I am responding to letter writer Lloyd Doughty (“Our nation should shun failed socialist system,” Nov. 5, Page A6), who was making the point that many of our current politicians are wishing to see us turn to the failed socialist economic systems that the previously communist countries he had visited had rejected.

I visited those same countries (Hungary and Slovakia) several years ago and was also impressed by their history as occupied countries in World War II, under subsequent communist control and then establishing their independence in the late 1980s and early 1990s. And, yes, those countries certainly floundered economically under those systems, but I would point out to Mr. Doughty that the current economic structures of these countries are not exactly American-style capitalism, but have some vestiges of their communist history, with a mix of both private and public ownership and a blend of free markets as well as centralized planning of economic goals and policies.

I would also point out that everyone we encountered in those countries expressed significant satisfaction with their extensive social benefits: affordable universal health care system, free public university education, generous parental leave policies and free (Hungary) or subsidized (Slovakia) child care systems. Taxation is high, but the citizenry seemed pleased with what they received from their hard-earned tax dollars.

So, I would amend his letter to say that the countries he visited are stellar examples of the benefits of our moving toward becoming a social democracy, just as the politicians he is criticizing are proposing!

Doug Zlatin


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