To the Editor:
Bob Lemke’s letter of March 22 on Capitalism vs. Socialism was thoughtful and well-written.
It was entirely one-sided because we do not have an idealistic capitalist economy. Our government, at the directions of thousands of lobbyists, right- and left-wingers, political strategists, economists and well-meaning do-gooders, keeps our economy from the purity he wants us to have.
Our government gives tax breaks to some companies and not others in the same business. I remember Lee Iacocca, CEO of Chrysler in the late 1970s and 1980s, persuaded Congress to back a $2 billion loan to save the company. General Motors and Chrysler were bailed out during the Great Recession to save them. True capitalism would have let them and hundreds of other companies we have bailed out or helped by imposing tariffs on foreign countries to fail. The purists just pushed Trump into the recent tariffs.
A free market is the essence of capitalism so why do we want the government to crack down on the pharmaceutical companies for raising their prices? That is state control of prices. Capitalism means if the price is too high, don’t use it. During the Great Repression, the government saved our banking industry again and that isn’t capitalism.
We have a controlled capitalism, which is not so far from China’s controlled socialism. China has a thriving economy of barely-controlled private sector and a failing public sector, which is slowly being eliminated.
Capitalism means standing by oneself and if you fail, then you fall. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other aid aren’t capitalism, but socialism, and we can’t survive as a humane society without them.
Can America have purity? No, of course not. Can we have a mixture of both capitalism and socialism? Yes, we can and do, as long as one doesn’t override the other. Both survive with a controlling government.