Private property. When you boil it down, the issue is private property. Based on the articles and letters to the editor every week in this paper, socialism is the answer. Listening to the Democratic presidential debates, the government can, and should, offer free college, health care, guarantee a job and provide a universal basic income to our comrades…I mean citizens. But private property always gets in the way of the government solving our problems.

Some say the 2020 elections are a battle between capitalism and socialism. That is not entirely accurate because capitalism in our country has been progressively limited since at least the early 1900s, but we do face a choice. And, private property rights are front and center.

Supporters of socialism focus on the free stuff and how this time it will work because we are smarter than the earlier socialists. They do not discuss how the government will pay for the free stuff, and sadly far too many of us do not bother to ask.

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The fact is, in order to fund the socialist utopia promised by the Democratic presidential candidates the government will need more and more of your private property. That has not been a problem for socialists in the past and it is not a problem today. Private property and socialism do not mix.

Don’t believe me?

Mike Gravel — one of the two dozen Democrats running for president — had campaign yard signs that read “Private Property is theft.” Most will not say this out loud, but it is a fundamental principal of socialism.

That concept does not go over well outside of the small group of true believers, so the focus is on the free stuff and saving the planet. But, once in awhile they slip up. Saikat Chakrabarti, then chief of staff for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, was recently quoted in the Washington Post as saying, “The interesting thing about the Green New Deal, is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all.” The Post reports Chakrabarti continued by asking Sam Ricketts, climate director for presidential candidate and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, “Do you guys think of it as a climate thing? Because we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.”

The truth doesn’t sell so the focus is on the free stuff, and we are still over a year away from the election. I can only imagine the government benefits and free stuff that the Democrat presidential candidates will come up with in the coming months.

That free stuff comes at a cost, as Margaret Thatcher said, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.”

I expect more and more articles and letters on these pages praising the benefits of socialism leading up to the election. We will be lectured that the new and improved 21st century socialism is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Just remember though, sliced bread, first sold in 1928, did not come from a socialist country, it was invented in this country, in Iowa. And the inventor had a patent to protect his private property.