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Readers write about whether or not Barack Obama is really a socialist.

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Debating the charge that Obama is really a socialist

Regarding the Oct. 30 Opinion piece, "Is Barack Obama really a socialist?": Author Donald J. Boudreaux, in answering his question, moves from an initial "no" to an implied "yes." His generalizations border on untruths.

First, the Soviet Union system, although socialist in name, was generally considered to be "communist," not socialist. Actually, it was neither. It was something like "state capitalism," a system in which everything is under the control of a central authority. This is not a characteristic of socialism.

Second, I don't think Barack Obama spoke glibly of "spreading the wealth around." He simply said that someone who has greatly benefited from the system, like himself, ought to pay more taxes than one who has not been so fortunate.

Jim Christensen

Far from being some insidious form of socialism, Obama's tax policy would be a shot in the arm to the free enterprise system simply because it focuses on helping the middle class thrive, grow, and consume the goods that our economy produces.

As the middle class shrinks, so shrinks the base of consumers that helps keep our economy afloat. Without those consumers, the very reason for entrepreneurship declines.

The question is how to strike a balance between the extremes of too much versus too little government regulation.

Stacey Duke

This analysis is exactly right. Obama and his political allies don't want to yoke America to full-fledged, Marxist socialism. What they want is the socializing of our economy in the pursuit of "fairness." That philosophy has an enormous, but mostly hidden downside – the slow strangulation of economic vitality.

Ironically, the people who are most zealous for Senator Obama's plan are the very ones who would benefit most from economic growth. The enervated and highly regulated economy that results from the socialistic approach traps poorer people. It offers them handouts but impedes upward mobility.

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