[OT] Are we a democracy or a republic?

Michael Torrie torriem at chem.byu.edu
Fri Sep 2 18:01:22 MDT 2005

On Fri, 2005-09-02 at 15:42 -0600, Ross Werner wrote:
> And yes, the US is getting more and more socialist as time progresses. 
> Others have given you several examples--a good place to look is the level 
> of taxation. After adding up state income tax, federal income tax, all 
> sales and use taxes, automobile fees and taxes, etc., average Americans 
> probably pay between 30-40% of their income to the government. More 
> socialist countries have a much higher rate, sometimes above 60-70%. But 
> Americans historically paid far less than 30-40%.

Having lived for 20 years in Canada and then here for more than 10, I
can say that when all is said and done, we pay almost the same amount
for all our services as they do.  For example, start with taxes, then
add in the various insurances premiums and health-care costs.  Ideally
it is still lower here than there (the amount removed from the paycheck
each month), but not by much.  It is just that it is easier to digest
because it's divided up and taken out a piece at a time (fed income tax,
state income tax, health premium, social security, unemployment
insurance, etc) that it is seems much more appealing and palatable.  

I read an article recently about the tremendous economic growth in
Ireland.  Highest GDP in the EU, low unemployment.  They achieved this
because of several factors: low corporate taxation (why do we tax
corporations anyway?), socialized health-care insurance, and free
education all the way up through post-secondary.  Large companies love
this.  They can move to Ireland, pay less taxes than America, tap into
an incredibly skilled and education workforce, and not have to pay
healthcare costs (GM anyone?).

So while I recognize this slide, I don't think it's necessarily bad.  I
am extremely concerned over our hypocrisy when it comes to
globalization.  We want the whole world to open up their markets to us,
but we're still more protectionist than China on many fronts.

> If you're interested in socialist influences in the United States, a good 
> thing to read about is the history of the 16th Amendment. (Also a good 
> example of the effect third parties can have, even if they don't land 
> anyone in the Oval Office.)
>    ~ Ross
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Michael Torrie <torriem at chem.byu.edu>

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