An open letter to some old high school pals

[Some friends from high school seem to believe a lot of inaccurate right-wing-sourced stuff that they encounter on the Internet. Or maybe they don’t believe it, and forward it just to get a rise out of yours truly. Who knows? For example, the graphically-pleasing, sarcastically-titled “Scandinavia’s Great Socialism” is the latest such agitprop to turn up in the old mailbox, prompting this thoughtful response.]

Dear Fiends,

It appears my frequent assertion that there is a Republican “Big Lie” machine operating on the Internet was pitifully naive. There is an International “Big Lie” machine.

As it turns out, “Scandinavia’s Great Socialism” might be pretty great after all, at least for most people. Let me explain:

1. The cost of gas in Denmark is not $10/gal. Before the oil market plunge, it was $6.40/gal. It is currently $1.55/gal.

2. Not only is Denmark’s tax rate not the highest in the world; it’s not even the highest in Europe. France’s, Germany’s, and Italy’s are higher.

3. The suicide rate in Denmark is 8.8 per 100,000, not 20.8. In the U.S., it’s 12.1.

4. The Danes are not destitute. Their household net worth exceeds those of Australia, Canada, France, and Germany.

5. It is not true that 11% of Danes are on anti-depressants. Ninety-three percent of Danes have never used an anti-depressant. Between 8% and 11% of Americans currently use anti-depressants.

6. It is true, however, that there is a 180% tax on cars. On the plus side, there is less traffic and air pollution.

It’s OK not to like socialism, old chums. Anyone who has done well in life doesn’t need it but ends up paying for it. Yes, I do have a concern that an aggressively socialistic tax policy could tap the bank accounts of friends and family. One hopes that if America takes a left turn, the bulk of any increased tax burden falls on the very wealthy. It may not be fair to demand more taxes from the extremely rich but, by definition, at least they can afford it.

Maybe the redistribution of wealth in the last 30 years or so has just gone too far, and we’re seeing a natural correction. The workers are rising up. For a socialist, even a democratic one, to be running competitively for president represents a pretty big canary keeling over in the capitalist coal mine.

All of which may not matter, since the government seems to have lost its ability to function. The moral precept of a loyal opposition, which got this country through thick and thin, is no longer respected by members of Congress.

But even the current deliberate descent into disfunction by obstructionists might not be as ruinous as the galloping corruption. These politicians and their cronies — these pustules on the butt of the American body politic — have destroyed our government, looted the coffers, and left Americans holding their plundered portfolios and/or empty wallets.

Still feeling the Bern,

F.

Thank you for reading this blog. Your comments are welcome.

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