Interesting perspective in an article I read in workboat magazine.
<span style="font-size: 8pt; font-family: Arial;]<span style="font-size: 10pt;]"We’ve managed to steer clear of politics in this space, but many of the controversies swirling around at this time touch the marine industry. For example, one of the hottest topics of the moment is the question of “socialism.” The Republicans, especially Sarah Palin, have labeled the Democratic presidential nominee as a socialist following his comment about “spreading the wealth.”
Truth be told, we spread wealth all the time. Anytime a federal grant is given, relatively few people are getting something paid for by taxes collected from everyone. When a sheriff’s department in, say, Mississippi, gets a new fire/rescue boat courtesy of a Department of Homeland Security grant, this is something that I helped pay for — and I live in Washington state, not Mississippi.
Yes, of course, the fire/rescue boat is important. But why should I help pay for that? It’s because we all operate under a social contract that, ahem, spreads the wealth. I pay taxes, you pay taxes, we all pay taxes, and that money gets spread out from Alaska to Florida to pay for stuff that sometimes we approve of and sometimes we don’t. If this is socialism, then we’ve been doing it for a long time.
Speaking of Alaska, Sarah Palin’s state gets a pretty good chunk of our collective wealth. In fact, Alaska gets more federal spread per capita than any state in the union. As one small example, take the Federal Highway Administration’s Construction of Ferry Boats and Ferry Terminal Facilities Program. Under SAFETEA-LU, Alaska is eligible for $10 million a year from 2006 through 2009 for its marine highway system. And that’s on top of two very expensive, high-speed passenger/vehicle ferries already paid for by you and me.
Personally, I don’t have a problem with that. Alaska needs ferries because much of the state cannot be connected by pavement. We collectively fund federal highways in the Lower 48, so it seems fair to collectively help pay for the blue highways up there.
Washington state and New Jersey also benefit from the same program. Is this socialism?
Actually, socialism is usually defined as an economic system in which the state owns and controls the means of production and distribution. Right now, the federal bailout of the financial system, which has bipartisan support, would appear to be the most immediate example of state control, but I don’t hear any of the candidates referring to that as socialism.
Very soon, the political name-calling season will be history. Whoever gets elected will face enormous challenges both at home and abroad. Let’s hope we can find a way to put the acrimony behind us and get back to work on real problems."</span></span>