Bernie Sanders has recently emerged as the poster child (or rather, poster crazed old man) for American socialism. Millennials and progressives have become infatuated with what has become a hip, new trend in ideology. Their enthusiasm doesn’t hide the ruin socialist policies have wrought over history. Here are five countries that have been hurt by leftism:
Famed American scholar Kim Kardashian recently tweeted, “I love Cuba! One of our best trips! We felt like we stepped back into a different time period. Can’t wait to go back.” Well, there’s a reason for Cuba’s praised fifties vibe, and that’s Communism. It emerged with the hero of poorly informed millennials, Che Guevara, the face of the Cuban Revolution. However, the man thousands of young socialists wear on their t-shirts was a murderer of children and a self-proclaimed lover of killing. He even called for the extermination of Americans.
Cuba’s embrace of Guevara’s flawed Communist ideology led to the Cuba we all know and love today. Currently headed by the brother of Fidel Castro (may he rot in peace), Raul Castro, Cuba is trapped developmentally in the 1950s. The vintage architecture and vehicles are not an aesthetic choice, but a result of Cuba’s poor economy and inability to improve their infrastructure. This is largely due to its Communist policies which have hugely restricted their economic freedom. Cuba, in fact, is ranked as the lowest among Central American and South America nations for economic freedom. As a result, it has a GDP of approximately $11,950 per capita, compared to the United States’ $53,041.
While some liberals in the United States may acknowledge that the Cuban economy is lacking, they often praise the Cuban healthcare system. The Huffington Post has even described their system as a “model for the world” because of their free medical services. An old slogan once chanted by Cubans was “socialism or death!” As it turns out, they received both socialism AND death, because that’s what will happen to you in a Cuban hospital.
The lack of supplies in hospitals is astonishing. Patients are required to bring their own sheets, light bulbs, soap, toothpaste, etc. Doctors are known to reuse gloves and other tools that should not be reused due to sanitation. The lack of sanitation in Cuban hospitals is frightening, and communism at its best. Fidel Castro, and now Raul Castro have used their extreme power not only to create this problematic healthcare system but to persecute the citizens. Fidel Castro enjoyed the luxury of killing homosexuals and anyone who disagreed with him. He enslaved a higher percentage of his population than even Stalin or Hitler. That’s what leftist governments can do.
Bernie often boasted of Democratic Socialism functioning magnificently in northern European countries like Finland. During the campaign, he often touted Finland and similar nations as an example of successful Socialism. The truth is, it’s not at all successful. Finland, along with the other Scandinavian countries has the socialist policy of rocketing tax rates. Finland’s personal income tax rate stands at 51.6% as of 2016. The country has been referred to by the nation’s Finance Minister as “the sick man of Europe.” Is it any wonder that as the tax rate increases, their economy continues to tank? A portion of their taxes goes towards their universal health care system, a method utilized by Socialist nations. It is intended to give all citizens free health care, but the population has to pay for this health care by way of much higher taxes.
Clearly, Socialists don’t understand the meaning of the word “free.” Though their health-related needs are “free,” whatever a citizen doesn’t pay in cash will pay in time. As in the case in all countries under universal healthcare, there is an exorbitant wait to see a medical professional. Countless patients die every year due to not reaching a doctor in time. The doctor will see you… if you can survive that long.
China is known for being a Communist nation since the reign of Chairman Mao Zedong. Mao is a prime example of a ruler being given far too much power as a result of leftist policies. During his infamous Great Leap Forward, he attempted to demolish ancient Chinese traditions to modernize China. Along with countless historic heirlooms, over 45 million lives were taken under Chairman Mao. This was intended to achieve complete unity, and Mao’s method of reaching this was cultural destruction and total censorship, hugely limiting citizens’ free speech. Though China is not what it was in the 1950s, censorship is a continued trend. Social media and other forms of internet communication are greatly limited by the government to prevent protests and social unrest. In nations with limited governmental power, citizens are able to voice their concerns in a way that is conducive to beneficial societal change.
Change is something that should be occurring at a faster rate than it is in China, the country with the second highest GDP in the world. China should be flourishing, but it isn’t. A tenth of the population is poor, which is interesting considering left-wing policies are supposed to distribute wealth to those struggling economically. Despite the country continuing to struggle economically, poverty in China has decreased substantially during the twenty-first century, due to a change in policy: trade liberalization. As China has slowly let up on high tariffs and improved the ability for private sectors to sell their goods, poverty has decreased, but the leftist policies that remain are what is holding them back.
The Irish adhere to a common principle of Socialist gospel: social welfare. A large percentage of their governmental spending goes towards welfare, with almost half of their citizens receiving money under a social program. This means higher tax rates, which can range from 20-40%. This isn’t the only problem. In 2013, Ireland’s Auditor General, Seamus McCarthy reported that social welfare fraud was occurring in astonishing numbers. McCarthy stated that at some centers in Dublin, four out of five welfare files contained errors, meaning some individuals receiving financial support could be gaining more than intended. This waste of money is highly damaging to Irish taxpayers and the economy in general. It’s no coincidence that Ireland’s debt was 123.7% of their GDP.
Another cause of Ireland’s debt problem is their bailing out of banks, another leftist principle. Their fatal mistake was trying to revive banks that should have been left to fail. Businesses, banks included, naturally fail due to an economic survival of the fittest, and that’s how it should be. The Irish government attempting to reverse this process is what caused their spike in debt and resulting recession.
Like Scandinavia, liberals often trot out Canada’s universal health care system as a functional system we should follow… except it’s not actually functional. As in Finland, the wait time to see a doctor is on average four and a half months. Patients waiting for diagnostic scans are put in jeopardy because of this, as it makes it more difficult to catch a potentially terminal illness in time. Because of these complications, it was reported that over 40,000 Canadians left their country to seek better healthcare options in 2013.
Canada’s left-leaning system is also detrimental to hospitals themselves. There is a saying, “You get what you pay for,” to which the Canadian health care system definitely applies. Socialized medicine hurts the quality of the care itself, which is why there is such a sanitation problem in Canadian hospitals. According to a documentary entitled Marketplace, Canada has the most hospital-acquired illnesses of any developed country. Thanks, socialism.