Success Of Communist Ideas In American Government

1624 words - 6 pages

The Success of Communist Ideas in American Government

 
   Ever since the beginning of the Cold War, Americans have held the word "Communism" to have many negative connotations. Our country has been focused on preventing the spread of that evil form of government. Wars were fought in foreign lands; American lives were lost protecting the world from Communism. Many Americans would be horrified, then, to find that the righteous system of Capitalism actually incorporates many Communist ideas. In fact, many of Karl Marx's radical ideas have reached the most fundamental establishments in the United States government; the government that did everything in its power to prevent the seeds of Communism from taking root in other countries.

 

     The government Karl Marx envisioned has never seen the light of day. The

Communist governments we're all familiar with, such as the ones in China and the

former USSR, never came close to achieving true Communism. They can be better

described as dictatorships, rather than governments for the people. As such, the

United States was correct in preventing their control over the world. However,

as a result of the use of the label "Communism," many Americans have equated

this noun with "dictatorship." "To be Communist is to be in favor of a

totalitarian government," they say. This simple prejudice lead to the age of

McCarthyism, which destroyed the lives of supporters of Marx's ideas. So has

Marx's Communism survived? Then and now, several of the United States'

government agencies are intrinsically Communist, taking their foundations almost

directly from The Communist Manifesto.

 

     One of the most radical ideas proposed by Marx in his Manifesto was that of

"A heavily progressive or graduated income tax." (Marx 230) A progressive income

tax is one that taxes the public based on their income; people with higher

incomes are taxed more than those with lower incomes. On February 12, 1913, the

Sixteenth Amendment was added to the United States Constitution. It states, "The

Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever

source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without

regard to any census or enumeration." Before this Amendment, the United States

only levied regressive taxes, such as property and sales taxes, which still

persist. After the Amendment, the tax rate was progressive; 1 percent of all

income up to $20,000 was to be paid to the government, and this rate rose to 6

percent after $500,000. Over the years, it has become increasingly progressive,

with 15 tax brackets of differing incomes and rates. This system was designed to

take more from those who have more, and redistribute the income to those who

have less. Later, Social Security would formalize this through the direct

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