Is America on the Road to Socialism?

The Florida Times Union, November 15, 2014 | Go to article overview

Is America on the Road to Socialism?


Many readers write that "socialism" is overtaking America. But the word is thrown around so loosely that it has lost any real meaning.

At its basic dictionary definition, socialism refers to government ownership and operation rather than the private market.

That's why when readers criticize government involvement, the "socialism" pejorative often is used.

Yet there's an impression that America is becoming more government dominated despite years of massive deregulation (airlines, phone companies, etc.).

Clearly, then, "socialism" is in the eye of the beholder.

So we asked members of our Email Interactive Group to give their views on whether today's America is tilting toward socialism.

THE EUROPEAN STYLE

I always thought of socialism as what happened in Great Britain under the Labor Party when the government actually owned basic industries, such as the railroads, coal mines and the BBC.

What the American left seems to be seeking is a mixed system where private ownership is still allowed but government regulation and control is so great that business can't operate effectively without the goodwill of the governing powers.

I think that does describe Obamacare and explains why some people who were perfectly happy with their existing medical insurance coverage were not allowed to keep it.

That also explains why politicians get enormous political contributions from wealthy business owners.

And why our president spent so much time during the ISIS and VA crises doing fundraising.

Roger Pancoast, Jacksonville

A SAFETY NET IS NOT SOCIALISM

I am glad that government provides things that private enterprise can't and won't provide.

America needs a social safety net.

Some people call it socialism.

I call it America's promise to the elderly, disabled and needy.

A great nation honors its promises.

This is a good thing.

Fred Woolsey, Jacksonville

GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE

Medicare in most cases is limited to people of a certain age.

It's subsidized by the taxpayers, meaning the Medicare recipients pay part of the premium.

The retiree can choose a limited amount of Medicare and pay nothing or choose more Medicare and pay higher premiums.

Due to demographic changes, inept administration and fraud, Medicare runs a large deficit. Medicare is a typical example of socialism.

Medicaid is restricted to citizens below the poverty line. Their health care is paid for by taxpayers, not the recipient. It's also socialism and runs a bigger deficit than Medicare.

Obamacare is an extension of Medicaid.

It's funded by cuts to Medicare and higher taxes for everyone. …

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