Letter to the Editor: Don’t use a shotgun to kill flies

Frank Daniels’ Commentary, “What happened to the Democratic party of old?” (DSN 12/7), complained about the Democrats, complained repeatedly about the U.S. becoming socialist, threw gratuitous digs at Hillary, and heaps of praise on Trump.

I will focus only on Daniels’ poor understanding of socialism. The first question about socialism should be this: is a given organization “private” or run by “the state.” As far as I know, every country on the planet has a government that collects taxes and fees and spends those monies on “public” projects and functions.

Anyone can easily get from the internet the budget of the U.S. Federal government as well as the budgets of the 50 states, most counties, and many cities. I have done this and tax revenue adds up to a total of about 33% of U.S. GDP. I do not think it would be wrong to say the USA is already about 33% socialist and it has been that way for decades.

A lot of people, including Trump and Daniels, seem to be unable to understand this. Thus, the economic system under our military, public highways, mandatory public school systems, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc., is in fact already socialist.

Amtrak, USPS, TVA, Nebraska Public Power District (electricity for the whole state), Bank of North Dakota, North Dakota Mill and Elevator (the largest in the USA), and the Alaskan Railroad (since 1923 and still running) are just a few examples of U.S. state-owned (thus socialist) large businesses in the USA that have been around for decades.

The “socialism” that Mr. Daniels might want to complain about is where unemployed people get money without working. He may be thinking about welfare. It is also a fact that welfare exists to some degree in most countries — even third world — all over the world.

And Nazi Germany had a modified capitalism called fascism and rather limited freedom of speech. In contrast, my specific pet peeve about “socialism” is that a lot of rich people and big corporations get to pay little or no taxes compared to people like me. This is called “socialism for the rich.”

What Daniels did was more like using a shotgun just to kill a fly on the wall in his house.

Arthur E. Sowers
Harbeson