After turmoil, Sanders, Mrs Obama, Warren thrill convention

Former Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Monday, July 25, 2016.

A recent letter to The Advocate warned of the dangers of voting for Democrats because they are “socialists.” I’m old enough to remember when the warning was about “communists.” That was hooey and so is this.

The word socialism has a definition. Socialism is an economic system in which the means of production and distribution are owned by the state. No one running for president on the Democratic ticket is advocating anything like this. Not even Bernie Sanders.

Democrats are strong advocates of what are referred to as “social programs” like food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. I included those last two because most folks get back more from Medicare and Social Security than they put in over a lifetime.

The letter writer described himself as retired. Will he stop accepting Social Security checks or Medicare benefits once he recoups what he paid in?

Bearing in mind that the two largest groups of beneficiaries from social programs are hungry children living in poverty in the richest nation that has ever existed and folks commonly referred to as “the working poor,” which programs should we cut? Should we allow a child to starve to death in the midst of plenty or throw those who are working three jobs at our paltry minimum wage out into the cold?

The programs that Republicans want to cut or cancel have been taken for granted in Europe for over a generation. Even their “conservative” parties work to protect these public benefits.

Is this expensive? Yes, but most of the programs advocated by Democrats are investments in our future. Take, for example, food stamps. A better-fed child is healthier and more alert in school than a hungry child. The result of growing up with plenty to eat is a healthier, better educated and more productive workforce.

Bottom line: The Republicans are using a tried-and-true tactic to frighten voters. It’s all they’ve got. After all — who in the middle or lower economic classes would vote for the true Republican agenda of cutting taxes for the rich so that we can end services that benefit the middle class and the poorest among us?

MICHAEL HALE

information technology consultant

Baton Rouge

Letter: Don't stay home, the socialist candidates pose threat to America