I am responding to a letter to the editor in a recent Advocate that praises the column by Thomas Sowell against presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders and socialism. What Sanders is saying is that in a democracy, the millionaires and billionaires cannot and should not run things because they are interested solely in making money and do not care whether the rest of the world of non-millionaires and non-billionaires, which represents mostly us, survives.

As to offering free education, the Europeans wince at the high fees U.S. colleges and universities charge for tuition and room and board. Why pay so much, they say? In Europe, there is free education, but you have to pay for room and board and other costs, mostly minimal. Why should we not have free tuition? The government will recoup that in the fact of higher employment through taxes for the people who took advantage of the free education in the form of free tuition and higher paying jobs, like the G.I. bill for American military after the war. It paid back double, if not triple.

I think Sanders’ attempt at running for the presidency is premised on the fact of equal opportunity. We need a third party. Period. The stranglehold the Republicans and Democrats have on the country has failed. Sowell says socialism has failed. You ask the average English person if they would want to go back to the old system of paying for health care out-of-pocket. Ask the Israelis and the Scandinavians if they want go back to the older system?

These benefits are natural benefits in a democratic society. Sowell’s contention that socialism has failed is a fallacy.

Norman Thomas, the grand old man of American socialism, was right in his contention that health care in America is a right, not a benefit. Franklin Delano Roosevelt co-opted Thomas’ point of view, and he created Social Security. Social Security has become a basic part of our rights as American citizens. And the same could be said for the Europeans and the Scandinavians. Would they want to go back to the older system?

Joseph V. Ricapito

retired educator

Baton Rouge