The letter appearing last week titled “Socialism is putting us in jeopardy” reminded me of Henny Penny crying “The sky is falling down” in the children’s book Chicken Little. It foretells the false ‘red scare’ theme that extremists on the right will be using until the 2020 election.

We spent $6.5 billion on the 2016 election, $2.4 billion for the president’s race. Look what we got as a return on the investment: tax cuts for the rich; holes in the safety net; rising costs for all; loss of respect among democracies; leaders who cheer dictators; and a continued undermining of the United States Constitution.

Looking at this small fraction of the real problems pushing people to the left, causes one to exclaim “perhaps the sky really is falling down,” but not in the way the author suggests. Is it any wonder that some millennials are seeking solutions in political structures such as those found in the Scandinavian countries?

America is one of the richest countries in the world but has the greatest inequality among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. 

The Walton family earns more in one minute ($25,149) than the average Walmart worker makes in a year ($24,960). The Koch family assembled a group of 634 people in Florida a few weeks ago and each pledged at least $100,000 to campaigns largely focused on maintaining their control of politicians. They got tax cuts. Meanwhile, many kids get their one good meal in free school lunches.

Health insurance can cost over $2,000 per month. People without health insurance delay care until they are critically ill and then go to emergency departments. They might be forced into bankruptcy to pay the resulting bills. We spend more per person on health care than any other nation but have worse health results than many. Meanwhile, we cut healthcare spending for women, leading to more unwanted pregnancies and abortions. The Affordable Care Act has been consistently undercut by vested interests rather than being improved.

Education support has been cut, making it ever more difficult to attend college. Those who do, carry huge debts into their working careers. This reduces the pool of talented people to work as teachers or in other service capacities. Progression up the income categories has become more difficult for Americans than in almost any other developed country.

Economic and social breakdowns likely play a major role in why millions take mood-altering chemicals and, in many cases result in death, even in Greene.

It isn’t socialism when people attempt to fix problems and create a fair world for all. We need to find real solutions, it won’t be in socialism, and it won’t be easy, but it certainly can’t be fixed by hiding our heads in the sand.

Don Pamenter


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