I should like to enlighten Mr. Balentine (“Prepare now for Portland exodus,” Nov. 13) and all his like-minded conservatives, with respect to their constant manipulation of the facts.

These conservatives want the American public to believe that the Democratic Party will turn this country into a “Socialist Command Economy, which deprives citizens of any private initiative or responsibility, paralyzes creativity and productivity” and takes away private property. They want citizens to believe that the Democratic Party, which, especially under FDR and Truman, pushed back hard against Soviet-style socialism/communism in Europe, now desires to embrace it. Shame on you!

Socially responsible free market economies, that “combine free initiative of the individual with the principles of social progress, guaranteed freedom of private enterprise and private property” are not like, e.g., a socialist Cuba and certain regimes in South America. The protections of a strong Social Security network, especially for employees, who contribute financially to it, “are based on a system of solidarity. This support is not charity.”

European countries like Germany, where I come from, realize that their social policies for supporting affordable education, living-wage salaries, health care for everybody (it is not free and has additional public options), family- and worker-friendly labor laws and, if needed, financial support for distressed families/businesses, are the foundations for a healthy and highly productive society/work force needed in a competitive free market system with a high standard of living. I call this social capitalism.

Mr. Balentine and many conservatives do not seem to care that America is inching more towards a plutocratic oligarchy, which is benefiting from what I call cut-throat-capitalism, at the expense of the majority of working Americans.

Whatever happened to the social contract?

Sigrid R.E. Fischer-Mishler