I have offered the definition of Socialism in this way many times- Any program or legislation created for the benefit of society, paid for by society is Socialist in nature.
Now, typically what I am referring to are programs such as Social Security (Where did you think that name came from?), Medicare, Medicaid, public schools, public roads, health departments, fire departments, consumer protection laws, FDIC, FDA, EPA, the Forestry Service.. I could go on but think that makes the point. Each of these provide direct benefits to society in a way that outweigh any cost. They create jobs and result in financial gains to the community at large while actually increasing tax revenue by maintaining jobs so that businesses and employees are paying taxes, local, state and federal.
Now we come to Trump’s programs. The title refers to the immigrant detention program but I refer to much more, which I will cover later.
First, in Trump’s case, I will add the disclaimer to the above definition- Any program or legislation created for the ALLEGED benefit of society, paid for by society is Socialist. I will also state that the conditions I am about to describe can be applied to many programs which are Socialist in concept, yet have largely assisted in the flow of wealth to the top. However, Trump’s programs have cut out a huge part of what funding once made any pit stop at lower levels of the economy and are instead mostly direct corporate welfare at the highest degree.
Many of the immigrant detention centers have been intentionally built in remote areas with few employment opportunities. Part of this is because this is where much of his base resides. They are also areas which have seen once-thriving industries move out, leaving communities devastated. I’ve written about this before here: https://issuesunite.com/small-business-decline-over-generations/
It’s understandable to a degree why these facilities are supported in these communities. The people in these small communities have been watching their communities suffer, dry up and waste away slowly over many years. So, when something comes along which offers an income and possibility to revive their community, they will support it.
Many of these communities also resent immigrants, especially illegal immigrants, who have come here willing to work for much lower wages. Unfortunately, they fail to recognize the fact that it has been capitalists who hired the immigrants because they could pay lower wages and hoard the wealth. In the process, it was the capitalist that eliminated the job for legal citizens.
Though I will not demonize the capitalists too much.
There are a number of ironies involved here. For one, in many cases these communities would have died off long ago if not for the immigrants. The immigrants spend their earnings in the community, keeping local businesses afloat. This is why business owners in some cases hired them in the first place. Consider a small business owner in a small community with no viable larger employers, so consumer spending is extremely low. They are barely keeping their doors open, so seek to pay lower wages to remain in business. I am convinced this is less common than the capitalist who hoards wealth. Small local business owners would have to contend with blowback by their own community, of which they are a part. We have seen corporations busted for hiring illegal immigrants at low wages with full knowledge of the legal status of the worker. No matter the case, if the profit margin were lower, if immigrants were not spending money in the local businesses, the businesses would cease to exist. One can claim that this would leave an opportunity for another business to open but that opportunity already exists.
Another irony is that residents in these communities will often object to businesses being forced to pay a higher minimum wage because the business would have to close. They don’t even see the irony in this statement, as paying citizens higher wages than immigrants is doing exactly that.
It is also ironic that many of those in these communities claim to object to Socialism. It is capitalism which has left their communities devastated and abandoned.
Yet now these very communities are turning to what is a Socialist program. The immigrant detention industry is genuinely an industry. It sells nothing, manufactures nothing and poses no direct community profit. All of the facilities are either government owned or corporate owned. Any profits made go directly to corporations.
However, the cost of building, maintaining and staffing the facilities is paid for by society. So are the profits.