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Cass R. Sunstein’s column raises a valid question but does not go far enough.

What does “socialism” mean? For Republicans, it is a pejorative label, a reliable tactic to tarnish and disparage any progressive political or economic policy put forth by Democrats and avoid considering its merits. It is a term so misleading and misunderstood in public discourse that it should be abandoned entirely.

Social Security, Medicare and the minimum wage have all been attacked as socialist, yet these programs are clear proof of the shortcomings of the capitalist system.

People are not commodities, to be bought and sold on the open market. We must focus on the substance of what is proposed, what is best for the good of the people and forget labels.

Jerry Cronk, Shoreline