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Letter to the Editor: Don’t bite on the political ‘bait’

On November 23rd, a Portola writer described Democratic Socialists of America as a threat. She listed 27 mischaracterizations of this organization’s interests and agenda.

We shouldn’t bite on such political “bait.” There are democratic socialist parties elsewhere, operating for decades and whose citizens receive better services than we do. Those countries practice capitalism as an economic system, but with more inclusive democracy. Services are not income-based. There are no medical bankruptcies, and no one is denied medical care. DSA proponents often term such measures “economic justice.”

We have similar practices and policies with many contributors and widespread beneficiaries. The best recognized are Social Security, Medicare and the Veterans Administration. Federal taxes are the source of funding for these services but yearly trillion dollar tax cuts for the top one percent of earners can diminish their survivability. Private (for profit) medical insurance takes 20 percent of premiums as operating costs and profit. Medicare takes only 2.5 percent.

There are local socialist practices, too. State taxes maintain and perform snow removal for our highways. Same with county roads. Local hospitals receive state and county tax-funded support as do K-14 education, libraries, county health departments, environmental quality offices, courts, law enforcement, search and rescue, fire departments, and sanitation. Many pay in and nearly all continually benefit—especially if you have children, a medical emergency, want to stop a home robbery or assault, or put out a fire—including those coming from the forest.

All these services are supported by tax revenue—not charitable donations. If you want to maintain a service, it needs wide citizen support through taxes. Socialists, and those trying to preserve and improve social governmental practices recognize the threats of unregulated capitalism, income inequality, and dark money that starves government revenue and services. Their cause is just.

Bill Martin


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