Prof. Burton Abrams writes powerfully about China’s response to overwhelming societal problems (“ ‘Silver bullet,’ anyone? Well, here it is,” Opinion Exchange, Oct. 7). He forgets to mention that its government is authoritarian and dictates the solutions, rather than arriving at them through democratic process. Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whom he mentions, are not dictators — they are elected representatives, subject to the vote of their constituents, and they present several options among many for the larger democratic bodies to consider, debate and vote on. Their aim is to represent the disenfranchised through the democratic process. This is not synonymous with playing dead, as many seem to want them to do.
Abrams seems to forget that the pool of ideas and solutions is greatly enriched by having so many varied viewpoints. The margins along each side, as well as everything in between, are all important to the process. Let us remember that authoritarianism, be it from the right or the left, can enter under many guises, and sometimes it is right under our noses, talking crassly and boldly waving its arms.
Mary Bolton, Stillwater
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I was surprised to read that Abrams was a professor of economics. Such a person would certainly know the difference between social market capitalism, espoused by Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez, and repressive communism (of the Maoist variety). If only the world were as simplistic as he paints it with his Trumpian talking points! And so much for an intellectual argument!
Hans Lee, Minneapolis
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Abrams’ attack on socialism using pre-1985 China as a model fails to note that in the mid-1980s, Deng Xiaoping implemented a new brand of thinking that combined socialist ideology with free enterprise, thus ending the extreme squalor of those in rural China where most people had no electricity, no education and no hope.
By introducing a mixture of the ideals of socialism with the wealth induced by the incentives of capitalism, Deng opened China to foreign investment and the global market, policies that are credited with making China one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and greatly raising the standard of living of hundreds of millions.
However, the failures of pure capitalism are legion, as exemplified by the extreme inequality in the U.S., where there are about 553,000 homeless Americans on any given night, and the richest 400 Americans have a net worth of $2.9 trillion. The lack of hope among the poorest Americans has resulted in a new and tragic phenomenon — deaths of despair, which have become so common that the average American life span has actually decreased over the past few years.
The U.S. (and all countries) need to follow the lead of Scandinavian countries where a happy mixture of capitalism and socialism involve high taxes that meet basic human needs — health care, parental leave and education — for all citizens regardless of income. According to numerous polls, the success of this system results in the greatest happiness among all nations.
Dean DeHarpporte, Eden Prairie
Mpls., don’t add this visit to my tab
I just read that our plump parody of a president has called Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey a “lightweight mayor [who] is hurting the police and other wonderful supporters” of the self-proclaimed stable genius. The tweeter-in-chief is upset because Minneapolis submitted to his campaign a bill for $530,000 to defray security costs for his impending campaign rally at the Target Center (“Trump rally fee prompts threat,” Oct. 8). It seems only fair that a campaign rally that raises money for the candidate should be paid for by that campaign, especially when that particular candidate spends almost as much time boasting about his great wealth as he does extolling his own “great and unmatched wisdom.” As a resident of Minneapolis, it is bad enough that I am subsidizing the refurbishment of the Target Center with my tax money. Having to swallow the costs of the events that take place inside it is adding insult to injury.
Perhaps the police union could sell T-shirts to cover the cost of the presidential pep rally.
Donald Wolesky, Minneapolis
Trump shows we break our word
As a businessman, Donald Trump repeatedly failed to pay his workers. As a husband, he cheated on his wives. As president, he backed out of international agreements made before he took office. With his decision to withdraw troops from Syria, Trump is again demonstrating that he has no allegiance — his word means nothing (“Trump betrays Kurdish allies,” editorial, Oct. 8). Clearly, he lives for the moment, and puts his interests and those of Russia and Turkey ahead of the interests of the citizens of the United States.
His actions are not those of a commander-in-chief, protecting the country. Instead they are those of a weak, self-indulgent man who is not fit to serve. Trump consistently puts vulnerable people at risk and causes them clearly discernible harm. He has no qualms about this. And it appears a large percentage of Trump’s supporters don’t care about how he has treated his employees, his family or U.S. allies. It’s likely many Trump supporters don’t care about the Kurdish fighters who have worked with U.S. troops. But if people care at all about our nation’s credibility and our ability to build alliances in the future, it’s time to start paying attention and speaking up. By pulling troops from Syria, Trump is clearly revealing to the world that even fighting alongside our soldiers means squat. This action renders our nation meaningless — and the repercussions will last long after Trump’s presidency.
Julie A. Risser, Edina
No comparison to the Iraq war
There is nothing remotely similar between former President George W. Bush’s warmongering in Iraq and the impeachment inquiry currently underway (“Pelosi’s rush to impeach resembles Bush’s war push,” Opinion Exchange, Oct. 5). Bush and his appointees deliberately misled the public in an effort to satisfy the profiteers driving the war machine. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House leadership are gathering testimony and facts from credible sources according to a constitutionally mandated process. There are a number of publicly reported impeachable offenses, including violations of the emoluments clause, obstruction of justice and corrupt influence-peddling, that preceded the current occupant’s self-admitted request to the Ukrainian president for help with the president’s political campaign.
The House investigation is proceeding in full view of the public, demonstrating the Congressional oversight process, which is also written into the Constitution. The assertion that lawless presidential behavior is similar to a deliberate public process supported by evidence is to insult the intelligence of voters while supporting a worrisome drift into authoritarian dictatorship. Columnist John Kass may not be ashamed of writing such tripe, but the editors of this newspaper display a woeful lack of judgment by allowing this nonsense to appear in print.
George Hutchinson, Minneapolis
There’s always 2020. And 2021.
We all love our Minnesota Twins. The New York Yankees only had two more wins in the regular season than we did. We hit more home runs in the regular season than they did. But here is what separates us: We leave men on base; they don’t. More importantly, the Yankees know how to win in the postseason. They have a history of a winning mentality. Sadly, we’re just not there yet.
Get ’em next year, boys!
Thomas Bolf, Minneapolis
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