Search This Blog

Monday, April 25, 2016

Socialists Unite! - Elsewhere, Please

My weekly blog is an effort at offering ideas and stories on how to engage with work in a meaningful way. To that end, I write with different audiences in mind. There are leadership and management concepts to be explored. Stories of how entrepreneurs function and give us new opportunities to grow. And, of course, that group where the majority of Americans fall — the “average worker.”

These vast sums of working Americans drive the economy. Every task needed within an organization is mostly dependent upon the employees. The wages paid also generate billions of tax dollars in revenue each year. Any job that is not a “management” job has importance in the stability of our country and growth of our economic system.

Unfortunately, we have seen a significant mindset shift in our nation over several decades. Slowly, we have been creeping toward the ideas generated by voices preaching various forms of socialism. Much of the most dramatic attention in this new direction has been highlighted by the campaign of Bernie Sanders.

It should be noted that not all socialists consider the Vermont Senator one of their own. Some have argued he is really a SINO — Socialist In Name Only. He’s fond of the Scandinavian countries policies of Norway and Finland. It’s said of Bernie Sanders that he has a socialism more to the likes of European social Democrats, often praising their universal health care systems, education, and family leave policies and progressive tax systems.

You can find more deeply dedicated Socialists in groups like the Socialist Workers Party. They have their own weekly newspaper called The Militant. According to The Militant, the paper is “published in the interests of working people.”

A recent article in The Daily Beast highlights a few of the significant differences between Mr. Sanders and the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). One of the SWP’s members told the Beast reporter that his group wants to implement a completely different system and replace capitalism with socialism. They would create a new “workers party.” Sanders prefers to work within the current two party system. (

Another group, the Democratic Socialists of America, has found some strong alignment with Sanders. Their deputy director, David Duhalde, likes Sanders’ ideas on universal health care, free college tuition and public universities, and controlling income inequality. Again, it’s all supposedly for the workers.

I’m not sure whether the socialist talk and advocacy is hitting many corporate boardrooms, but it certainly caught the agenda of one major corporate CEO—Jeffrey Immelt. After reading an interview conducted by the New York Daily News Editorial Board with Bernie Sanders, he opined significant disagreement. Who can blame him?

These were Sanders’ words: “General Electric, good example. General Electric was created in this country by American workers and American consumers. What we have seen over the many years is shutting down of many major plants in this country. Sending jobs to low-wage countries. And General Electric, doing a very good job avoiding the taxes. In fact, in a given year, they pay nothing in taxes. That’s greed. That is greed and that’s selfishness. That is lack of respect for the people of this country.” (

To which Immelt replied, “GE has been in business for 124 years, and we’ve never been a big hit with socialists. We create wealth and jobs, instead of just calling for them in speeches. We take risks, invest, innovate, and produce in ways that today sustain 125,000 U.S. jobs…Sanders has stated many times that GE pays no taxes. Repeating a lie over and over does not make it true. We pay billions in taxes, including federal, state, and local taxes. The U.S. tax system has not been updated in 30 years and isn’t designed for today’s economy, which is why we support comprehensive tax reform—even if it raises our tax rate.”

Jeffrey Immelt is upset because Sanders perpetuates a lie about taxes. The candidate also appears to greatly undervalue the contribution major companies like GE offer our economy. And there’s always the angry voices yelling about corporate greed.

One of the strongest accusations by Bernie Sanders is that GE is among the companies “destroying the moral fabric of America.” As an example, Sanders states that if a corporation expands operations and creates jobs overseas in order to make more money, that corporate greed is a moral failure. Apparently, he likes the current Pope’s thinking on economic matters.

I’m an American worker. But I have no interest in being a socialist. Campaign if you will for reforms toward a more honest, God-fearing form of capitalism, but don’t try to fool me with socialist or communist nonsense. If you like that system, you can find several places to live and test it out for yourself.

The key to a better society economically does require a healthy moral approach. The Bible sets the standards for such a society. It thrives on generosity, a system that has a way to forgive burdensome debt, and lending practices that are fair. Scales that are just. Honesty in all matters. Concern for the poor. Warnings to the rich. Look for it. It’s all there. And more.

Bernie may not be much for organized religion, but he could benefit by a campaign theme like this one: “The Lord God has told us what is right and what he demands: ‘See that justice is done, let mercy be your first concern, and humbly obey your God.’” (Micah 6:8, CEV)

I know. It’s too long and needs a more catchy slogan. Oh well!

That’s The Way WE Work. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.

Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand can be heard weekdays from 4-6 PM Central. To listen outside the Chicago area, tune to for live streaming or podcasts, or download the AM1160 app. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.