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Published Sep. 21, 2009

Let's embrace the spread of socialism - Sept. 17 James Pettican guest column

Before anyone rushes out to embrace socialism it would be good for them to pause and consider that socialism is but a waypoint on the road between free enterprise and communism. History and tradition teach us that socialists purport to collect and redistribute the wealth of their nation but in truth they drain off a substantial portion and channel it to a select group of elitists. They exercise autocratic powers over the general population who, in turn, are relegated to a drab, arid and fear-stricken existence where collectivism is the standard and the gulag is the alternative for those unwilling to accept the dogma mandated by such tyranny. Lenin, Stalin, Mao Tse-tung and their ilk are the personifications of this line of thinking.

Socialism inspires nothing other than indolence, malaise, mediocrity and dependence on the state. By way of contrast, America is founded on the tradition of the free market system whereby the self-reliance, creative innovation, enterprise and hard work of the individual is encouraged and which incentivizes people to excel and improve their station in life through such endeavors thereby creating the gross domestic product.

In the final analysis, wealth is not based on how much gold is on deposit at Fort Knox, but rather it is derived from the gross domestic product, which is the bedrock of the economy. It is the substance of our families and communities. It is the lifeblood of America. The federal government couldn't exist without it.

In that respect, it is not the federal government's money that underwrites Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or any other government program. The only way the government makes money is by printing it, by borrowing it, or by confiscatory taxation levied against the earnings and savings of those who produce wealth through their work in the free enterprise system.

Those persons who advocate socialism should be delighted with the economic practices that characterize the philosophy of the White House and Congress in this day and age. At the present rate, the federal debt will hit 200 percent of the gross domestic product by 2038, which sets the stage for a bankrupt and collapsed economy and a resultant vacuum which will give them a golden opportunity by which to fulfill their ambition.

Jack B. McPherson, New Port Richey

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Medicare works, why not this?

Thank you for your column, Mr. Pettican. So true.

What is wrong with a social program that would benefit everyone? Why are so many of our leaders afraid of it?

I remember when my father first qualified for Medicare in the 1960s. He had been a farmer, then a factory worker for a few years. The only time in his life he had medical coverage was while he was a factory worker. That ended when he went back to the farm. He could hardly believe that Medicare would actually work for him and hesitantly talked with his doctor about it and was thrilled when the doctor not only accepted it but the office staff helped with the forms.

Someone suggested to me that our elected officials fear they will not be elected again if they support any kind of a government medical insurance. Yet these elected officials have government medical insurance. Very good coverage. Why would they not want the same for all their constituents? Is good coverage only for the elite of our nation? Is the word "equality" left out of the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag for a reason?

Recently I was told I was in the minority with my desire for a single-payer system. I don't believe that. I believe that we are outnumbered by corporations which profit from the current system enough to give large amounts of money to our elected representatives in Washington. A corporation is not a citizen with a vote. A corporation's power lies in what it can buy - in votes it can buy. I would be sad to think our leader's votes on health care are for sale or that stockholders in corporations would want people to do without health care.

The United States is not a corporation. It is a Republic. Our leaders need to distance themselves from corporations and get closer to the people they represent in our Republic.

Doris Taylor, Brooksville

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We shouldn't be like Europe

The United States represents 5 percent of the world population and 27 percent of the world gross national product. Such unparalleled economic strength allows us to field the most powerful military the world has ever known. If 9/11 taught us anything, it has shown that the barbarians are at the gates.

Our European allies in industrialized Western Europe embraced socialism many years ago and it has left them with weak economies, high taxes and a reliance upon the United States to protect their democracies. Why would we want to be like them?

It is refreshing that Mr. Pettican has labeled this movement towards nationalized medicine as "socialism," which in fact it is. Now, Republicans can be viewed as promoting a capitalist economic philosophy and not be viewed as obstructionists.

It is easy to be a socialist when one already has a loaf of bread under each arm. Socialism limits personal freedoms, stifles motivation, reduces choice and allows government to run enterprises through ownership or over regulation. Socialism promotes the behaviors we would like to see stop.

God help us all when we have economic parity with our European allies.

James Mathieu, Port Richey

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Re: Sunwest Harbourtowne

Large project not what Pasco needs

Kudos to the two women who fought for two years trying to derail an 800-home community near Ocala and won! Now, here in Pasco County, we have greedy developers trying to rape and plunder the coastline near Aripeka. While the state law prohibits such a project, Pasco officials are trying to circumvent the law.

These officials want to give the project wiggle room by saying they want the project to be aimed at seasonal residents or vacationers who would not be at risk of losing their primary homes in the event of storm damage. This disguised concern for the safety of the prospective home buyer wouldn't threaten their primary homes up in snowbird country. What a joke!

We are to think, come spring, that all owners will pack up and head north? How stupid do the officials think the residents in Pasco County are? Not all lobbyists for building projects and such work in Tallahassee. Pasco County has its own lobbyist/officials who are equally capable of putting big money first.

Let's not forget these wheeler-dealer officials at election time.

Jerry Kelly, New Port Richey

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Not the time to raise the tax rate

The Pasco County Commission will vote on next year's budget Tuesday. It provides for a 19 percent increase in the current tax rate which will be used to inflate reserve accounts.

By its action, the board will deprive businesses and property owners a reduction in their taxes. These reductions are a result of actions taken by the Florida Legislature, passage of the Amendment 1 referendum and the reduction in property values due to economic conditions in Pasco County.

At at time when Pasco is in a recession, the board is choosing to raise the tax rate 19 percent, which cancels an economic stimulus that the citizens of this county desperately need to survive in their day-to-day lives.

The proposed action by the commission is appalling in these desperate economic times and I would encourage the citizens of Pasco to contact commissioners and express their outrage.

Ed Collins, New Port Richey