Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Socialist America

In any honest debate, you've got to call a spade a spade. This morning, I heard talkback radio idiots complain about the Victorian train network, saying that the problems are a result of it being privatised.

Except it never was. The state government allowed a private operator Connex to bid for the contracts and operate the rail. So there is some kind of private ownership. Except that the state government still owns the equipment, trains, rail lines and stations ! And that there is a pile of regulations as thick as a phone book that the private operator must comply with. It is the tiniest shade of difference from a totally state-run and owned bureaucracy.

So when people complain about problems with public transport, they ought to think that it is due to the socialisation of that industry, seeing as the status quo of the industry is miles from pure private ownership and free markets and only an inch away from the opposite end of the spectrum, pure socialism.

The same mistake is often made when bashing America.. the problems in America (poverty, expensive health care) are due to its "capitalist" nature. Often people say that in America, the rich don't pay their fair share of taxes - which is completely wrong:

For tax year 2004, taxpayers filed 132.2 million returns, of which 89.1 million (or 67.4 percent) were classified as taxable returns.


Taxpayers with an AGI of at least $328,049, the top 1 percent of taxpayers, accounted for 19 percent of total AGI, representing an increase in income share of 2.2 percentage points from the previous year. These taxpayers accounted for 36.9 percent of the total income tax reported, an increase from 34.3 percent in 2003.

The facts paint a very different picture though, showing that the rich are persecuted and taxed far more than anybody else - the top 1% pay over 1/3 of the taxes. If this isn't socialism, then I don't know what is.
(hat tip: The Liberty Papers)