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Socialism not a threat

Posted: June 16, 2009 6:08 p.m.
Updated: June 17, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
I keep reading in The Signal and listening to certain news channels talk about socialism as a threat to our society.

I would like to try to inform, based on first-hand experience, how certain countries and their population live very nice and happy lives with a socialist government.

In this case it’s Sweden. I was born and raised there and moved to California when I was 21.

My mother, sister, brother, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and numerous friends live in Sweden and keep in very regular contact with me (weekly) and I travel there every year.

Most people there pay 35-percent to 40-percent income tax.

They pay a very high sales tax, 20 percent. They have good wages and high job security.

In Sweden, my mother gets a pension from the government that she can live on. If somebody doesn’t have enough for rent or their house payment they get rent assistance.

They get the medications they need and don’t have to choose between medication and food, like some U.S. retirees trying to live on Social Security.

All people have health care and medication with a minimal co-pay.

All children have free education, including tuition at a university.

My son’s college tuition is more than $10,000 a year. The students get free lunch at school.

They have amazing public art, public transportation, libraries, world-renowned scientists, universities, athletes, very good roads, a lot of public land and parks.

And yes, they do have a military, although they rarely go to war since Sweden has remained a neutral country for more than 100 years.

Gasoline is very expensive, but any type of insurance is a lot less then here; so are most necessary groceries and utilities. People are very happy there. They live in houses they can afford, or apartments (not everybody expects to be a homeowner or live in a mansion).

You get to stay home and get paid after a child is born for 12 months, mom or dad, or half and half.

You get five weeks paid vacation per year and yes, most of them can afford to travel during their time off (in case you thought they are all poor).

Crime rates are very low, and nobody goes hungry or lives under a bridge. There are no beggars on the streets.

I work at a local high school. I know children who come to school hungry, with no money for food.

I know kids who do not come to school some days because they don’t have bus money.

They can’t go to a doctor or dentist because there’s no money and no health plan.

I love living in America; it’s given me many opportunities.

Each place has good and bad, but many people need to realize that socialism is nothing scary or dangerous, and big, mighty, money-driven America could learn a thing or two from a country like Sweden.

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