Home » OPINION » Columns » BILL CRAWFORD — Capitalism with a strong safety net Is not socialism

BILL CRAWFORD — Capitalism with a strong safety net Is not socialism

BILL CRAWFORD

Evil socialism is about to take over America and Mississippi.

At least that’s the fear-mongering political message these days from President Donald Trump, favored governor candidate Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, and their minions.

One of America’s great capitalists rejects that approach, contending we should focus more on fixing capitalism than fearing socialism.

In his latest annual stockholder report, Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of America’s largest bank, JP Morgan Chase, said:

“There is no question that capitalism has been the most successful economic system the world has ever seen.”

“This is not to say that capitalism does not have flaws, that it isn’t leaving people behind and that it shouldn’t be improved.”

“The American Dream is alive but fraying.”

“Middle class incomes have been stagnant for years. Income inequality has gotten worse. Forty percent of American workers earn less than $15 an hour, and about 5% of full-time American workers earn the minimum wage or less, which is certainly not a living wage.

“In addition, 40% of Americans don’t have $400 to deal with unexpected expenses, such as medical bills or car repairs. More than 28 million Americans don’t have medical insurance at all. And, surprisingly, 25% of those eligible for various types of federal assistance programs don’t get any help.

“No one can claim that the promise of equal opportunity is being offered to all Americans through our education systems, nor are those who have run afoul of our justice system getting the second chance that many of them deserve. And we have been debating immigration reform for 30 years.

“Simply put, the social needs of far too many of our citizens are not being met.”

“Many countries are called social democracies, and they successfully combine market economies with strong social safety nets. This is completely different from traditional socialism.”

“It’s essential to have a strong social safety net.”

Dimon points to 11 issues he sees as our real problems. Socialism is not one of them. He says fixes will be complicated then suggests one for each problem area. 

1.    Implement mandatory preschool for children at three years of age.

2.    Systemically address soaring health care costs.

3.    Reduce the number of state licenses and local regulations required to open and run small businesses.

4.    Fund and implement the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) and streamline permitting processes.

5.    Expand Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) supplements for low- to moderate-income working individuals and couples, particularly with children.

6.    Reduce frivolous litigation designed principally to extract fees for lawyers.

7.    Pass and enact legislation to resolve immigration that makes DACA permanent and gives a path to legal status/citizenship for law-abiding, hard-working, undocumented immigrants.

8.    Reform mortgage markets to increase mortgage availability.

9.    Improve labor force participation through EITC expansion, providing students with work skills, and supporting re-entry programs to formerly incarcerated Americans.

10. Stop irresponsible government lending to students.

11. Implement proper budgeting and spending and hold state and federal government accountable.

Sir John Skelton nearly 100 years ago (see earlier column) said conservatives need to step up and face the social and economic challenges facing their nations. He called this “constructive conservatism. Dimon’s view to fix capitalism is eerily similar – combine capitalism with a strong social safety net.

Republican candidates would do well to focus on fixing capitalism rather than stir hysteria over mock socialism.

 » Crawford is a syndicate columnist from Meridian.

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About Bill Crawford