I enjoyed the creative writing in the May 8 letter, "Don't let socialism stifle your dream." It described the youthful dreams of becoming a cowboy herding cattle, a pioneer staking his claim to land, a soldier in the army, and a sailor on the seven seas. The letter also advised, "Dream while you can; it's free and cannot be taxed or regulated," as if taxation and regulation were inherently bad.

The main point seemed to be to glorify capitalism and disparage socialism.

The letter overlooked the many ways regulation has tempered the worst aspects of capitalism. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 established child-labor laws. The creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, in 1970 greatly reduced workplace injuries and occupation-related diseases. Anti-monopoly laws protect us from some corporate greed. Environmental regulations protect the air and water for all of us. Previously, many factories dumped toxic wastes into the nearest river or other convenient place. Many of those sites are now Superfund sites we taxpayers are paying billions to clean up.

Our American version of capitalism also has many socialistic aspects that most of us value. Public schools, parks, highways, libraries, and police and fire protection are paid for through taxation and are essentially publicly owned. In a purely capitalist economic system, they would be privately (or corporately) owned and for-profit enterprises.

Capitalism in its pure form is a cruel master: Profits (capital) are the ultimate good; and workers and the environment are expendable. Socialism in its pure form has its own problems.

I dream of a day when all children - rich or poor, black or white - have equal opportunities to work hard and be successful. Sadly, we're not there yet.

Byron Kuster

Moose Lake