RMU College Republicans host “Can Socialism Work in the United States?”


Photo Credit: (Quintin Gellar)

Jonah Hoy, Contributor

MOON TOWNSHIP – Can socialism work in the United States? This was the hard-hitting theme of the lecture held at Rogal Chapel, hosted by Sherry Kai.

On Jan. 30, the Robert Morris University College Republicans brought Kai in to speak on behalf of this topic. She is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh.

During the event, Kai shared her thoughts, bringing in personal experience from when she lived in China and Hong Kong.

She started off the lecture by sharing her story. According to Kai, while growing up as an adolescent in a totalitarian country the government watched every move of its citizens, forcing fear into the hearts of its own people to control them. Kai implied she was one of the lucky ones who got out, but for most of her time there her family was nearly homeless.

Her family consisted of wealthy entrepreneurs but when the Chinese communist revolution started, her family’s wealth ran out. Her home was taken and they were rendered nearly penniless.

Born in Shanghai, Kai moved to Hong Kong at an early age, which was owned by the British at the time. Eventually, she emigrated to the United States at 17.

Throughout her presentation, Kai praised the U.S. as the greatest country in the world, and as a haven and a new home that saved her from tyranny.

Besides her own struggles, Kai touched on why she believed that socialism would not work in the U.S. and why it should not be implemented. She started to become concerned about this issue when she was pregnant with her child. Becoming a mother made her fearful, and she wanted to give the best life that she could to her son.

Kai was baffled to hear that the U.S. in this modern age could produce candidates for the presidency who considered themselves socialists. It reminds her of the life she tried to get away from and what this would provide for her family in the future.

Kai believes that if the U.S. moves in both policy and philosophy towards socialistic aspects, it would lead to a tyrannical totalitarian rule, similar to those of the U.S.S.R., China and Venezuela.

Kai explains that she believes the other side will try and trick people, making them believe that big government is good. Her point goes on saying, if the government has more control in regulating the lives of people, it creates a structure of control. For example, she believes political correctness is a way of restricting free speech and the everyday rights of man.

RMU Sentry Media had the chance to sit down and interview Sherry one-on-one, going in-depth on her philosophy and experience.

Do you feel if the U.S. adopted socialist aspects we would end up like China and the U.S.S.R.?

Kai- “We already have social programs in place like welfare, unemployment, medicaid, as well as food stamps. Programs in place funded by progressive taxes on income. What scares me is if they want to be more socialist like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, implementing taxes of 70% of billionaires income. Giving them the ability to move money out of the country where tax rates are lower, putting money into their economy and not ours, lowering what the definition of wealthy means. Soon it’ll go to the millionaires, then those who are making half a million and so on.”

What is your opinion on the Scandinavian countries? While they are not socialist, they have adopted more social programs and have even expanded on those benefits more than the U.S. has.

Kai- “I think recently the Scandinavian healthcare system is falling on its face. Almost 85% of the world is under dictatorship or some form of monarchy, geographically and geopolitically. America is the defense for the entire Western Hemisphere, so no one can invade the western hemisphere. These dictators and monarchs can prove to the world that the system in the U.S. will fail, making the control of their people much easier. With the internet and the information age it’s so much easier to see what everyone else is doing. A lot of people in the U.S. see what other countries see elsewhere and say ‘why can’t we live like that?’ It is important for the political dictators to take this country down. They want to propagandize it for them to stay in power.”

Do you think the U.S. should expand its social programs and alleviate the student debt crisis?

Kai- “If colleges have to compete for students they will put out the best programs in sciences, arts, and any other subject. Let them go into the market competing instead of having the government loan programs. Government loan programs guarantees the school an income and not necessarily having to compete to put out the best program for students. If the college was just depending on their own financial program the price of college and the student debt crisis wouldn’t be a problem in my opinion.

How do you feel about the influx of immigrants from South and Central America to the U.S. and their treatment?

Kai- “We should hold their governments responsible, no one wants to leave their homeland. Nobody wants to leave their birthplace if they have a choice they will stay in their own country. Why do these people have to go outside their country and risk their life for a better living? We need to hold them accountable like the Filipinos. When I was in Hong Kong, there were a ton of Filipino workers, most of them college graduates, but they were still treated as second class citizens. Same in Saudi Arabia, they have a lot of Indian worker. You could be born and raised there and still not get citizenship. There are immigration crises around the world everywhere you go. People are looking at the U.S. and saying you need to do something different. Mexico is run by the cartels and other countries run by gangs. You think these people want to join gangs and commit horrible things? No, but they have to in order to survive. My proposal is why don’t we just take over? The American government just takes over and makes these people’s lives better so they want to go back to their homeland. Immigrants don’t want to leave their homeland or where they were born unless they have to and are constantly monitoring if it would it will eventually be safe to go back.”

Do you feel there is any way the U.S. can improve its healthcare system?

Kai- “I think our healthcare system has been great but we need to take the pharmaceutical companies out of the equation. ‘Big Pharma’ is controlling our medical system which is ridiculous, that part I am extremely passionate about. They don’t want to cure you, they want to keep you sick. There’s no money to be made in curing you when they could keep billing you for being sick. I own a bar with my husband. We see all these young healthy males drinking with their friends on the weekends. Over the years we’ve seen the numbers dwindle and them not becoming themselves, they got hooked on heroin. They told me they started with getting hooked on Oxycodone which is an FDA approved drug.They start to move on to heroin and it creates this crisis. Who is there to save them? Big pharma when they create Narcan to get them out of the overdose. The clinic is horrible, they don’t really get you off heroin, they give you a substitute.”

Kai takes the side of most conservatives. Instead of expanding on social programs, she feels the U.S. already has enough.

To get another point of view with a similar story RMU Sentry Media asked Nina Augustin some questions similar to those asked to Kai to get her opinion based on her background. Augustin is a junior management major who was born and raised in Helsinki, Finland and has come to RMU for school.

Do you feel your country’s or the surrounding Nordic countries’ healthcare system is collapsing?

Augustin- “Our healthcare system, for the past eight years, have tried to renew it and make changes but they haven’t worked those through yet. The problem is, of course, in universal healthcare are the waiting times, but overall talking to people around me and who I communicate with I believe it works pretty well. People with lower incomes don’t have to worry about insurance, don’t have to worry if they got into a car accident, they won’t go broke from the medical bills. When referring to my grandparents any help from the government does unfortunately take a while to get help.”

What is the process in deciding who gets medical assistance first when in need?

Augustin- “It’s more of a first come first serve or how severe it is. For example, my grandfather has Alzheimer’s and we are looking at programs to see where he could get the best care and fastest. This, in my opinion, is the biggest downfall in finding where to get the assistance the quickest and best.”

Are you happy with how Finland is being run in terms of government assistance? Do you feel it benefits the people?

Augustin- “I’ve been happy. There is a lot of funding the Finish government gives towards students especially. Living aids, university aid, student loans. If you take out a student loan and manage to pay it fully, the Finnish government will pay back 40% of it. You are able to go to school for free in Finland. Tuition is like $200 a year, but what’s hard is the entrance exams which are very hard to pass. Even though it is tough it allows families or people with lower incomes to be able to get an education if they apply themselves to get into those schools.”

Would you consider Finland to be socialist?

Augustin- “Kind of, I would describe it more as free market socialism, a mixed economy.”

Do you find it hard to do other things leisurely with high tax rates for these social programs? Do you find it overwhelming or inhibiting?

Augustin- “You can plan accordingly and its a matter of budgeting. For example, here, when you have your insurance plan you know what you are paying and have to take in. You can plan and budget the way you want. I don’t think it’s a problem when it comes to leisure and spending. The only ones that I see complain are the rich people because they are taxed at 50% as opposed to here where its around 30%.

Do you feel if the U.S. adopted a system like Finland it would be beneficial or detrimental?

Augustin- “That’s actually a really hard question, I was just talking about this the other day. The biggest difference is the population, where Finland only has around 6 million people and the U.S. has a much bigger population. I believe If you want to decrease the inequality gaps I think it would be very beneficial. I feel like it would help in decreasing that huge gap America has between the super rich and poor.”

How is Finland’s immigration policy? Is it loose or strict?

Augustin- “People haven’t been very happy with Finland’s policy because of how loose it is. Migrants get a lot of aids and Finnish people find it, they are taking away from them. I feel some of them are getting a little too much. I like unity and helping people. What I like about socialism is that equality aspect and helping the less fortunate. I do think Finland though is a little bit extreme with it.”

On Thursday night, supporters of socialism showed up as well, voicing their respective opinions.

One unidentified student had asked why we can’t expand on social programs the U.S. has given to alleviate some of the crises in the country.

Kai said that she was relieved that they did not want socialism just better social programs. Seeing as she grew up in a totalitarian socialist country, she found it warming to know that the youth, who even disagreed with her views and philosophy, were not wanting what she had sought to get away from.

One question still remains.

Can Socialism work in the United states?

You tell me.