The Problem With Socialism

jenny erikson

"The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money." -- Margaret Thatcher

Not a day has gone by in the past two years that I have not heard, spoken, or at least thought these words. I have been frustrated over and over again by well-meaning friends that believe that the government should take care of us from the moment we enter the world until the moment we leave it.

The government should pay for our mother's prenatal health care, our childhood vaccinations, our educations, our food and housing, medical care when we need it, and our retirements.


It's the right thing to do. Everyone deserves a good life, and it's just so unfair that some people are born as Paris Hilton while others are born in slums. (Although it's probably a toss-up as to which of those two fates is worse than the other.)

President Obama cares about the little people, and he's going to spread the wealth around in order to help them. Nancy Pelosi wants young people to pursue their dreams of becoming artists, rather than work in a job they don't like in order to support themselves.

It sounds lovely. Who wants to worry about money, when there's a whole world out there waiting to be discovered? The government can support us, take care of us, and provide for our every need.

So what's the problem? Why can't we be like France, where the retirement age is 60 and they only work 35 hours a week?

The problem is that there's no such thing as a government bank account. The government gets its funds from us. It's not a gift when the government hands us back the very money that we turned over to it out of our paychecks. Only now, it comes with all sorts of strings, like what school we can go to or what doctor we can see. Call me crazy, but I'm thinking that it would be nice to keep that money in the first place, and spend it as I see fit, including giving to charity.

Interesting side note: If President Obama cares so much about poor people, why does he donate such a small percentage of his income to charity?

Things aren't working out so well with socialism in Europe anyway. The French are outraged that the retirement age is being raised to 62.

"Today is a day of sadness and anger," agreed Jean-Luc Melanchon, who heads the tiny Left Party. "The end of retirement at 60 is the end of a world." 

Greece has lost its credit and had to be bailed out by Germany. Spain, Portugal, and Italy aren't far behind.

The problem with socialism is that a government cannot provide anything for anyone. It doesn't produce any goods or services. People produce those. And eventually, they get pretty tired of giving it away for free. You don't have a right to someone else's money, which is the basic tenant of socialism itself.

"The problem with socialism," as Margaret Thatcher so astutely pointed out, "is that you eventually run out of other people's money."


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