People don’t actually hate socialism, which is the foundation of what we call the social safety net. In Canada that is things like Employment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan, Medicare, provincial and federal disability benefits, the Child Care Benefit, GST and climate rebates, Daycare benefits, parental leave, and now the beginnings of dental-care. In the US, it includes Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and federal benefits for those with disabilities and their families. It is also federal funding for schools in various forms, and recently, a program to eliminate the crippling student debt problem that is hobbling their economy because adults have decades worth of loans they can never fully pay off.
Everyone likes it when the government benefits them in some way whether it is a big or small. The problem comes from that minority of people who like benefits for themselves but rage when people they don’t approve of also have access to those benefits. It’s never been about the benefits at all but about the universality of those benefits.
Wealthy people pay a pittance into the social safety net in practical terms. It’s barely noticeable to them at all. What they receive from it is pocket change, but they know how beneficial it is to others. How those benefits empower people. Free them in some ways. They don’t like that and would like to undermine it in any way they can.
An example of that close to my home, is the UCP govt in Alberta right now. The Premier has decided to try and pull people’s retirement savings out of the federal plan, CPP, and create a provincial system. She wants to do this so the govt will have access to people’s retirement savings. They want to use that money for investments in carbon based energy, a dumb idea for reasons that deserve another post on another day. Currently, CPP is fully funded and completely solvent for the next 70 years. It’s safe and important for most Albertans if they have any aspirations of retiring. The Alberta UCP government isn’t terribly interested in people being able to retire or creating a safe way for them to do it. They are wealthy and well-connected people. The people of Albertan are largely people who are not rich, not well-connected, and need a protected retirement program. They will be disadvantaged and that’s what people in the UCP want because it benefits them.
Socialism is the foundation of the safety nets in our society. Most people will benefit from them at some point in their lives. The tiny bit we pay in, comes back to us and then some. Rich people understand this. Everyone else needs to understand this so we quit helping the rich undermine and eliminate them.