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Dear Editor,

Socialism is in the national spotlight because of our atrocious health care system.  In many ways the U.S. health care is tops in the world - but only if you can afford it.  High costs and low availability of quality healthcare drops the U.S. rating down to about 37 in the world.

So, just what is Socialism?  My snarky answer is that it is something that many Americans know little about.  It is a bad word to many – even though they may not know why.  Finally, socialism is something that most Americans like – and want more of it (if by another less frightening name).

Socialism (according to The American Heritage Dictionary) is a system in which the producers possess both the political power and the means of producing and distributing goods (and services).  Socialism is simply when the government does stuff.     

Many successful European, Asian, Arab, Central & South American countries have varying degrees of socialism: Denmark, Finland, Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden, Ireland, New Zealand, Belgium, China (China is not a free democratic country, but they are successful).

Dishonest, or ignorant, politicians point to troubles in Venezuela to denounce socialism.  But other problems (i.e. sanctions, corruption) account for Venezuelan problems.

Socialistic policies in the U.S. include the New Deal, which set up many public works programs in response to the Great Depression.   Socialism in the U.S. includes; most municipal services, public libraries, public educational institutions, the Postal Service, Airports, Amtrak.  City bus, subway, and commuter rail systems in major metropolitan areas are socialistic.  So too is Williamsburg County Transit.  Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Unemployment Benefits, public housing and food stamps are socialistic.  Large corporate subsidies (i.e. oil, gas, drugs) are socialistic - not to mention the corporations that pay no taxes, but sometimes receive refunds.  

Most Southern states receive more federal funds than they pay in.  This state welfare is socialistic.  Socialism is a major part of American life – whether we know it or not - and much of it we like.