By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Socialism will be 2020's red herring

Lines are being drawn early for the 2020 presidential campaign. Americans respond to absolutes, and Donald Trump is an artist with lines in the sand.

Democrats are socialists. Socialism destroys personal liberty. We must stop them, at all costs. As Trump said in his State of the Union address, “We renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.”

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Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

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Don’t be so sure Americans, who often mistake social welfare for socialism, will see through the political rhetoric.

Socialism, states Dictionary.com, is the “vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.”

Bernie Sanders calls himself a “democratic socialist,” apparently believing we should vote for a government that takes all wealth and redistributes it equally. Candidate Kamala Harris, also a supporter of “Medicare for All,” vehemently denies being a democratic socialist, or any other kind.

People who confuse social welfare with socialism are facing for a political roller coaster ride. In preparation, we all should brush up on a few facts.

America has many expansive social welfare programs based on family income, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, Supplemental Security Income, Earned Income Tax Credit and Housing Assistance.

We have entitlement programs based on government-mandated contributions. Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment Insurance and Workers’ Compensation are forced social savings plans that protect us from our most common financial ravages.

“Medicare for All” is a rallying cry that demands careful analysis. Some advocates actually mean, “Medicaid for All” through government-managed health care. Others support variations of the Affordable Care Act – income-based health care incorporating private sector insurance and medical services.

Medicare, as an entitlement, involves required income-based contributions from workers and employers, direct and supplemental insurance premiums, and copays with out-of-pocket maximums. Medicaid social welfare programs are federally funded and administered by states to assist specific populations with special needs.

America has education for all. The idea of extending Medicare to all Americans is controversial, but it is not socialism. Income-based health care could alleviate much absolute poverty, while socialism seeks to end relative poverty through redistribution of wealth.

People of good will, regardless of political ideology, could create a uniquely American solution to our health care needs. But if Trump continues to confuse Americans about the menace of socialism, he may well be with us for a second term.

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