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Misguided fear 

The current Republican Party is trying an old scare tactic with voters: Claim that any new government-run social support program will lead to communism and dictatorship. They are then adding a new tactic on top of this: If we do enact any new social supports, we will end up like Venezuela. By using these tactics, they are misguiding the American public.

First of all, there is a great difference between a government using taxes to provide services and supports, such as safety, education, and health care to its population, and a government taking over central control and the means of production. But the Republican Party wants us to think there is not.

The New York Times' Paul Krugman does a nice job of explaining this in his article "Trump versus the socialist menace" (Feb. 7). He describes that the type of socialism that occurred in Venezuela as the government taking over the means of production. That type is not anywhere near the agenda of the Democratic Party, even with the most "extreme" candidates. Asking the super wealthy and large corporations to pay their fair share of taxes is not asking too much. Supporting government programs to provided needed social support and assistance for ourselves and for our fellow citizens is not a bad thing. Doing so will only strengthen our country, not weaken it.

Secondly, according to the well-researched and comprehensive article, "Venezuela's suicide: lessons from a failed state" (foreignaffairs.com), there were many other factors contributing to the current tragic situation in Venezuela. As I stated earlier, the "socialism" (modeled after Cuba) that occurred in Venezuela is entirely different from the call for more social support programs in the U.S. Also, aside from being a "petrostate" as a major factor in its downfall, the article explains how it was the turn from being a liberal democracy toward a kleptocracy and dictatorship that ultimately led to Venezuela's current dire situation. The authors of this article, Moises Naim and Francisco Toro, conclude that, "Rather than a military invasion, Venezuelans' best hope is to ensure that the flickering embers of protest and social dissent are not extinguished and that resistance to dictatorship is sustained."

How ironic that some calling for war in Venezuela approve of Trump in our country. Like Venezuela's recent leaders, Trump is supported by Putin, is corrupt as hell, and is threatening our liberal democracy. And Republicans approve of him! That is what we need to be afraid of, not Democrats who want to provide a sustainable environment and education and health care to our citizens.

Kathy Riedmann

Los Osos

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