Dan Freeman is spot on in his commentary ("Most opposed to social democracy couldn't define it," The Daily News, Sept. 1). One thing it certainly isn't is communism in disguise. I quote once more, "Neither unfettered capitalism nor communism provides a viable mechanism for governance. (Western-style) social democracy blends the systems through an interaction of a democratic (state) and a capitalist mixed economy."

Thus it is with the United States and others, such as Great Britain and most of the countries of western Europe. Social Security and Medicare are the best examples of social programs in our current governmental scheme of things. Would you, average citizen, like to see these programs go away?

Individual retirement accounts are another example of a government-sponsored social program. They appeared during the Reagan administration to gradually replace company pensions. With pensioners outliving the accepted 65 years of age at retirement by 20 or 30 years, traditional private pensions were moving toward eventual extinction. Companies simply could no longer afford them. The process is still underway.

So, dear reader, don't fall for any anti-social-program "blather." Remember, we're a democratic political entity with some social programs, most of which benefit the general public. How refreshing.

Edward B. Williams

League City

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(24) comments

Don Schlessinger

[thumbdown]

Carlos Ponce

Edward B. Williams, if you don't recognize the slippery slope towards communism then you're part of the problem.

Bailey Jones

Ahhh - the slippery slope. The last refuge of a poorly reasoned argument.

Carlos Ponce

Not really, Bailey, seems like you've fallen down the slippery slope.[rolleyes]

Bailey Jones

Well, it's the weekend and I've nothing better to do, so let's test your hypothesis - "socialism leads to communism", and via a slippery slope at that.



If this were true, one would expect there to be long list of examples of countries who began socialist policies and then inexorably slipped into communism. Let's just go through the list -

Algeria - socialist for 22 years - communist? Nope

Bangladesh - socialist for 48 years - communist? Nope

Canada - socialist for 58 years - communist? Nope

England - socialist for 74 years - communist? Nope

France - socialist for 38 years - communist? Nope

Germany - socialist for 136 years (not counting the Nazis) - communist? West Germany nope, East Germany, only by invasion

Guyana - socialist for 38 years - communist? Nope

India - socialist for 42 years - communist? Nope

Nepal - socialist for 4 years - communist? Nope

Nicaragua - socialist for 32 years - communist? Nope

Portugal - socialist for 43 years - communist? Nope

Spain - socialist for 88 years not counting Franco's Fascism - communist? Nope

Sri Lanka - socialist for 40 years - communist? Nope

Tanzania - socialist for 55 years - communist? Nope



It just goes on. Maybe a better approach is to look at all the communist countries and see how many of them originated as democracies foolishly playing around with the devil's socialism. Let's examine that list and see what they were pre-communism -

Russia - feudalistic monarchy

Cuba - crime ridden military dictatorship

China - Chiang Kai-shek's military rule

North Korea - Soviet occupation

Vietnam - conservative autocracy / colonialism

Laos - monarchy / colonialism

Venezuela - oligarchy

All the former soviet states - communism came by soviet invasion / occupation



So, in summary, after more than a century of socialist programs, we have no case of a democracy which has slid down the slippery slope from socialist policies into communism. And we have no communist state that became communist due to a democratic government's implementation of socialist policies.



I'm no history teacher, but it would seem that "socialism leads to communism" is a false statement.

Carlos Ponce

Most of the countries Bailey mentions would argue they are not socialist.

Fr example, Bangladesh was socialist since socialism was part of their constitution BUT as noted, "The constitutions of Bangladesh, Guyana, and Portugal make references to socialist ideas, but are not socialist countries themselves." "However, with the assassination of the foremost national founding father Sheikh Mujib and subsequent capitalist governments in power, the nation lost its socialist character...."

Bailey Jones

"Most of the countries Bailey mentions would argue they are not socialist." Most countries that have policies such as social security and universal healthcare would also not consider themselves to be socialist countries. Kinda my point - the "socialism" bug-a-boo is just that, an irrational fear of an imaginary outcome.

Carlos Ponce

George Orwell, a Socialist, wrote the following in 1940: " The first thing that must strike any outside observer is that Socialism, in its developed form is a theory confined entirely to the middle classes. The typical Socialist is not, as tremulous old ladies imagine, a ferocious-looking working man with greasy overalls and a raucous voice. He is either a youthful snob-Bolshevik who in five years time will quite probably have made a wealthy marriage and been converted to Roman Catholicism; or, still more typically, a prim little man with a white-collar job, usually a secret teetotaller and often with vegetarian leanings, with a history of Nonconformity behind him, and, above all, with a social position which he has no intention of forfeiting. This last type is surprisingly common in Socialist parties of every shade; it has perhaps been taken over en bloc from the old Liberal Party. In addition to this there is the horrible —- the really disquieting —- prevalence of cranks wherever Socialists are gathered together. One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words ‘Socialism’ and ‘Communism’ draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, ‘Nature Cure’ quack, pacifist, and feminist in England."

Bailey Jones

I accept this latest diversion (at least you're not quoting Lenin) as your acquiescence.

Carlos Ponce

Since you're not the "youthful" person Orwell mentions you must fall into the second category.

Diane Turski

Thank you Mr. Williams for defending the important social programs that we have long valued in this country!!

Gary Miller

Calling long established capitalist programs "social" is an attempt to keep real socialist programs in hiding. The most powerful socialist programs in America are our socialist tax code and government controlled public education. When founded the US didn't have either but communist influence sold them to a gullable electrorate by describing the good things, if any, about socialism while hiding the bad. Both are worse than what they replaced and getting worse every year. The cost of public education increases yearly while the quality decreases daily. Quality going from #1 in the world to #37 today while the cost is now nearly double the cost of the next most costly.

Craig Mason

That’s because the state instead of investing in education to draw the best of the best, attempts to balance its budget on the backs of educators. Perfect example was the slashing of funding to schools in 2011. Some districts went 4 or 5 years without a raise and laid teachers off. All of this while there was a tidy 10 billion in the Texas rainy day fund.

Wayne Holt

I have a question: if these programs are socially beneficial and better private alternatives don't exist...why are they mandatory? I didn't get to choose to pay into social security unless I wanted to don monk's robes. In my experience, when things are clearly to someone's advantage, you generally don't have to threaten them with incarceration or asset forfeiture to convince them to jump in. Not so with the many "beneficial" programs the government is about. Those are so darn good they just have to force you to participate.

It's not my generation that should be up in arms; we're collecting already. It's the young folks who, without a doubt, will see only a fraction or no return on what they are "beneficially" being forced to support. Medicare and Disability are already on the brink. How can anyone call these programs beneficial when the future generations are going to get shafted in a big, big way with them?


Emile Pope

Really? Taxes are mandatory aren’t they? And there are professions that don’t contribute to Social Security so don’t say that’s it mandatory. And oh by the way, your generation is receiving benefits from the “young folks” who are paying into it today and if they stopped you would be receiving nothing. Is that what you’re proposing?

Gary Miller

Universal school choice and privatizing social security are popular policies that would improve both. Education would be improved with massive cost reductions. President FDR warned in 1935 that SS must be privatized before 1965 or it would become a socialist burden working citizens would reject. Two socialist programs proving socialism is bad because they will use the peoples wealth to survive. The standard of living of every citizen would imeadeatly improve if either or both were repealed.

Wayne Holt

Actually, 1) yes I am proposing that, and 2) your conclusion is not logically true. I would sign off on 100% of my social security benefits tomorrow IF the system was reformed so that it was a uniform proportional tax and there were no loopholes for either individuals or businesses to slip out of. That would provide ample revenue to pay for benefits while not lying to the young that they will get the same treatment; as of today, that is pure myth. You only have to read the introductory preface to every income tax return over the past 10 or 12 years to see the GAO has been telling us that for years. It's their CYA for when it actually implodes.

Just BTW: federal income taxes are voluntary, at least if you believe the IRS on the subject. It is always referred to as a voluntary system in the literature. Why would they call a mandatory system voluntary?

There are a number of arcane reasons for that but the best is one that a trust lawyer told me; he was ex-IRS collections (that's the attorneys who know the code, not guys with guns). He said, "If the IRS tried to collect tax the way the code is actually written, they would only be able to get a fraction of what they get now."

Hmmm...the government deceiving the public? Who'd a thunk it?

Emile Pope

What I wrote is true. Just refuse to pay your taxes and see how it goes. Please provide evidence to prove your point...

Carlos Ponce

Has Emile ever heard of the "underground economy"? The "black market"? Or the "shadow economy"? People engage in billions of dollars of transactions, usually illegally, and pay no taxes - zero, zip, nada. And many get paid "under the table" paying no income tax - zero, zip nada. This is also called "working off the books".

Wayne Holt

**Please provide evidence to prove your point**



Steve Miller, former Director of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), admitted at a 2013 Congressional hearing that the taxes collected by the IRS are not mandatory -- but voluntary.

When questioned at the House Ways and Means Committee (WMC) hearing, Miller told House Representative Devin Nunes that "America's tax system is 'voluntary'". When Nunes remarked for clarification that the US tax code is a "voluntary system", Miller said, "Agreed."

House Representative Xavier Becerra commented that the ruse of the IRS is kept as a public confidence in the system scheme to keep Americans paying money to the IRS. Miller confirmed this is so.

This is EXACTLY what my ex-IRS collections acquaintance said: if they followed the law, the system would implode.

Your beef shouldn't be with my characterization, which is factual and based on what the IRS consistently publishes. Your beef should be with a government that thinks it's OK to lie to Americans about reasons for war, the legitimacy of taxes it collects, unemployment counts, inflation figures and too many other areas to mention.

Dan Freeman

Mr. Miller wrote this morning: “President FDR warned in 1935 that SS must be privatized before 1965 or it would become a socialist burden working citizens would reject.” As usual there was no reference to this apocryphal quote. What President Roosevelt actually said in 1936 was: “that his program had sought “the adjustment of burdens, the help of the needy, the protection of the weak, the liberation of the exploited and the genuine protection of the people’s property.” As a result, he said, “we have earned the hatred of entrenched greed…. [B]ut now … they seek the restoration of their selfish power.”



Finally with regard to higher taxes: “Ocasio-Cortez’s suggestion of a 70% rate on income over $10 million is modest to its core, any way you cut it. Compared with what taxpayers of the 1950s and 1960s faced, she’d be proposing a tax cut, making her indistinguishable from a Republican.

https://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-socialism-20190213-story.html

Bailey Jones

Gary is one of our more creative writers.

Carlos Ponce

"Compared with what taxpayers of the 1950s and 1960s faced..."

Look at the EFFECTIVE TAX RATE those tax payers actually paid.

Carlos Ponce

President Roosevelt told Congress in 1935 that, “except for the money necessary to initiate it, [Social Security] should be self-sustaining in the sense that funds for the payment of insurance benefits should not come from the proceeds of general taxation.... It is proposed that the federal government assume one-half of the cost of the old-age pension plan, which ought ultimately to be supplanted by self-supporting annuity plans.”

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/fdr-social-security/

https://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/speech-to-congress-on-social-security/

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