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Letter to the Editor: Responding to a ‘Critical disaster’

William E. Quinn (“A critical disaster,” West Newsmagazine, Sept. 9) believes that transitioning to Socialism 12 years ago caused the Venezuelan economy to collapse and, if allowed, will cause our economy to collapse as well. Sounds logical, right? I only see one problem with Mr. Quinn’s belief.

It’s not true.

Unlike America’s diversified economy, Venezuela primarily depends on oil exports for wealth. Venezuela, not Saudi Arabia, has the largest oil reserves in the world. Even today, oil exports make up 95% of Venezuela’s total exports. It was this overdependence on one resource that led to Venezuela’s political instability. When global oil prices started falling in the 1980s, the Venezuelan economy went into a recession. It got so bad in Venezuela that in 1996 the inflation rate reached 99%. It was this economic instability that allowed Hugo Chavez to be democratically elected in 1998.

What about here? Could we become a socialist country?

We already are. Partially anyway. Anyone remember World War II, you know, the greatest generation? Well they elected a Democratic Socialist four times, after unregulated capitalism/speculation led to a great depression. It seems like they did OK. Has anyone reading this had a house fire? Did the firemen responding make you break out your wallet and pay him before he put it out? Of course, they didn’t. Liberals, like myself, don’t want to tax the wealthy out of existence. We simply believe that some things are too important to monetize, and everyone should pay their fair share. 

How can healthcare be monetized? What kind of leverage does a dying man or woman have to negotiate the price of their treatment? Only our government has the power, and capital, to negotiate with multinational pharmaceutical companies. 

How can a prison be run ethically if it has to be profitable? Could that lead to more people being imprisoned? 

Speaking of taxes, are Apple or Google even paying taxes? How about billionaires, do you think they pay more, as a percentage, than the middle class? We can’t count on the wealthy to police themselves. They will look for every loophole they can to keep every last dollar. 

C’mon people, think. All this demonization of social programs is what is unAmerican. We’re supposed to help each other. 

Jonathan Duffin

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