leading to the stagflation and the second worst recession, behind the one in 2008, the US has faced since 1937; I do not lay that at Reagan's feet, however for neither he nor Carter had control over the forces that drove their respective recessions.

I probably erred in voting for him the second time as I was too naive to understand the long-term damage he was setting in place, mostly unintentionally I think. You may think the economy was great then, but it wasn't, except for a few years between 1983 and 1987. People forget that the first massive debt crisis didn't occur under Bush-Obama. No, it happened under Reagan-Bush, and in real terms, it was as bad if not worse than what we currently face. It was one reason why Reagan left Bush I with a recession he couldn't avoid; that one was a Reagan recession.

Also, during the time of Reagan, the full impact of the societal disruption he started with, among other things, the disastrous tax cut for the wealthy and tax increase for the poor; it was no accident income inequality jumped between 10 and 20% between when Reagan took office and Clinton did; that was directly tied to the tax cut (Piketty-Capital in the 21st Century).

It was under Reagan when wages for each quintile stopped growing at the same rate and that the lower 40% started stagnating and the upper 40% started accelerating. It is also when the middle class started shrinking. I remember when, in 1986, Reagan and Congress began downsizing the military. I remember when, in the early 1990s, I was part of the group of analysts tasked with recommending how to implement the military budget cuts from the late 1980s and early 1990s; not to mention the draconian cuts in the DoD's civil service under Clinton.

On the flip side, I was also part of the analytical group that put together the numbers to entice Congress and President Clinton to finally Increase the military spares parts budget in 1999 and 2000. What I am saying is I lived and worked very closely with what was going on economically (but blind to the social implications) from 1982 - 2008 when I retired.

It was only after I retired did I start to understand the social dynamics of all that has happened from our founding forward. I am still learning it having just finished the book "The Fight to Vote"; a history of expanding democracy in the United States (it's not pretty at all).

On the bright side, have a great vacation and come back refreshed.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on April 13, 2016:

my esoteric, Your the statistician and I'm going to challenge your analysis. Except, I lived through both the Reagan years and the Obama years and all the other years in between. I can say from my own experience, that the economy was better under Reagan, people were optimistic about our future, especially after the Carter years, our country were both respected and feared by our adversaries. There were jobs for teenagers, not great jobs but starting position jobs like when I grew up. The banks were paying better interest rates 4 0r 5% for savers compared to less than 1% today. Yes we had inflation too then but unlike the current state when the CPI is not reflected in actual prices. I just bought a dozen eggs for $3.99 when a year ago it was 1.99. Everybody can play with statistics to show one thing or another but I can see what is happening and it is not great. You can claim Obama is great but history will prove my point. And apparently most Americans agree with me in poll after poll. Reagan ranks high among recent Presidents and Obama so far is mediocre at best.

Scott Belford from Keystone Heights, FL on April 13, 2016:

Jack, here is how I interpret those two-year old charts.

Chart 1: Period covered - 1st 45 months. If you extend it to 85 months you find that Obama is at 5% and Reagan was at 5.7%; ... Obama Wins

Also, top unemployment rate - Obama 10%; Reagan 10.8%; ... Obama Wins

Also, length of time UE above 10% - Obama 1 month; Reagan 10 months; ... Obama Wins

Overall totals: Obama 3 and Reagan 0

CHART 2: Steady increase in LPR from 59% in 1966 to 66.8% at the end of Reagan's term, flat during Bush I, and some increase to 67.3% at the end of the Clinton years. Finally, a steady decline for the first half of the Bush II administration, leveling out, then a steep decline which gained momentum through the Great Recession of 2008, bottoming out at 62.4 % in late 2015, where it started to rise, ending at 63% this March.

Question - why did LPR stop when Reagan left office? Why did LPR drop so much through the Bush II administration and why is it increasing in the last year of the Obama administration? Since it is very hard to stop an avalanche, it is hard to ascribe the continued decline of LPR after the recession to PBO. What you can lay at his feet is finally stopping it and reversing course.

Because Reagan had nothing to do with the increase in LPR other than not stopping it during his administration and because Obama had nothing to do with the crash in LPR which began 8 years before he took office and continued through the recession other than stopping it, I call this a draw or 1 for Obama (depending on how you read stopping the decline in his last year vs stopping the increase in Reagan's last year.

Score: Obama 3 and Reagan 0 (I rate Chart 2 as a draw or unscorable)

CHART 3 - While jobs grew by 15.9 million from Feb 1981 to Dec 1988, it is only 13.8 million through Mar 1988, the same point in PBO's presidency where he has created ... 13.8 million. That is a tie, 1/2 point each. Also, when you consider PBO's "full term" to-date, there are 2.1 million MORE jobs, not 1.7 million loss Chart 3 claims.

Score: Obama 3 1/2 and Reagan 1/2

CHART 4 - I love this one. First off, the author used the wrong data set. He used "Current $" (not adjusted for inflation) rather than "Constant $" (which has been adjusted). Since he is comparing dollars over time, his chart can, and does, lead to false conclusions.

However, when you use constant $, his conclusion changes dramatically. To tell the truth, even in constant $, you can't tell much from the chart other than average income in each quintile increases and that 1) it appears the higher quintiles are growing faster than the lower ones, indicating growing income inequality, and 2) changes in income inequality stopped increasing (save the top 5%) from 2007 on, as normally happens in a recession.

Any real analysis must be done with the actual numbers, not a chart. And the numbers tell a different story than the one you want to hear or the author wants to portray. (Keep in mind, I use to do this for a living)

First know that from any given base year, say 1965, if there is no (zero) growth in income inequality, then the ratios of each quintile to the lowest quintile will remain the same over time. If that is not true, then income inequality (II) is changing in some manner. So let's see what we really have.

The growth in II between 1947-1964 average with the 1965-1982 average (18 year) is: 1st Q = 0%; 2nd Q = -1.9%; 3rd Q = 1.1%; 4th Q = 1.5%; Top 5% = 1.8%

[b]The growth in II between 1965-1982 average with the 1983-1993 average (10 years; Reagan Years) is: 1st Q = 0%; 2nd Q = 4.7%; 3rd Q = 10.6%; 4th Q = 16.3%; Top 5% = 21.8%[/b] A Huge Increase!

The growth in II between 1983-1993 average with the 1994-2007 average (14 year) is: 1st Q = 0%; 2nd Q = 0.2; 3rd Q = 3.3%; 4th Q = 6.6%; Top 5% = 12.3%

AND Finally, the growth in II between 1994-2007 average with the 2008-2014 average (6 year) is: 1st Q = 0%; 2nd Q = 2.9; 3rd Q = 5.1%; 4th Q = 8.6%; Top 5% = 11.0%

Why haven't things gotten back down to the 1960s level? Because the changes in the Reagan years that led to the stupendous growth in II are still with us for the most part. Clearly, PBO wins this one, not Reagan.

Score: Obama 4 1/2 and Reagan 1/2

CHART 5 - I will give this one to Reagan for his 61% clearly beats Obama's current 51% (but climbing)


OBAMA Was more successful than Reagan by the measures used in your source.

Where do you challenge me in my analysis?

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on April 13, 2016:

Credence, that's great. I'll check back in a few weeks to see how best to proceed. I promise to be fair and open minded and debate with civility and respect. I really do want to seek solutions and I don't really care where or who it comes from. Also, I don't mind paying for it from my taxes if the solutions work. Anything is better than what the status quo where we waste $$$ and get no results.

Credence2 from Florida (Space Coast) on April 13, 2016:

Thanks for the visit, I am touched that you would consider me in such an exchange and I will certainly see what I can do

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on April 13, 2016:

Credence, I have a proposal for you. I read your profile and I think we are both in our retirement stage of life. Obviously, we have very different political believes. Let us discuss some solutions to some of our top problems. If we can reach some agreement, perhaps that will show our politicians that compromise and working together can lead to some positive results. Ones that will help our country and our citizens move forward and lead to a better more prosperous lives.

Here is what I propose. Take a few weeks to think about what are your top 3 or 5 issues. I plan to do the same. I will be on vacation next few weeks and won't be checking in HP so much. Come together after the 2 weeks and we can pick one issue at a time and formulate some proposed solutions. The sky is the limit. Let's not be constrained by current thinking but "think out of the box" proposals. We can debate the merits of each proposal and perhaps reach some agreement. Even if we don't, at least we can see where deep thoughts can lead. What do you say?

Just to throw out some problems as examples -

1. Public Education in inner cities

2. Youth unemployment

3. Race relations

4. Drug dependency and abuse

5. Crime rate in inner cities

This is not new by the way. I have done a similar challenge with Doc Snow on the climate change debate. You can read our hubs here -


The format of our debate is open top discussion. We can use hubs or we can use forums, which ever you prefer.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on April 12, 2016:

Obama's legacy is that he is the first black president and no one can take that away from him. He has failed to help the blacks such that even some black leaders have weighed in against him. Sure, they blame the Republican obstructions also. He could have done more to help race relations but instead used his position to create division.

I was a supporter of Dr. Ben Carson before he dropped out. I do believe he would have made a much better president mainly because of his Conservative beliefs. You can't point to one thing that marks Cruz as reactionary only the propaganda you are feed by the media. I support Cruz mainly because he is the only Constitutionalist among the 5 candidates left. Please read the Constitution and see if you disagree.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on April 12, 2016:

Credence, I guess that's the difference between you and me. You say the question of vouchers and school choice is a difficult one. How so? It has been shown in some cities where charter schools have succeeded. Offering choice is better than no choice especially when the only school available are the failed public schools. I have no dog in this fight. I am retired and I live in the suburbs. My kids are well educated and doing fine in our society. I care about the poor kids in the inner cities. Why do we let the teacher's union and the democratic party dictates the future of these kids? They deserve better. It is your party and officials that are holding these kids hostage. Why don't you ask your representatives their opinion on charter schools and vouchers? I can predict their answer.

Credence2 from Florida (Space Coast) on April 12, 2016:

I am going to lean toward non-partisan independent sources of information like Wikopedia for example. The article you mention just speaks of the perception of Reagan vs Obama, it does not peg Obama as the worst president ever. The economic realities have changed a great deal since Ronald Reagan's 1980s.

Credence2 from Florida (Space Coast) on April 12, 2016:

After reading an interesting Atlantic Monthly article, this issue of voucher and school choice is difficult to resolve.

My take is this, a fundamental principle of the success of American Democracy is the fact that equal educational opportunity is the goal for the most children, regardless of how little money they have. Does the vouchers cover all the costs of going to private school? I tend to want to pressure public schools to improve. While I am open to the idea of vouchers and charters, I don't want to see a system where only the wealthy get the better schools subsidized by the taxpayer. This in reality cannot not be avoided, but effort all the same toward that end is desirable.

Who is this guy in the article? Why should I believe his perspective is the correct one? One man's view over the view of scores of Presidential Historians and world renown institutions, not likely?

Ted Cruz is an intractable rightwinger to the extreme, he has quite a mountain to cross if he thinks that he can win the general electorate with his reactionary views to virtually everything. The 'low information' voters will see that he never reaches Pennsylvania Ave.

Sanders is more credible than Ted Cruz, if he thinks America is going to go backwards to his brand of conservatism. He says that only a true conservative can win elections, I say, we will see. Sanders and Clinton attract a lot of 'low information' voters, can all these voters be wrong?

Add Your Comment...

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on April 12, 2016:

Comparing Presidents -


Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on April 12, 2016:

Here is a list of President Obama's failures - (his record)


Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on April 12, 2016:

For the record, I am a Cruz supporter and there are low information voters on both parties. I think mostly people who support Sanders on the democratic side and some Trump supporters on the Republican side. Low information in the sense that they are not fully engaged in the issues but caught up in the emotions of the moment. This hub was written to inform some of the low information millennials who think socialism is better than capitalism. On the GOP side, people who think Trump will solve all our problems. A President has limits on his powers. He can only do what is allowed under the Constitution. He can talk all he wants but he won't be able to deliver what he promises. Those who support him will be disappointed.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on April 12, 2016:

credence, Good that's a good start. Let's talk about fixing the public education problem in the inner cities. Can you tell me what is the objection to vochers or charter schools as alternative to the current failed system? Even some liberal groups are beginning to see the light on this. Check out 74 million, a site started by Campbell Brown. What say you?

Credence2 from Florida (Space Coast) on April 12, 2016:

I am with you there Jack, I make the pledge, as it is well known that only fools fight in a burning house.

What goes for 'common sense' is not always so common and makes sense based upon your point of view. As you and I have discovered there is not universal truth, it certaintly is not in conservatism in my view and not in liberalism in yours. Conservatives always look for absolutes, progressive accept the relative nature of things.

We all want the same things, but we have differing ways as to how we get there, that is why there is debate and controversy and only the will of those 'low information' voters will decide the appropriate course. Are you willing to accept the will of the voters as the final arbiter of the debate?

Credence2 from Florida (Space Coast) on April 12, 2016:

Conservatives always talk about 'low information' voters. It is another one of their myths, and a rather arrogant one at that. Is this the excuse they make as to why Democrats win elections?

For instance, you say that Obama is among the worst of U.S. presidents.

When I look up the chart as to the ratings of US presidents, Obama, while all the data is not in because his term is incomplete, is far from the bottom of the list.

So, who am I going to believe, scholarly Presidential historians or your opinion?

Right now, the Republicans represent the conservatives on the national stage. I don't see any 'moderate conservatives' around, do you? You say there are different, but politically they are represented through the same voice.

As for what Obama has gotten away with, that again, is your opinion. I thought that GW Bush and Ronald Reagan 'got away with a lot'. Depends upon your point of view, doesn't it?

Liberals and progressives are better educated, diverse and urbane than the conservatives, everybody knows that. Do your google and see statistically the demographics of your typical Trump supporter....

Because of the GOP hardline rightwing stances, I guarantee that they will be winning fewer elections in the coming years rather than more.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on April 12, 2016:

BTW, one of my motto is common sense. It just seems like our whole country lacks common sense. So many of our problems can be solved if we only use some common sense. Ask your self one question, who profits when the people are fighting each other instead of keeping the eye on the people in power? they are manipulating us and we are falling right into their game plan. I rather focus on solutions that work than worry about ideology. As I said in my conservatism hub, I do believe we all want pretty much the same things. We differ on tactics of how to reach those goals. If a proposed solution to a current problem have merit, I don't care where it originates. Can you make the same pledge?

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on April 12, 2016:

credence, believe it or not, I am open to discussion but just listen to yourself. When Republicans win elections, it is due to fraud and deceit? The reason I say Obama is the worst president is not just my opinion. It is the fact. He has done so much damage to his party and to our country that almost everyone agrees whether you believe it or not. I wish you would not let the two party system cloud your judgement. There is a difference between a Republican and a Conservative and I wish you take that into account in your comments. I have been critical of many Republicans especially in the leadership. They have allowed this president to get away with many things that no other president have. When it comes to the budget, he has gotten everything he wanted and more. Do you realize that we have record tax revenue over the last few years and yet our deficits keep rising? why is that? This notion that we can't shut down the government is only a modern idea. Check your history. It has been done by many administrations.

I am very disappointed at the current state of politics. It is one of the reason for the popularity of Trump. In any previous times, he would have dropped out months ago. Yet, in 2016, he is the front runner in the GOP primaries. Our republic is only as strong as the people voting and getting informed. Currently, unfortunately, it is being ruled by emotions and by "low information" voters.

Credence2 from Florida (Space Coast) on April 12, 2016:

Jack, you disappoint me.

In a previous post you ask me specific questions regarding my points of view, and I have tried to address each point.

Now you go on this tirade about liberal gripes? What about conservative gripes and believe me, I have listened to them ad-nauseum. Where did I suggest that conservatives have a problem with Obama due to his color?

Your opinion about Obama being the worst president is just your opinion, not substantiated anywhere else except in the dens of rightwing thought and idealism, which I do not give much credence to anyway.

Take a good look at yourself, man. How much of your world do you see only through the prism of your biases? Obama won not just in 2008, but in 2012 as well. The conservatives as defined by the GOP are already anachronisms in the face of the political realities of today. That is why neither Trump or Cruz will have a chance this fall.

I can't speak as to how many cabinet meetings the President have had or really whether it is a relevant yardstick on the effectiveness of his leadership.

I am watching to see how you respond to Esoteric's challenges to your arguments.

What is your 'yardstick' as to what is 'above average'? I worked for federal agencies, they are hard working men and women always struggling to do more with less. You operate from a biased platform that is anything but objective.

As I said before, there is a fundamental difference between the viewpoint of a progressive and that of a conservative, but there are and will be more of us than there are of you. The GOP knows that it can only win through dirty tricks of voter suppression and gerrymandering, as their natural constituencies and base continues to shrink.

I am open to the other side, conservatism, that which is preached by the GOP is well understood by me. You, appear to me to be biased against Democrats and liberals. Lets let the facts speak for us, answer Esoteric challenges and we will see where the truth lies.

Also, you might try check out his 'conservative/authoritarian personality type test on one of his hubs.

I am still and always open to honest discourse, just remember ,where you see red, I see blue.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on April 12, 2016:

My esoteric, I am surprised by your answer since you claim to be a data guy. You must know the problems we have in this country right now. We have over 19 trillion in debt under Obama. The reason Tea party is so un compromising is because they are looking out for the country. They truly believe our deficits will destroy our country as we know it. If one is a true believer, it would be irresponsible not to act. The same goes with food stamps. You may not want to believe it but fraud is rampant. I use the story just as an example. Yes, there may be thousands of people who does need it but it does not negate the problem of fraud and abuse on a huge scale. On Obama's golfing, you can look it up. How many rounds of golf has he played being president as compared to past presidents. My statement is correct. He has not spent nearly as much time working on legislation as golf. In 2008, Obama said election has consequences and that was his justification for pushing ACA through congress without a single republican vote. After the mid term election of 2010 and 2014, when he lost the Senate and the House majority, I guess election does not mean too much. He claims the people that didn't vote still supported him.

He did the same thing in immigration. He claim for 6 years that he had no Constitutional power to change the law on illegal immigrants but after the 2014 election, he decided it is Constitutional to use his executive action to change immigration law as practiced. By every measure, his presidency has been a disaster. If anything, being the first black president has helped him. Unfortunately, he was not able to capitalize on that score but chose to further divide our nation.

Scott Belford from Keystone Heights, FL on April 12, 2016:

Jackclee, I think I got your non du guerre wrong last time.

I don't deal with anecdotal evidence, I am a statistician and only trust the results from careful analysis of large sets of data. So, the example of a food stamp recipient who drives a Mercedes doesn't mean a thing to me. Why, because for every Mercedes you come up with, I can come up with 1000 driving 10 year old Fords or driving nothing at all. When talking numbers, the ONLY thing that is valid are percentages which have been properly constructed and are in context with the subject matter.

You do need to know that when you repeat hyperbole like "Obama spends more time on the golf course ...", you lose credibility. Why? Because it is false on the face of it and provably wrong. If you think it is right, produce a verifiable source that calculated the number of hours he spends on the golf course and the number of hours he has spent working on the People's business. If you can, then you can convince me.

Regarding compromise:

- Sen McConnell: "The SINGLE most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term ..." (my emphasis on the word single)

- Why is it, when you Google "Which politicians won't compromise", 100% of the results talk about the GOP not wanting to compromise. (Please find me a couple of reliable articles about Democrats not wanting to compromise ... I can't)

- Why does Fox News talk about the Tea Party no compromise position hurting the GOP while at the same time, saying PBO DID compromise?http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/10/03/republic...

- Why was PBO willing to compromise by accepting Chained CPI, something his party opposes (I support it, btw)

- Please explain this: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2013/0...

And I will close with -

Why is it that 75% of Tea Party conservatives believe "Obama will destroy the country" while only 6% of "GOP non-Tea Partyites" think the same thing? https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2013/1...

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on April 11, 2016:

Credence, I read your post and it is just a litany of liberal gripes but very little substance. We conservatives do not hate Obama because of his skin color. We just don't like his failed policies. We would be just as hard on a Clinton or a Sanders presidency. Obama has been one of the worst president in modern history. Do you know how many cabinet meetings he has held since being in office? Look it up and you will be shocked. He also has never reached across the isle for any compromise legislation. That is why nothing gets done in Washington. All past president have done so with various level of success. Obama is the only one that have not done so. He spends more time on the golf course than in office working on legislation. With regard to government agencies, I challenge you to come up with one agency that has performed above average.

I get the feeling you are so biased against republicans that you just can't be objective. I am not a republican and I criticize them all the time but my criticism is based on facts and not talking points. Look, the country is evenly divided, the last few election cycle has proven so. It can't be that half the country is racist or want the poor to starve or want to destroy our environment... If you really want to learn about conservatism, you need to forget all that you been told and start with a clean page.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on April 11, 2016:

My esoteric, sorry for the delay response. I was under the weather last few days. 1. With regard to the ACA and the 30 hour work limit and the 50 employees, the problem is with small companies who are the bulk of job creation. A company with less than 50 employees will not hire more than 50 employees to avoid the huge financial burden of providing health insurance. The fact that people working at Apppebees were cut hours below 30 hours is the same deal. Many who use to have full time jobs are now taking multiple part time work to make ends meet. Whose idea was to creat these artificial limits. That is why the ACA is a poor bill.

2. On the o% interest rate helping debtors, it is artificially keeping rates low so that people who owe money will pay back less in terms of interests.

Inflation is also another way of helping the debtors but we don't have that right now. 3. With regard to the teacher's union and public education, it is a fact that they object to vouchers and charter schools, both would help improve the education process. We are already paying $10,667 per student per year to educate public schools. One of the highest in the world. We are not getting our money's worth. Lack of funding is not the issue. 4. With regard to food stamps, we currently have record high subsidies for EBT cards. I know personally people who receive them and drive Mercedes. How is that fair?

Credence2 from Florida (Space Coast) on April 11, 2016:

AThanks for waiting for me to get to this as making these things clear to people is important to me.


The New York Times Article indicate a rash increase in hate groups/anti-government/ white supremacists almost from the day Obama takes office. Maybe you ought to ask them how does Obama's election justify their ratcheting up violence and discord around the country? Racism is a structural part of American society, as long as Barack Obama is a Black man and President, race relations would deteriorate. To expect otherwise, would be akin to my holding a ball in mid air, dropping it and expecting it to rise into the sky. That is a given, such is cause and effect. In the face of that, what did you expect the President to do? Blaming Obama for deteriorating race relations is like blaming him for a rainy day, in my opinion.

I beg to differ, the economy has improved over the last 7 years, unemployment is at 5 percent now when in 2010 we were struggling to get in below 10 percent, thanks in whole to GW Bush.

There are structural problems in the economy and as an educated man you know that problems with the economy cannot be pegged exclusively on the President. The outsourcing of labor and technology in mechanization has changed the nature of the American economy. We all know that the partisan bickering and obstruction has reached levels never seen in our society in recent years. The GOP decides to deny Obama his Constitutional obligation to appoint Supreme Court justices? I can't anything more stubborn and obstructive than that, and there was no time in the past where such arrogance was on full display.

Seems like I remember when Obama offered a budget plan was it 2011 or 2012, where he offered draconian cuts to the point that his left flank was in rebellion, the GOP insisted on NO TAX increases even for fees and licenses. It takes two to tango and the GOP is about as guilty to ineffective Government as anyone. If you ask me, Obama biggest mistake is that he has been far to accommodating toward the GOP, who had no intention of working with him on anything. Clinton also ran into a obstructionist GOP, remember Newt Gingrich and his 'threat' to shut down the Government back in 1995?

From what I understand Obama has used his prerogative of the use of Executive Orders considerably less than his predecessor and can be hardly abusive relative to past presidents. Is it just because he is a progressive Democrat that now his use of Executive Orders are excessive?

I don't figure why conservatives seem to think that having a business background has the potential for making you a better President? The last thing we needed would be more tax cuts. Romney would just offer more of the 'solutions' that got us into the mess we found ourselves in in 2008. As for ACA, Romney heralded the same policies while Gov of Mass., but since now that Obama has taken that very successful model nationally, now it is all wrong? I was not particularly impressed with Ross Perot in 1992, Mitt Romney in 2012 nor Donald Trump today.

All Federal agencies serve a purpose, I would rather have them on the job than nothing at all. Yes, I want them to do more because the alternative of doing nothing is unacceptable. I don't trust the private sector to police itself, no more than you would want the fox guarding the chicken house. I want oversight, review and regulation on most every major aspect of private sector operations, and as a liberal that makes me comfortable.

I have been following with interest your interchange with My Esoteric, who knows where all the bones are buried and will leave no stone unturned making his point and my point as well. I could never had said it better.

dd Your Comment...

Scott Belford from Keystone Heights, FL on April 10, 2016:

Your set of examples highlight the difference between a conservative view of the world and a more moderate/liberal view. I know, because of my background, research, and experience that most of what you think is true isn't. However, I will let others who are more knowledgeable than I do the talking.

- The myth that ACA has reduced hours below 30 to get out of providing insurance to their employees - http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/yes-some-compa...

- This touches on the assertion that companies decreased employees to less than 50 to avoid ACA. That can't be true on the face of it because if companies cut back employees without a decrease in demand, then their bottom line goes down; what competent company would ever do that. And for enough companies to do that to the degree it has any effect of the economy simply isn't true and the data shows that - there is no real decrease in hours per workweek to suggest companies are shedding employees. Than there is - http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/09/27/fa...

It was the conservative Fed Chairman, Alan Greenspan, who brought interest rates to zero in the middle of the "Bush administration". This is one of the tools the Fed has to help the economy when it is failing, which it was from 2006 on. So, savers are impacted, but in the United States, that is no big whoop because we refuse to save in the first place; we never have. Inflation helps debtors in the manner you mean, not low or zero interest rates.

So, with your statement about unwed mothers, that means. like most conservatives, you oppose universal liberty. In any case, I couldn't find any right-wing or left-wing blog or otherwise assert or deny that "school teachers union refuse to allow any other [school] improvements". In point of fact, it is racism, lack of funds, an I don't care attitude by some state gov't officials (keep in mind, conservatives control most of the state gov'ts today).

Conservatives may believe in a safety net, in theory, in practice as soon as one person abuses it, they want to take it away for everybody, e.g., food stamps.

And your last statement is a clear divider between Darwinian conservatives and socially-minded progressives. Gov't providing "anything", let alone cradle-to-grave minimum standards of living, is an anathema to conservatives.

To the socially-minded citizens, ensuring people who want to work 1) don't starve, 2) don't go homeless, 3) don't die from lack of healthcare, and 4) do have an equal opportunity to work without hindrance from prejudice is the right thing to do; conservatives don't.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on April 10, 2016:

I respectfully disagree. We have the weakest recovery because the Obama Administration implemented ACA and forced small companies to cut back on hiring below 50 employees, and reduced people hours below 30 hrs./ week to avoid the mandate. The extra regulations by the EPA and other agencies have caused the slow down in the hiring and the economy. The fed reserve have intentionally forced the interest rate at 0% to rob from the savers and help the debtors which included uncle Sam. The reason we have generational welfare recipients is because of the liberal policies of helping unwed mothers by giving them housing and child subsidies which lead to the breakdown of the family, especially in the black community. The added poor public school system that traps the inner city kids in a failed system that the school teachers union refuse to allow any other improvements.

Conservatives believe in a safety net to help society's most needy but that is not the same as providing cradle to grave entitlements.

Scott Belford from Keystone Heights, FL on April 10, 2016:

We have a record number of people on food stamps because a record number of people lost their jobs during the Great Recession of 2008 followed by 1) a GOP who publicly proclaimed they will stop everyone of PBOs initiatives, including those designed to help stop America from falling into a depression, let alone produce a robust recovery; 2) a GOP loaded with conservative Tea Party members who find "compromise a dirty word (they said this to) who, together, are powerful enough to stop legislation in the House and bring down its Speaker; 3) a GOP who has many members that actually believe (yes, they said this as well) that having a depression is a good thing ... helps clean the soul, as it were; and 4) a Congress which can't send a consistent message to business other than we (the Congress) haven't a clue as to what we are doing.

All of that guarantees a weak recovery and many people still without a job and requiring public assistance. It has only been in the last year where the number of people actively looking for work (not including those who gave up) is about on par with the number of jobs that are available. Before that, people couldn't simply get off their lazy butts and find a job because there were NO jobs to be had.

Finally, after 7 long years public assistance is declining and the job participation rate is increasing.

How did we get "generational" welfare recipients? By having a public assistance program in the first place; it goes with the territory that a small number of people, who make great headlines and bumper stickers, abuse the system.

When does public assistance become dependence? Immediately for those small number of people, who make great headlines and bumper stickers, abuse the system. The fact is, survey after survey show the vast majority of people on public assistance don't like it and want to get off as soon as possible.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on April 09, 2016:

I agree with that but seriously, do you really think what we have now is public assistance? We have record people on food stamps, highest number of disability and medicaid expenses through the roof ...

I as a conservative do not oppose helping people in need, like people with real disability and mental illness and the elderly with no family support... However we disagree on the level of assistance that is appropriate. When does assistance become dependence? How did we get generational welfare recipients?

Scott Belford from Keystone Heights, FL on April 09, 2016:

Yes, and that is the essential element of what socialism actually is; ownership of the means of production and distribution; although that doesn't necessarily mean ALL production, just the important ones.

Where socialism fails is its fundamental assumption that most people will gladly work for the common good (your incentive for a person to work hard and improve), it assumes a widespread since of altruism that simply doesn't exist.

None of this has anything to do with what you call welfare and I call public assistance. In fact, socialism doesn't care much for people who won't pull their own weight; that flies in the face of what socialism is all about. Do they provide public assistance, you betcha. Do they provide for a minimum level of education, healthcare, housing and the utilities that go with it, and income? Yes, they do that as well as part of the basic belief of "De chacun selon ses facultés, à chacun selon ses besoins" or "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs."

Public assistance IS NOT socialism, no matter how much the Right tries to twist its meaning. Public assistance is just that, public help for those in need for no fault of their own ... to me, wanting to do that is what makes us better humans. The fact that 2 or 3% of the recipients doesn't negate its benefit to society has a whole. All capitalist societies, as well as the few socialist societies that still exist, have some form of public assistance; it just varies in how and to what degree it is applied.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on April 09, 2016:

My esoteric, your right about Christianity and some tenet of socialism however, it is the systematic government control of production and ownership of industry that I object to. If some group voluntarily enter into a contract and want to share all their assets and divide the work, that is fine by me. But history have taught us, it does not work in the long haul. The first settlers to the new world was experimenting with this and it failed miserably. It was only when they allowed for private ownership of land did the prosperity flourish. It comes back to what is the incentive for a person to work hard and improve.

I wrote this mostly to target millennials. My poll should have been more complete.

Scott Belford from Keystone Heights, FL on April 09, 2016:

One could argue that the Bible was the first proponent of socialism. Consider:

Acts 2, verses 44 and 45:

"All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need."

Acts 4, verse 32:

"All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions were his own, but they shared everything they had."

Acts 4, verses 34 and 35:

"There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from their sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need."

Then you have the Essenes who, some argue is the grassroots of Christianity, who lived in a communal, "socialist" society and is effectively practiced in Israeli Kibbutz'

Marx was first to organize it in a book and called it "scientific socialism".

I can't answer your poll because it doesn't give the option of "I was already sold on capitalism".

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on April 07, 2016:

Take your time.

Credence2 from Florida (Space Coast) on April 07, 2016:

thanks Jack, great question, give me a couple of days to provide a coherent answer, our household has been invaded by the flu....

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on April 05, 2016:

Credence, Obama did not help the race relations but made it worse. Can you deny that? I can site numerous incidences where he weigh in on the wrong side of the case before all the evidence were in...

With regard to the economy, it has not improved in 7 years. All past recessions were followed by robust growth in GDP except this last one. Obama could blame this on Bush for the first few years since we know budgets carry over from year to year but not for all 7 years. The GOP has not been supportive because they disagree with fundamentally Obama's agenda. It has nothing to do with his skin color. They would have obstructed if Clinton was in office and trying to do the same thing. The problem with Obama is he does not know how to negotiate. Being President does not give him the right to get what he wants. He needed to work with Congress and negotiate a compromise as with many other past presidents.

The fact is, he has been a terrible impact on the Democratic party, Under his watch, he has lost the Senate, the House and many State houses... He tried to do thing around the Constitution with executive actions which has made many problems worse since they are being challenged in the courts.

With regard to Romney, I think he would have made a better president at least on the economy. He was a businessman who understood how it works. The problems with our economy is self inflicted by over regulation and ACA act.

I want to ask you, what government agency have done so well that you would want it to do more? the IRS, the EPA, the VA, the NSA, the DOJ, the DOE, the SEC... the list goes on.

Credence2 from Florida (Space Coast) on April 03, 2016:

Thanks, Jack

My honest assessment of Obama is that he could have done better without the obstruction, courtesy of the GOP. Look at right now, how dare they hold up Obama's constitutional obligation to replace the late Antonin Scalia because of some silly ideological explanations, that don't hold water under close analysis.

Could he have done more and better, yes, of course. But looking at the GOP ideological foundation and operating principle and the state of the nation in 2009, Obama was far better than either a McCain, Bush or Romney.

I can't hold Obama responsible for race relation problems that plagued this country since the founding of Republic. He was and is not the 'Black persons president'. Race relations have always been tenuous in America, what else is new?

How do you think he could have improved race relations in the country? Do you really think that a McCain or Romney would have done better?

How many conservative policies have 'turned out'? By every standard, the state of the economy had deteriorated from 2001-2009, Obama spent a lot of time cleaning of the mess of the 'conservative policies' from his immediate predecessor. REagan's TAX cuts for the wealthy, began the process of increasing deficit spending when Reagan knew that the political winds would never allow for the draconian cuts in spending needed to balance the budget.

In my world, everything is relative. Progressives are on the right course, while conservatives clearly take the road of the exact opposite to reforms that are needed.

What standards for unemployment? We are using the same yardstick today that was used during the Bush administration. We were on a downward spiral then, why is Obama's efforts to be measured by a different standard? There have been structural changes in the economy at a fundamental level that make it difficult today and beyond the ability of the President to solve alone, do you think that Bush, Romney or McCain would have done better? I doubt it..

The GOP, masters at gerrymandering and voter suppression, maintains its power, in spite of the will of the people and certainly not because of it. That is why I hoping that a Bernie Sanders movement will have coat tails that will change the composition of Congress, at least, making it more Democrat, rather than GOP.

Thanks for reading the articles and be free to comment with specific questions on any of the material therein.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on April 03, 2016:

Credence, I have read a few of your political hubs and got a feel for where you're coming from. I do have a few questions for you regarding the first black President Obama? How do you think he performed in the past 7 years? I didn't vote him both times but in spite of that, I thought he missed a golden opportunity to help race relations in our country.

As a conservative, I am against many of the progressive initiatives that didn't pan out. From the ACA to the stimulus bill, to the shutting down of Gitmo, to leading from behind, to raising the minimum wage and deficit spending... All theses progressive actions have failed to deliver their promise of a better and fairer society. Instead, race relations are at a low, law enforcement are under siege, our borders are wide open and the economy is on life support. We have had 0% interest rate by the Feds for nearly 8 years. Unemployment are high by traditional standards, food stamps and disability payments are at record high, and wages have stagnated. Obama could claim some of the problems he inherited from the Bush years but this is going on 8 years. When will he take responsibility for his actions or inactions. If I was a democrat, I would be sorely disappointed at the Obama Administration for loosing both the house and Senate and many state governors and state legislatures. What do you say?

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on April 03, 2016:

Thanks, same here.

Credence2 from Florida (Space Coast) on April 02, 2016:

You are a pretty cool guy, Jack I would enjoy such a civil debate with you anytime. Thanks. Great to make your acquaintance.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on April 02, 2016:

Credence, yes we definitely have a different world view. I will take some time and read some of your hubs. I don't mind an honest debate about political philosophy and economic systems. If you think Clinton and Obama have done great for our country, we have a lot to cover.

Credence2 from Florida (Space Coast) on April 01, 2016:

Cronies supported by both parties, but the conservaties have been more resistant to make the necessary changes.

And what makes you think the conservatives have the solution to corruption in government?

"limited government' is a relative term. How limited is limited?

Just like Obama brought us out of the hole from GW Bush's disasterous handling of the economy. I am pleased with the accomplishment of Clinton and Obama over Ronald Reagan, but again I am progressive and I have a different world view, it is just that simple. But in America, the voter rules, let just see which ideology the masses embrace this coming November?

Jack, are you with your advocacy of conservatives and their politicians being 'political' yourself?

In the last 50 years there has been nothing positive about conservatism from my point of view. Looking at my background and hubs, my distrust is quite obvious and comes from living here all of my life, not just immigrating recently. They promote the wealthy over the rest, meddle in people private affairs. So who is promoting racism and dissent among the masses in todays GOP? A hint, begins with a T and ends with a P

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on April 01, 2016:

You've been lied to and you don't even realize it. The crony capitalists were supported by both parties, republican and democrats. They are the ones donating to politicians for re-election year after year and you and I are taxed to pay for the bailouts. Your government failed you and you want more of the same. I am not against all government. The Constitution is very specific in stating what is the role of government. Limited government works best. I don't worship Reagan but I give credit where credit is due. Reagan's policies brought America back from the malaise of the Carter years. I wish people would put aside their politics for just a moment and judge a president by what he accomplished for all Americans. Your naive attitude about conservatives is exactly what the politicians want. They want to create division among the masses so that they can do what they want.

Credence2 from Florida (Space Coast) on April 01, 2016:

So, Jack what do you think it will take to end crony capitalism and level the playing field? The conservatives are ideologically opposed to any real solution to the problem. Giving more tax breaks and allowing the affluent more unjustified influence in how Government operates? The conservatives have stubbornly protected big finance and its influence from being held accountable for unethical and illegal practices.

What is it that you conservatives have against Government? Government is a tool of a civilized society. The Government represents me when the rich cronies are not using their loathsome influence to bribe those that represent me away from my interests. THAT is the problem with Government today.

What was wrong with the stimulus, providing funding through the federal government or from the states to repair roads and infrastructure as the basis of providing middle class jobs? We are better off doing that then giving the wealthy tax breaks with the hope that they will invest in the economy rather than put the money in their pockets as they usually do.

What is this worship of Reagan? You must think him some sort of cannonized saint? This negative attitude about Government is inappropriate and unwarranted. I smell the coffee, alright, and it is burning and boiling over with rightwing and conservatives inaccuracies.

There are plenty with the view that Reagan was the start of all of the economic problems that currently beset us.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on April 01, 2016:

Tsad, yes I have seen that before. Friedman is one of my hero.

The Logician from now on on April 01, 2016:

Jack, I think you'll appreciate this, I never saw Donahue so put in his place.


Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on April 01, 2016:

credence, where have socialism succeeded in the world? I agree with fixing crony capitalism by leveling the playing field. I disagree with the way Sanders want to tax the rich... The fix to wall street is to reign in the Federal Reserve and use the SEC to go after inside trading and other investment frauds...

What stats don't you support?

Our government has failed in almost every institutions from the IRS to the VA to the NSA to EPA and ICE... just to name a few.

What part of production do you want to give them to improve the middle class? wake up and smell the coffee. Reagan had it right. The worst words are "we are from the government and we are here to help you..."

Credence2 from Florida (Space Coast) on April 01, 2016:

I don't necessarily support all your stats here.

Karl Marx' example speaks of Communism which in its pure form 'no private property' is impossible given human nature.

Socialism says that the Major means of production are owned by the Government. There are plenty of successful societies where this is true.

I am not opposed to capitalism, but want its potential for abuse closely regulated and controlled.

Because, looking at the fortunes of the middle class in the last two generations the idea of 'what is good for General Motors is good for America' is a thing of the past.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on February 21, 2016:

Chris57, What you described is not utopian. It cannot happen in the US for many reasons but mainly, we are an open and free republic. As I said in the main hub, human nature is contrary to socialism. The ruling class, who ever they are, will always "be more equal than others."

Will your country admit millions of immigrants? legal and illegal. Will your country product the likes of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs that innovate because of the "profit motive." Will your socialized medicine produce the expensive drugs and machines that diagnose diseases and cure them? If the profit motive is restricted, who in their right minds would take risks to innovate?

That is why, as imperfect as it is, the hidden hand of the market place is the best and most efficient way to determine price and labor.

CHRIS57 from Northern Germany on February 21, 2016:

Michaela and Jack, you address an interesting point about the value and treatment of higher education. May i contribute some info from the "utopian society" i happen to live in:

Labour market is basically divided into 3 segments: Unskilled labour, labour that requires vocational training and labour that requires college or university education. Now: you don´t pay for the education of unskilled labour, because there is none. Also: you don´t pay for university education (except administrative fees). Last but not least the vocational training, education of nurses and welders (as Michaela put it) is not only free, but is awarded by employers at about half of minimum wage level.

The society is quite positively "distorted" by this kind of approach: Very low youth unemployment rate, little unskilled and low pay labour. If you look at statistics, this "utopian society" has a university education level 12% lower than OECD average and 18% lower than the US. Should be performing like a 3rd world economy, but figures show the opposite. .. just saying..

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on February 17, 2016:

Michaela, the point I was making is that not all jobs require a college education. In fact, in Japan, only a small number of population go to college. There are trade schools after high school that train them for specific jobs that society needs. That is quite different than trying to provide free college education to all. Look at it this way, who will voluntarily work as a garbage collector or a dishwasher if they were given free pass to college? In an utopian society, we can all do what we please and all will be taken care of. In our reality, that is far from the truth. The fact is, we need all type of workers. Offering free college will distort that work model.

Michaela from USA on February 16, 2016:

I am a 'snake person' and I still support many tenets of socialism. Does it work as a standalone system? Not very well, but a lot of European countries had adapted the model and are doing well, more than just economically.

I really want to question your argument regarding free college tuition. It seems you assume that ALL colleges ONLY offer degrees in fields like business or scholarly areas and that's not true. A welder probably DID go to school to learn his trade and he probably enjoys/makes good money at it. That vet tech and nurses aide went to school too and provide vital services in their industry. Shouldn't they receive their fair due and acknowledgement that even MOST entry level positions require some degree of schooling?

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on February 15, 2016:

Chris57, you are right, there are no pure Capitalism or Socialism today. At best it is a mix. However, it is the direction of the country that I am fighting to preserve. The millennials are the future and they need to be taught the truth. Apparently, the schools are not teaching civics any more.

Hence, my hub.

Getting back to America and immigration, it is not America's job to take care of immigrants escaping the middle east or crossing our southern borders. A country ceases to be a nation when it does not protect its borders. Europe should learn the same lesson if it want to preserve and survive. IMHO. Thanks for weighing in. I value all opinions and civil discussion.

CHRIS57 from Northern Germany on February 15, 2016:

Jack, i agree - if you can not integrate or assimilate immigrants, refugees, you are in trouble. But what does that have to do with socialism or capitalism? Isn´t it more on how to organize and administrate a society. I beg to object that brute capitalist small state will do the job (or better: allow the integration job to be done by itself).

It is a game of words to call an economy socialist or capitalist. China is as capitalistic as any western economy. Enterprizes may be staterun, but IMHO that is more to be attributed to Confucian philosophy than Karl Marx or the Great Chairman. The only socialist reminescence is that property falls back to the state after 70 years. But isn´t that more a historic lesson from thousands of years of Chinese dynasties that did not allow the clergy to pass on their privileges to their kin?

Coming back to the ability of American economy to absorb millions of immigrants, this is a very delicate matter. I dare say that the more an economy is low performing (in terms of job skills), the easier it is to introduce unskilled labour. High performance economies will have more problems in dealing with this issue. To make the picture clear: It is easy for an immigrant to work in pizza place (service). It is difficult to design and build cars, computers, airplanes (technology, producing). So IMHO American economy does well in absorbing immigrants not because of its capitalist nature but because of its service dominated structure. Again .. just saying..

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on February 15, 2016:

Chris57, the recent refuge crisis in your country and other european nations should give you pause. Can a socialist society survive the on slaught of millions of refuges? In America, we have accepted over 1 million legal immigrants and just as many illegals every year. Our free market economy have no problem with them finding work and thriving. Can a socialist nation claim the same? I have traveled the world as you and there in no doubt in my mind the the US is the best place to live despite the fact that our politicians have been pushing us into socialistic chaos. Our democracy is strong and we get to choose every 4 years. Once a country goes socialist, it is very hard to go back as seen in Greece.

CHRIS57 from Northern Germany on February 15, 2016:

Mmh - it is always easy to throw successful societies into the capitalist corner and treat failing economies to be socialist paria. Matters are not that simple.

My job takes me to a many locations on our planet and it is my impression that academic figures like the GINI coefficient or the HDI reflect quite well the overall well being of a society. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by...

The matter of equal opportunity in the US has a little smell if you consider the high personal cost for good education. Is that really equal opportunity?

So - capitalist - socialist - what matters are the benefits of social(ist) attitudes in politics, as there are: low crime rate, no fences around you precious houses, free higher education..

@tsadjako: lived in the US in the 70ties. Got my academic degrees in Germany. Have family ties in Russia, Australia and Israel. Circle this planet roughly 3 times per year and yes - go to the US some 3 to 4 times per year, mostly Midwest and West Coast.

Living in Northern Germany it takes me few hours driving to go to Denmark, Norway, Sweden. It always puzzles me how much the little advantage in GINI Index from Denmark/Sweden over Germany positively impacts living conditions.The huge gap to US, Russian, Chinese or Brazilian situation - that is already a totally different and sad story.

The Logician from now on on February 14, 2016:

Chris57, west Germany sounds great! What a paradise, no wonder all the muslim refugees are welcomed there by the thousands, or are they? However Germany is not a socialist country, but like all western democracies, it has some programs that are socialist. All western democracies have some socialist tendencies, but they are capitalist societies.

Anyway, how long have you been living there? Ever lived in America?

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on February 14, 2016:

Rj, thanks for your comments. Always welcome a fellow conservative.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on February 14, 2016:

Tsadjatko, that's a great suggestion. I will add a poll and see what people thinks. Thanks.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on February 14, 2016:

Chris57, thanks for the input. I am not aware of united Germany doing so well. I made the point about East Germany because I saw it firsthand. I wrote about this in my memoir. I have no problem sending millennials there for their own education. I have travelled quite a bit over my career and I believe the US is the best place on this planet overall.

CHRIS57 from Northern Germany on February 14, 2016:

Interesting that you mention East Germany to be an example for failure. What about West Germany? What about the united G. or while we are at it what about Scandinavia? All failed experiments?

Well, these countries certainly don´t run out of other peoples/countries money. Free education from Kindergarten to University, low GINI inequality index, you name it, you get in those countries. Must be pure socialist hell.

So - as a fellow commenter suggested: Give generation Y a free ride to those countries. Results may not be as you would expect. Just saying..

Ralph Schwartz from Idaho Falls, Idaho on February 13, 2016:

Great topic Jack - the youth of today believe What Bernie Sanders says can really happen - they fail to see how it's impossible from a cost standpoint. Nice easy to follow explanation.

The Logician from now on on February 13, 2016:

Nice hub page jack. Bit fat chance any millennial will read it! Should add a poll asking if you are a millennial and has this hub page changed your mind about socialism.

Rather than write something no millennial will ever read we should give them a free ticket to a socialist country of their choice. They may use it and learn the lesson you are trying to teach them (added benefit, we'd be rid of them). More likely they'll sell it on eBay or craigslist to some sucker and use the money to pay for a few years of netflix. Wait, isn't that called capitalism? Well those would not be from the 43% of millennials support Socialism over Capitalism, or would they?