Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor | Friday, July 12, 2019: Socialism, Medicare for all, gerrymandering

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Keep socialism far from U.S.

The siren song of socialism scares me. Candidates for the top spot in America seem to be in competition for promising more and more benefits. Free college education, forgiveness of debt for college, free medical care for all, and on it grows.

Socialism is portrayed as a wonderful, carefree way of life. It is not true. In the Israeli kibbutz, the managers found that a significant number of members who expected to share equally in the benefits slacked off on work. In the Soviet Union the sarcastic motto was, “They pretend to pay us, so we pretend to work.”

The strongest message of recent history is Germany. After World War II both East and West Germany were destroyed. Forty years after the end of that war we were in West Berlin. We drove from the bright lights and prosperity of West Berlin into the drab, depressed East Berlin. The contrast between capitalism and socialism has never been so dramatic. Nobody was ever killed trying to get over the Berlin Wall going from West to East Berlin. Escaping from East to West, one risked being shot and killed.

Bill Wood, Oakdale

Universal Medicare means bankruptcy

Free Medicare and college? How’s that supposed to work?

Your doctor may charge $120 for an office visit. To accept Medicare, or Medical patients, he agrees to see you for $50. Same system for all medical providers. That’s the reason some providers don’t accept it. Think how many providers are getting on in age. They will retire by the thousands.

Let’s apply that to free college for all. To make it work, all the involved parties will need to accept significantly less for their services. Professors will have to agree to cut their pay, maybe by 50%. Institutions will have to accept significantly less for tuition. You think the teachers’ union, with all their political power, will allow that?

How are we going to pay for it? Even if we tax the top 1% at a 70% rate, we’re still trillions short. We can tax them and corporations at a higher rate, and kill all the economic gains of the last two years. You can believe doom and gloom from the Democrats, or look at the actual facts. Lowest unemployment and highest growth rate in years.

Marty Garber, Modesto

Supreme Court swung and missed

The recent Supreme Court ruling that a political partisan gerrymandering case cannot be decided by the federal court is, in the words of Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, “tragically wrong.” The practice involves drawing congressional maps to dilute the voting power of members of the opposing party. This results in voters being disenfranchised by participating in elections that are rigged to result in a particular outcome.

Kagan asks, “Is that how American democracy is supposed to work? I have yet to meet the person who thinks so.” She also points out that as data become more finely grained and data analysis continues to improve, that the use of artificial intelligence to gerrymander districts will be even more insidious.

Lower courts have agreed with the premise that gerrymandering disenfranchises voters, having no trouble deciding that partisan gerrymandered maps deprived some voters of their constitutional rights. Independent commissions that impartially draw district lines have proven to be workable solutions in California and Michigan, providing protection for the power of our vote. Instead, the Supreme Court washed its hands of the issue, abdicating its responsibility of upholding our democratic process. Shameful.

Kent Mitchell, Riverbank