Columnist Cynthia M. Allen of Texas touts the virtues of free-market (trickle-down) conservative (corporate) economics in her op-ed (“Conservatives do care about people, and do better at lifting them up,” July 25).

She fails to realize that our win-lose capitalism creates far more losers; witness America’s shrinking middle class while far too many live below or within a paycheck of the poverty line.

Americans face the choice of more privatization (conservatives’ position) or the potential for a democratic economy (presidential candidate Bernie Sanders), as enabled by the social democracies of Europe.

These countries feature democracy’s best, with free elections, high voter participation, multiplicity of parties and a far greater sense of the common good than here in America, which favors rabid individualism.

My partner and I recently spent seven weeks in Scotland, Ireland and France. We experienced Europeans’ more leisurely lifestyle of shorter workdays, longer vacations and a higher quality of life.

During our visit, I asked about 30 people: “Would you rather pay higher taxes and have full health care coverage, or pay lower taxes and buy insurance from a private company, with the chance you would have out-of-pocket expenses?”

Every European, bar none, favored the social democratic system of guaranteed and full health coverage. One person favored the privatized, for-profit system of America. He was from Akron, Ohio. Europeans favor their social democracy over our privatized, corporate economy.

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ rise in popularity exhibits the excitement over a more relaxed, fair and just democratic capitalism for America. If you doubt, then visit these countries, and enjoy the pleasurable lifestyle of a European social democracy.

“Never doubt what America can accomplish,” Bernie Sanders states.

Frederick Lancaster

South Portland