Letter: Economic Illiteracy, Government Control

Letter to the Editor

Letter in reference to “From the publisher: Happy Thanksgiving” published Nov. 27

Let’s be clear about what socialism is: Government control of the means of production. And yes, it should be feared. It has a 100 percent track record of failure—from the Pilgrims’ first year in the new world to Soviet collectives, China’s Great Leap Forward, England after WWII and, more recently, Argentina. A 100 percent failure—unless one’s goal is control of the population. Socialism forces individuals to accept what the state dictates, using military force to insure compliance. 

Social welfare is not the same as Socialism. It is examples of the former that Arnold lists in last week’s editorial. Most are tenants of a liberal capitalistic system such as we have in the U.S. and other Western nations. And it is capitalism—the free exchange of goods and services—that produces the wealth that allows a nation to afford such entitlements.

It is the extent of these entitlements that delineate the political divide, at least in U.S. domestic policy. It is one thing to pay into Social Security and Medicare your entire working life to get a check and subsidized medicine when you turn 65, but quite another to offer this free to everyone. If everything is free, one soon runs out of money. Both Social Security and Medicare are already approaching insolvency, largely because our innovative health care system has extended life expectancy. Even taxing the super rich 100 percent won’t provide the funds needed. There are not enough wealthy people that taxing them 100 percent could pay all the benefits Arnold suggests. And taxing corporations causes companies to flee to lower-tax countries, and much of that tax gets passed on to consumers. Providing things like free college tuition and free medical care will require massive tax increases for everyone. 

The larger issue underlying this debate is freedom versus government control. When governments take over a significant part of the economy, do things get better? Or do those in charge gain more control, ordering our lives to a greater extent? Why work overtime when the government takes most? Look at countries that have universal health care and high tax rates where one dies waiting in a long line for the advanced high tech treatments such as a CAT scan. What medical breakthroughs originated from the Soviet Union? 

We now see the impact on our freedoms as outdoor dining is prohibited without scientific evidence that this will impact the spread of COVID. Our leaders have ruined many businesses, caused massive job losses, fostered abuse and drug use, isolated and killed the most vulnerable in nursing homes, and put many children behind through shuttering our schools, especially those in disadvantaged communities. But they have not stopped the virus.

Scott Dittrich