Letter to the Editor: Socialism has worked well for decades

Will Gillespie’s Commentary (DSN 2/27), “Socialism is simply a term used to deceive,” was actually both informative and useful. Also, I mostly agree with his observations on the prior exchanges in DSN between Frank Daniels and Bill Clemens. And Gillespie’s story about socialism as something having redeeming qualities for a civilized society was pretty much “on target.” But let me make a clarification on one thing.

Gillespie’s claim that the USA is not a socialist country might depend on how he would define socialism.

Since Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, our military, most police departments, all the public school systems, all public highways and bridges, USPS, Amtrak, and many others, are all government run and government owned, they are thus all socialist. I would guess this adds up to about one third of the US economy. I would say that the USA has a mixed socialist-capitalist economic system just like many other countries.

It may also interest DSN readers to learn that the Bank of North Dakota (since 1919, $7 bil assets), Tennessee Valley Authority (6th largest USA electricity generating capacity today, estab. 1933), the Nebraska Public Power District (generating electricity for 95 percent of the people in the state of Nebraska since 1970) are specific examples of socialist, not capitalist, businesses in the USA.

Wikipedia has two large entries under the titles: “Category: Government-owned companies of the United States” and “Category: Public utilities of the United States”. Public transportation (bus, rail, ferry) lists exist, also. These lists are very large. All socialist.

My recollections from reading all my life from news and books is that compared to all of these socialist businesses in our economy more complaints are actually due to problems from the capitalist businesses. This includes executive accounting fraud, embezzlements, price fixing, greedy-selfish Wall Street scams, and all other manner of what is known as corporate corrupt practices and white collar crime. But, for an objective and extensive discussion of capitalism vs socialism, Wikipedia has a long and well written and well referenced entry under the title: “Criticism of capitalism.”

As it applies to what the USA needs now we need some kind of protection from catastrophic giant medical bills that can wipe out a person’s fruits from a lifetime of hard work.

“Medicare for all” looks to me like a pretty good strategy, and preliminary ideas make it look — again — like a mixed socialist-capitalist insurance-like system. What we don’t need are objections based on political dogma, ideological intransigence, or plain old stubbornness.

Arthur E. Sowers

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