England's socialized medicine, or National Health Service, includes the Queen...

England's socialized medicine, or National Health Service, includes the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. Above, an X-ray is demonstrated in 2011. Credit: Getty Images / Christopher Furlong

A letter writer criticized congressional candidate Liuba Grechen Shirley for expressing what he regards as a socialist ideology [“Don’t fall for false socialist ideas,” Sept. 20]. What, are we resorting to McCarthyism now?

A democratic socialist view has been responsible for Social Security, Medicare, and union worker supports, including pay parity and health insurance. Where would most of us be without these programs?

Grechen Shirley seeks to preserve women’s rights, family leave and free education. Educating those who would otherwise remain unemployable and unable to provide for their families is less costly than paying for an uneducated and unemployable populace. Educated and skilled citizens provide a strong workforce that attracts industry.

Terry Brown, Bay Shore

Letter writers raised objections to the rise in calls for a socialist economic system to deal with high health care costs and college tuition. Their objections mainly centered on the rise in taxes that would be needed.

The top 5 percent in our society are doing just fine. Their wages have risen. They’re enjoying the benefits of the tax cuts. They can afford good health care and college tuition. The rest of the population is struggling. Wages have stagnated for decades. The tax cuts have had little impact on their disposable income. Minimum health insurance is unattainable for many, and college tuition leaves their children with large debts.

Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical and health insurance companies earn huge profits even after spending billions of dollars on marketing and advertising. If we take these costs and profits out of the system by adopting a single-payer approach and use the savings to improve health care, that would be a benefit to everyone. Similarly, if more young people were able to go to college without incurring huge debt, they would earn more and over a lifetime and pay more taxes on those earnings, benefiting everyone.

Don’t be put off by the term socialism. What we need are smarter approaches to help fix our fiscal problems.

Carl Borruso, Valley Stream

A reader accused Liuba Gretchen Shirley of expressing a socialist ideology. But what sort of corporate socialism are they advocating if we continue along our present path of providing huge tax breaks and subsidies for large corporations, agribusiness and other wealthy entities and individuals?

Grechen Shirley proposes to bring greater equality by requiring the wealthy — not the middle class — to pay their fair share so ordinary Americans can afford health care and college. Don’t allow the greedy and wealthy to mislead us into believing the red scare tactics.

As someone who spent time living in Sweden and Britain, I can attest to the benefits of socialized medicine, where I never received a bill for treatment, had much shorter waits for appointments than here, and where my tax bills were actually lower because governments didn’t spend the people’s money on huge military budgets and on corporate welfare.

Howard Fredrics,Roslyn Heights

Want good gov’t? Make sure to vote

In the 2014 midterm elections, only 37 percent of registered voters went to the ballot box. That is disgusting. Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican or independent, do not waste an opportunity to cast your ballot [“Writer stresses influence of voting,” News, Sept. 21]. Get off your butt and vote. If you don’t vote, then don’t complain about the government you had no hand in forming. You get the government you deserve.

Bob Cavaliere, Port Jefferson Station

Our political candidates need to have some substance beneath them. It is not enough to demand and vote for change.

Do these candidates know the channels you need to go through to enact change they campaigned on? Do they have a working knowledge of what needs to be done, besides the hype that Republicans and Democrats try to push down the public’s throat? Isn’t anyone interested, not in following their party nominee but in what is good for America and the American people, the individual, who has one vote?

If you are one of the many who don’t vote, remember the people who worked tirelessly to give you that right. Remember the politicians who are trying to take that right away by redistricting or making laws that limit people from choosing who is their representative or president.

Who speaks for me? I’d better be sure to vote for someone who will.

Patricia A. Simms, Massapequa

Friends of NRA enjoying freedom

Since 1993, the Nassau County Friends of the National Rifle Association have hosted dinners in Nassau County in conjunction with thousands of other Friends of the NRA dinners across the country [“Anti-NRA activists protest outside LI venue,” News, Sept. 17]. Respectable, law-abiding citizens gather to exercise their right to peaceably assemble in support of another right to keep and bear arms. The event poses no community danger.

So what is the issue here? The real issue is politics and a blatant attack on our First and Second Amendment freedoms and on the current administration, which supports those freedoms. Those who oppose us have a right to assemble, but we do, as well.

Laurence C. Dittmer, Levittown

Editor’s note: The writer is an NRA member.