Readers of Robert Jackson’s reply to my letter “Great Gatsby Curve shows Horatio Alger becoming a myth” might mistakenly think I and progressives in general are socialists and (who knows?) communists. In my letter I noted that “Russia, under communism had a true system of economic socialism, which failed.”
I took Russian history and studied the totalitarian Soviet communist state in depth in political science. I’ve argued against pure socialism (state owns factories, farm, etc.) and communism with real communists.
We visited Russian fishing vessels that docked in Astoria, Ore. We saw how much the crew despised the communist political officers who were assigned to the ships. They got paid more than the crew and the only work they did was put up Lenin posters and take down names.
I visited the Soviet Far East just after the fall of communism in 1992 (Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Nahodka) and saw first hand how badly true socialism served the people. I met people whose family members had been imprisoned or shot by the secret police.
Mr. Jackson tried to explain away rising economic inequality in America as a result of shake ups that started with the recession. In fact, corporations and the upper 1 percent have been amassing a larger and larger share of the nation’s wealth for decades before that.
An insufficiently regulated capitalist system or one where corporations and the ultra wealthy have so much power they can fashion the system almost completely according to their wants and desires is a system that is corrosive of democracy. Many in the middle class are waking up to the fact that they, or at least their children, will not maintain their present status.
I applaud Mr. Jackson for employing so many people in the past. However, he stated in his letter that “socialist/communist liberals” (and Democrats in general) are pushing America into socialism and communism. This is an untrue, incendiary and reckless statement.
Apparently in his world huge tax breaks and public policies benefiting corporations and the ultra wealthy are good policies, and money and policies that help the middle class and poor are, ipso facto, socialism and communism.
My central point is that rising economic inequality is indisputably real and is a serious danger to democracy itself.