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March 22 02:30 AM
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Socialism bridge crossed long ago


To the Editor:

The folks running around the country crying "Socialism is coming! Socialism is coming!" remind me of Chicken Little, and even though they mean well and are trying hard, the effect is about the same. Those expressing a great concern over the threat of socialization are ignoring a couple of historic facts about America.

The first is that America has never been a purely capitalist society—at least not since the owner of the fire department would haggle with you while your house burned up and refuse to do anything if you didn't pay up, or it was nearly impossible to travel by land between cities without paying to use someone's private road. In fact, the list of things that have been socialized, subsidized, nationalized or just plain taken over by the government is vast.

And the second fact is that America has unquestionably been socialist since the introduction of Social Security in the 1930s.

So the real question is not whether America should become socialist—we crossed that bridge long ago. The real question we should be asking is how much socialism works best? And it is worth nothing that the economies of socialist Europe and communist China have out-performed the United States for more than 20 years running.

M. Waller, Attica
October 07, 2009

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