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Letter: Relax Ms. Guddat

In her Letters to the Editor of Sept. 10 and 17, Margaret Guddat opposes President Obama’s health care reform, and does what conservatives always do when faced with an advance in social justice; she invokes the boogeyman of socialism.

History shows that whatever the initial apprehension about a new social program, a generation later it is widely accepted. A case in point is Medicare. One of Ms. Guddat’s objections to the president’s health care reform is that it will weaken Medicare. Of course, when President Johnson was trying to pass Medicare, conservatives claimed it would lead to, you guessed it, socialism.

This unthinking obstructionism goes way back. In the thirties, Franklin Roosevelt was anathematized for his social programs. Where would we be today without Federal Deposit Insurance? It’s bad enough the financial meltdown devastated our investments, can you imagine the situation if we had also lost our savings accounts? And one-time controversial programs like Social Security and unemployment insurance today are as American as apple pie.

Considering the financial meltdown, it’s worth remembering that unthinking faith in unregulated markets which Ms. Guddat’s hero, Ronald Reagan, promoted and which dominated economic thinking the past 30 years, gave us our current economic disaster. That’s not my opinion, that’s the opinion of former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

Ms. Guddat is also worried about the cost of the new plan. We should recall that President Clinton left President Bush a surplus. It wasn’t social policies that led to our current deficits—it was President Bush’s irresponsible policies, including cutting taxes while starting a war.

My advice to Ms. Guddat is to relax. Forty years from now her grandchildren will be protesting some new social policy, and one of their arguments will be that the new program will weaken the 2009 Health Reform Program.

Angela and Michael Trombetta