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Your Opinion: Socialism pervades government programs

Dear Editor:

Americans like their Socialism. I wrote this last year, my favorite is the VA system.

As a Vietnam veteran I am entitled to some VA benefits. The VA is a government-run operation that owns its hospitals, hires its staff and controls its services. That is pure socialism. Of course someone wrote a response to say I was out of my mind. That response showed that some people do not know what socialism is.

About 40 percent of all governmental functions are socialistic. Is that surprising? I think about the citizens who write letters here repeatedly telling us socialism will be the downfall of civilization. They do not seem to understand the world around them let alone what the word socialism means?

A purely capitalistic system would be toll roads with no publicly funded highway systems. Capitalism would require individuals to pay for their services. Socialism funds public projects through general revenues and allows all citizens to participate in those services no matter what they have paid into the system.

A year or so ago in Obion county Tennessee firefighters responded to a call only to watch a home burn to the ground as they did nothing to save it. The county required a $75 fire protection fee. That is pure capitalism. The family tried to pay on the spot but was denied.

What if you had to pay directly for police protection or you were on your own? Who supports that?

There are no pure forms of capitalism, socialism or communism anywhere. Everywhere there is a mix of economic approaches.

The greatest public works project of all time — the interstate highways — was begun in 1956 after heavy lobbying by the auto industry. It was financed straight up by gasoline taxes and provided jobs and an on ramp to the new suburbs, which solved pressing postwar housing needs.

Cry all you want about government interference in the free market, but many of our most important government functions help the social sphere. At the same time America is the only country in the world where you hear someone say another citizen does not deserve health care unless they can personally pay for it.

There is a conservative effort to break down our balance between capitalism and socialism. Unless you think everything should be fee for services, citizens should oppose that trend.

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